Science & Health

Animals
3:55 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Georgia Tech Studies Chickens' Emotions Based On Their Clucks

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 12:00 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Any preschooler knows what a chicken sounds like.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHICKEN CLUCKING)

SIEGEL: The question is what does all that clucking mean?

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Goats and Soda
6:03 am
Sun May 3, 2015

Why Your Future Vaccination Might Not Be A Shot

A patch that's the size of a nickel could one day administer the measles vaccine.
Gary W. Meek

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 10:43 am

Vaccines don't always make it into the people who need them the most. Many require a syringe and a needle to enter the bloodstream and create immunity. And that means a doctor or nurse has to do the job.

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Shots - Health News
4:20 am
Sun May 3, 2015

Who Keeps Track If Your Surgery Goes Well Or Fails?

XiXinXing iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 3:37 pm

In order to improve the quality of health care and reduce its costs, researchers need to know what works and what doesn't. One powerful way to do that is through a system of "registries," in which doctors and hospitals compile and share their results. But even in this era of big data, remarkably few medical registries exist.

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Author Interviews
7:25 am
Sat May 2, 2015

A Veteran Scientist Dreams Boldly Of 'Earth And Sky'

Originally published on Sat May 2, 2015 9:26 am

Freeman Dyson is one of the most famous names in science, and sometimes one of the most controversial. Dyson is 91 and was one of the British scientists who helped win World War II. He spent most years since as a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He has won the Max Planck Medal and the Templeton Prize, and written important, oft-quoted books including Disturbing the Universe and The Scientist as Rebel, and newspaper articles that inspire both admiration and debate.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:03 am
Sat May 2, 2015

3-D Printers Bring Historic Instruments Back To The Future

Sina Shahbazmohamadi places a 3-D printed copy of a recorder foot joint into a measuring device in a lab at the University of Connecticut's Center for Clean Energy Engineering.
Peter Morenus UConn

Originally published on Sat May 2, 2015 9:26 am

In a recital hall at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, a group of musicians got together to play Jean-Baptiste Singelée's 1857 quartet for saxophones on some very old, very special instruments.

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The Salt
2:51 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

'Into The Wild' Author Tries Science To Solve Toxic Seed Mystery

Once the roots of the Eskimo potato got too tough to eat, Christopher McCandless started collecting the seeds in a plastic bag, says author Jon Krakauer.
Photo courtesy of McCandless family

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 2:06 pm

In August 1992, Christopher McCandless died in an abandoned bus in the Alaska wilderness after living mostly on squirrels, birds, roots and seeds for 113 days. Hunters found his body months later. Alaska state coroners declared starvation as the cause of death.

But a mystery lingered: What exactly did him in? A scientific paper published this spring by the journalist who'd been doggedly following the story offers another big clue.

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Shots - Health News
1:30 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

Urine For A Surprise: Your Pee Might Reveal Your Risk For Obesity

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 3:38 pm

You might think it's easy to guess if a person is at risk of becoming overweight or developing diabetes. The behavioral traits are pretty clear – that person might exercise less or eat more. He or she might have high blood pressure, or might have gained weight.

But now there's another place to find evidence of those risk factors: in a person's pee.

Researchers are finding clues about the metabolism in human urine – most recently in more than 2,000 samples kept frozen in the basement of Imperial College, in London.

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NPR Story
4:02 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Does Reading Harry Potter Have An Effect On Your Behavior?

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 2:00 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A famous fictional conflict in children's literature has a happier ending. Tomorrow is the day "Harry Potter" fans know as the date of the Battle of Hogwarts. And there is evidence the boy wizard's power might extend beyond the book.

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Health
6:17 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Western Hemisphere Wipes Out Its Third Virus

Health worker Jackie Carnegie delivers a rubella vaccine in Colorado in 1972.
Ira Gay Sealy Denver Post via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 10:39 am

It took 15 years and hundreds of millions of vaccines. But North America and South America have officially eradicated rubella, health authorities said Wednesday. Rubella is only the third virus eradicated from people in the Western Hemisphere.

Also known as German measles, rubella causes only a mild illness in children, with a rash and sometimes a fever.

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Space
3:53 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

NASA Spacecraft Crashes Into Mercury, Concluding 4-Year Study Of Planet

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 7:19 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Salt
2:42 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Why We Can't Take Chipotle's GMO Announcement All That Seriously

Chipotle restaurant workers in Miami fill orders on April 27, the day the company said it would use only non-GMO ingredients in its food.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 2:06 pm

Chipotle is trumpeting its renunciation of ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The company says that using GMOs — mainly corn in its tortillas and soybean oil for cooking — "doesn't align" with its vision of "food with integrity." According to Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold, it represents "our commitment to serving our customers the very best ingredients we can find."

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Shots - Health News
1:46 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Expanding Medicaid Trims Hospitals' Costs Of Caring For Uninsured

St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore is one of the 131 hospitals run by Ascension Health. It's a not-for-profit, Catholic health care system that treats many low-income patients.
St. Agnes Hospital

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 3:42 pm

When patients show up in the hospital without health insurance, they often receive charity care — the hospital treats the person and then swallows some or all of the costs.

It's central to the mission of many nonprofit hospitals, particularly those serving low-income areas.

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Environment
1:37 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Drought In Calif. Creates Water Wars Between Farmers, Developers, Residents

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: California going back to the drawing board to deal with their drought.

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Shots - Health News
1:13 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Small Plague Outbreak In People Tracked To Pit Bull

Rod-shaped specimens of Yersinia pestis, the bacterial cause of plague, find a happy home here in the foregut of a flea. Fleas can transmit the infection to animals and people, who can get pneumonic plague and transmit the infection through a cough or kiss.
Science Source

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 1:14 pm

For the first time in 90 years, U.S. health officials say they have diagnosed a case of the plague that may have spread in the air from one person to another. Don't be alarmed — the plague these days is treatable with antibiotics and is exceptionally rare (just 10 cases were reported nationwide in 2014).

And if the plague has become mostly a curiosity in the United States, this case is more curious than most.

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The Salt
12:58 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

How British Farmers Are Making Rapeseed (Canola) Posh And Flavorful

Algy Garrod's rapeseed in bloom in Norfolk, England.
Anne Bramley for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 3:23 pm

Rapeseed, an oilseed known in North America as canola, has a mild reputation as a cooking oil. Maybe that's because the version that most consumers know is a pale, neutral-flavored oil used for frying and baking.

But in the U.K., a more colorful and flavorful version has made its way onto store shelves: cold-pressed rapeseed that goes for £5-7 per 500 milliliters (about $9-12 for 17 fluid ounces).

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