Science & Health

Animals
4:43 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

Scientists Discover That Drunk Birds Sing Like Drunks

Recent research has shown that zebra finches sing differently when drunk, but not whether they know enough of the lyrics to get through "I Will Survive" or "Don't Stop Believin'."
Liza Gross Courtesy Public Library of Science

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 12:18 pm

If you've ever listened to karaoke at a bar, you know that drinking can affect how well someone can sing. Christopher Olson and his colleagues at Oregon Health and Science University recently set out to find if the same was true for birds, specifically zebra finches.

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Science
4:42 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

From One Man's Damaged Brain, A Treasure Trove Of Research On Memory

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 5:02 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Space
4:23 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

An Aspiring Martian Continues To Pursue The Red Planet

Beemer, shown at the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station in Utah in 2011, is a candidate for both Mars One and the Mars Arctic 365 program.
Max Fagin

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 5:54 pm

Lt. Heidi Beemer has dreamed of going to Mars since she was 8 years old. She's carefully planned her life, from her education to her career, with a goal of getting to the red planet.

In January she got a step closer to that goal by making first cut of applicants for Mars One — a Netherlands-based nonprofit that has a goal of establishing a permanent, sustainable human settlement on Mars by 2025.

Now, she's preparing to interview for the next round.

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The Two-Way
1:48 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

Dwarf Galaxy, Long Overlooked, Discovered In Our 'Hood

A negative image of Kks3, made using the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the Hubble Space Telescope. The core of the galaxy is the right hand dark object at the top center of the image.
D. Makarov Royal Astronomical Society

The newest galaxy to be discovered is actually very old – and very small. And it's right in our neighborhood of the universe.

Although Kks3 is only 7 million light years away (about 2.5 times farther than our nearest large galaxy, Andromeda) at just 1/10,000 the stellar mass of our the Milky Way, it is tiny by galactic standards and incredibly easy to miss. About 2/3rds of the "dwarf spheroidal galaxy" is made up of star material formed 12 billion years ago, just a billion years and some change after the Big Bang.

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Shots - Health News
3:26 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

One More Reason To Reach For A Paper Book Before Bed

Sleepy in the day and wide awake at night? Give the screen a rest.
Guido Mieth Getty Images/Flickr RM

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 7:18 am

E-readers may make it particularly hard to get a good night's sleep, according to research out this week.

A study that followed every nightly twitch, turn and snore of 12 volunteers for a couple weeks found that those who read from an iPad before hitting the sack had a harder time falling asleep, spent less time in a crucial phase of sleep, and were less alert the next day.

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National Security
3:26 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

Military Policy Impedes Research On Traumatic Brain Injuries

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Animals
3:26 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

Recordings That Made Waves: The Songs That Saved The Whales

By the 1960s, humpback whales and other whale species had been hunted extensively, sometimes to the point of near extinction. Then a recording of humpback whale songs helped shift public opinion on the hunting of all whale species.
Luis Robayo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 5:22 pm

In the mid-20th century, whale populations were dwindling. More than 50,000 whales were killed each year by commercial whalers.

But then in the 1960s, a song — or rather, many songs — sparked a movement.

It started with some underwater equipment that, for the first time, captured the sound of humpback whales.

Composer-Poets

At his home in Vermont, biologist Roger Payne plays the audio that was discovered back then. He points out themes in the whales' song, and how they evolve over time.

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Humans
7:23 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Want To Solve The World's Most Heated Disagreements? Bring Your Wallet

A woman shouts slogans as she attends a pro-Palestinian rally July 25 in Berlin. About 1,200 pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through Berlin amid high tensions over Israel's actions in Gaza, while some 700 protesters took part in two counter-demonstrations.
Markus Schreiber AP

Conflict between Palestinians and Israelis or Republicans and Democrats appears intractable in part because of one fundamental bias: We misunderstand the other group's motives.

When Republicans attack Democrats, Democrats think they're motivated by hate, but Republicans believe they're motivated by love and "in-group" loyalty. And vice versa, of course.

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Research News
4:11 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Solving The Mystery Of Why Rock Ants Avoid Right Turns

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 2:04 pm

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

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Delivery drivers plan their route with as many right turns as possible. Left turns - they're just a hassle. But get this - there is a species of ant that prefers left turns. And this got NPR's Richard Harris curious.

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NPR Story
4:11 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Do Fish Have Fingers?

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 1:15 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The Two-Way
2:34 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Unexpected Life Found In The Ocean's Deepest Trench

Schmidt Ocean Institute/HADES YouTube

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 4:39 pm

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NPR Story
4:02 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Research Suggests Generosity Is Hardwired Into Our Brains

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 7:02 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Shots - Health News
2:25 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Obama Administration Downplays Court Challenge To Health Law

Elisa Carrero assists Julian Gauiria, of Paterson, N.J., with enrollment in the health insurance exchange in November. Signups continue to be brisk, health officials say.
Tyson Trish North Jersey/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 9:24 am

This time last year, federal officials were scrambling to get as many people enrolled in health insurance through HealthCare.gov as they could before the start of the program on Jan. 1.

Now, with the technical problems mostly fixed, they're facing a different problem: the possibility that the Supreme Court might rule that the subsidies that help people afford coverage are illegal in the 37 states where the federal government is running the program.

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Shots - Health News
2:18 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Costly Hepatitis C Drugs Threaten To Bust Prison Budgets

Dr. Michael Poshkus treats inmates with hepatitis C at the John J. Moran Medium Security facility in Cranston, R.I. Some 12 to 35 percent of inmates nationwide are afflicted with the chronic liver disease.
Kristin Gourlay RIPR

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 2:45 pm

Every week, Dr. Michael Poshkus visits the John J. Moran Medium Security prison in Cranston, R.I., to see patients infected with hepatitis C.

Until recently, their only treatment option was a weekly injection in the stomach for at least a year. It worked less than half the time and caused debilitating side effects. But everything has changed.

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Newscast
5:32 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Severe Weather, Santa Claus Audit, Fire Deaths Up

Alabama Fire Marshal Ed Paulk
Credit firemarshal.alabama.gov

    

The National Weather Service says conditions could get rough starting this afternoon. The forecast is calling for straight line winds and the possibility of isolated tornadoes starting later today and into Wednesday. Today’s outlook calls for a lot of rain in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham and south of those cities. Tomorrow’s forecast includes rain for more southern areas of the state. Forecaster Gary Goggins says the fact that people are travelling for Christmas could complicate things…

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