Science

12:12pm

Tue December 16, 2014
Goats and Soda

Dengue Fever Strikes Millions. Now Scientists Hope To Strike Back

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 3:19 pm

The dengue virus has an icosahedral shape, similar to the pattern on a soccer ball. Antibodies stop the virus by binding to its surface.
Laguna Design Science Source

Dengue — aka "breakbone fever" — has been a tough nut to crack when it comes to making a vaccine.

The problem is that the mosquito-borne virus comes in four flavors, or strains. Vaccines that work on one strain haven't worked well on the others.

Now scientists at Imperial College London have discovered a potential way around this problem.

Immunologist Gavin Screaton and his colleagues have found molecules — specifically antibodies — in human blood that stop all forms of dengue.

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9:11am

Tue December 16, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Seeing Heaven: The Beauty of Cosmigraphics

1660: These depictions of the sun in a Ptolemaic, geocentric cosmos, and in the alternative, heliocentric scheme proposed by Copernicus, are from Andreas Cellarius's sumptuous Harmonia macrocosmica. The sun has expanded radically in size and its facial expression has acquired a solemnity in keeping with its enhanced stature. Note Cellarius's depictions of the moon, far smaller than Earth.
Courtesy of the University of Michigan Library

If I asked you to picture the universe in your head, you'd probably conjure up images of fiery stars and swirling galaxies.

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3:58pm

Mon December 15, 2014
Shots - Health News

To Get To The Bottom Of Your Microbiome, Start With A Swab Of Poo

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 4:53 pm

After a quick swipe and online registration, these test tubes were ready to ship back to the lab at the University of Colorado in Boulder for sequencing and analysis.
Katherine Harmon Courage for NPR

Understanding the human microbiome takes much more work than just identifying the organisms that live in a person's gut. A genetic census of these microbes is really only the start of figuring out what they have to do with health and disease.

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11:38am

Mon December 15, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Math And Science Of Latkes

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 7:15 pm

Latkes.
iStockphoto

Tomorrow evening marks the start of Hanukkah, the Jewish "Festival of Lights" and an eight-day-long excuse to eat fried potato pancakes known as latkes.

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5:01am

Mon December 15, 2014
Research News

Why Some Scientific Collaborations Are More Beneficial Than Others

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 1:09 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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5:01am

Mon December 15, 2014
Environment

Nations Agree To Deal To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 7:16 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

3:25am

Mon December 15, 2014
The Salt

Congress To Nutritionists: Don't Talk About The Environment

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:34 pm

A government-appointed group of top nutrition experts, assigned to lay the scientific groundwork for a new version of the nation's dietary guidelines, decided earlier this year to collect data on the environmental implication of different food choices.

Congress now has slapped them down.

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3:24am

Mon December 15, 2014
Shots - Health News

To Stop Teen Drinking Parties, Fine The Parents

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 4:53 pm

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

When it comes to teenage drinking, the typical venue is a party — where some teens play drinking games and binge. It may surprise you to learn that the majority of parents are aware that alcohol is flowing at these events.

On any given weekend, some teenagers receive three to four text messages about parties, says Bettina Friese, a public health researcher at the Prevention Research Center in Oakland, Calif.

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5:39pm

Sun December 14, 2014
Animals

More Than Just Cute, Sea Otters Are Superheroes Of The Marsh

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 11:28 am

This sea otter, about to eat a crab in the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, is cute, sure. But more importantly, it's indirectly combating some harmful effects of agricultural runoff and protecting the underwater ecosystem.
Rob Eby AP

On the roof of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif., in a large plastic tank, a sea otter mother named Abby floats with her adopted pup, known as 671.

For up to nine months, Abby will raise her little adoptee, and when 671 is ready, she will be released into a protected inland salt marsh called Elkhorn Slough, just off Monterey Bay.

That's where 671 will set to work to preserve the estuary, says Tim Tinker, who tracks otters for the U.S. Geological Survey.

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11:24am

Sun December 14, 2014
The Two-Way

Geminid Meteor Showers Light Up Both Hemispheres

The Geminid meteor shower above Skopje, Macedonia, on Saturday.
Robert AtanasovskiI AFP/Getty Images

The annual Geminid meteor shower dazzled Earthlings around the world late Saturday and early Sunday.

Pieces of gravel and dust from a "rock comet" called 3200 Phaethon shot across the sky and lit up discussion boards from NASA.gov to Twitter — for those who could tear their eyes away long enough to type.

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