Science

4:29pm

Tue August 18, 2015
Science

Scientists Develop App To Turn Smartphones Into Cosmic Ray Detectors

Originally published on Thu August 20, 2015 4:20 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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9:31am

Tue August 18, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

It's Just A Phase: How To Boil, Freeze And Steam All At Once

Originally published on Tue August 18, 2015 11:42 am

Bob Ingelhart iStockphoto

So, yeah, I get it. It's just about the end of summer. For most folks, this means the last chance to get away to the beach or the lake or the woods. Just about any kind of "away" will do.

And with escape on our minds, it may be hard to get pumped up to think about deep issues like the politics of consumption on a finite planet, or the nature of math as invention vs. discovery, or how quantum mechanics accepts a causality as axiom.

Seriously, I get it.

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6:08am

Tue August 18, 2015
Research News

Can Reusable Bags At The Grocery Store Change What People Buy?

Originally published on Tue August 18, 2015 2:37 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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4:49am

Tue August 18, 2015
Shots - Health News

Medicare Says Doctors Should Get Paid To Discuss End-Of-Life Issues

Originally published on Wed August 19, 2015 2:05 pm

Jo Ann Farwell, a retired social worker, has a brain tumor; she wanted to make sure her sons were clear about her end-of-life wishes. So, after talking with her doctor, she filled out a form that Oregon provides to ease those family conversations.
Alan Sylvestre Kristian Foden-Vencil/Oregon Public Broadcasting

Remember so-called death panels?

When Congress debated the Affordable Care Act in 2009, the legislation included a provision that would have allowed Medicare to reimburse doctors when they meet with patients to talk about end-of-life care.

But then Sarah Palin loudly argued that such payments would lead to care being withheld from the elderly and disabled.

Her assertions greatly distressed Dr. Pamelyn Close, a palliative care specialist in Los Angeles.

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6:41pm

Mon August 17, 2015
The Salt

Were Carbs A Brain Food For Our Ancient Ancestors?

A group of British researchers has a hunch that once ancient humans learned to cook, starchy foods like root vegetables or grasses could have given them a calorie bump that fueled the evolution of the human brain.
Scott Sherrill-Mix/Flickr

Carbohydrates are a rich source of energy. That's exactly why some of us may feel a bit conflicted about them, since several recent studies and diets have suggested we should cut them to lose weight. (The latest study concluded that total calories matter most if you want to shed pounds.)

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5:29pm

Mon August 17, 2015
Space

U.S. Grants Patent For Free-Standing Space Elevator Tower

Originally published on Mon August 17, 2015 7:48 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Now to space, and we'll take the elevator. The U.S. Patent Office has granted a patent for a freestanding space elevator tower. The idea of a space elevator has long captured the imaginations of writers, from Arthur C. Clarke to Roald Dahl.

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5:29pm

Mon August 17, 2015
Environment

Papal Encyclical On Climate Change Puts Coal Country Catholics In Tough Spot

Originally published on Mon August 17, 2015 7:48 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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3:21pm

Mon August 17, 2015
Shots - Health News

Can You Teach A Computer To 'Feel' Suspense?

Originally published on Mon August 17, 2015 7:48 pm

Daniel Craig plays James Bond in the film Casino Royale. Dramatis, a computer program, can detect suspense from this scene and rates it even higher as the plot thickens.
MGM/United Artists/Sony/The Kobal Collection

Siri is just the beginning.

Soon enough — like it or not — we are all going to be talking a lot more with computers, at least according to Brian O'Neill, a professor of computer science at Western New England University. They will be tutoring our students and tending to us in our old age. And a big part of their job will be telling stories.

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6:04am

Mon August 17, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Belief That Mental Illness Can Be Contagious Contributes To Isolation

Originally published on Tue August 18, 2015 9:42 am

iStockphoto

Many illnesses are contagious. You'd do well to avoid your neighbor's sneeze, for example, and to wash your hands after tending to your sick child.

But what about mental illness?

The idea that anxiety, autism or major depression could be transmitted through contact may sound crazy — and it probably is. There's a lot we don't know about the origins of mental illness, but the mechanisms identified so far point in other directions.

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5:10am

Mon August 17, 2015
Animals

Decoding Nature: Identifying Sounds A Horned Owl Makes

Originally published on Mon August 17, 2015 12:29 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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