Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8V_glRW1hA Grant Ernhart works with the U.S. Biathlon Team , so he spends a lot of time among snow-capped mountains. From the Canadian Rockies, he lobbed a question to Skunk Bear , NPR's science YouTube channel. "I'm standing next to some mountains that are millions of years old," Ernhart said, "and the Earth is itself 4.5 billion years old. How do I even wrap my mind around that length of time?" It's a tough question. A human life is so short compared to the...

Every holiday season, things get a "bit tricky," says Risa Greene, 53, from New York City. "You have one child who is a human garbage disposal and will eat anything you put in front of him, and you have another child who is more restricted than [the] TSA." Greene's son is an omnivore — he eats everything . Her daughter, Jessica, is a vegan. She stopped eating meat when she was in high school years ago, then dropped dairy products and eggs in college and eventually gave up gluten, too. That...

In 1941, science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov stated "The Three Laws of Robotics," in his short story "Runaround." Law One: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. Law Two: A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. Law Three: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws. These laws come from the world of...

Some encouraging news in the battle against Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia: The rate at which older Americans are getting these conditions is declining. That's according to a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine . Researchers say one reason for the improved outlook is an increase in education. The study used data gathered in two snapshots, one in 2000 and another in 2012, that each looked at more than 10,000 Americans who were at least 65 years old. In the first...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: In North Dakota yesterday, a frosty day, police officers sprayed water on demonstrators who tried to pass a police barricade on a bridge. And this confrontation and the many before it are over construction of the Dakota Access pipeline near a Native American reservation. Crews are still working on the pipeline even as the Obama administration considers whether to reroute the project. The demonstrations have...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: Cities around the country are turning to light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, for their street lights. These bulbs use less energy, last longer and are smaller than traditional lights and they save money. But there's a problem with some LEDs. Grace Hood of Colorado Public Radio reports. GRACE HOOD, BYLINE: The small southwestern Colorado city of Ouray is known for hiking and ice climbing. In 2009, Ouray's city...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3H8wlzXGYE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRSFDbbc8E8 Just over a week ago, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook New Zealand. Now, scientists investigating the damage have recorded mesmerizing footage of massive cracks that opened up in the earth. The videos were posted by GNS Science. One shows the Kekerengu Fault rupture, while the other reveals the Papatea Fault. Both faults lie near the coast in the northeastern corner of New Zealand's South Island. (You can...

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson arrived at the International Space Station this weekend, making her the oldest woman in space at age 56. On the mission, she's projected to once again become the U.S. astronaut with the most time spent in orbit. This is Whitson's third mission on the space station; she'll soon become its commander for the second time. Collectively, she's spent more than a year of her life in space. When Whitson lands back on Earth in spring of 2017, she'll have amassed more time...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: One thing President-elect Donald Trump has been pretty clear about this campaign season is that he wants to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency. He called the agency a disgrace and has put a leading climate change skeptic in charge of his EPA transition team. To get some perspective, we called up Katharine Hayhoe. She's an atmospheric scientist and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech...

In the Florida Keys on Election Day, along with the presidential race, one of the most controversial items on the ballot dealt with Zika. In a nonbinding vote countywide, residents in the Florida Keys approved a measure allowing a British company to begin a trial release of genetically modified mosquitoes. Armed with that approval, local officials voted Saturday to try out what they hope will be a new tool in the fight against Zika. For months now, state and local authorities in Florida have...

Copyright 2016 Alaska Public Telecommunications Inc.. To see more, visit Alaska Public Telecommunications Inc. . SCOTT SIMON, HOST: President Obama's administration has removed the Arctic Ocean from any new oil or gas leasing for the next five years. Alaska Public Media's Rachel Waldholz reports it won't be easy for the new administration to undo that. RACHEL WALDHOLZ, BYLINE: The announcement has been anticipated and dreaded in Alaska. Environmental groups have said the potential effect on...

There's new evidence that excessive screen time early in life can change the circuits in a growing brain. Scientists disagree, though, about whether those changes are helpful, or just cause problems. Both views emerged during the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego this week. The debate centered on a study of young mice exposed to six hours daily of a sound and light show reminiscent of a video game. The mice showed "dramatic changes everywhere in the brain," said Jan-Marino Ramirez...

The Obama administration has removed the Arctic Ocean from any new offshore oil and gas leasing for the next five years. The plan was announced by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, part of the Department of the Interior, and includes 11 approved lease areas to be sold between 2017 and 2022. In all, it makes available about 70 percent of the offshore oil and gas resources that are "economically recoverable" if oil remains around $40 per barrel. Two previously considered areas in the...

This month's Marrakech Climate Change Conference , the first major meeting to follow a landmark climate agreement last year in Paris, had been billed as a gathering of "action." But a day after the conference began, the surprise election of Donald Trump as U.S. president threw the action into doubt, as representatives from about 200 nations struggled to regroup and assess the future of last year's climate deal . Trump has called climate change a "hoax" and has pledged to pull the U.S. out of...

Every morning in a government office building in Boulder, Colo., about a dozen people type a code into a door and line up against a wall on the other side. There are a couple of guys in military uniform, and some scientists in Hawaiian shirts. They work at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and they're here for a daily space weather forecast. "Good morning, everyone," says Jeff Stankiewicz, one of 11 forecasters who rotate around the clock. He tells the group about a pair of...

