Science

4:26pm

Tue December 9, 2014
Space

Curiosity's View Of 'Mt. Sharp' Offers New Clues About Water On Mars

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 6:47 pm

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

4:17pm

Tue December 9, 2014
The Salt

Venison As Benison: Food Banks Score From Deer Overpopulation

Ralph Roloff trims meat from a deer donated to the Help Us Stop Hunger program in State Center, Iowa in 2007.
Scott Olson Getty Images

White tailed deer are so common in Washington, D.C., that my kids barely take note, even if I have to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting them.

But the National Park Service says there's a problem beyond the risk of driver-deer collisions, which lead to an estimated $4 billion in damages each year. The overabundance of deer are a threat to native vegetation.

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10:09am

Tue December 9, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Searching For Proof Of The Unseen

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 4:31 pm

Do you wonder if the refrigerator light goes off when you shut the door?
Lisa Kimberly Getty Images/Flickr Select

We human beings are curious by nature. Since the time we first began gathering around campfires to ward off the terrors of the night, some questions have haunted us like stubborn ghosts.

Many of these great unknowns have fallen under the weight of passing millennia and the advance of technology. We moderns now know why the ground shakes in an earthquake and why the sky rumbles in a thunderstorm.

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5:00am

Tue December 9, 2014
Shots - Health News

Mistaken Identities Plague Lab Work With Human Cells

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 7:55 pm

Georgetown's Robert Clark says it's very difficult to say precisely how many experiments have been spoiled by contaminated cell lines.
Phil Humnicky Courtesy of Georgetown University

There's a major flaw in many medical research studies that seems so basic that you'd think scientists would be smart enough to avoid it.

It turns out that cells studied in the laboratory often get mixed up. A researcher who thinks she is studying breast cancer cells might in fact be using melanoma cells.

It's a surprisingly common problem — even in some of the top scientific labs.

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3:35am

Tue December 9, 2014
Shots - Health News

Nursing Homes Rarely Penalized For Oversedating Patients

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 6:26 pm

Antipsychotic drugs have helped many people with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. But for older people with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, they can be deadly. The Food and Drug Administration has given these drugs a black box warning, saying they can increase the risk of heart failure, infections and death. Yet almost 300,000 nursing home residents still get them.

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9:09pm

Mon December 8, 2014
The Two-Way

NASA Photos Show New Signs Of A Lake On Mars

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 12:41 pm

NASA says "cross-bedding" in the layers of this Martian rock is proof that water moved on Mars, leaving waves or ripples of loose sediment. The image is from a site at Mount Sharp that NASA calls "Whale Rock."
NASA

Signs of water currents and sediments are seen in the latest photos NASA's Curiosity rover sent home from Mars, the space agency said Monday. The images suggest "ancient Mars maintained a climate that could have produced long-lasting lakes," NASA says.

In the huge Gale Crater where Curiosity has been exploring, the water and sediment flow might have been massive enough to build a mountain — the 3-mile-high Mount Sharp — NASA researchers say. But they acknowledge that they're still working to solve the mystery of how the mountain formed in a crater.

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11:39am

Mon December 8, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

What If Atheists Were Defined By Their Actions?

Mark Poprocki iStockphoto

We classify people in all sorts of ways.

Some categories are based on a person's beliefs: A theist, for instance, is a person who believes in one or more gods. Some categories are based on behavior: A vegetarian, for example, is a person who doesn't eat animals. And some categories seem to straddle beliefs and behavior: Being politically conservative could be defined in terms of beliefs, but also in terms of corresponding behaviors, such as voting for conservative political candidates or donating one's time or money to conservative causes.

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4:57am

Mon December 8, 2014
Shots - Health News

Old And Overmedicated: The Real Drug Problem In Nursing Homes

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 6:32 pm

Antipsychotic drugs aren't necessary in the vast majority of dementia cases, gerontologists say. The pills can be stupefying and greatly raise the risk of falls — and hip fracture.
iStockphoto

It's one of the worst fears we have for our parents or for ourselves: that we, or they, will end up in a nursing home, drugged into a stupor. And that fear is not entirely unreasonable. Almost 300,000 nursing home residents are currently receiving antipsychotic drugs, usually to suppress the anxiety or aggression that can go with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia.

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4:57am

Mon December 8, 2014
The Two-Way

Oh, Snap! NASA Promises Best Photo Yet Of Faraway Pluto

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 10:22 am

NASA/ESA/M. Buie (Southwest Research Institute)

Humanity has snapped detailed portraits of planets and moons throughout our solar system. But there's one missing from the album: Pluto.

Although Pluto was discovered in 1930, it has remained stubbornly hard to photograph. The Hubble Space Telescope has taken the best pictures, and frankly, they stink.

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7:38am

Sun December 7, 2014
Science

Stephen Hawking Gets A Voice Upgrade

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 6:15 pm

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The sound of Stephen Hawking's voice is iconic.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STEPHEN HAWKING: Where did we come from? How did the universe come into being?

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