Science & Health

Science & Health
9:36 am
Tue August 7, 2012

NASA Curiosity Rover sends back first color photo of Mars

NASA

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — NASA's Curiosity rover has beamed back its first color photo from the ancient crater where it landed. The view showed a pebbly landscape and the rim of Gale Crater off in the distance. Curiosity snapped the photo on the first day on the surface after touching down on Mars Sunday night. The rover took the shot with a camera at the end of its robotic arm, which remained stowed. The landscape looked fuzzy because the camera's removable cover was coated with dust that kicked up during the descent to the ground.

Science & Health
11:12 am
Mon August 6, 2012

NASA'S "Curiosity" Mars rover "phones home"

Artists' rendering of NASA's Mars rover "Curiosity" being lowered to the surface by its "skycrane"
NASA

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Cheers and applause echoed through the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena on late Sunday after the robotic explorer Curiosity signaled it had survived a harrowing plunge through the thin Mars atmosphere. The most high-tech interplanetary rover ever built touched down on the Martian surface inside of a giant crater after a tricky landing routine that included a series of braking tricks, a heat shield and a supersonic parachute.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:29 am
Mon August 6, 2012

An Anthropologist Walks Into A Bar And Asks, 'Why Is This Joke Funny?'

Amateur comedian Robert Lynch takes the mic at the Metropolitan Room in New York City on July 21. Lynch is also an evolutionary anthropologist who is studying what laughter reveals about us.
Melanie Burford for NPR

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 3:26 pm

It's Saturday night at the Metropolitan Room, a comedy club in New York City. Host Jimmy Failla is warming up the crowd.

"Where you guys from?" he asks one group in the audience. "Boston? Home of the Red Sox. Personally, we'd prefer you rooted for the Taliban!"

There are 50 or 60 people in the audience, sipping cocktails. Failla has a system. He asks people where they're from. Most are locals. He then hits them with something they can relate to.

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Shots - Health Blog
8:42 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Mixed Feelings About Side Effects From Cholesterol Pills

Lipitor and other cholesterol-fighting drugs carry risks of side effects.
Paul Sakuma AP

Drugs to lower cholesterol run neck and neck with antidepressants for popularity in the U.S.

There's ample evidence cholesterol-lowering pills called statins can reduce the risk of a repeat heart attack. The pills are frequently prescribed for people who've never had a heart attack or stroke, but are at high risk for trouble.

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Emergency Preparedness
4:32 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Red Cross Launches Hurricane App For Smart Phones

redcross.org American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is launching a hurricane app for smart phones.

The nonprofit organization said the technology is designed for people who visit or live in hurricane-prone areas.

Officials say the free app is available for use on both iPhone and Android platforms.

Authorities say the new app gives instant access to local and real-time information on what to do before, during and after hurricanes. It also allows people to monitor personalized weather alerts in locations where family and friends reside and share information with others in their social networks.

Shots - Health Blog
3:56 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Under Health Law, 'No-Cost' Birth Control Starts Today

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joins Democratic senators at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to announce new preventive health coverage for women that takes effect Wednesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 6:31 am

Beginning today, most new and renewing health insurance plans must begin offering a broad array of women's preventive health services, most notably coverage of birth control, at no upfront cost.

But even as they take effect, the new rules remain the subject of legal challenges.

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Dead Stop
4:07 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Rediscovered Headstones Hold Clues To Earthquake

The Gilliam Cemetery, near Sebastopol, Calif., received its first grave in 1852. Many of its older headstones have disappeared over the years.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 7:55 am

The Gilliam Cemetery, which lies 60 miles north of San Francisco, appears to be gaining residents lately. But it's not only because new people have been interred there. Instead, headstones that wound up being buried a century ago have been found and resurrected.

The cemetery's story begins in 1850, when a wagon train of pioneers left Missouri and settled near what is now Sebastopol, Calif. The Gilliam Cemetery was started in 1852, when Polly Gilliam Sullivan and her husband, Isaac, needed a place to bury their stillborn son.

