Science & Health

Space
11:00 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Life From Mars

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 4:20 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I am Ira Flatow. When we talk about Mars, you know, it's usually about the search for life or water or something like that on the red planet that might be similar to life on earth, right? Is there life on Mars? Was there life on Mars? Was it similar to life on earth? But what if life came from Mars to earth? What if earth was seeded by Martian life forms three billion years ago? It's not a new idea, Martian life forms hitching a ride on a meteorite. But there is a new theory to support it.

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Fitness & Nutrition
11:00 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Do Your Gut Bacteria Influence Your Metabolism?

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 4:20 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I am Ira Flatow. Did you know that trillions of bacteria live in your gut, happily dining on the food you eat? And your bacteria community, well, it's different than mine; everyone has a different community and that is important because as a new study published in Science points out, the specific bacteria you shelter can alter your metabolism. It can help determine your health. How do you get the bacteria in your gut? What connection do they have to our well-being?

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Shots - Health News
9:45 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Scientists Put A 'Sixth Sense' For Numbers On Brain Map

A sixth sense? A small patch of neurons on either side of the brain recognizes how many dots are on a screen. As more dots appear, active neurons shift to the right.
Courtesy of Ben Harvey/Utretch University

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 11:25 am

One of the most famous scenes in the movie Rain Man unfolds when a waitress drops a box of toothpicks on the floor. Dustin Hoffman's character, Ray, takes a look and says, "82, 82, 82." He quickly sums the numbers, declaring, "Of course, 246 total."

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Space
4:34 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Communications Gear Hitches Ride With Lunar Probe

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 11:40 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Environment
4:05 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Scientists Look Into Reasons For 2012's Dramatic Weather

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 11:40 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Last year, 2012, the Earth experienced a record melt of Arctic ice, torrential rainfall in Australia, and withering droughts in the United States and elsewhere. Scientists are beginning to figure out why. Here's NPR's Richard Harris

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The Salt
5:41 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Was Your Chicken Nugget Made In China? It'll Soon Be Hard To Know

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 11:52 am

Here's a bit of news that might make you drop that chicken nugget midbite.

Just before the start of the long holiday weekend last Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture quietly announced that it was ending a ban on processed chicken imports from China. The kicker: These products can now be sold in the U.S. without a country-of-origin label.

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Code Orange-Alert
4:28 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Air Quality Alert Issued In Central Alabama

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management has issued an air quality alert for Jefferson and Shelby counties.
Credit The Alabama Weather Blog / ABC 33/40

The has issued an air quality alert for Jefferson and Shelby counties.

The Code Orange alert issued Thursday means air pollution levels in the affected areas could irritate sensitive groups, such as children, the elderly and people with asthma.

11 similar alerts were issued in 2012 and a Jessica Chace, a National Weather Service meteorologist says heavy rain has likely helped keep Alabama's air quality at acceptable levels this summer.

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Joe's Big Idea
2:38 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Coronal Holes: The (Rarely Round) Gaps In The Sun's Atmosphere

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this picture of the sun on June 18. The dark blue area in the upper left quadrant of the sun is a huge coronal hole more than 400,000 miles across. Coronal holes are areas of the sun's outermost atmospheric layer — the corona — where the magnetic field opens up and solar material quickly flows out.
NASA/SDO

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 4:21 pm

There's a hole in the sun's corona. But don't worry — that happens from time to time.

"A coronal hole is just a big, dark blotch that we see on the sun in our images," says Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. "We can only see them from space, because when we look at them [through] a regular telescope, they don't appear."

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Author Interviews
12:46 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

What's Mittens Thinking? Make 'Sense' Of Your Cat's Behavior

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 5:43 pm

Cats have come a long way from being animals charged with catching mice to treasured, adorable creatures that snuggle with us in our beds. But this relatively new arrangement is creating issues for cats and the people who live with them.

John Bradshaw has studied the history of domesticated cats and how the relationship between people and cats has changed. He's the author of the new book Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, which is a follow-up to his book Dog Sense.

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Shots - Health News
10:54 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Tuberculosis Hitched A Ride When Early Humans Left Africa

Signs of tuberculosis have been found in ancient Egyptian mummies, such as this one in London's British Museum.
Klafubra Wikimedia.org

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 12:55 pm

Dogs often get credit for being humans' constant companions. But dogs have nothing on tuberculosis bacteria.

TB and people have been trapped in a relationship that's been going on for thousands of years — perhaps even tens of thousands of years, scientists said earlier this week.

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Shots - Health News
9:28 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Parents' Harsh Words Might Make Teen Behaviors Worse

Sure you're steamed. But teenagers tend to meet harsh words with even worse behavior, a study says.
Katherine Streeter

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 12:56 pm

Most parents yell at their kids at some point. It often feels like the last option for getting children to pay attention and shape up.

But harsh verbal discipline may backfire. Teenagers act worse if they're yelled at, a study finds.

Researchers asked parents of 13-year-olds in the Philadelphia area how often in the past year they'd yelled, cursed or called the kid "dumb or lazy or some other word like that" after he or she had done something wrong.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:33 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Wild Things Hanging From Spruce Trees

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 9:45 am

Stanley Kunitz, one of our great poets, planted a spruce tree next to his house in Provincetown, Mass., and over the years that tree attracted some tenants, a family of garden snakes. I didn't know garden snakes climb trees, especially needly ones like a spruce, but they do.

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Shots - Health News
4:49 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Multitasking After 60: Video Game Boosts Focus, Mental Agility

Strenuous mental exercise like reading difficult books, solving tricky math problems — or, maybe, playing the right video game — can help keep a healthy brain sharp, research suggests.
Images.com/Corbis

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 4:22 pm

A brain that trains can stay in the fast lane. That's the message of a study showing that playing a brain training video game for a month can rejuvenate the multitasking abilities of people in their 60s, 70s and 80s.

"After training, they improved their multitasking beyond the level of 20-year-olds," says Adam Gazzaley, one of the study's authors and a brain scientist at the University of California, San Francisco.

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The Two-Way
4:33 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Scientists Demonstrate Leaner System For Quantum Encryption

Navajo encryption boxes seen at right in 2003 employ principles of quantum physics. The latest research has shown the ability to run larger networks with less such hardware.
Elise Amendola Associated Press

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 7:48 pm

Scientists have demonstrated the ability to scale-up an 'uncrackable' computer encryption system that utilizes quantum physics to ensure security.

The technique is based on information that is carried by photons, the basic particles of light. While it's been demonstrated on a small scale, the team headed by Andrew Shields and publishing in Nature says they've shown that up to 64 users can share a single photon detector, eliminating the need for each one to have such an (expensive) device.

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Food
4:27 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Fixing Stove Hoods To Keep Pollution Out Of The Kitchen

Cooking on gas and electric stoves can create indoor air pollution. The best way to avoid it is to buy a good range hood that vents outside, experts say.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 5:47 pm

Hot summer days often mean air pollution warnings in big cities. But the air inside your kitchen can sometimes be just as harmful. Cooking fumes from your stove are supposed to be captured by a hood over the range — but even some expensive models aren't that effective.

Jennifer Logue spends a lot of time thinking about what happens when she cooks. She's a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where she studies indoor air pollution.

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