Science & Health

Shots - Health News
3:58 am
Tue March 31, 2015

No Easy, Reliable Way To Screen For Suicide

About twice a year, statistics suggest, a pilot somewhere in the world — usually flying alone — deliberately crashes a plane. The Germanwing flight downed last week may be one such case. But most people who fit the psychological profile of the pilots in these very rare events never have problems while flying.
Patrik Stollarz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 5:57 pm

Even a careful psychiatric examination of the co-pilot involved in last week's Germanwings jetliner crash probably would not have revealed whether he intended to kill himself, researchers say.

"As a field, we're not very good at accurately predicting who is at risk for suicidal behavior," says Matthew Nock, a psychology professor at Harvard. He says studies show that mental health professionals "perform no better than chance" when it comes to predicting which patients will attempt suicide.

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National Security
3:58 am
Tue March 31, 2015

After Snowden, The NSA Faces Recruitment Challenge

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 9:16 am

Daniel Swann is exactly the type of person the National Security Agency would love to have working for it. The 22-year-old is a fourth-year concurrent bachelor's-master's student at Johns Hopkins University with a bright future in cybersecurity.

And growing up in Annapolis, Md., not far from the NSA's headquarters, Swann thought he might work at the agency, which intercepts phone calls, emails and other so-called "signals intelligence" from U.S. adversaries.

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Joe's Big Idea
1:34 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Want To Do A Little Astrophysics? This App Detects Cosmic Rays

Smart phones contain a silicon chip inside the camera that might be used to detect rare, high energy particles from outer space.
J. Yang/Courtesy of WIPAC

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 10:40 am

Scientists in California are hoping to use your smart phone to solve a cosmic mystery. They're developing an app to turn your phone into a cosmic ray detector. If enough people install the app, the scientists think they'll be able to figure out once and for all what's producing the very energetic cosmic rays that occasionally hit the Earth.

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Shots - Health News
4:31 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

Videos On End-Of-Life Choices Ease Tough Conversation

Hawaii ranks 49th in the nation for use of home health care services during the last six months of someone's life. Videos from ACP Decisions show patients what their options are at the end of life.
ACP Decisions

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 2:43 pm

Lena Katakura's father is 81. He was recently diagnosed with esophageal cancer and doctors don't expect him to survive the illness. Katakura says a nurse at their Honolulu hospital gave them a form to fill out to indicate what kind of treatment he'd want at the end of life.

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Animals
6:39 am
Sat March 28, 2015

Birder Finds Panama Packed With Species, But No Harpy Eagles

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 9:56 am

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for some talking birds.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "RAY BROWN'S TALKIN' BIRDS")

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Ray Brown's Talkin' Birds.

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Shots - Health News
6:39 am
Sat March 28, 2015

Indiana's HIV Spike Prompts New Calls For Needle Exchanges Statewide

Needle exchange programs, like this one in Portland, Maine, offer free, sterile syringes and needles to drug users. The programs save money and lives, health officials say, by curtailing the spread of bloodborne infections, such as hepatitis and HIV.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 9:56 am

Shane Avery practices family medicine in Scott County, Ind. In December, a patient came to his office who was pregnant, and an injection drug user.

After running some routine tests, Avery found out that she was positive for HIV. She was the second case he had seen in just a few weeks.

"Right then, I kind of realized, 'Wow, are we on the tip of something?' " Avery says. "But you just put it away. ... It's statistically an oddity when you're just one little doctor, you know?"

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The Two-Way
6:39 am
Sat March 28, 2015

A Day's A Day The World Around — But Shorter On Saturn

Saturn has a rocky surface, but it's deep beneath the clouds. That makes it hard to tell exactly how long the day is.
NASA

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 3:38 pm

Researchers have answered a question that has been nagging them for years: Exactly how long is a day on the planet Saturn? The result (10 hours and 32 minutes or so) was published this week in the journal Nature, and could teach scientists more about the giant, ringed planet.

