science

Biology
12:32 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Like All Animals, We Need Stress. Just Not Too Much

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 9:09 am

Ask somebody about stress, and you're likely to hear an outpouring about all the bad things that cause it — and the bad things that result. But if you ask a biologist, you'll hear that stress can be good.

In fact, it's essential.

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Science
4:03 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Can't Stand Meetings? Try Taking Away The Chairs

Standing even for part of a meeting could engage your team in more productive collaboration, researchers say.
pixdeluxe/Getty Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 8:49 am

The secret to more productive meetings? You might simply need to stand up.

This we know, to some degree. Just take as examples the growing popularity of standing desks, which took off after a flurry of reports found that sitting for long periods of time can significantly, negatively, impact employees' health.

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Experiment
7:42 am
Mon July 7, 2014

What Does Cold Sound Like? See If Your Ear Can Tell Temperature

That water sounds so cold.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 6:22 am

Can you hear the difference between hot and cold?

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Life In Cartoons
2:18 am
Sun June 29, 2014

Her Baby Is At Risk: Lauren's Story

Courtesy of Lauren R. Weinstein/Nautilus

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 12:55 pm

They're odds. That's all they are. Not fate, just probabilities. Lauren Weinstein, cartoonist, is having a baby, and she's told — out of the blue — that she and her husband are both carriers of the gene that causes cystic fibrosis. They are sent to a genetic counselor. What happens next — told in five beautifully drawn, emotionally eloquent cartoons — tells what it's like to walk the edge for a few weeks. She's so many things (sad, funny, scared, puzzled), and then there's the ender. Take a look.

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Medicine
9:49 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Swedish Hospital Patient Walks Again With Deep Brain Stimulation

DBS-probes shown in X-ray of the skull (white areas around maxilla and mandible represent metal dentures and are unrelated to DBS devices
From Wikipedia

Here’s the plot: A man suffering from dystonia – a neurological disorder that causes twisting and abnormal postures – goes to a doctor. The doctor gives the man local anesthesia, drills into his head, inserts spaghetti-like electrodes and then hooks him up to a pacemaker to send electrical currents into his brain.

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Artificial Intelligence
7:12 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Computer Program Knows That It's A Horse, Of Course

The self learning computer program "LEVAN" uses images to learn concepts, then displays a variety of results.
Credit University of Washington, Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence

When you do an image search on the web, you might find what you're looking for. Those searches use captions and other text around pictures to give you results. But what if a computer could recognize a horse because it was shaped like a horse? That's what a new program called LEVAN can do.

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Labs
7:35 am
Fri June 20, 2014

CDC Says Dozens Of Workers Could Have Been Exposed To Anthrax

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 5:14 pm

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says that as many as 75 of its workers may have been accidentally exposed to live anthrax bacteria this month because of a safety problem at one of its labs.

Member station WABE's Michell Eloy reports from Atlanta that the CDC says the possible exposure "occurred after researchers at a high-security lab failed to follow the correct procedure to deactivate the bacteria."

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TED Talk
7:35 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Can You Learn To Spot A Liar?

Pamela Meyer explains how to spot a liar.
James Duncan Davidson Courtesy of TED

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 5:50 am

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Why We Lie.

About Pamela Meyer's TEDTalk

We're surrounded by deception: in politics and pop culture, in the workplace and on social media. Pamela Meyer points out manners and cues that can help us suss out a lie.

About Pamela Meyer

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Volcano Research
8:53 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Scientists Take A Look Deep Beneath Mount St. Helens

The crater of Mount St. Helens.
Courtesy of Dan Miskimin

If you're hiking in the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in July or August, and you feel the earth rumble briefly, it could just be scientists trying to plumb the depths of the Northwest’s most active volcano.

Scientists are peppering Mount St. Helens with thousands of sensitive instruments this summer to understand what makes the volcano tick.

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Science
8:19 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Your Brain's Got Rhythm, And Syncs When You Think

"Dance for PD" classes use music to temporarily ease tremors and get Parkinson's patients moving.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 1:47 pm

Even if you can't keep a beat, your brain can. "The brain absolutely has rhythm," says Nathan Urban, a neuroscientist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

When you concentrate, Urban says, your brain produces rapid, rhythmic electrical impulses called gamma waves. When you relax, it generates much slower alpha waves.

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Environment
6:18 am
Wed June 18, 2014

U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Area Would Nearly Double Under New Plan

The Department of the Interior is proposing a large expansion of U.S. efforts to make energy from offshore winds, with a plan centered off the Massachusetts coast. Here, a 2010 photo shows a sunrise over Nantucket Sound.
Julia Cumes AP

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 8:55 am

A large swath of the Atlantic Ocean could soon be used to generate electricity, as a U.S. agency proposes opening more than 1,000 square miles of ocean to wind energy projects. The area is off the coast of Massachusetts, which has been working on the proposal with federal officials.

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Zero-G
3:07 am
Wed June 18, 2014

International Space Station Gets Espresso Machine

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 4:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. The International Space Station is getting a real coffee maker. Not surprisingly, this first-ever, zero-gravity espresso machine is Italian, developed by the coffee company Lavazza. Up until now, astronauts made do with the instant stuff. The brewer should be there in time for the arrival this fall of Italy's first woman astronaut. She tweeted her excitement - I'll get to operate the first space espresso machine. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Science
12:25 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Is Collecting Animals For Science A Noble Mission Or A Threat?

DNA from these crab plovers, collected in Djibouti, Africa, should help scientists figure out how the unusual species fits into the family tree, says the Smithsonian's Helen James.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 5:29 am

Behind the scenes at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, there's a vast, warehouse-like room that's filled with metal cabinets painted a drab institutional green. Inside the cabinets are more than a half-million birds — and these birds are not drab. Their colorful feathers make them seem to almost glow.

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Cosmos
7:37 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Blame Your Brain: The Fault Lies Somewhere Within

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 12:33 pm

Science doesn't just further technology and help us predict and control our environment. It also changes the way we understand ourselves and our place in the natural world. This understanding can inspire awe and a sense of grandeur.

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War On Bugs
12:51 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Hunting For Alien Bug And Seed Invaders At Baltimore's Port

David Ng (right) and Amanda Furrow, Customs and Border Protection agricultural specialists, inspect wheat for insects and alien seeds at a port in Baltimore, Md.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 6:33 am

Baltimore's seaport is a world of big, noisy steel machines: giant cargo ships, cranes and roaring trucks.

In the middle of this hubbub, David Ng, an agricultural specialist with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, tries to find things that are small and alive: snails, moths and weed seeds of all sorts.

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