Science & Health

The Salt
3:45 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Fish Guidelines For Pregnant Women May Be Too Strict, Study Suggests

In a study of 4,000 pregnant women, fish accounted for only 7 percent of blood mercury levels.
JackF iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 4:22 pm

The health benefits of eating fish are pretty well-known. A lean source of protein, fish can be a rich source of healthful omega-3 fatty acids and has been shown to benefit heart, eye and brain health.

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Space
3:40 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

The Government Shutdown's Final Frontier: How NASA Is Dealing

While almost all of NASA's employees have been furloughed because of the government shutdown, ground control activities for the International Space Station are still operational. Above, astronaut Chris Cassidy on a spacewalk aboard the ISS on May 11.
AP

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:39 am

If ET wants to phone home, this is not the week to do it. NASA's phone lines are down, as are its website and many Twitter feeds. All have been silenced by the government shutdown, whose far-reaching consequences are now stretching into space.

The shutdown began on Tuesday, after Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives failed to come to an agreement over the federal budget. Most of the government's nonessential services have ground to a halt, and among the hardest hit agencies is NASA.

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Shots - Health News
1:07 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Why Eye Contact Can Fail To Win People Over

Eye contact may prove persuasive only if a person's already on your side, a study finds.
iStockphoto.com

Pop psychology holds that to connect with someone, you should look deep into their eyes. The more you look, the more persuasive you'll be. But that may work only when your audience already agrees with you.

Researchers in Germany tested the power of the eye lock by polling university students about their opinions on controversial issues like assisted suicide, nuclear energy and affirmative action in the workplace.

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The Salt
2:23 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Can Millet Take On Quinoa? First, It'll Need A Makeover

This millet field outside Nunn, Colo., is nearing harvest time, when the grain turns from green to a golden color.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 10:37 am

Walk through a health food store and you'll find amaranth, sorghum, quinoa — heritage grains that have been staples around the world for generations. Americans are just discovering them.

There's another age-old grain that grows right here on the Great Plains: millet.

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The Two-Way
5:41 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

The Shutdown's Squeeze On Science And Health

This image was posted by NASA to the agency's official Instagram account.
NASA Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 5:52 pm

In addition to shutdowns of national parks (including Alcatraz Island and Yosemite) and the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, the mandatory furloughs are affecting a wide range of government science and health agencies. Here's a snapshot:

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Youth Radio
3:26 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Puberty Is Coming Earlier, But That Doesn't Mean Sex Ed Is

A growing number of children are entering puberty at younger ages — sometimes as young as 6 or 7. But in many schools, sex education classes don't begin before the fifth grade.
Cuneyt Hizal iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 4:54 pm

For kids growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, there's a standard introduction to puberty at many schools: an educational play called Nightmare on Puberty Street.

It's a fictional play, and in it, character Natalie raps about how quickly her body is growing — and how her classmates call her names.

"I didn't pick how my body would grow, and I don't feel normal, 'cause I'm not in control."

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Environment
11:38 am
Tue October 1, 2013

When Islands Pop Out Of The Sea

Pakistanis walk on an island that emerged off the coastline of the Arabian Sea following a deadly magnitude 7.7 earthquake in Pakistan's southern province of Baluchistan on Sept. 24.
Gwadar local government office AP

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 1:46 pm

When a mud volcano erupted last week and created a muddy mound of an island just off the southern coast of Pakistan, it seemed to us like a rather rare development.

But it turns out islands crop up fairly often. Charles Darwin commented on one. And it's been happening in shallow marshy patches off the coasts of Sweden and Finland for millennia.

Darwin's Find

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The Two-Way
11:18 am
Tue October 1, 2013

WATCH: Newborn White Lion Cubs In South Korea

White lion cubs at South Korea's Everland zoo.
VOA video

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:41 am

If you're suffering withdrawal symptoms from the National Zoo's "pandacams" — sadly deemed "nonessential" and therefore shut down, along with much of the rest of the government — we have the perfect antidote:

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The Salt
10:46 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Now You Can Go To Harvard And Learn Cooking Science From Top Chefs

YouTube

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 12:50 pm

It's one part Food Network, one part Mr. Science, two big handfuls of DIY, and probably going to be a whole lot of fun.

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The Two-Way
10:03 am
Tue October 1, 2013

What's The Forecast On Kepler-7B? Hot And Cloudy

An artist's rendition of Kepler-7b (left) with Jupiter for comparison.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MIT

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 11:34 am

Scientists are reasonably sure that it's a cloudy day on Kepler-7b, a planet that orbits its star about 1,000 light-years away from us.

Using NASA's orbiting space telescopes, researchers publishing in Astrophysical Journal Letters say that for the first time they've been able to make a rudimentary map of the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet.

The team used faint visible light and infrared reflections from Kepler-7b to make their cloud map.

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The Two-Way
6:08 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Scientists May Have Source For A.D. 1257 'Mystery Eruption'

The Samalas volcanic crater at Rinjani National Park on Lombok Island, Indonesia.
Rinjani National Park, Indonesia

Scientists think they've identified the source of a massive volcanic eruption that occurred in A.D. 1257 and spread telltale traces across the globe.

The culprit in the "mystery eruption" appears to be the Samalas volcano, part of the Mount Rinjani Volcanic Complex on Indonesia's Lombok Island, an international team of scientists publishing in PNAS journal says.

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It's All Politics
3:00 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Here's Something Congress Can Agree On: Helium

Party On: Legislation passed last week allows the Federal Helium Reserve to continue selling the stockpiled gas. Above, Jonathan Trappe launches his 370-balloon craft from Caribou, Maine, in an attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 12.
Alexandre Ayre Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:03 pm

With the government on the brink of a shutdown, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have come together to compromise on helium. Legislation passed late last week will keep the gas used in party balloons flowing from a national reserve.

The helium bill's passage shows that compromise is still possible in the fractious political climate. But finding agreement over this inert gas was tough. The new law came after more than a year of intensive lobbying by some of America's largest businesses and academic institutions.

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All Tech Considered
2:29 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Space's Wild: 5 Cool Happenings Along The Final Frontier

SpaceX launched an upgraded version of its Falcon 9 rocket Sept. 30 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, northwest of Los Angeles.
SpaceX

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 3:29 pm

SpaceX hit a milestone in space exploration Sunday as it launched its most powerful rocket yet from California.

The unmanned nine-engine Falcon 9, which carried a small Canadian weather satellite called Cassiope, is an experiment in reusing rocket parts after they have fallen back to Earth. As the BBC reports:

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Author Interviews
1:54 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

How Our Stone Age Bodies Struggle To Stay Healthy In Modern Times

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 9:00 am

If you got sick, you probably wouldn't go to an evolutionary biologist to get treated. But Daniel Lieberman, professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard University, says that his field can help you understand why you got sick, and make you more aware of healthy and harmful behaviors.

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The Two-Way
10:16 am
Mon September 30, 2013

No Assembly Required: Ikea To Sell Solar Panels In U.K.

Workers assemble solar panels at the now-bankrupt Suntech in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi. Overproduction in the country has helped lower the cost of solar panels.
Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 2:44 pm

Ikea Corp., the Swedish housewares giant, says it will begin selling solar panels to its customers in Britain as it aims to tap into a growing market for renewable energy fueled partly by the U.K.'s solar subsidies.

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