Science & Health

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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Science & Health
6:25 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Alabama's Black Bear Population Growing

Credit outdooralabama.com

Alabama conservation officials say black bear sightings make it clear that the bears are increasing in number and expanding their range.

Keith Gauldin of the conservation department's wildlife division says black bears have been sighted recently in Butler and Choctaw counties in south Alabama. Sightings have occurred in recent years in Jefferson, Lee, Chambers and Macon counties.

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Krulwich Wonders...
6:05 am
Wed July 9, 2014

A Tough Little Droplet Fights To Stick Around

Zach Heller Flickr

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 2:58 pm

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Shots - Health News
2:32 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Like All Animals, We Need Stress. Just Not Too Much

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 11:09 am

Ask somebody about stress, and you're likely to hear an outpouring about all the bad things that cause it — and the bad things that result. But if you ask a biologist, you'll hear that stress can be good.

In fact, it's essential.

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The Two-Way
7:30 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

As Engines Sputter To Life, Vintage Spacecraft Turns Toward Moon

With a comet fly-by and a solar orbit behind it, ISEE-3 has now revved its engines for a swing past the moon.
Mark Maxwell Courtesy ISEE-3 Reboot Project

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:56 am

A gung-ho group of space enthusiasts has started the process of putting a vintage NASA spacecraft on a new flight path, so that this venerable piece of hardware will be able to do useful science once again.

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Science
3:40 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

In A Lab Store Room, An Unsettling Surprise: Lost Vials Of Smallpox

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 5:13 pm

Scientists at the National Institutes of Health made an unpleasant discovery last week as they cleaned out an old laboratory: The lab contained vials of the smallpox virus, previously unknown to authorities. The vials have since been transferred to a secure lab at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

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Science
3:13 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Plants Know The Rhythm Of The Caterpillar's Creep

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 5:15 pm

According to new research, plants can actually hear the sounds of insects chewing. A University of Missouri study is the first work to report that plants can recognize the sound of a predator through the vibrations of their leaves. To learn more, Robert Siegel speaks with Heidi Appel, senior research scientist in the Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri.

Shots - Health News
2:45 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Will This Tech Tool Help Manage Older People's Health? Ask Dad

Lively is a sensor that can be attached to a pill box, keys or doors. It lets people know whether aging parents are taking their medicines or sticking to their routines.
Courtesy of Lively

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 10:39 am

Aging 2.0 may not sound like the hippest start-up in San Francisco, but it's part of an industry worth $2 billion and growing fast — technology to help older adults.

Katy Fike, 35, is the company's co-founder. She's devoted to making sure that older adults who are supposed to use the products are involved in their development.

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The Salt
1:42 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

What It Takes To Make A Decent Cup Of Coffee In Space

Leave it to the Italians to design a capsule-based espresso system for astronauts who miss their morning cup.
Andrea Guermani Courtesy of Lavazza

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 3:47 pm

When our pals at the Two-Way wrote last month that engineers had finally come up with a way to brew some good Italian espresso on the International Space Station, we were thoroughly intrigued.

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The Salt
9:34 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Globe-Trotting GMO Bananas Arrive For Their First Test In Iowa

Ugandan researcher Stephen Buah and Professor James Dale hold bananas bred to be rich in vitamin A at Queensland University of Technology.
Erika Fish Courtesy of Queensland University of Technology

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 5:53 pm

Somewhere in Iowa, volunteers are earning $900 apiece by providing blood samples after eating bits of a banana kissed with a curious tinge of orange.

It's the first human trial of a banana that's been genetically engineered to contain higher levels of beta carotene, the nutrient that our body converts into vitamin A. Researchers want to confirm that eating the fruit does, in fact, lead to higher vitamin A levels in the volunteers' blood.

The volunteers in Iowa may not realize it, but they're playing a small part in a story that spans the globe.

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Science
6:03 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Can't Stand Meetings? Try Taking Away The Chairs

Standing even for part of a meeting could engage your team in more productive collaboration, researchers say.
pixdeluxe/Getty Getty Images

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

The secret to more productive meetings? You might simply need to stand up.

This we know, to some degree. Just take as examples the growing popularity of standing desks, which took off after a flurry of reports found that sitting for long periods of time can significantly, negatively, impact employees' health.

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Research News
4:01 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Some Parole Requirements Could Be Increasing The Crime Rate

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 8:51 am

Prisoners who are released invariably make it back to the areas where they came from. Does this have a positive or negative effect on crime? Research triggered by Hurricane Katrina offers insight.

Shots - Health News
3:07 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

The Secret History Behind The Science Of Stress

Camel marketed smoke breaks at work as time spent relaxing instead of stressing. Camel, 1964.
Stanford University

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 2:47 pm

The modern idea of stress began on a rooftop in Canada, with a handful of rats freezing in the winter wind.

This was 1936 and by that point the owner of the rats, an endocrinologist named Hans Selye, had become expert at making rats suffer for science.

"He would subject them to extreme temperatures, make them go hungry for long periods, or make them exercise a lot," the medical historian Mark Jackson says. "Then what he would do is kill the rats and look at their organs."

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The Salt
2:31 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Raw Milk Producers Aim To Regulate Themselves

Charlotte Smith, of Champoeg Creamery in St. Paul, Ore., says raw milk may offer health benefits. But she also acknowledges its very real dangers.
Courtesy of Champoeg Creamery

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:45 am

A growing number of Americans are buying raw milk. That's milk that has not been pasteurized to kill bacteria.

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Brain Candy
4:33 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

NPR Listeners Show A Keen Ear For Temperature

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 8:23 am

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Yesterday on the show, we played a couple of sounds for you.

(SOUNDBITE OF WATER POURING)

MCEVERS: One is the sound of hot water being poured into a glass, the other is of cold water being poured into an identical glass. We asked you to go on our website and tell us whether you could tell which was which. And a lot of you took us up on it - like 30,000 of you. And 80 percent of you guessed that this...

(SOUNDBITE OF WATER POURING)

MCEVERS: ...Was cold water. You were right. This...

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