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Do you keep up with international news?

This quiz will give you a chance to find out.

In this installment of NPR's series Inside Alzheimer's, we hear from Greg O'Brien about his decision to forgo treatment for another life-threatening illness. A longtime journalist in Cape Cod, Mass., O'Brien was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease in 2009.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Volkswagen has been caught in a big deception. The U.S. government says the German company has admitted to installing software that could turn off emissions controls on 482,000 diesel cars in the U.S.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

The Environmental Protection Agency says Volkswagen intentionally violated the Clean Air Act by using sophisticated software in its diesel-powered cars that detects emissions testing — and "turns full emissions controls on only during the test."

Installed in four-cylinder cars, the software, which the EPA calls a "defeat device" that's meant to trick official tests, allowed diesel Jettas, Beetles and other cars to "emit up to 40 times more pollution" than allowed under U.S. emission standards.

British scientists announced Friday that they had applied for permission to edit the DNA in human embryos, a controversial step that has provoked intense debate around the world.

Kathy Niakan of The Francis Crick Institute in London and colleagues filed an application with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which regulates experiments involving human embryos in England.

"The only way to see a scale model of the solar system," Wylie Overstreet says, "is to build one." So he and a group of friends did just that, tracing out the planets' orbits and then filming a time-lapse video from a nearby mountaintop in Nevada's Black Rock Desert.

When it comes to sleep, fruit flies are a lot like people. They sleep at night, caffeine keeps them awake, and they even get insomnia.

Those similarities, along with scientists' detailed knowledge of the genes and brain structure of Drosophila melanogaster, have made the fruit fly extremely valuable to sleep researchers.

Hundreds of you sent in questions for Skunk Bear's live conversation with three astronauts and NASA's chief scientist on Tuesday. Thanks! The most common question was: "What happens when you get your period in space?"

I didn't end up asking them this question because:

a) The question itself has a lot of historical baggage;
b) The answer is pretty boring.

But since people were genuinely curious, I decided to answer it here.

Everyone knows that caffeine can keep you awake, but a new study shows that the world's most popular drug can actually interfere with your body's internal sense of time.

"The circadian clock is way beyond 'sleep and wake,' " says Kenneth Wright, a sleep and circadian physiologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "The circadian clock is present in cells throughout our entire body. It's in your fat cells; it's in your muscle cells. It's in your liver, for example, as well as in your brain."

Word that Americans throw away about one-third of our available food has been getting around.

Now there's an official goal aimed at reducing that waste.

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency — along with many private-sector and food-bank partners — announced the first ever national target for food waste.

"[We're] basically challenging the country to reduce food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tells The Salt.

It's called the Heartland virus disease. Since it was first detected in 2009, there have been only nine reported cases in the Midwest, including two deaths.

So scientists thought the Heartland virus was limited to a small region.

That assumption was wrong.

A team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has now found signs that Heartland virus is circulating in deer, raccoons, coyotes and moose in 13 states — from Texas to North Carolina and Florida to Maine.

School Nurses Stock Drug To Reverse Opioid Overdoses

Sep 16, 2015

AnneMarie Zagari found her teenage son unresponsive on the couch after he took too many opioid painkillers in 2011. She began pounding his chest and slapping his face, and finally succeeded in reviving him by giving him CPR. It was a terrifying moment. And that panic wouldn't have been necessary if she'd had access to the drug naloxone (also known as Narcan), which can instantly reverse an overdose.

"It would have been instant revival," Zagari says.

What kind of messages get ignored? What kind prompt you to do something?

Those are questions that a small group of behavioral scientists at the White House has been working on since early last year.

The Social and Behavioral Sciences Team is seeking ways to improve government efficiency and access to government programs through easy, low-cost interventions.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



In a new expansion of commercial efforts to launch earthlings into space, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos plans to build rockets on Florida's Space Coast — in an area he calls "a gateway to humankind's greatest adventures."

At first glance, the metallic device almost looks like a high-tech bike pedal. Or maybe the latest cooking gadget for zesting lemons. Or, perhaps, it's a secret weapon for X-Men superhero Wolverine.

But look again.

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Paleo People Were Making Flour 32,000 Years Ago

Sep 14, 2015

Oatmeal is generally considered a no-no on the modern paleo diet, but the original paleo eaters were definitely grinding oats and other grains for dinner, according to new research.

That finding comes from new investigations of an ancient stone recovered in a cave called Grotta Paglicci in Puglia, in southern Italy. It was used by the Gravettian culture — a paleolithic people who also left behind spectacular cave paintings, evidence of burial and distinctive stone tools.

Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET

Mount Aso — a volcano on Japan's southern main island of Kyushu — has erupted, spewing black smoke and ash more than a mile into the air, the Japanese Meteorological Agency says.

So far, there have been no reports of injuries or damage, but ash fell as far as 2.5 miles from the crater.

Mount Aso, which stands 5,222 feet high, is the country's largest active volcano.

Are you not getting enough sleep, or are you getting too much? If your answer to either of these questions is "yes," you may be at risk of heart disease.

Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka's safe return from months aboard the International Space Station has put him in the record books for spending more time in space than any other human — the equivalent of nearly two and a half years on five different flights.

Padalka, whose latest 168-day stay on the ISS gives him a total of 879 days in space, has smashed the previous record, which was set by fellow Russian Sergei Krikalev in 2005, by two months .

Scientists today laid out a truly worst-case scenario for global warming — what would happen if we burned the Earth's entire supply of fossil fuels.

Virtually all of Antarctica's ice would melt, leading to a 160- to 200-foot sea level rise.

"If we burn it all, we're going to melt it all," says Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science.

In California's blazing hot San Joaquin Valley, millions of pistachio trees are now buried in clusters of small pinkish-green fruits — what would seem like a bumper crop.

But for many growers of the popular nut, the season is shaping into a disaster. Jeff Schmiederer, who farms 700 acres of family-owned pistachio trees on the western side of the San Joaquin Valley, says about 90 percent of the nuts he has sampled from his trees are hollow — what growers call "blanks."

When It Comes To Kids, Is All Screen Time Equal?

Sep 11, 2015

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Screen Time - Part I.

About Dimitri Christakis' TED Talk

Pediatrician Dimitri Christakis explains how different forms of screen time affects kids and their ability to learn and develop.

About Dimitri Christakis

How Are Our Screens Changing Us Now?

Sep 11, 2015

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Screen Time - Part I.

Host Guy Raz raises the curtain on a special two-part TED Radio Hour episode about our ambivalent relationships with our screens.

We hear audio from a Facebook press conference call in which CEO Mark Zuckerburg describes virtual reality as a development that will revolutionize our lives — like the PC, the Internet and the smartphone.

What Happens When We Step Inside The Screen?

Sep 11, 2015

Part 6 of the TED Radio Hour episode Screen Time - Part I.

About Chris Milk's TED Talk

Filmmaker Chris Milk uses cutting edge technology to create a film experience that immerses the viewer. He explains how virtual reality has allowed him to create the "ultimate empathy machine."

About Chris Milk

How Are Screens Changing The Face Of War?

Sep 11, 2015

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Screen Time - Part I.

About P.W. Singer's TED Talk

Today airstrikes involve generals dictating - and soldiers carrying out - orders behind screens. Strategist P.W. Singer describes how screens have complicated the nature of war.

About P.W. Singer