Wed November 6, 2013
All Tech Considered

4-D Printing Means Building Things That Build Themselves

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 6:12 pm

H. Jerry Qi, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Colorado University, holds simple models printed using polymers that have "shape memory." The flat piece on the left can reshape itself into a box with the application of heat.
Glenn J. Asakawa University of Colorado

In our Weekly Innovation series, we pick an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Got an innovation you think we should feature? Fill out our form.

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Wed November 6, 2013
The Two-Way

Another Election?! Relax, This One's To Name A Baby Panda

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 4:45 pm

You can help select a name for the National Zoo's new panda cub.
Abby Wood Smithsonian's National Zoo

Fresh off Tuesday's election, another is just around the corner: The National Zoo wants you to help name its new panda cub by casting a vote at

You can vote online (no photo identification required and the balloting continues until Nov. 22).

At NPR, we always strive to ensure that our audience is informed of the candidates — even when they're names for pandas.

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Wed November 6, 2013
The Salt

Forget Barley And Hops: Craft Brewers Want A Taste Of Place

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 11:37 am

The brewers at Scratch Brewing Company add wild plants like spicebush, goldenseal, wild ginger, chanterelles and wild rose root to their beer to give it the flavor of the Illinois woods.
Aaron Kleidon Scratch Brewing Company

Last week, Aaron Kleidon went for a walk in the Illinois woods and returned with a bag of lotus seeds. The seeds were bound not for his dinner plate, but for his pint glass.

In a few months, Kleidon will have lotus-flavored beer at the small brewpub Scratch Brewing Company, which he owns with two friends in Ava, Ill. The microbrewery specializes in beers with seeds, leaves, roots, fruits and fungi foraged from a nearby wooded property. The brewers have even made a saison from chanterelle mushrooms.

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Wed November 6, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

A Darker Universe

The hunt for dark matter started with astronomer Fritz Zwicky's observations of the Coma galaxy cluster in the 1930s. This recent image of the Coma cluster combines optical and X-ray observations from the Chandra mission.
J.Sanders et al NASA/CXC/MPE/SDSS

"What is essential is invisible to the eye," said the Fox to the Little Prince. And although in Saint-Exupéry's fable the "invisible" referred to love, the Fox was also right on when it comes to about 95 percent of the universe.

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Wed November 6, 2013
Shots - Health News

How Pictures Of Infant Boy's Eyes Helped Diagnose Cancer

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 9:51 pm

A milky eye can be a sign of early cancer of the retina.
Courtesy of Bryan Shaw

Bryan Shaw never expected to write a research paper about a rare eye cancer.

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Tue November 5, 2013

Thanks To Parasites, Moose Are Looking More Like Ghosts

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 6:48 pm

A large bull moose is inspected by a hunter at a weigh station in Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

The news for moose is not good across the country's northern tier and in some parts of Canada. A recent and rapid decline of moose populations in many states may be linked to climate change, and to the parasites that benefit from it.

In Minnesota, moose populations have dropped from a high of more than 12,000 two decades ago to fewer than 3,000 now. Moose in some parts of Manitoba have declined by 50 percent and more.

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Tue November 5, 2013
The Two-Way

Why India's Mars Mission Is So Much Cheaper Than NASA's

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 4:33 pm

The PSLV-C25, with India's Mars orbiter aboard, prior to Tuesday's launch at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in southern India.
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)

Former NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin pioneered a "faster, better, cheaper" approach to America's space program, but he would have been hard-pressed to deliver a Mars mission for the bargain-basement price of India's first probe to the red planet, which blasted off Tuesday.

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Tue November 5, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Dark Matter Eludes Capture: Science And The Unseen

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 12:58 pm

A section of the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment's detector during construction. The LUX detector sits a mile underneath the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Carlos H. Faham

We live in a world of shadows. We live amidst unseen forces that influence the universe even as we are blind to their presence. In other words, we live amidst ghosts.

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Tue November 5, 2013

Galaxy Quest: Just How Many Earth-Like Planets Are Out There?

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 11:36 am

This is an artist's illustration of Kepler-62f, a planet in the "habitable zone" of a star that is slightly smaller and cooler than ours. Kepler-62f is roughly 40 percent larger than Earth.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

A team of planet hunters estimates that about 22 percent of the sun-like stars in our galaxy may have planets about the size of Earth that are bathed in similar amounts of sunlight — and potentially habitable.

That's the conclusion of a new analysis of observations taken by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, which was launched in 2009 to hunt for potentially habitable Earth-like planets around other stars.

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Mon November 4, 2013
Shots - Health News

Childhood Maltreatment Can Leave Scars In The Brain

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 12:21 pm

Girls are particularly vulnerable to brain changes caused by stress or trauma, researchers say.
Allen Johnson

Maltreatment during childhood can lead to long-term changes in brain circuits that process fear, researchers say. This could help explain why children who suffer abuse are much more likely than others to develop problems like anxiety and depression later on.

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