The golden poison dart frog is about an inch long and banana yellow. By some estimates, the skin of one little frog contains enough toxin to kill 10 adult men. "Oh yeah, it's one of the more lethal poisons on the planet," says Justin Du Bois , a synthetic chemist at Stanford University. The substance is called batrachotoxin (buh-TRAK-uh-TOX-in), and tiny amounts of it can be deadly if it makes it into a victim's bloodstream. It's what some indigenous groups in Colombia's lowland rain forest...

What Defines The Perfect Meal?

Nov 17, 2016

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Food We Eat About Charles Spence's TED Talk Professor Charles Spence studies what makes for a great eating experience. He says it's far more dependent on 'the everything else' that surrounds the meal, rather than the food itself. About Charles Spence Professor Charles Spence is head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory , Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University. He is interested in neuroscience-inspired multisensory design,...

It's a cool August morning as I ride in Magnus Hansen's dented pickup truck through the verdant hills of south Greenland. We're in search of his flock of 500 sheep grazing on the slopes. Soon we encounter three animals grazing by the gravel on the dirt road. The two ewes and a lamb first eye us warily from the bushes, then scurry across the road. Nearby is a shimmering fjord, but less than 10 miles away, though we can't see it, lies Greenland's mighty ice cap, a mile thick in the center of...

The U.S. Geological Survey says a deposit in West Texas is the largest continuous oil and gas deposit ever discovered in the United States. On Tuesday, the USGS announced that an area known as the Wolfcamp shale contains 20 billion barrels of oil and 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That is nearly three times more petroleum than the agency found in North Dakota's Bakken shale in 2013. As NPR's Jeff Brady reported, the amount of oil in the Wolfcamp shale formation is nearly three times...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: For months now, demonstrators have protested against the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota, and they've drawn inspiration from a big win last year. President Obama blocked construction of another pipeline, the Keystone XL. President-elect Donald Trump promises an energy policy that embraces fossil fuels, and that, as NPR's Jeff Brady reports, has pipeline opponents rethinking their protest strategy. JEFF...

For 22 years, Nick Fugate washed dishes at a local hotel near his home in Olathe, Kan. "There was nothing easy," he says, and chuckles. "I just constantly had to scrape the dishes off to get them clean." Fugate recalls minor annoyances like the long days and the hot kitchen. The work did sometimes get tedious, he says, but he didn't really mind. "Just as long as I got the job done, it was fine," he says. Nick's father, Ron Fugate, says the job was the key to the self-reliance he's wanted for...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: We have signs this morning of how well you may be doing in your personal relationships. A study suggests that people express their feelings about their partners through the brands that they buy. NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam is all over this story. Hi, Shankar. SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: (Laughter) Hi, Steve. INSKEEP: So what's the study find? VEDANTAM: Well, the study finds that love can...

In the year 1054, Chinese astronomers of the Song Dynasty recorded a star in the sky so bright that it was visible to the naked eye even during daytime for several weeks. China was the world's leading scientific power at that time. But its people also saw astronomical events as omens of earthly affairs. And so the astronomers carefully recorded the location of the star and the time it was visible. Now fast-forward to the present day. China has just built the world's largest radio telescope....

As the mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani was a proponent of a controversial policing philosophy known as "broken windows." It calls for police to go after small crimes, in hopes of preventing bigger problems. At first, it appeared as if violent crime dropped in the neighborhoods where "broken windows" policing was in force. The statistics, however, told a different story. But the idea remains popular, despite evidence it likely had only modest effects. Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more,...

What could the world of medical research look like under a Trump administration? It's hardly an idle question. The federal government spends more than $30 billion a year to fund the National Institutes of Health. That's the single largest chunk of federal research funding spent outside the Pentagon's sphere of influence. Policy insiders confronted that question — albeit with an acute shortage of actual data — Monday at a meeting of health advocates in New York City. The biotech and...

Inpatient treatment programs for heroin and opioid dependence can be so difficult to get into in some parts of the country that drug users who want to quit are voluntarily asking judges to lock them up — just to guarantee they'll get help. In Massachusetts, that's happening via a 46-year-old law that was designed for family members to commit their loved ones to a locked facility when they are deemed "a danger to themselves or others" because of drug or alcohol abuse. But as more people...

Florida conservation officials say a female panther has crossed a river, and it could be a big deal for the survival of the species. Florida panthers are endangered — about 200 of the large cats live in south Florida, in an area that's less than 5 percent of their original range . If the animal is to thrive, it needs to do two things: expand its territory and breed. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has a long-term recovery plan for the panther (as well as a Living with...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lm1ChtK9QDU Mantis shrimp, a group of aggressive, reef-dwelling crustaceans, take more than one first-place ribbon in the animal kingdom. Outwardly, they resemble their somewhat larger lobster cousins, but their colorful shells contain an impressive set of superpowers. Now, scientists are finding that one of those abilities — incredible eyesight — has implications for people with cancer that are potentially lifesaving. "They have these ridiculous eyes that sense...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Tonight the moon will be at its closest to Earth in nearly 70 years. It's called the supermoon, and it will appear a little bigger and brighter than usual. The last time the moon was this close was in 1948, the same year, we should mention, that there was a surprise victory in a presidential election - President Harry Truman and New York Governor Thomas Dewey. Well, Sarah Noble joins us now to talk about this...

Grapefruit's bitterness can make it hard to love. Indeed, people often smother it in sugar just to get it down. And yet Americans were once urged to sweeten it with salt. Ad campaigns from the first and second world wars tried to convince us that "Grapefruit Tastes Sweeter With Salt!" as one 1946 ad for Morton's in Life magazine put it. The pairing, these ads swore, enhanced the flavor. In our candy-crushed world, these curious culinary time capsules raise the question: Does salt really make...

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