Science & Health

Krulwich Wonders...
4:30 am
Sun July 13, 2014

The Most Astonishing Wave-Tracking Experiment Ever

Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 8:58 am

I'm standing on a beach and I see, a few hundred yards out, a mound of water heading right at me. It's not a wave, not yet, but a swollen patch of ocean, like the top of a moving beach ball, what sailors call a "swell." As it gets closer, its bottom hits the rising shore below, forcing the water up, then over, sending it tumbling onto the beach, a tongue of foam coming right up to my toes — and that's when I look down, as the wave melts into the sand and I say,

"Hi, I'm from New York. But what about you? Where are you from?"

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Environment
3:54 pm
Sat July 12, 2014

Well, I'll Be Un-Dammed: Colorado River (Briefly) Reached The Sea

Twelve hours after they had halted at the river's end, the team woke up to see that the previous night's small stream had become a river. Two weeks after this photo was taken, the leading edge of the water reached the estuary that was the river's final destination.
Courtesy Fred Phillips

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 10:20 am

For a few weeks this spring, the Colorado River flowed all the way to the sea for the first time in a half a century. And during that window of opportunity, writer Rowan Jacobsen took the paddleboarding trip of a lifetime.

The river starts in the Rocky Mountains, and for more than 1,400 miles, it wends its way south. Along the way it's dammed and diverted dozens of times, to cities and fields all over the American West. Tens of millions of people depend on the river as a water source.

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The Two-Way
6:43 am
Sat July 12, 2014

The Moon Puts On A Triple Super Summer Spectacle

The moon appeared bigger and brighter when it went supermoon on June 23, 2013 — especially when it was seen next to objects on the horizon, such as the helicopter from the original Batman television show at the New Jersey State Fair last year.
Julio Cortez AP

Summer 2014 promises to be more super than most, and not just because of the World Cup or LeBron James returning to Cleveland.

This summer, the moon will reach "super" status not once, not twice, but three times — and the first time happens Saturday night.

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The Two-Way
2:11 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

WATCH: Giant Undulating Anchovy School

A massive school of anchovies off La Jolla, filmed on Tuesday.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography — UC San Diego

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 2:35 pm

It's the biggest aggregation of anchovies seen in near-shore waters in three decades, according to scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.

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The Two-Way
9:33 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Elephant Featured In Film 'Alexander' Killed By Thai Poachers

A photo released by the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal, shows Thai police officers examining the slain elephant.
AP

Poachers in Thailand killed a 50-year-old elephant who appeared in Oliver Stone's 2004 film Alexander before crudely hacking off the animal's giant tusks, according to The Bangkok Post.

The Asian elephant, named Phlai Khlao, was used in scenes from the movie starring Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie. The animal had also been part of ceremonial performances for Thailand's royal family.

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Shots - Health News
7:40 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Mississippi Child Thought Cured Of HIV Shows Signs Of Infection

Human immunodeficiency virus Type 1 inserts its genetic material into the DNA of human cells, turning them into little HIV factories.
Eye of Science Science Source

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 9:21 am

A baby who generated great excitement last year because it appeared she had been cured of HIV is infected with the virus after all, health officials say.

This discovery is a setback for the child known as the "Mississippi baby." It also complicates efforts to test what had seemed like a promising new treatment for infants born with HIV.

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The Salt
3:33 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Alcohol Test: Does Eating Yeast Keep You From Getting Drunk?

The idea that it might be possible to keep drinking a delicious bottle of pinot noir or tall bottle of beer and go right back to work is a tempting one.
Alex Eben Meyer for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 1:35 pm

Sometimes we drink with the sole purpose of relaxing, or drowning the week's worries. But other times we just want to savor a special craft beer or vintage wine, or make that good meal taste even better.

And as we get older, we're warier of that third or fourth glass. The consequences of too much alcohol — the drowsiness, the confusion and the wobbling — are a bigger hindrance. And let's face it: A hangover at 36 isn't the same as one at 22.

