Science & Health

Drought Uneffected By Rain
5:18 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

More rain headed toward Alabama

Drought Monitor information as of July 10, 2012.
The Drought Monitor National Drought Mitigation Center

Forecasters say more storms are headed toward Alabama, but still more rain is needed to break a worsening drought.

The National Weather Service says there's a good chance of precipitation statewide on Thursday. The Tennessee Valley counties in north Alabama could get 1 or 2 inches of rain with gusty winds, and high temperatures will top out around 80 degrees.

There's an 80 percent chance of rain in central Alabama, and a 60 percent chance on the coast.

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The Salt
7:41 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Nightly Glass Of Wine May Protect Boomer Women's Bones

Cheers! Moderate drinking might slow age-related bone loss in women.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 9:00 am

It's well-known that exercise is good for our bones, even as we age, but how about that nightly glass of wine?

A new study of women in their 50s and early 60s finds that moderate alcohol consumption may help prevent bone loss. The women in the study consumed about 1 1/2 drinks per day.

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Around the Nation
2:05 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Waste Not, Want Not: Town To Tap Sewers For Energy

Brainerd Public Utilities' Scott Sjolund at a sewer site. Sewers around the city were monitored to gauge the amount of potential energy flowing through the system.
Conrad Wilson for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 11:21 am

Most Americans use electricity, gas or oil to heat and cool their homes. But the small city of Brainerd, Minn., is turning to something a bit less conventional: the sewer.

As it turns out, a sewer — the place where a city's hot showers, dishwashing water and organic matter end up — is a pretty warm place. That heat can generate energy — meaning a city's sewer system can hold tremendous potential for heating and cooling.

It's just that unexpected energy source that Brainerd hopes to exploit.

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The Two-Way
4:03 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Astronomers Discover Fifth Moon Orbiting Pluto

This image, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, shows five moons orbiting the distant, icy dwarf planet Pluto. The green circle marks the newly discovered moon, designated P5.
NASA

We now know that Pluto, the dwarf planet formerly known as a planet, has one more moon orbiting it. Using the Hubble Space telescope, astronomers have discovered Pluto's fifth moon.

NPR's Joe Palca filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"The new moon is tiny, something between 6 and 15 miles across. It showed up in nine separate images the space telescope made in the last month. The latest image came earlier this week.

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Gulf Oil Spill
4:55 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Study says Gulf oil spill might have lasting impact

NASA Goddard Photo and Video Flickr

New research by an Auburn University professor and other scientists suggests that the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill could have significant impacts on microscopic life that might not become apparent for years.

Auburn professor Ken Halanych and scientists from the University of New Hampshire, the University of California Davis Genome Center, and the University of Texas at San Antonio, published their work last month in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.

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The Picture Show
2:49 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Documenting 'Dirty' Jobs: Miners At Work

Coal miner Lee Hipshire in 1976, shortly after emerging from a mine in Logan County, W.Va. at the end of his shift. At age 36, he had worked 26 years underground. A few years later, Lee took early retirement because of pneumoconiosis, or black lung disease. He died at 57.
Courtesy of Earl Dotter

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 11:26 am

When I was little, my mom bought me a book of photos: Lewis Hine's Kids at Work, a softcover volume made for kids my age at the time. Seeing images of barefoot boys in cotton mills and toddlers picking fruit was my first encounter with the power of photography. I couldn't believe kids my age worked so hard — and in such dangerous conditions.

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Black Lung Returns To Coal Country
1:07 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Surface Coal Miners At Risk For Black Lung

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 4:03 am

This story is part of an investigation into how federal regulators and the mining industry are failing to protect coal miners from the excessive toxic coal mine dust that causes black lung.

The concern about black lung isn't just focused on coal miners working underground. A new study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) documents severe cases of the disease among surface coal miners, too.

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Black Lung Returns To Coal Country
1:05 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

What Is Black Lung?

NIOSH

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 1:39 pm

An investigation by NPR and the Center for Public Integrity found federal regulators and the mining industry are failing to protect miners from the excessive toxic coal mine dust that causes black lung. The disease is now being diagnosed in younger miners and evolving more quickly to complicated stages.

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The Salt
12:58 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Part Science, Part Art, Pollinator Pathway Connects Seattle Green Spaces

This tiger swallowtail butterfly is a pollinator that could benefit from a little more green space.
Jim, the Photographer

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 1:34 pm

When we think about improving urban food systems, we tend think about growing more vegetables — densely planted backyard plots and community gardens, with tiny tomatoes ripening in the sun. But according to some experts, we should start thinking smaller — way smaller — as in bugs.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:13 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

Weekend Special: Guess What? Sweat Is Not Smelly! (So Why Do I Smell?)

The Chemical Heritage Foundation via YouTube

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 12:28 pm

It's hot today. Really, really, hot; over a 100 degrees Fahrenheit hot, and so I'm sweating.

Sweating is what we people do to cool off, which is good. But sweating is also what makes me ... what's the word? Odoriferous. (Latinate for stinky, which is not so good.)

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All Tech Considered
8:55 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Too Hot? No Cooler Time To Honor The Steve Jobs of A.C.

A series of 1931 newspaper ads touted the latest comfort for rail passengers on the B&O's Columbian line.
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad ad

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 12:11 pm

With triple-digit heat across the country and places from Denver (105 degrees) to Farmville, Va. (106), setting or tying all-time record highs, let's set down our lemonades and iced teas long enough to show our appreciation for Willis H. Carrier.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
8:51 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Will Fermilab Announce Real Higgs Results Today?

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 9:59 am

So scientists at the Tevatron, the premier U.S. particle collider that was shut down last year, may be announcing their own results on the Higgs search today. Tommaso Dorigo, a physicist at CERN reports the status in his Quantum Diaries Survivor blog with a post called A Significant Higgs Signal From The Tevatron !

As Dorigo puts it

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Shots - Health Blog
4:30 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Why Are Women More Likely To Die From Lung Cancer In Alabama?

Back in 1998, Colleen Maxwell, then a 23-year-old student, smoked outside a San Diego bar, just weeks after California became the the first state in the nation to to ban smoking in most bars and gambling casinos.
Joan C Fahrenthold AP

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 7:46 am

California has long been a trendsetter. But when it comes to reducing smoking and lung cancer, the Golden State's success hasn't taken the entire nation by storm.

Just take a look at the chart, which shows lung cancer death rates among white women by the year they were born.

For those women born since 1933, lung cancer death rates in California have dropped by more than half. In Alabama, they've more than doubled.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:48 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Med Student Rescues Body Part From Airport Security

The section of trachea with two days of cell growth, immediately before Castillo's implant surgery.
Harvard Bioscience

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 1:55 pm

No, said airline security, you can't take this bottle onboard. It exceeds the 100 milliliter limit; it's forbidden.

But wait, said professor Martin Birchall of Bristol University. This is a medical container. Inside is a trachea, a carefully constructed human windpipe, seeded with 60 million stem cells from a very sick woman in Barcelona. We have just 16 hours to get it into her body. We pre-arranged this.

We have no record of your request, said the airline.

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Mosquito Season
10:15 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Warm Winter, Recent Rains Means More Mosquitoes

eyeweed Flickr

A warmer winter in Alabama means an early mosquito season. While the biting bugs can spoil your outdoor summer events, they can also pose a serious health threat. Dee Jones is the state public health veterinarian. He says illnesses like West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis tend to effect particular groups of people.

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