Science & Health

Shots - Health News
2:59 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

To Get To The Bottom Of Your Microbiome, Start With A Swab Of Poo

After a quick swipe and online registration, these test tubes were ready to ship back to the lab at the University of Colorado in Boulder for sequencing and analysis.
Katherine Harmon Courage for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 3:53 pm

Understanding the human microbiome takes much more work than just identifying the organisms that live in a person's gut. A genetic census of these microbes is really only the start of figuring out what they have to do with health and disease.

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Research News
4:01 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Why Some Scientific Collaborations Are More Beneficial Than Others

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 12:09 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Environment
4:01 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Nations Agree To Deal To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 6:16 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Salt
2:25 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Congress To Nutritionists: Don't Talk About The Environment

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 12:38 pm

A government-appointed group of top nutrition experts, assigned to lay the scientific groundwork for a new version of the nation's dietary guidelines, decided earlier this year to collect data on the environmental implication of different food choices.

Congress now has slapped them down.

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Shots - Health News
2:24 am
Mon December 15, 2014

To Stop Teen Drinking Parties, Fine The Parents

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 5:50 pm

When it comes to teenage drinking, the typical venue is a party — where some teens play drinking games and binge. It may surprise you to learn that the majority of parents are aware that alcohol is flowing at these events.

On any given weekend, some teenagers receive three to four text messages about parties, says Bettina Friese, a public health researcher at the Prevention Research Center in Oakland, Calif.

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Animals
4:39 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

More Than Just Cute, Sea Otters Are Superheroes Of The Marsh

This sea otter, about to eat a crab in the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, is cute, sure. But more importantly, it's indirectly combating some harmful effects of agricultural runoff and protecting the underwater ecosystem.
Rob Eby AP

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 10:28 am

On the roof of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif., in a large plastic tank, a sea otter mother named Abby floats with her adopted pup, known as 671.

For up to nine months, Abby will raise her little adoptee, and when 671 is ready, she will be released into a protected inland salt marsh called Elkhorn Slough, just off Monterey Bay.

That's where 671 will set to work to preserve the estuary, says Tim Tinker, who tracks otters for the U.S. Geological Survey.

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The Two-Way
10:24 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Geminid Meteor Showers Light Up Both Hemispheres

The Geminid meteor shower above Skopje, Macedonia, on Saturday.
Robert AtanasovskiI AFP/Getty Images

The annual Geminid meteor shower dazzled Earthlings around the world late Saturday and early Sunday.

Pieces of gravel and dust from a "rock comet" called 3200 Phaethon shot across the sky and lit up discussion boards from NASA.gov to Twitter — for those who could tear their eyes away long enough to type.

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The Two-Way
7:16 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Nations Salvage Deal To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal (center), Peru's environment minister, applauds on Saturday after delegates to the Lima climate conference agreed on a deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Kyodo /Landov

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 2:07 pm

Updated at 11:00 a.m. ET

Representatives from around the world have reached the first-ever deal committing all nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but rejected a rigorous overview to monitor compliance.

The United Nations agreement was salvaged from talks that went into overtime and wrapped up 30 hours behind schedule, as negotiators from 196 countries struggled with determining who needed to cut and by how much.

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Goats and Soda
4:39 am
Sun December 14, 2014

How Can You Tell If Your Goat Is Happy? Now We Know!

A goat peeks its head through a wall in Dakar, Senegal.
Claire Harbage for NPR

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 1:28 pm

Goats are having a moment, and we're not just saying that because our blog is called Goats and Soda.

There are nearly 900 million goats in the world today, up from 600 million in 1990. The reason for this goat spurt is the growing popularity of goat cheese, goat milk and goat meat.

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Space
7:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Geminids Promise A Light Show In The Night Sky

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 11:52 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Animals
7:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Electric Eels Jolt Their Prey By Remote Control

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 1:21 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Humans
7:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Scents Of The Season Speak Directly To Our Emotions

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 1:21 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The holidays can be hurried, harried and emotional, but hey - don't they smell great? Cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa. Bayberry, holly and spruce.

We asked a few random people around town what they think the holidays smell like.

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The Two-Way
5:25 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Are Men Idiots Who Do Stupid Things? Study Says Yes

Charles Darwin, perhaps best known for his work on evolution, died at the age of 73 in 1882. He would not have been a candidate for the Darwin Awards.
AP

A new study shows what at least some of us might have suspected for a long time: Men are idiots and do stupid things.

That's the premise of the authors' Male Idiot Theory. The study, published in BMJ, the former British Medical Journal, looked at past winners of the Darwin Awards. The awards are given to those people who die in such an idiotic manner that "their action ensures the long-term survival of the species, by selectively allowing one less idiot to survive."

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The Two-Way
9:46 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Chicago's Orphaned Otter 'Pup 681' Gets A Real Name

"Pup 681" during a feeding at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
Brenna Hernandez Shedd Aqarium

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 1:15 pm

An orphaned southern sea otter pup that was rescued from the California coast and ended up at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium might well be over the moon about her new name: Luna.

The otter had been designated "Pup 681" by the aquarium, which held a contest to name her. More than 10,000 votes were cast, and the name Luna beat out Cali, Ellie, Poppy and Ana.

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The Two-Way
8:27 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Climate Sticking Point: Who Cuts And By How Much?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a speech Thursday at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru. A major sticking point remains over how to divide greenhouse emissions targets.
Rodrigo Abd AP

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 1:37 pm

U.N. talks on global warming are wrapping up in Peru, but a divide between rich and poor countries and how to divvy up targets to reduce greenhouse gases is a key sticking point that has remained unresolved.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has acknowledged that the issue is "hard fought and ... complex," but he says it is crucial that the targets be agreed on before next year's summit in Paris. The talks in Peru end today.

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