Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

I've been trying to get the perfect crust on my fried chicken for a while now. To be specific, I've been working on a dish called Chongqing Sichuan spicy chicken or chicken with chilies. This can be one of the most transformative experiences to ever come out of a wok, and I've been chasing a crisp, almost glassy crunch on my chicken for a long time.

The Department of Labor is issuing a long-awaited and controversial rule Thursday aimed at better protecting workers from inhaling silica dust.

The new rule dramatically reduces the allowed exposure limits for workers in a slew of industries, from construction to manufacturing to fracking.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Beekeepers flock from all over the country to California every February and March to watch billions of honeybees buzz around the state's almond trees. Eighty percent of the country's commercial bees visit the Golden State each spring.

So I went to check out the scene at an almond orchard at the California State University, Fresno, in Central California.

"Really, the key is to stay calm around bees, because if you're afraid, then your body physiologically changes and they can sense that," beekeeper Brian Hiatt tells me. "They literally can smell fear."

This week on Hidden Brain we ask, what happens when you empathize with your enemy? Why does reaching out to another tribe make our tribe so angry? We talk to Avner Gvaryahu, a former paratrooper in the Israeli army, who angered his fellow Israelis for talking about his work as a soldier. And we talk with Mohammed Dajani, a Palestinian professor who now lives in the United States out of fear for his life. His crime? He led a group of Palestinian students to Auschwitz to try to help them understand the Holocaust.

When a doctor found that Kenicer Carty's 1-year-old daughter had a dangerously high level of lead last year, it triggered an alarm of sorts. Officials sent an inspector to Carty's 1930 row house in northeast Baltimore. It turned out that every single window had hazardous chipping lead paint.

Bruce Klingner knows better than anyone how dangerous North Korea really is. He spent years analyzing the Hermit Kingdom for the CIA, and he now works as a Northeast Asia analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

On March 10, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee held a news conference at the Good Neighbor Healthcare Center in the part of Houston she represents. The mayor and a bevy of other state and local officials stood behind her.

Shackleton, Endeavour, Falcon and ... Boaty McBoatface?

These are some of the names that have been suggested for the United Kingdom's new state-of-the-art polar research vessel that's slated to take to the seas in 2019.

Can you guess which one is leading the vote?

Britain's Natural Environment Research Council asked the public to help think of possible monikers for the new world-class ship, urging them to look for "an inspirational name" that exemplifies the vessel's mission, a historical figure, movement, landmark or a famous polar explorer or scientist.

An Upside To Climate Change? Better French Wine

Mar 21, 2016

While climate change threatens coastal cities and generates extreme weather, the effects of global warming could bring good news to some of France's most esteemed vineyards.

Here, the conditions needed to produce early-ripening fruit, which is historically associated with highly rated wines, have become more frequent, according to research published online Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

NASA has released a new gravity map of Mars, providing a detailed look at the Red Planet's surface and revealing new information about what lies beneath it.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Donna Davis thought she had hit the jackpot with the two bags of mushrooms she collected in the woods of Northern California's Salt Point State Park. Instead, she ended up in the hospital, facing the possibility of a liver transplant, after mistakenly eating a poisonous mushroom known as the death cap.

Is outer space a man's domain? You might think so in Germany, where the country's 11 astronauts have all been men. They also dominate mission control at the German Space Operations Center, although Katja Leuoth is helping to change that.

Five years ago, Leuoth became the center's first female flight director. Recently, a second woman was hired, she says. They and 10 male colleagues run the European portion of the International Space Station 24/7 from the compound in the small Bavarian town of Oberpfaffenhofen.

As Californians hope for rain and snow to end the state's extreme drought, a decades-old rule prohibits reservoirs from filling up in the winter, so some water ends up being released.

The rule may sound odd given how chronically dry California is, but it's actually to prevent a bigger disaster: flooding.

Could A Boiling River From A Childhood Legend Exist?

Mar 18, 2016

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Hidden

About Andrés Ruzo's TED Talk

As a boy, Andrés Ruzo heard stories of a mythical boiling river. Years later, as a geoscientist, he recounts his journey deep into the Amazon to see if the river actually exists.

About Andrés Ruzo

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Hidden

About Sarah Parcak's TED Talk

Sarah Parcak is a pioneer in space archaeology. She describes her method of using satellite images to locate lost ancient sites.

About Sarah Parcak

There may be hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of undiscovered ancient sites — Sarah Parcak wants to locate them.

Can We Fall Prey To Hidden Parasites?

Mar 18, 2016

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Hidden

About Ed Yong's TED talk

Science writer Ed Yong delves into the hidden world of parasites. He describes how parasites, once inside a host's body, become masters in the craft of manipulation.

About Ed Yong

How Can Hidden Sounds Be Captured By Everyday Objects

Mar 18, 2016

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Hidden

About Abe Davis' TED Talk

Computer scientist Abe Davis explains how you can turn a plant or a bag of chips into a microphone, and capturing the hidden sound vibrations on a high-speed camera.

About Abe Davis

Abe Davis is a doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a musician.

What Hidden Underwater Worlds Are Left To Discover?

Mar 18, 2016

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Hidden

About Robert Ballard's TED Talk

Ocean explorer Robert Ballard makes the case for exploring the deep oceans, where he is discovering new species, resources and mountain ranges.

About Robert Ballard

When it comes to milk production, Gigi the cow is queen.

"She's the diva of all divas," says Robert Behnke, a Brooklyn, Wis., dairy farmer and Gigi's owner.

And she's earned that diva status: Earlier this year, she produced more milk in one year than any other cow had done before — just shy of 75,000 pounds of milk, roughly equivalent to 8,700 gallons. That's triple the national average for a dairy cow to produce in a year.

After days of anticipation, a fuzzy wing flopped out of the remains of an egg shell Friday morning, signaling the hatching of a baby bald eagle who's been watched and fretted over, via an eagle cam set up at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.

The bird then worked its way out of its shell over the next hour, emerging more fully around 8:20 a.m. ET. Throughout the process, its parent eagle alternated between peering attentively (to be honest, eagles don't seem capable of anything but) and nestling over the fledgling and a second, as-yet-unhatched, egg.

Residents in Flint, Mich., are still living in a state of emergency, waiting for answers about the safety of their water.

After almost two years of bad drinking water, it can be hard for them to trust researchers and officials – except for a group of independent researchers from Virginia Tech who exposed the problem last summer.

"So we trust them. We don't trust nobody else," says Bishop Bernadel Jefferson, a resident of Flint.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

If you're planning to hoist a pint of Irish dry stout for St. Patrick's Day, the folks at Guinness have a polite request: Don't slurp the foamy head off their beer. It's essentially a nitrogen cap, they say, that's protecting the flavors underneath from being oxidized.

St. Patrick's is a huge day for the legendary brewer – of the 70 million people who are estimated to be celebrating today, around 13 million will also drink a glass of Guinness.

I've been itching to get a standing desk. After all, America's sitting itself into an early grave. Sitting is the new smoking. Clearly, a standing desk would stop me from sitting, and standing is just so much better for you than sitting, right?

Contrary to popular belief, science does not say so.

The mathematics problem he solved had been lingering since 1637 — and he first read about it when he was just 10 years old. This week, British professor Andrew Wiles, 62, got prestigious recognition for his feat, winning the Abel Prize from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters for providing a proof for Fermat's Last Theorem.

Pot-infused edibles are big sellers in states that have legalized marijuana. The problem is, it's been tough to measure and regulate the potency of these ganja-laced gummy bears, lollies and brownies.

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