Science

3:33am

Tue January 13, 2015
Animals

Good News For Bats! Things Are Looking Up For Stemming Disease Spread

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 8:01 am

This October 2008 photo, provided by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, shows a brown bat with its nose crusted in fungus.
Ryan von Linden AP

The bat disease known as white-nose syndrome has been spreading fast, killing millions of animals. But for the first time, scientists are seeing hopeful signs that some bat colonies are recovering and new breakthroughs could help researchers develop better strategies for helping bats survive.

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8:19pm

Mon January 12, 2015
The Two-Way

3 Kings Holiday Cake Laced With Synthetic Drugs Makes Dozens Hallucinate

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 3:18 pm

Synthetic drugs, gathered in evidence bags, sit on a white counter.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 3:18 p.m. on Jan. 13.

Last week Southern California Public Radio reported that dozens of people became ill from a Rosca de Reyes, a Three Kings Day bread that is traditional in various Hispanic communities. The sick patrons of Cholula's Bakery in Santa Ana, Calif., and its retail outlets complained of heart palpitations and hallucinations.

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10:46am

Mon January 12, 2015
Shots - Health News

Your Online Avatar May Reveal More About You Than You'd Think

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 10:49 am

iStockphoto

My Nintendo Wii character, my Mii, looks a lot like me. She has the same haircut, the same skin tone and even the same eyebrow shape. And while my Mii plays tennis slightly better than I do, I designed her to be a real, virtual me (albeit with balls for hands).

But it turns out I might not have needed to mimic my appearance to let people know what I'm like.

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8:15am

Mon January 12, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Learning About The Human Mind, Magically

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 11:39 am

iStockphoto

Which is a better magic trick: turning a dove into a glass of milk, or a glass of milk into a dove? Turning a rose into a vase, or a vase into a rose?

For most people, the way these transformations go makes a big difference. In each case, they find the transformation from a nonliving object to a living thing more interesting — but why? Is it just more exciting to see a living thing appear than to have it vanish? Or is there something deeper at work?

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3:26am

Mon January 12, 2015
The Salt

Iowa's Largest City Sues Over Farm Fertilizer Runoff In Rivers

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 7:09 pm

The city of Des Moines, Iowa, sits on the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers. The city's water works says it will sue three neighboring counties for high nitrate levels in these waterways.
iStockphoto

Des Moines, Iowa, is confronting the farms that surround it over pollution in two rivers that supply the city with drinking water. Des Moines Water Works says it will sue three neighboring counties for high nitrate levels in the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers. It's a novel attempt to control fertilizer runoff from farms, which has been largely unregulated.

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3:22am

Mon January 12, 2015
Shots - Health News

The Doctor Who Championed Hand-Washing And Briefly Saved Lives

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 10:49 am

Semmelweis considered scientific inquiry part of his mission as a physician.
De Agostini Picture Library Getty Images

This is the story of a man whose ideas could have saved a lot of lives and spared countless numbers of women and newborns' feverish and agonizing deaths.

You'll notice I said "could have."

The year was 1846, and our would-be hero was a Hungarian doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis.

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7:08pm

Sun January 11, 2015
The Two-Way

Ancient Scottish Sea Reptile Not 'Nessie,' But Just As Cute

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 1:21 pm

An artist's rendering of what Dearcmhara shawcrossi probably looked like in dinosaur times.
Todd Marshall/University of Edinburgh

Scientists in Scotland have found a prehistoric behemoth: a previously unknown species of reptile that lived in the oceans during the time of dinosaurs. And before you ask, no, scientists do not believe this new fossil has anything to do with the Loch Ness monster.

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6:02am

Sun January 11, 2015
The Salt

'Tasty': How Flavor Helped Make Us Human

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 11:43 am

"Flavor is the most important ingredient at the core of what we are. It created us," John McQuaid writes in his book Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat.
Getty Images

Our current cultural obsession with food is undeniable. But, while the advent of the foodie may be a 21st century phenomenon, from an evolutionary standpoint, flavor has long helped define who we are as a species, a new book argues.

In Tasty: the Art and Science of What We Eat, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John McQuaid offers a broad and deep exploration of the human relationship to flavor.

"Flavor is the most important ingredient at the core of what we are. It created us," McQuaid writes.

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5:43am

Sun January 11, 2015
Science

A Musical Memorial For The Face Of Extinction

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 12:05 pm

Adam Cole NPR

Lonesome George was a celebrity tortoise. Millions of humans made the pilgrimage to see him while he lived, and his death was international news.

Why?

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5:26pm

Sat January 10, 2015
Author Interviews

'Blood Of The Tiger': Shedding Light On China's Farmed-Tiger Trade

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 6:47 pm

Joanne Stemberger iStockphoto

In 1991, wildlife investigator J. A. Mills went to China to verify rumors about tiger farming. She worked undercover, for the World Wildlife Fund and an organization called Traffic.

"I mainly pretended I was a student of traditional Chinese medicine to try to figure out not only what was being traded, but why it was being traded," Mills tells NPR's Arun Rath.

She says she found China's first tiger farm — complete with a hand-written ledgers filling up with orders for tiger bone.

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