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Space
4:04 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Telescope Targets Black Holes' Binges And Burps

The NuSTAR telescope, seen in this artist's illustration, will soon be sending back data that researchers will use to study black holes.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 6:45 am

NASA's newest space telescope will start searching the universe for black holes on Wednesday. Scientists hope the NuSTAR X-ray telescope, which launched about six weeks ago and is now flying about 350 miles above the Earth, will help shed some light on the mysteries of these space oddities.

Mission control for the telescope is a small room on the University of California, Berkeley, campus, where about a dozen people with headsets rarely look up from their screens.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:15 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Cancer Patient Gets Help From 'Bake Sale' And Aetna CEO

One of the slogans on a T-shirt sold to raise money for the care of Arijit Guha.
Poopstrong.org

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 12:52 pm

It's a diagnosis nobody in grad school would ever expect.

Arijit Guha, who's working on a doctorate at Arizona State, felt sick after coming back from a trip to India in early 2011. His severe stomach pain, which he thought was probably from a bug he caught on the journey, turned out to be caused by colon cancer. He was 30.

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Science & Health
9:27 am
Mon July 30, 2012

UAB Giving Cancer Prevention Program Positive Feedback

The University of Alabama at Birmingham says a new federal program focused on disease prevention is having a positive impact on the region. UAB’s local coalition aims to decrease death rates for cervical and breast cancer.

“Our program focused on women in eight counties in Alabama, particularly around screening for breast cancer and cervical cancer,” says Dr. Edward Partridge, Director of UAB’s Comprehensive Cancer Society.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:57 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Magnets May Pull Kids With Sunken Chests Out Of Operating Room

A cross-sectional X-ray shows what's called a "sunken chest." The bright circle near the bottom is the spine; the gray blob on the right is the heart.
Living LLC Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 7:24 am

You may not have heard of pectus excavatum — or "sunken chest," as it's commonly known — but there's a good chance you know someone who was born with it.

It's the most common deformity of the chest wall, affecting roughly one in 500 people — boys much more often than girls. And while sunken chest can be corrected with surgery, the procedure is invasive and very painful. Many families won't do it.

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Health
3:56 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Cheer Up, It's Just Your Child Behind The Wheel

When it comes to learning how to drive, your teen is probably as harried as you are. Research shows that scare tactics meant to instill caution, though, are less effective than kind words.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 2:41 pm

One rite of passage most teenagers look forward to and parents dread is learning how to drive. Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens by far, on the order of five times more than poisoning or cancer. Does that mean you should scare the daylights out of teens to encourage safe driving? Traditional driver education classes tend to do exactly that, with gruesome videos and photos of fatalities and smashed-up cars.

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Science & Health
7:01 am
Sun July 29, 2012

Russian cargo ship docks with Space Station after failed attempt

NASA

MOSCOW (AP) — An unmanned Russian cargo spacecraft (similar to the one pictured here) has redocked with the International Space Station after an aborted attempt five days earlier. The Progress cargo ship had separated from the station a week ago to perform engineering tests and try out a new docking system and had been due to reconnect with the station on Tuesday. But problems developed with the avionics in the docking system. The second attempt early Sunday was successful. Video streamed from Russian mission control reported no problems.

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Science & Health
3:44 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

Researcher: Drought may help Gulf of Mexico

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana researcher says the "dead zone" that develops every spring and summer in the Gulf of Mexico is smaller than usual this year. Nancy Rabalais (RAB uh LAY) of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium says the area of low-oxygen in gulf waters covers 2,889 square miles. In a news release, Rabalais says that is the fourth smallest dead zone measured since mapping of the zones began in 1985. The dead zone forms because fertilizer and other nutrients run into the Mississippi River, which empties into the gulf.

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The Salt
3:58 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Where Did All The Watermelon Seeds Go?

Watermelon with seeds is getting harder to find at the supermarket.
iStockphoto.com

Many people think of the seedless watermelons popping up at grocery stores and markets everywhere in the last few years as a marvel of modern scientific technology. In fact, more than 60 percent of watermelon shoppers seek this smoother pink flesh, and the numbers are increasing every year, according to a recent survey done for the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

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