Science & Health

All Tech Considered
4:41 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Coming Soon: A Jolt Of Caffeine You Can Spray On Your Skin

Sprayable Energy will be on sale in November, says its creator, Ben Yu.
Courtesy of Sprayable Energy

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:16 pm

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
3:52 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

The 10 Most Important Questions In Science*

iStockphoto.com

I noticed in The Guardian that there's a book coming out this week listing the 20 biggest challenges for modern science. I'd like to go over 10 of them today, perhaps coming back to the other 10 next week.

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Discovery Of Massive Aquifers Could Be Game Changer For Kenya

Members of the El Molo tribe are pictured in the village of Komote, on the shores of Lake Turkana, northern Kenya, last year.
Carl De Souza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 3:07 pm

Satellite imagery and seismic data have identified two huge underground aquifers in Kenya's drought-prone north, a discovery that could be "a game changer" for the country, NPR's Gregory Warner reports.

The aquifers, located hundreds of feet underground in the Turkana region that borders Ethiopia and South Sudan, contain billions of gallons of water, according to UNESCO, which confirmed the existence of the subterranean lakes discovered with the help of a French company using technology originally designed to reveal oil deposits.

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:48 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

When The Dutch Keep Secrets, Everybody Notices. A Google Puzzle

Mishka Henner

What is this?

When I saw it for the first time, here's what I knew: It's a Google image found on Google Maps, taken by a satellite, plucked and blogged by photographer/sleuth, Mishka Henner. It's a patch of land near a town called Coevorden, in The Netherlands. There's a road on one side, plowed farmland all about, some trees on the lower left and then, weirdly, grey, black, white, golden, green and brown patches crunched together in an almost-rectangle. Those couldn't be natural, I thought.

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Around the Nation
2:26 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Four-Legged Impostors Give Service Dog Owners Pause

Lauren Henderson and her service dog, Phoebe, in Los Angeles. Henderson says she's seeing more dogs in vests that don't appear to be legitimate service dogs.
Lisa Napoli KCRW

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 6:54 am

Lauren Henderson goes everywhere with her service dog Phoebe — to the grocery store, Disneyland, the beach. For Henderson, who used to be paralyzed, her 100 pound, lumbering Saint Bernard is a necessity.

An actor who lives in Malibu, Calif., Henderson uses her dog for stability and balance. And if she falls, Phoebe helps pull her back on her feet.

"She's basically like a living walker," Henderson says.

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The Two-Way
5:32 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Humberto Expected To Become First Hurricane Of Atlantic Season

Tropical Storms Humberto and Gabrielle. Humberto is expected to become the first hurricane of the Atlantic season.
National Hurricane Center

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 7:05 pm

Tropical Storm Humberto is poised to get a promotion, becoming the first hurricane of an otherwise lackluster Atlantic season to date.

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The Two-Way
9:51 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Warding Off Polar Bears? There's An App For That

A tranquilized subadult polar bear is in a net in 2007 in Churchill, Manitoba, known as the "polar bear capital of the world."
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 4:01 pm

Just in time for the release of the new iPhone, a man in Canada has found yet another new use for the cellphone — thwarting a polar bear attack.

Garett Kolsun says he used his cellphone to scare off a 400-pound polar bear on the attack, using the light from the handset to startle the animal long enough to allow his escape.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:54 am
Tue September 10, 2013

A New Kind Of 'More'

The Glue Society

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 4:11 pm

You've heard, maybe, about "Simple Living"? It's what some people do, Gandhi-style, to simplify their lives. They shed possessions. They watch their carbon footprint. They choose to live with less. They have what they need, and that's enough.

What's the opposite of Simple Living? (Everything needs an opposite, right? Read Hegel.) Well, if you want to conjure Simple Living in reverse, it's not gluttony. Anybody can buy too many shoes. No, the opposite of Simple Living should also be a movement with a name, a style — and lots of fans.

