Science & Health

Shots - Health News
3:23 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Google's Flu Tracker Suffers From Sniffles

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 10:27 am

If you want to know what's up with the flu at the moment, you have a few choices: You can get the latest information at Google Flu Trends. Or you can get the official word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is based on data that's by now a couple of weeks old.

But a report in the journal Science finds that quicker isn't necessarily better.

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Shots - Health News
1:31 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

HIV Can Spread Through Sexual Contact Between Women

Lesbian couples have a lower risk of spreading HIV to each other than do heterosexual or gay couples.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 2:17 pm

A woman in Texas likely infected her female partner with HIV through sexual contact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

The case offers the strongest evidence to date that HIV transmission between women, although rare, is possible.

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The Salt
12:34 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

A Major In Coffee? UC Davis Might Be Brewing One Up

The University of California, Davis, recently founded a Coffee Center dedicated to the study of the beloved brew.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 4:22 pm

Many of us have those friends who insist that they're coffee connoisseurs and drink exclusively drip brews. But really, there aren't many academic programs that train people in the taste and science of coffee.

That might all change soon. The University of California, Davis, recently founded a Coffee Center dedicated to the study of the world of java. This week, the center held its first research conference.

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The Salt
1:17 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Water-To-Wine Machine Sound Too Good To Be True? It Is

Philip James, Chairman of CustomVine, and Kevin Boyer, President and CEO of CustomVine, film a video to promote The Miracle Machine, which turns water into wine with the use of an app.
Courtesy of The Miracle Machine

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 3:01 pm

Think a machine that can turn water into wine is too good to be true? Well, it turns out, it is.

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Shots - Health News
11:08 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Mix Of Gut Microbes May Play Role In Crohn's Disease

In some human diseases, the wrong mix of bacteria seems to be the trouble.
Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 8:31 pm

The particular assortment of microbes in the digestive system may be an important factor in the inflammatory bowel condition known as Crohn's disease.

Research involving more than 1,500 patients found that people with Crohn's disease had less diverse populations of gut microbes.

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Science & Health
9:36 am
Wed March 12, 2014

UA Talk Focuses on Darwin Contemporary Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace, circa 1860, was a Welsh naturalist and explorer who, independently of Darwin, propounded the theory of evolution by natural selection. (NPR)
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

He doesn’t get as much attention as Charles Darwin.  But the work of Alfred Russel Wallace is perhaps just as important in building evidence for the theory of evolution through natural selection.  A talk Thursday night at the University of Alabama will focus on Wallace’s work.  Dr. James Costa is a biology professor at Western Carolina University.  He helped publish one of Wallace’s field notebooks that he says suggests his discovery wasn’t just an accident, as some have speculated.  He’ll be highlighting that work for his audience.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:20 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Who Needs Clicks? Blogger Vi Hart Goes Wildly, Dramatically Dull

Vi Hart YouTube

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 12:30 pm

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Shots - Health News
4:53 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Obesity Linked To Lower Grades Among Teen Girls

In a British study of nearly 6,000 students, obesity — or perhaps dealing with the stigma associated with obesity — seemed to reduce academic performance.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 7:23 am

Childhood obesity has made it to the forefront of public health issues, both in the United Kingdom and in the United States.

Now researchers at the Universities of Dundee, Strathclyde, Georgia and Bristol say that not only does obesity affect a child's overall health, but it may also lead to poorer school performance among teenage girls. Among boys, the link is less apparent.

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Shots - Health News
4:13 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Whole Genome Scans Aren't Quite Ready For Your Doctor's Office

Interpreting the results from a genome scan takes a lot of people time. And the databases used to interpret the results aren't infallible.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 3:08 pm

For more than a decade scientists have been saying that a genomic revolution will transform medicine, making it possible to scan all of a person's DNA to predict risk and customize medical care.

Well, we've got the machines. Where's the revolution?

Getting closer, say researchers at Stanford University, who tested the technology on 12 people. But not quite ready for every doctor's office.

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The Salt
4:10 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Save The Escargot! Snail-Devouring Predator Rears Its Head In France

A specimen of Platydemus manokwari collected in a greenhouse at Caen in Normandy. You can see its white pharynx protruding from the underside, ingesting soft tissues of a specimen of the Mediterranean snail.
Pierre Gros/PeerJ

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 6:06 pm

Oh, no, not the escargot!

A vicious little worm with an appetite for snails has made its European debut. And that has some scientists worried about the future of France's famed mollusk appetizer.

The New Guinea flatworm (Platydemus manokwari) is the lone worm on the Global Invasive Species Database's list of 100 of the world's most dangerous invaders. And last November, it was discovered in a greenhouse in Caen, Normandy.

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Humans
3:06 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Genetic Sequencing May Not Be Ready To Become Routine

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 5:51 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Asia
3:06 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Three Years From Meltdown, Japanese Nuclear Plant Still Struggles

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 5:51 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Three years ago today, a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan killed thousands of people. It also triggered the meltdown of reactors at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The cleanup is ongoing and has been problematic, with power failures and leaks of contaminated water. And the technical difficulties involved in closing the facility are compounded by serious labor issues.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

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All Tech Considered
3:06 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Evolved Science: Crowds Can Catalog Bugs Faster

Notes From Nature allows volunteers to digitally catalog thousands of scientific specimens, like this insect from the Calbug project.
Screengrab NotesFromNature.org

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 6:55 pm

The next evolution of science is not happening in a lab, but in a basement in a rural Florida county. Thanks to online crowdsourcing, thousands of non-scientists can visit a site called Notes From Nature and lend a hand to university researchers cataloging their collections, from bark to bugs.

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The Salt
1:25 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

For A Faster-Aged Bourbon, You Need The Motion Of The Ocean

Jefferson's Ocean bourbon is aged on the high seas, a technique that takes advantage of basic physical chemistry. The bottles sell for $200 a piece.
Courtesy of OCEARCH

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 9:48 am

From its earliest days as America's homegrown whiskey elixir, Kentucky bourbon has been traveling on boats.

In fact, boats were a key reason why Kentucky became the king of bourbon. In the late 1700s, trade depended on waterways, and distillers in the state had a big advantage: the Ohio River. They'd load their barrels onto flatboats on the Ohio, which flowed into the Mississippi, taking their golden liquor as far down as New Orleans.

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Science & Health
12:45 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Space Company Expanding in Huntsville

Alabama’s reputation as one of the leaders in the space industry is continuing to grow.  A private company building vehicles for space travel is expanding its work in Huntsville.  Sierra Nevada Company announced it’s teaming up with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and an engineering company.  Mark Sirangelo is Sierra Nevada’s corporate vice president.  He says they’re expanding in Huntsville to tap into the wealth of knowledge there. 

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