Science & Health

Around the Nation
6:57 am
Sun July 5, 2015

Don't Blame The Sharks For 'Perfect Storm' Of Attacks In North Carolina

The recent spate of attacks β€” seven since June in North Carolina alone β€” has little to do with the shark population off American coastlines. Shark attack, George Burgess says, "is driven by the number of humans in the water more than the number of sharks."
Carol Buchanan iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun July 5, 2015 1:58 pm

Those who spend much time on the Carolina beaches know that many shark species, and even whales, are frequent visitors during the summer. And, though it's extremely rare, those sharks have been known to attack humans.

But this year, there have already been seven shark attacks off the North Carolina coast since June. It's a number that has surprised even the most seasoned of shark-watchers.

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Strange News
4:06 pm
Sat July 4, 2015

Millions Of Mummified Dogs Found In Ancient Egyptian Catacombs

Researchers discovered ancient animal mummies piled up in heaps inside a catacomb. Many of the mummies were in poor condition.
Courtesy of Paul Nicholson

Originally published on Sun July 5, 2015 5:57 pm

In catacombs south of Cairo, researchers have discovered burial sites filled with huge numbers of mummified animals β€” nearly 8 million of them, mostly dogs.

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The Salt
4:06 pm
Sat July 4, 2015

Aphrodisiacs Can Spark Sexual Imagination, But Probably Not Libido

The Birth of Venus, by Sandro Botticelli, depicts the goddess of love floating on a giant scallop shell. The word aphrodisiac derives from her Greek name, Aphrodite.
Sandro Botticelli Wikimedia

Originally published on Sat July 4, 2015 5:33 pm

What do we know about the power of food to rev up sex drive? Not much.

"Really, science has not figured out what determines sexual motivation and sexual attraction. If we knew the answer to that, we'd probably be richer than Pfizer after they invented Viagra," says Dolores Lamb, director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

She hasn't seen any compelling evidence that any particular food can intensify desire.

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Science
6:54 am
Sat July 4, 2015

Strontium Nitrate And Barium Nitrate, The Fuel In Fireworks

Originally published on Sat July 4, 2015 10:04 am

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

Transcript

ERIC WESTERVELT, HOST:

Ladies and gentlemen, light your fuses.

(SOUNDBITE OF FIREWORKS)

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Space
6:54 am
Sat July 4, 2015

A Rock Band And A Moon, United In Name

Originally published on Sat July 4, 2015 10:04 am

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

Transcript

ERIC WESTERVELT, HOST:

A classic rock band and a bunch of NASA scientists met in a lab in Maryland this week, all because of a name - Styx.

(SOUNDBITE OF STYX SONG, "COME SAIL AWAY")

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The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

Pilot In Solar-Powered Plane Sets Aviation Record

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 2:58 pm

A sun-powered airplane has landed in Hawaii after a five-day journey from Japan that smashed the previous record of 76 hours for the longest duration nonstop solo flight.

Pilot AndrΓ© Borschberg set the Solar Impulse 2 down on the tarmac at Kalaeloa Airport outside Honolulu after flying for 120 hours from Nagoya, his team reports.

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The Two-Way
6:25 am
Fri July 3, 2015

Russia Finally Launches Supplies To ISS After Earlier Failures

A Russian Progress spacecraft blasts off from the launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on Friday.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 9:08 am

A Russian rocket filled with much-needed supplies for the International Space Station lifted off from a pad in Kazakhstan early today after two previous re-supply missions failed.

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports that the successful launch of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, known as the Progress 60P, which is set to dock with the station on Sunday, was a relief to the astronauts and cosmonauts on the space station.

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The Salt
5:13 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

White House: We Have A Beef With GMO Regulations

About 90 percent of America's soybeans are genetically modified.
iStockphoto

The U.S. government's system for regulating the products of biotechnology, including GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, was born in 1986, and it has been controversial from the start. Now, it will be getting a makeover β€” in part to assure the public that GMOs really are adequately regulated.

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Code Switch
3:42 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Coping While Black: A Season Of Traumatic News Takes A Psychological Toll

Raymond Smith of Charleston, S.C., kneels in prayer in front of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston before a worship service on June 21.
Stephen B. Morton AP

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 7:12 pm

Can racism cause post-traumatic stress? That's one big question psychologists are trying to answer, particularly in the aftermath of the shooting at the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., and the recent incidents involving police where race was a factor.

What's clear is that many black Americans experience what psychologists call "race-based trauma," says Monnica Williams, director of the Center for Mental Health Disparities at the University of Louisville.

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Environment
3:30 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

BP Settlement To Address Ecosystem Damage Caused By Oil Spill

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 5:35 pm

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Energy
3:30 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

BP To Pay $18.7 Billion In Landmark Settlement Over 2010 Gulf Oil Spill

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 5:35 pm

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Science
3:13 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Checking DNA Against Elephants Hints At How Mammoths Got Woolly

Mammoths had a distinctive version of a gene known to play a role in sensing outside temperature, moderating the biology of fat and regulating hair growth. That bit of DNA likely helped mammoths thrive in cold weather, scientists say.
Courtesy of Giant Screen Films, 2012 D3D Ice Age, LLC/Penn State University

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 6:55 am

Scientists say they've found a bit of DNA in woolly mammoths that could help explain how these huge beasts were so well-adapted to live in the cold of the last ice age.

Woolly mammoths had long shaggy fur, small tails and ears to minimize frostbite, and a lot of fat to help stay warm as they roamed the tundra more than 12,000 years ago.

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The Salt
2:16 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Do Organic Farmers Need Special Seeds And Money To Breed Them?

"Who Gets Kissed" corn is a variety bred in Wisconsin specifically for organic farmers. It's named for an old game. At corn husking time, a lucky person who found a rare ear of corn with red kernels had the right to kiss anyone that he or she chose.
Courtesy of Adrienne Shelton

Rearranging veggie genes is big business, and we're not even talking about biotechnology. Private companies and university researchers spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year breeding better genetic varieties of food crops.

But organic farmers say those programs have a big blind spot when it comes to figuring out which new varieties are truly better. Few companies or researchers test those varieties under organic conditions.

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Shots - Health News
2:10 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Don't Get Your Kids' Genes Sequenced Just To Keep Up

You can now order genetic tests off the Internet and get your child's genome sequenced for less than the cost of a new car. The question is, should you?

Almost certainly not, according to the American Society for Human Genetics, which released a position paper Thursday intended to give parents some help navigating the dizzying world of genetic tests.

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Goats and Soda
1:33 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

How Salt + Car Battery = Clean Water

A woman in Yatta, Kenya, explains how to make clean water using a car battery and just the right mixture of salt and water.
Jane Mauser Courtesy of MSR

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 6:27 pm

It's easy to take clean, safe water for granted. It just flows out of taps continuously β€” even in drought-ridden California.

But for hundreds of millions of people around the world, clean water is a luxury. In many places, even patients in hospitals and kids at school don't have water that's safe to drink.

Now, an unlikely partnership of an outdoor equipment manufacturer and a global health NGO is trying to change that.

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