Science & Health

Shots - Health News
4:00 pm
Sat March 7, 2015

Supporting A Spouse With Alzheimer's: 'I Don't Get Angry Anymore'

Greg and Mary Catherine O'Brien with their kids, at daughter Colleen's marriage to Matt Everett last August. Greg has early-onset Alzheimer's. From left, Brendan O'Brien, Greg O'Brien, Colleen O'Brien, Matt Everett, Mary Catherine O'Brien, and Conor O'Brien.
Courtesy of Greg O'Brien

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 7:45 pm

This is part of NPR's series Inside Alzheimer's, about Greg O'Brien's experience of living with the illness. This time we hear from Greg's wife, Mary Catherine.

Greg and Mary Catherine O'Brien will celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary next month. She knows him better than anyone — his moods and sense of humor, his devotion to their three children and his love of Cape Cod.

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The Two-Way
11:23 am
Sat March 7, 2015

This Just (Flew) In: The Formerly 'Extinct' Jerdon's Babbler

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 12:14 pm

Birders and scientists who thought Jerdon's babbler had gone the way of the passenger pigeon now have something to crow about: it turns out that the sparrow-sized tan-colored bird is still among us, despite having been written out of the birding guides in 1941.

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Animals
7:47 am
Sat March 7, 2015

These Tunes Are Music To Your Cats' Furry Ears

Could this cat be enjoying "Spook's Ditty"?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 11:18 am

When you leave the house, do you ever turn on some music to keep your cat company?

What kind do you choose? Tom Jones crooning "What's New Pussycat?" A ballad by Cat Stevens? Perhaps Al Stewart's "The Year of the Cat"?

Nonsense. Cats don't to want to hear humans singing about them, says composer and University of Maryland music professor David Teie.

Researchers at U.Md. and the University of Wisconsin have teamed up with Teie to make music that was more feline friendly.

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The Two-Way
11:58 am
Fri March 6, 2015

FDA Approves First Of New Type Of Generic Drugs

Swiss drugmaker Novartis' logo is seen behind scaffolding at the company's plant in the northern Swiss town of Stein, shown in January. The company's "biosimilar" drug Zarxio has received FDA approval.
Arnd Wiegmann Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 3:40 pm

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first in a class of generic drugs that are made from living cells instead of chemical compounds.

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TED Radio Hour
8:11 am
Fri March 6, 2015

How Can Math Help You Imagine The Impossible?

Writer Randall Munroe answers bizarre questions with math, like what would happen if a baseball pitcher threw a ball at 90 percent the speed of light?
James Duncan Davidson Courtesy of TED

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 3:50 pm

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Solve For X

About Randall Munroe's TED Talk

Writer Randall Munroe doesn't love math, but has made a career out of solving equations. By answering outlandish hypotheticals, he uses numbers as a playground for the imagination.

About Randall Munroe

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TED Radio Hour
8:10 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Can Math Help You Fall in Love?

"I struggle to find anything in the world that you can't that you can't get an interesting perspective on by using maths." - Hannah Fry
Courtesy of TED

Part 7 of the TED Radio Hour episode Solve For X

About Hannah Fry's TED Talk

Mathematician Hannah Fry says math can help you find love. Using mathematical models, she explains how to find an ideal mate and the secret to maintaining a healthy relationship.

About Hannah Fry

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TED Radio Hour
8:10 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Should We Be Wary of Algorithms?

"Decisions are made automatically by machines, increasingly without human supervision." - Kevin Slavin
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Solve For X

About Kevin Slavin's TED Talk

Netflix, Uber, and the stock market are governed by algorithms. Entrepreneur and artist Kevin Slavin shows how these formulas can reshape finance, culture, and physical environments, with potentially harmful consequences.

About Kevin Slavin

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TED Radio Hour
8:10 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Why Do We Solve For 'X'?

