Science & Health

The Two-Way
7:39 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

After Decades Of Silent Wandering, NASA Probe Phones Home

Whatever name it sailed under — International Sun-Earth Explorer 3, and International Cometary Explorer, among others — this spacecraft has scored a number of firsts over the years, including the first comet flyby.
NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 2:19 pm

You might call it the ultimate long shot — a group of space enthusiasts trying to re-establish contact with a wayward satellite launched in 1978. Figuratively speaking, it's been off the radar for decades.

No more.

"The initial contact was a tone followed by specific commands," project organizer Keith Cowing told NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce by email. "We learned a lot simply by being able to talk to it and get it to do things.

"May not sound like much but that was a huge unknown," he adds.

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Shots - Health News
6:20 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

No Hunch Here: Richard III Suffered From Scoliosis Instead

Portrait of King Richard III.
Getty Images/The Bridgeman Art Library

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 7:03 pm

Shakespeare calls Richard III "rudely stamp'd," with the king's "hunchbacked" form revealing the twisted soul within. Actors have reveled in playing the monarch as a limping, deformed creature with a withered arm.

But when the bones of the 15th century king were unearthed from beneath a British parking lot in 2012, the skeleton showed no evidence of a hunch. Instead, the vertebrae lay in a curve suggesting that Richard might have had scoliosis.

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Animals
3:35 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Scientists Find Africa's Longest Land Migration: Zebras' 350-Mile Trek

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 6:11 pm

Wildlife biologists have discovered the longest known terrestrial migration in Africa: some 350 miles across southern Africa by huge herds of zebras. Large mammal migration in Africa has generally been hindered by the subdivision and fencing of land. However, this one remains possible because it takes place in a unique, multi-country wildlife corridor.

Environment
3:27 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Conservatives, Environmentalists Found Common Ground In Cap And Trade

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 6:11 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: Now more about the history of cap and trade and how conservatives and environmentalists came together to establish that approach to reducing emissions. To tell us that story, joining us is C. Boyden Gray who assist in the formulation of the policy during the administration of President George H. W. Bush. He was later U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Ambassador Gray, welcome to the program.

C. BOYDEN GRAY: Thank you very much.

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Environment
3:27 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

States Say Cutting Down On Carbon Was Easier Than Expected

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 8:45 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

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The Salt
8:22 am
Thu May 29, 2014

You Can Thank 150 Different Compounds For The Sweet Smell Of Bacon

A screenshot of the Why Does Bacon Smell So Good video.
American Chemical Society/YouTube

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 7:43 am

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Science & Health
6:23 am
Thu May 29, 2014

NASA to Test New Rockets

Credit NASA

Engineers are conducting tests on a model of NASA's next-generation heavy lift rocket in Huntsville.

Workers at the Marshall Space Flight Center will perform acoustic tests on a small version of NASA's Space Launch System vehicle on Thursday.

The model is only 5 percent of the size of the actual vehicle. But engineers will be able to tell how sound waves will affect the structure on the launch pad once it's ignited.

Information from the test will be used to verify the design of a system that uses water to suppress the noise from the rocket's engines.

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Shots - Health News
4:06 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Thriving Towns In East Africa Are Good News For A Parasitic Worm

Fishermen drag a net in Lake Malawi in 2012. About the size of New Jersey, the lake is home to hundreds of fish species and is considered one of the most biologically diverse lakes in the world.
Ding Haitao Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 5:17 pm

People trying to grow food and support their families on the shores of Lake Malawi are not only causing serious environmental problems, they're also causing a surge in a debilitating disease.

Thriving towns along the lake are changing the ecosystem in ways that are allowing a parasitic worm to flourish, researchers reported last week in the journal Trends in Parasitology.

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Environment
3:21 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

A Peat Bog As Big As England, And A Rare Glimpse At Earth's History

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 5:17 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Farther west in Africa, in Congo, Brazzaville, scientists have found a remarkable peat bog - a vast expanse of decaying plant material. The discovery could tell them about the whole planet's atmospheric history. It is a rare, tropical peat bog. It's the size of Pennsylvania. The thick layer of carbon it traps may offer clues to what was in the air over 10,000 years ago. Dr. Simon Lewis of the University of Leeds led the research team, and he joins us now to tell us about this little-studied region. Welcome to the program.

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The Two-Way
12:18 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Rumors Of An Intergalactic Explosion Are Greatly Exaggerated

Astronomers thought they saw a big explosion in the nearby Andromeda galaxy.
GALEX, JPL-Caltech/ NASA

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 5:17 pm

Tuesday afternoon, astronomers thought they saw a powerful explosion in the nearby Andromeda galaxy.

The Internet went wild with speculation about what it could be: Had two superdense neutron stars collided? Did a supermassive star explode?

"When I got up this morning and turned on my phone, I had a lot of emails and my Twitter feed was burning," says Phil Evans, an astronomer at the University of Leicester in Britain.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:29 am
Wed May 28, 2014

A Little Bird Either Learns Its Name Or Dies

Robert Krulwich NPR

I've been wondering lately, do animals invent names? As in names for themselves? Names for each other? I've always thought that what we do when we call ourselves "Ralph" or "Laura" is unique, something exclusively human. But it turns out that's wrong. Other animals have name-like calls that they use much like we do. I've posted about this before (regarding horses, dolphins and little parakeets) ...

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Science & Health
5:52 am
Wed May 28, 2014

UAB hospital bacterial infections turn deadly

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - University of Alabama Hospital officials say two of eight patients who recently tested positive for an infectious bacterial disease have died. Officials said Tuesday that the patient who tested positive for the infection were in the hematology-oncology unit in the Women and Infant building. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, legionella is a form of pneumonia and bacteria that cause the illness typically travel by water. Hospital officials say the official causes of the patients' deaths haven't been determined.

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Research News
5:40 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Research: Children Of Judges May Influence Court Decisions

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 11:57 am

It's been suspected that judges are swayed by their personal beliefs and affiliations. An analysis found that judges become more likely to rule in "pro-feminist" ways if the judges have daughters.

NPR Story
4:01 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Malaysia Makes Public Satellite Data From Missing Jetliner

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 11:57 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene. It has been almost three months now since a Malaysian Airlines jet disappeared with 239 people on board. Satellite data led authorities to conclude the plane flew for hours and then went down somewhere off the coast of Australia. Yesterday, investigators made that data public for the first time. And joining us in our studio to discuss this is NPR science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel. Geoff, welcome.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: Hi.

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The Two-Way
4:33 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

WATCH: Otters Play The Keyboard At National Zoo

Otters play the keyboard at the National Zoo.
Smithsonian's National Zoo YouTube

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 4:57 pm

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