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Space
4:11 am
Tue September 10, 2013

NASA's Latest Mission To The Moon Is On Track

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 6:08 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NASA's latest mission to the moon is stuck in orbit around the Earth. And that sounds bad. But as NPR Science Correspondent Joe Palca explains, it's actually normal.

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The Salt
4:06 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Rye Bother? An Inside-The-Barrel Look At American Whiskeys

America's Signature Whiskey: Some craft distilleries, like Catoctin Creek in Virginia, are making a whiskey that's 100 percent rye to showcase the grain's spicy, peppery flavor.
Courtesy of Catoctin Creek

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 1:18 pm

Ten years ago rye whiskey was on the brink of extinction.

Despite its venerable history as the whiskey made by George Washington, only a handful of distillers were bottling this quintessentially American spirit. And you definitely couldn't order a rye Manhattan at your local cocktail lounge.

My, how times have changed.

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The Salt
2:15 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Purple Sweet Potato A Contender To Replace Artificial Food Dyes

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 3:25 pm

We've grown accustomed to choosing our food from a spectacular rainbow — care for an impossibly pink cupcake, a cerulean blue sports drink or yogurt in preppy lavender?

But there's a growing backlash against the synthetic dyes that give us these eye-popping hues. And now scientists are turning to the little-known (and little-grown) purple sweet potato to develop plant-based dyes that can be labeled as nonthreatening vegetable juice.

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All Tech Considered
2:30 am
Mon September 9, 2013

It's OK To Protest In China, Just Don't March

Security guards stand outside newspaper offices in Guangdong province in January, where banners and flowers were laid in protest of censorship.
AP

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 12:12 pm

Thousands of messages posted on the Internet every day in China get censored. Until now, little has been known about how the Chinese censorship machine works — except that it is comprehensive.

"It probably is the largest effort ever to selectively censor human expression," says Harvard University social scientist Gary King. "They don't censor everything. There are millions of Chinese [who] talk about millions of things. But the effort to prune the Internet of certain kinds of information is unprecedented."

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Shots - Health News
2:28 am
Mon September 9, 2013

From Birth, Our Microbes Become As Personal As A Fingerprint

We may not see them, but we need them.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 12:58 pm

Look in the mirror and you won't see your microbiome. But it's there with you from the day you are born. Over time, those bacteria, viruses and fungi multiply until they outnumber your own cells 10 to 1.

As babies, the microbes may teach our immune systems how to fight off bad bugs that make us sick and ignore things that aren't a threat.

We get our first dose of microbes from our mothers, both in the birth canal and in breast milk. Family members tend to have similar microbiomes.

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Animals
4:33 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

Answering The Cranes' Call: 40 Years Of Preserving Grace

Mated pairs of red-crowned cranes perform a "unison call," a complex and extended series of calls between the male and female that reinforces the pair bond.
Sture Traneving

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 5:26 pm

Of all the world's birds, perhaps none are more mystical than cranes.

From Asia to North America, these tall birds with haunting cries have been woven into paintings, literature and folk tales. But today, 10 of the world's 15 crane species are threatened, and some are on the brink of extinction.

Their grass and wetland habitats are devastated all over the world. The International Crane Foundation, based in Wisconsin, has been studying and advocating for the birds for 40 years. George Archibald founded it with another young ornithologist on a family farm near Baraboo.

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Humans
4:33 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

From The Fall Of Failure, Success Can Take Flight

Members of S. A. Andrée's 1897 journey survey their downed vessel. This photo was recovered from a camera when their remains were found 33 years later.
Courtesy of Grenna Museum, Andréexpeditionen Polarcenter/Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography/National Geographic

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 5:26 pm

Diana Nyad's successful swim from Cuba to Key West on Monday was made all the sweeter because she had tried — and failed — four times before.

She learned you should "never, ever give up," but she also learned some practical lessons to help beat the elements in those earlier attempts. Out of failure, she innovated. And out of innovation, she succeeded.

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