"A mathematical proof appears as a thing of beauty. It speaks of a higher truth. It speaks of a harmony to knowledge." - Terry Moore
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Solve for X

About Terry Moore's TED Talk

Polymath Terry Moore wondered why "X" is the universal unknown in algebra. He dove into the history of numbers to come up with an unexpected answer.

About Terry Moore

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TED Radio Hour
8:10 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Can Math Answer Absurd Questions?

"To me what's exciting is the answers that math can get you to." - Randall Munroe
James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 3:45 pm

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Solve For X

About Randall Munroe's TED Talk

When Randall Munroe volunteered to teach physics to high schoolers, his textbook approach to teaching the subject fell flat. Then he realized a way to get the kids excited about math -- Star Wars.

About Randall Munroe

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The Two-Way
3:13 am
Fri March 6, 2015

NASA Probe Reaches Orbit Around Dwarf Planet

Astronomers have known about Ceres for centuries, but they don't really know what to make of it.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 11:38 am

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET.

This morning, a plucky NASA spacecraft has entered the orbit of one of the oddest little worlds in our solar system.

Ceres is round like a planet, but really small. Its total surface would cover just a third of the United States.

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Animals
2:36 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Could A Quokka Beat A Numbat? Oddsmakers Say Yes

One possible result in the Mighty Mini Mammals division of 2015's Mammal March Madness tournament. If the species that's seeded highest always wins its bracket, the fennec fox will beat out the rest of the division and advance to the final four.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 6:05 pm

It's March, and that means college basketball fans are gearing up for the NCAA tournament. But there's another tournament taking place this month — and animals aren't the mascots, they're the competitors.

"Mammal March Madness" is organized by a team of evolutionary biologists. They choose 65 animal competitors and then imagine the outcome of a series of simulated interspecies battles. Who would win if a kangaroo took on a warthog? Or if an orca fought a polar bear?

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The Salt
3:57 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Eat Your Veggies! Even The Ones From Fukushima

Farmer Magoichi Shigihara checks on his cucumber farm in Nihonmatsu in Fukushima prefecture, about 31 miles west of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, in May 2011. Testing shows radiation in foods grown and raised in Fukushima is back to pre-accident levels.
Yoshikazu Tsuno AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 10:24 am

Nearly four years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, people in Japan are still hesitant to eat foods grown around the site of the accident. They worry that anything grown in the region will contain dangerous levels of radioactive elements, increasing their risk of cancer.

Sometimes, food from Fukushima will bear a photo of the farmer who grew it or a number to dial to learn more about each bag of rice or vegetables, just to ease customers' concerns.

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Goats and Soda
3:56 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Arsenic Antidote Hidden In Our Genes

At more than 12,000 feet above sea level, the town of San Antonio de los Cobres, Argentina, sits on volcanic bedrock, which leaches arsenic into the drinking water.
Guigue/Wikimedia

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 5:59 pm

For centuries, arsenic was the go-to poison for murder.

If you wanted to knock off an heir to the throne or speed up the arrival of your inheritance, all you had to do was add a dollop of rat poison to your rival's food. They wouldn't see or taste it. And the police wouldn't detect it — at least not until a chemist developed a test for the element in the early 19th century.

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Code Switch
1:39 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Study: At 'Rate My Professors,' A Foreign Accent Can Hurt A Teacher's Score

The biggest gaps overall were in the South.
Kat Chow/NPR

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 6:21 pm

"So-and-so is really, really hard to understand." Or: "His accent is so distracting." I remember hearing off-the-cuff remarks like this a few times in college, complaints by classmates about teaching assistants and instructors, almost all of them of Asian descent and non-native English speakers.

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The Salt
9:51 am
Thu March 5, 2015

We're Not Taking Enough Lunch Breaks. Why That's Bad For Business

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 1:17 pm

Did you take a lunch break yesterday? Are you planning to take one today?

Chances are the answer is no. Fewer American workers are taking time for lunch. Research shows that only 1 in 5 five people steps away for a midday meal. Most workers are simply eating at their desks.

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