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Shots - Health News
2:36 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Why HIV Spreads Less Easily In Heterosexual Couples

HIV particles (red) invade a human immune cell. When HIV is transmitted through sex, only the strongest versions of the virus establish long-term infection.
Chris Bjornberg/ScienceSource

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 6:07 pm

HIV is sexist.

A woman is twice as likely to catch the virus from an infected partner in a heterosexual relationship than a man is.

And homosexual men are at even greater risk. They're more than 20 times as likely to get infected from an HIV-positive partner than partners in a heterosexual relationship.

Now scientists at Microsoft Research and the Zambia-Emory HIV Project have a clue about why these disparities exist.

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Shots - Health News
8:46 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Math Nerd Or Bookworm? Many Of The Same Genes Shape Both Abilities

A study of twins shows why being a good reader and a good math student may go hand in hand.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 12:23 pm

Many of us tend to align ourselves with either numbers or words. We're either math brains or we're reading brains.

In college, my fellow English majors joked about how none of us could long-divide to save our lives, while our friends in engineering groaned about the fact that Lit 101 was a graduation requirement.

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Arts & Life
6:16 am
Thu July 10, 2014

The Science Of Settling: Calculate Your Mate With Moneyball

What do you look for in a partner?
Spiderstock Getty Images/Vetta

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 7:39 am

In case you missed the buzz on Facebook, scientists recently determined that "beer goggles" do in fact exist, though not precisely in the way we thought. Consuming alcohol, it seems, tends to elevate desire and reduce inhibitions more than alter our actual perception of another person's attractiveness.

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Space
2:28 am
Thu July 10, 2014

The Little Spacecraft That Couldn't

Early days: NASA's International Sun-Earth Explorer C (also known as ISEE-3 and ICE) was undergoing testing and evaluation inside the Goddard Space Flight Center's dynamic test chamber when this photo was snapped in 1976.
NASA

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 2:03 pm

An audacious quest to reconnect with a vintage NASA spacecraft has suffered a serious setback and is now pretty much over.

The satellite launched in 1978 and has been in a long, looping orbit around the sun for about three decades. Earlier this year, NPR told you about an effort to get in touch with this venerable piece of NASA hardware and send it on one more adventure.

But there are no guarantees when you try to recapture the past.

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Shots - Health News
2:27 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Bingeing On Bad News Can Fuel Daily Stress

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 2:34 pm

If you're feeling stressed these days, the news media may be partly to blame.

At least that's the suggestion of a national survey conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

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Goats and Soda
6:18 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Last-Resort Antibiotics In Jeopardy As Use Rises Globally

David Livermore, the director of the Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring and Reference Laboratory in London, studies a new class of superbugs, called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE.
Suzanne Plunkett Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 8:49 am

The total doses of antibiotics sold in clinics and pharmacies around the world rose 36 percent from 2000 to 2010, scientists reported Wednesday.

The finding, published in The Lancet Infectious Disease, comes from the first study to look at global antibiotic consumption in the 21st century. And it seems like good news, right?

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All Tech Considered
3:54 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

A User-Friendly Gardening System For The Plant-Challenged

SproutsIO Inc. allows people to easily grow fresh produce inside a home or office. The system is a spinoff of research done at the MIT Media Lab.
SproutsIO Inc.

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 9:07 am

Don't have a green thumb but seeking the therapeutic nature of gardening? Want the convenience and satisfaction of growing your own produce at home? Not to worry: All you need is an electrical outlet, a flat surface and some water.

Meet SproutsIO Inc., a "plug-and-play" user-friendly microfarming appliance for people to easily grow fresh fruits and veggies inside their home or office.

Here's how it works:

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The Salt
1:37 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Biologist Says Promoting Diversity Is Key To 'Keeping The Bees'

The decline of honeybees has been attributed to a variety of causes, from nasty parasites to the stress of being transported from state to state to feed on various crops in need of pollination.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 2:32 pm

Every year, more than half of the honeybee hives in the United States are taken to California to pollinate the state's almond crop.

Biologist Laurence Packer says this illustrates both our dependence on honeybees to pollinate many plants people rely on for food and the devastating decline in the domestic honeybee population in recent years.

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