Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

Sarah Dudas doesn't mind shucking an oyster or a clam in the name of science.

But sit down with her and a plate of oysters on the half-shell or a bucket of steamed Manila clams, and she'll probably point out a bivalve's gonads or remark on its fertility.

Have you spent quiet time poring over a set of maps? Maybe of a region halfway around the world that you've always wanted to visit — or even the mountains or coastlines of your home area?

Spoiler alerts are sacred.

We plunge our fingers into our ears when a friend divulges details about a TV series we have yet to finish. We avoid articles that discuss important plot points of a movie we haven't gotten around to watching.

Sometimes, this 'no spoilers' mentality leaks in other parts of our lives. We avoid getting an important medical test done, fearing bad results. We turn off the news when the headlines make us upset, even though the information is pertinent to us. According to economist Joshua Tasoff, this behavior is irrational.

In his latest tweet about North Korea, President Trump gave leader Kim Jong Un a new nickname — "Rocket Man" — and seems to indicate he thinks sanctions on the country are working: "Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!" Trump wrote.

But are they, really? And what, if anything, could that tell us about the North Korean economy right now?

Earlier this year, when Emily Chodos was about 25 weeks into her pregnancy, she woke up one night feeling horrible.

"My hands were tremoring, my heart racing, " recalls Chodos, who lives near New Haven, Conn. She couldn't take a deep breath. "I'd never felt so out of control of my body."

She ended up paging her obstetrician's office at 4 a.m., and one of the midwives in the practice, after listening to her symptoms, said, "It sounds like you're having a panic attack."

Scientists Work To Grow Food In Space

Sep 17, 2017

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

This is Lulu's log, stardate September 17, 2017, where we consider matters of space, the stars and the universe.

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Updated at 11 a.m. ET Sunday

With a pair of Sunday television interviews, President Trump's administration furthered ambiguity on the United States' position with regard to the Paris climate agreement.

On CBS' Face The Nation, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was asked by John Dickerson if there was a chance the U.S could stay in the accord.

Long after the floodwaters recede and the debris is cleared, the mental health impacts of disasters like hurricanes can linger.

Psychologist Jean Rhodes of the University of Massachusetts-Boston has spent more than a decade studying what happens to people years after a natural disaster — in this case, Hurricane Katrina.

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Can a cat be both a liquid and a solid? Does contact with a crocodile influence a person's willingness to gamble? And do old men really have big ears?

Those are just a few of the questions studied by scientists who received Ig Nobel Prizes at Harvard University on Thursday, at the less-than-prestigious ceremony put on by the otherwise-august institution for the past 27 years.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Future Consequences.

About Juan Enriquez's TED Talk

From genetically modified animals and crops, we can already manipulate DNA. But futurist Juan Enriquez argues soon we can take full control of human evolution to create a better life for all of us.

About Juan Enriquez

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Future Consequences.

About Sam Harris's TED Talk

Does superhuman artificial intelligence sound like science fiction? Not for Sam Harris. He says it's not a question of if but when — with potentially destructive consequences.

About Sam Harris

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Future Consequences.

About Paul Knoepfler's TED Talk

New gene editing tools hold a great deal of promise, but biologist Paul Knoepfler says we should be cautious. He warns altering DNA can have dire consequences, including a new form of eugenics.

About Paul Knoepfler

Cassini Plunges To Saturn

Sep 15, 2017

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Snow leopards are no longer endangered, according to the global authority for assessing risks to species. However, the situation is looking dire for five species of ash tree, now listed as critically endangered.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature announced the changes to its Red List on Thursday.

Let's start with the good news.

California lawmakers must decide by the end of the day Friday whether to approve the most ambitious clean energy goal in the country: 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

The state wouldn't be the first. Hawaii already has its own 100 percent goal. But California uses about 30 times more electricity than Hawaii and is the fifth largest economy in the world.

To some, it's a chance for the state to cement its environmental leadership as the Trump administration rolls back Obama-era climate change programs.

Electric eels sometimes leap out of the water to increase the power of their jolt — and one scientist has been trying to understand this behavior more fully by letting a small eel repeatedly shock his arm.

Ken Catania, a Vanderbilt University neurobiologist who has been studying electric eels in his lab, recently noticed something strange whenever he tried to fish them out with a net that had a metal rim and handle. The eels would leap out of the water to attack it.

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For years, the government has been trying to reduce the risk that legitimate biological research could be misused to threaten the public's health, but those efforts have serious shortcomings.

That's the conclusion of a report released Thursday by the prestigious National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that examined existing practices and policies on so-called dual-use biological research.

During a press conference on Aug. 15, President Trump was asked by a reporter why he waited so long to "blast neo-Nazis" in the wake of the white supremacist rally held the previous weekend in Charlottesville, Va.

That rally resulted in the death of Heather Heyer, a young counterprotester, and injuries to dozens of others.

When you feel like everyone around you is having more fun and spending more time with friends, it can make you feel bad about yourself — even if it's not true.

But according to Ashley Whillans, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School who studies how our view of the world affects our view of ourselves, this perception can challenge us to become more social and make more friends.

Snot otter. Lasagna lizard.

Pick your favorite nickname for the Eastern hellbender salamander.

On the first sunny day in Houston after about 50 inches of rain, residents in the east Houston community of Manchester emerged from their homes and gave thanks that their neighborhood had been spared in the floods. "Mama, yeah, I just feel blessed," said 73-year-old Maria Julia Rodriguez, standing in her driveway in late August and marveling at her luck. "God was looking out for us, I guess."

More than a million acres of Montana forests and rangeland have burned this year, so far, causing unhealthy air across the state since mid-July.

In August the Missoula County health department took the unprecedented step of advising the entire town of Seeley Lake to evacuate due to smoke; air there has been classified as "hazardous" levels for 35 days in August 1.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET Sept. 14

The Cassini spacecraft's final moments are a few hours away. Early Friday morning, it will slam itself into Saturn's atmosphere.

The Sign, a documentary directed, shot and produced by Josh Turnbow and Robert Dvoran and set to air Thursday, addresses whether the end of days is coming this month, as some biblical literalists predict.

The "sign" in the title refers to an alignment in the sky peaking on Sept. 23, whereby Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter will be around the constellations of Virgo and Leo, together with the sun and moon. Sept. 23 is when Jupiter leaves Virgo after being there for a while.

The non-stop, "never-seen-before" hurricanes of the last few weeks have given us a glimpse of what a climate-changed world will look like for humanity.

If it seems like a scary vision, you should know that we're only at the very beginning of this wild ride. Things are likely going to get harder.

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