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The Salt
5:05 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Calif. Governor Can't Make It Rain, But Can Make Relief Money Pour

A worker kicks up dust as he drives a tractor at a farm on Aug. 22, 2014 near drought-stricken Firebaugh, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Can you spend your way out of an historic drought? Not really, but the consensus in Sacramento these days seems to be that money certainly helps.

Just days after it was introduced, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed his sweeping $1.1 billion emergency drought relief bill today.

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Goats and Soda
8:47 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Is There Any Way To Screen The World's Pilots For Suicidal Tendencies?

Flight crew in cockpit, rear view (zoom effect).
Tom Sheppard Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 2:45 pm

The crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 into the French Alps earlier this week appears to have been a deliberate act carried out by a co-pilot.

It is too soon to put the label "suicide" on the co-pilot's actions. Not enough is known yet about his state of mind or what his motivation might have been. But as investigations continue, the incident raises questions about whether better mental health screening can prevent a person with suicidal tendencies from taking charge in the cockpit in the first place.

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TED Radio Hour
7:53 am
Fri March 27, 2015

How Can Video Games Improve Our Real Lives?

Game designer Jane McGonigal says we need to harness the beneficial aspects of video games.
James Duncan Davidson Courtesy of TED

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 10:50 am

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Press Play

About Jane McGonigal's TED Talk

When Jane McGonigal was bedridden after a concussion, she gave herself a prescription: play a game. She says games helped her get better, and for many of us, virtual games can improve our real lives. Here's her first TED Talk about using games to solve real world problems:

About Jane McGonigal

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TED Radio Hour
7:52 am
Fri March 27, 2015

What Can Bonobos Teach Us About Play?

Primatologist Isabel Behncke Izquierdo says play helps to foster creativity, trust, and cooperation.
James Duncan Davidson Courtesy of TED

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 10:45 am

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Press Play

About Isabel Behncke's TED Talk

Primatologist Isabel Behncke Izquierdo explains how bonobos learn by constantly playing. She says play isn't frivolous; it appears to be a critical way to solve problems and avoid conflict.

About Isabel Behncke

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TED Radio Hour
7:52 am
Fri March 27, 2015

How Can Playing A Game Make You More Empathetic?

Research finds playing a collaborative video game like Rock Band makes you more comfortable with strangers.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 10:37 am

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Press Play

Why is it so hard to feel empathy for strangers? Because we're stressed by them, says neuroscientist Jeff Mogil. His research suggests one way to reduce that stress: play Rock Band together.

About Jeff Mogil

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The Two-Way
4:02 am
Fri March 27, 2015

NASA To Study A Twin In Space And His Brother On Earth

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is seen inside a Soyuz simulator at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center on March 4 in Star City, Russia. Kelly, along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian Federal Space Agency, are scheduled for launch Friday aboard a Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
NASA/Bill Ingalls

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 2:58 pm

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

A Russian rocket has carried a Russian cosmonaut and an American astronaut to the International Space Station, where they will live for a full year, twice as long as people usually stay.

No American has remained in space longer than 215 days. Only a few people have ever gone on space trips lasting a year or more — the longest was 437 days — and they're all Russian cosmonauts. The last year-plus stay in space occurred nearly two decades ago.

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Science
4:44 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Big Shelves Of Antarctic Ice Melting Faster Than Scientists Thought

A 2008 view of the leading edge of the Larsen B ice shelf, extending into the northwest part of the Weddell Sea. Huge, floating ice shelves that line the Antarctic coast help hold back sheets of ice that cover land.
Mariano Caravaca Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 7:01 pm

The Antarctic is far away, freezing and buried under a patchwork of ice sheets and glaciers. But a warming climate is altering that mosaic in unpredictable ways — research published Thursday shows that the pace of change in parts of the Antarctic is accelerating.

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Shots - Health News
3:37 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Critic Faults Alcoholics Anonymous For Lack Of Evidence

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 8:34 am

Founded by two men in Akron, Ohio, in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous has since spread around the world as a leading community-based method of overcoming alcohol dependence and abuse. Many people swear by the 12-step method, which has become the basis of programs to treat the abuse of drugs, gambling, eating disorders and other compulsive behaviors.

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