Science & Health

Shots - Health News
3:34 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Federal Brain Science Project Aims To Restore Soldiers' Memory

President Obama has pledged millions of dollars to fuel research into understanding the workings of the human brain.
Zephyr Science Source

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 7:07 pm

When President Obama announced his plan to explore the mysteries of the human brain seven months ago, it was long on ambition and short on details.

Now some of the details are being sketched in.

The BRAIN Initiative will include efforts to restore lost memories in war veterans, create tools that let scientists study individual brain circuits and map the nervous system of the fruit fly.

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Digital Life
12:17 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Should Sending Cash Be As Easy As Sending E-mail?

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Now up, it's time for another episode of our App Chat series, where we review the latest apps and talk about new ways to use your smartphone. And today, we're going to talk about mobile payments. Ever gone out to eat with your friends and when the bill arrives, you realize it's cash only and, oh, you have no cash. What are you going to do?

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Author Interviews
12:16 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Early Balloonists Took Science 'Up, Up and Away'

In Falling Upwards, writer Richard Holmes tells the story of early balloon flight--and of the nervy scientists who risked life and limb to take their experiments into the air. Among their discoveries? Insect migration and the stratosphere. Falling Upwards chronicles the balloonists who took science into the stratosphere.

Space
12:16 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Searching for Earth 2.0

One in every five sunlike stars in the Milky Way may have an Earth-sized planet circling it in the Goldilocks zone--the sweet spot where liquid water could exist. That's according to a new analysis of data from the Kepler spacecraft. Sara Seager, an exoplanet hunter at MIT, talks about what's next in the hunt for Earth 2.0.

Animals
12:16 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

The Other Golden Rule

Did you know that most mammals, from a house cat to an elephant, take roughly the same amount of time to urinate? Researchers at Georgia Tech collected data from real-life and online video streams, and discovered that a combination of physiology and gravity enable this feat of fluid dynamics.

Digital Life
12:16 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

'Hatching Twitter': A Tale of Booze and Backstabbing

In Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal, New York Times columnist and reporter Nick Bilton tells of the backstabbing, booze, and tears behind the 140-character social network's rise from struggling start-up to $25 billion company.

Science & Health
8:51 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Science Doesn't Want To Take God Away From You

Can science inspire the same level of passion as religion?
Mauricio Lima AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 1:01 pm

I was once invited to give a live interview on a radio station in Brasília, the capital of Brazil. The interview took place at rush hour in the city's very busy bus terminal, where poor workers come in from rural areas to perform all sorts of jobs in town, from cleaning the streets to working in factories and private homes.

The experience would mark me for the rest of my life and set a new professional goal that I had not anticipated early in my career: to bring science to the largest number of people possible.

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TED Radio Hour
8:20 am
Fri November 15, 2013

How Can Deserts Turn Into Grasslands?

James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 2:06 pm

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Misconceptions.

About Allan Savory's TEDTalk

About two-thirds of the world's grasslands have turned into desert. Allan Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert.

About Allan Savory

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TED Radio Hour
8:20 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Are We Happier When We Have More Options?

Robert Leslie TED

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 2:06 pm

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Misconceptions.

About Barry Schwartz's TEDTalk

Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz's estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.

About Barry Schwartz

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Environment
2:04 am
Fri November 15, 2013

A Rancher And A Conservationist Forge An Unlikely Alliance

Trout fishing is big business in Montana, bringing in tens of millions of dollars annually.
Tom Murphy Getty Images/National Geographic

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 8:08 pm

Trout fishing is a magnet that draws people from around the world to places like Ovando, Mont. Just ask the owner of Blackfoot Angler and Supplies, Kathy Schoendoerfer.

"Every state in the nation has been through this little shop in Ovando, Montana, population 50," says Schoendoerfer with a mix of pride and perhaps a little fatigue. "And we've also had everybody from Russia, Latvia. We get a lot of Canadians, France, Finland, Brazil, Scotland, Germany, South Africa. We get a lot of business out here. You know, fly-fishing is huge."

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The Salt
4:59 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

What's The Most Important Thing Food Labels Should Tell Us?

Illustration by Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 6:29 pm

Food labels have become battlegrounds. Just last week, voters in Washington state narrowly defeated a measure that would have required food manufacturers to reveal whether their products contain genetically modified ingredients.

Supporters of the initiative — and similar proposals in other states — say that consumers have a right to know what they're eating.

But there are lots of things we might want to know about our food. So what belongs on the label?

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Health Overhaul Problems-Alabama
4:44 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Alabama Insurers Have More Questions Than Answers

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama says the company is reviewing the president's statement and evaluating its impact on the requirements for implementing the federal law.
Credit Jones Valley Teaching Farm

Alabama's largest health insurance company and the state Insurance Department had more questions than answers after the president said consumers should be allowed to renew individual plans slated to end under the federal health care law.

At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, spokeswoman Koko Mackin said the company is reviewing the president's statement and evaluating its impact on the requirements for implementing the federal law.

Blue Cross had 97,000 individual customers whose policies didn't meet the requirement of the new law and were being moved to new policies.

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All Tech Considered
3:56 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Electric Cars Drive Demand For Cheaper, More Powerful Batteries

A prototype of a flexible battery from Imprint Energy, one of 40 companies working on battery technology in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Imprint Energy

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 6:29 pm

If there's one person you'd expect to have an electric car, it's Venkat Srinivasan. He's in charge of battery research at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

"I'm actually in the market for a new car and would love to buy an electric car," he says. "But there are practical problems."

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Health Overhaul-Alabama
3:37 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

624 Alabamians Pick Plans In Insurance Marketplace

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 624 Alabamians selected health insurance plans in the first month that Alabama's federally run health insurance marketplace was available.
Credit U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 624 Alabamians selected health insurance plans in the first month that Alabama's federally run health insurance marketplace was available.

That's equal to one-tenth of 1 percent of the estimated 677,000 Alabamians without health insurance.

The department says more than 10,500 applications were completed in Alabama in October, and they covered more than 20,800 people.

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Shots - Health News
1:44 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Bacterial Competition In Lab Shows Evolution Never Stops

The plate on the left contains about equal numbers of colonies of two different bacteria. After the bacteria compete and evolve, the lighter ones have taken the lead in the plate on the right.
Courtesy of Michael Wiser

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 9:49 am

Evolution is relentless process that seems to keep going and going, even when creatures live in a stable, unchanging world.

That's the latest surprise from a unique experiment that's been underway for more than a quarter-century.

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