Science & Health

Shots - Health News
10:49 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Hardening Of Human Arteries Turns Out To Be A Very Old Story

A 3-D reconstruction of Mummy 38's CT scans shows calcification in her aorta and iliac arteries.
Courtesy of The Lancet

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 12:23 pm

Going "paleo" may not be the answer to heart disease, after all.

A few years ago, a team of researchers challenged our understanding of heart disease as a modern affliction. They found evidence of hardened arteries in the CT scans of ancient Egyptian mummies.

It was a little surprising since our predecessors didn't have fried chicken or cars.

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Shots - Health News
3:41 am
Mon March 11, 2013

New Voices For The Voiceless: Synthetic Speech Gets An Upgrade

Samantha Grimaldo was born with a rare disorder, Perisylvian syndrome, and has never been able to speak.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 12:23 pm

Ever since she was a small child, Samantha Grimaldo has had to carry her voice with her.

Grimaldo was born with a rare disorder, Perisylvian syndrome, which means that though she's physically capable in many ways, she's never been able to speak. Instead, she's used a device to speak. She types in what she wants to say, and the device says those words out loud. Her mother, Ruane Grimaldo, says that when Samantha was very young, the voice she used came in a heavy gray box.

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Education
4:22 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Are There Too Many Ph.D.s And Not Enough Jobs?

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 7:50 am

Our country needs more people with science, math and engineering degrees — at least, that's the common refrain among politicians and educators.

American students lag behind the rest of the world when it comes to math and science test scores, and the president and others have called for a change in immigration laws that would make it easier for people who come to the U.S. to get technical degrees to stay in the country permanently.

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Science
4:11 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

Scientists Make Plans To Blast Threatening Asteroids

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 6:41 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ARMAGEDDON")

STANLEY ANDERSON: (as the President) What is this thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It's enormous.

BILLY BOB THORNTON: (as Dan Truman) It's an asteroid, sir.

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

In the 1998 film "Armageddon," the character played by Bruce Willis saves the Earth by knocking aside an asteroid headed straight for us. Pure fiction, right? Well, maybe not.

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Krulwich Wonders...
5:22 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Guy Builds Solar-Powered Death Ray In His Backyard (Yawn)

YouTube

Aatish, a guy I follow on Twitter, tosses this stuff off like it's no biggie, but that's because he's a physics grad student. He knows things I don't know. And because I don't know them, what he finds mildly amusing makes me gasp. Really.

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Animals
3:43 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Adult Prairie Dogs Dig Living In Mom's Burrow

John Hoogland of the University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Science holds up a female prairie dog to check for signs of pregnancy, nursing or injury.
Courtesy of Elaine Miller Bond

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 8:47 pm

Like many humans, most young animals approaching adulthood tend to leave their parents and siblings and strike out on their own. They want to avoid competing with relatives. They want to avoid incest. In certain species, they want to avoid nagging.

But a new paper published in Thursday's Science shows there's at least one species that bucks this trend. Prairie dogs, especially female prairie dogs, stay home. They tend to only leave their native territories when all of their relatives are gone.

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Author Interviews
12:59 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Al Gore Envisions 'The Future'

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

My next guest really needs almost no introduction. He's former vice president of the United States. He's one of the most well-known communicators of the risks of climate change. He shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for those efforts. I'm guessing a lot of you have read his book, "An Inconvenient Truth," or you've seen the movie.

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Health
12:58 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

'Nightmare Bacteria' Defy Even Last-Ditch Drugs

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 2:04 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Now for nightmare bacteria. They defy all our antibiotics, even our latest drugs. This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that strains of these completely drug-resistant bacteria have quadrupled in the last decade or so, and the bugs have been lurking around in hospitals, hundreds of hospitals around the nation.

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Science
12:54 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

When The Earth Swallows

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. By now I'm sure you've heard about the real-life nightmare of a Florida man named Jeff Bush. As he lay sleeping last week, a gaping hole opened beneath his home, swallowing him alive. His body was never found. The search has now been called off, and the sinkhole that devoured him is now his grave.

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Brain Candy
12:52 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Behold the Mighty Water Bear

Water bears, a.k.a. tardigrades, can withstand boiling, freezing and the vacuum of space. Biologist Bob Goldstein, of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, studies these millimeter-long creatures to try to understand how organisms develop.

All Tech Considered
12:01 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

In Open Source Rocket Competition, Collaboration Takes Off

A screenshot shows how a team would track changes to its rocket project on a Sunglass platform.
Sunglass

Here's the challenge: Build a rocket engine. Don't worry, you don't need much.

At the SXSW festival in Austin on Saturday, startup companies DIYRockets and Sunglass are launching a competition to create 3-D-printed rocket engines with open source (read: free) technology.

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Shots - Health News
11:45 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Could A 'Brain Pacemaker' Someday Treat Severe Anorexia?

Kim Rollins of Ontario, Canada, struggled with anorexia for more than 20 years. After starting deep brain stimulation 14 months ago, the 36-year-old says she's in recovery.
Courtesy of Krembil Neuroscience Centre

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 9:23 am

Many people who get anorexia recover after therapy and counseling. But in about 20 to 30 percent of cases, the disease becomes a chronic condition that gets tougher and tougher to treat.

Right now, doctors have few options for helping these patients, mostly women, whose disease can be crippling or fatal.

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NPR Story
11:26 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Can the Anti-Aging Secret Be Found in...Red Wine?

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 2:04 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Here's some news to raise a glass to: the idea that red wine may help us live longer and healthier lives. Well, it got a new boost this week. According to a team of researchers, a compound found in the skin of grapes could be an antidote to aging by slowing down the process and even fending off disease and inflammation associated with getting old. It's the topic of a new study published this week in the journal Science.

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NPR Story
11:26 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Getting the Springtime Buzz on Bees

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 12:03 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

You're listening to SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. You may not tell by looking outside your window if you're in the Midwest, or snow has been dumped on you in the last week or so, but spring is really just around the corner, and with that comes blooming plants and buzzing bees. And what can we expect this spring from nature's great pollinators?

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The Salt
11:05 am
Fri March 8, 2013

We Like 'Em Big And Juicy: How Our Table Grapes Got So Fat

Left to their own devices, many seedless grapes would be puny and soft. But these Thompson seedless got pleasingly plump after a little girdling and hormone treatment.
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 4:37 pm

It's no secret that many Americans have a fetish for big food. Whether it's a triple-decker cheeseburger or a 128-ounce Big Gulp, some portions in the U.S. have gotten freakishly large.

But not all of our supersizing is unhealthy.

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