Fri August 1, 2014
Goats and Soda

How Cultures Move Across Continents

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 1:43 pm

Maximilian Schich & Mauro Martino, 2014

They may look like flight paths around North America and Europe. Or perhaps nighttime satellite photos, with cities lit up like starry constellations.

But look again.

These animations chart the movement of Western culture over the past 2,000 years, researchers report Friday in the journal Science.

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Fri August 1, 2014
Shots - Health News

Caffeine Gives Athletes An Edge, But Don't Overdo It

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 10:19 am

Peter Kennaugh of SKY Procycling enjoys an espresso ahead of first stage of the Tour de France 2013, in Corsica.
Scott Mitchell via Getty Images

After winning the Tour de France last Sunday, Vincenzo Nibali was tested for a bunch of performance-enhancing substances. But Nibali and his fellow competitors were welcome to have several cups of coffee (or cans of Red Bull), before their ride into Paris; caffeine is not on the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list.

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Thu July 31, 2014
The Salt

Should We Return The Nutrients In Our Pee Back To The Farm?

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 12:35 pm

More than 170 volunteers in the Brattleboro, Vt., area have contributed urine to the Rich Earth Institute field trials.
Mike Earley/Courtesy of Rich Earth Institute

Let me guess how you feel about your urine: Get that smelly stuff away from me as fast as possible?

A small group of environmentalists in Vermont isn't as squeamish. Instead of flushing their pee down the drain, they're collecting it with special toilets that separate No. 1 and No. 2.

Then they're pooling the urine of the 170 volunteers in the pilot project (a quart or so, per person, daily) and eventually giving it to a farmer, who's putting it on her hay fields in place of synthetic fertilizer. The goal is to collect 6,000 gallons this year.

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Thu July 31, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Seeking A Saner Food System, Three Times A Day

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:40 pm

Not all cows get to spend their days with soft green grass under hoof. For many, the picture isn't so pretty, according to the book Farmageddon.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

For Philip Lymbery, head of the U.K.-based Compassion in World Farming and his co-author Isabel Oakeshott, a visit to California's Central Valley amounted to an encounter with suffering.

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Thu July 31, 2014
The Two-Way

Kentucky Buoys Noah's Ark Park With Millions In New Tax Breaks

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 5:10 pm

Mike Zovath, co-founder of Answers in Genesis ministries, poses for photos at the Ark Encounter headquarters, in 2011. Kentucky has granted the project tens of millions in tax incentives.
Dylan Lovan AP

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET.

Kentucky has approved $18 million in new tax breaks for a controversial Christian theme park that is to feature a 510-foot-long replica of Noah's Ark.

Maryanne Zeleznik of member station WVXU in Cincinnati reports that the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Board voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the incentives for the Ark Encounter, to be built in Williamstown. The legislature must still OK the plan.

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Thu July 31, 2014
Shots - Health News

Hospitals Fight Proposed Changes In The Training Of Doctors

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 5:10 pm

Chief Medical Resident Dr. Julia Vermylen (right) critiques interns during an "intern boot camp," held at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital in June.
Stacy Thacker AP

An influential report that urges sweeping changes in how the federal government subsidizes the training of doctors has brought out the sharp scalpels of those who would be most immediately affected.

The reaction also raises questions about the sensitive politics involved in redistributing a large pot of money –mostly from Medicare — that now goes disproportionately to teaching hospitals in the U.S. Northeast. All of the changes recommended would have to be made by Congress.

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Thu July 31, 2014
The Two-Way

Scientists Say The Moon Is Hiding A Lumpy Middle

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 2:48 pm

The full moon rises above the castle of Somoskoujfalu, northeast of Budapest, Hungary, earlier this month.
Peter Komka AP

What shape is the moon? When it's full, we'd all agree that it looks perfectly round. But careful measurements by a team of scientists have shown that's not the case.

Like many an Earth-bound observer, it turns out that our nearest neighbor in space is hiding a slight bulge around the waist. It's less like a ball and more like a squashed sphere, with a lump on one side.

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Thu July 31, 2014

Is Fracking To Blame For Increase In Quakes In Oklahoma?

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 8:12 am

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Thu July 31, 2014
Shots - Health News

What Somebody's Mummy Can Teach You About Heart Disease

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 2:47 pm

Eduard Egarter-Vigl (left) and Albert Zink (right) sample Italy's mummified iceman for genetic analysis in November 2010. Previous research suggests he, too, was predisposed to heart disease.
Samadelli Marco/EURAC

We think of heart disease as a modern scourge, brought on by our sedentary lifestyles and our affinity for fast food.

But a few years ago, a team of researchers discovered something puzzling — CT scans of Egyptian mummies showed signs of hardened, narrow arteries. Further scans of mummies from other ancient civilizations turned up the same thing.

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Wed July 30, 2014
Shots - Health News

Problem Drinking In Midlife Linked To Memory Trouble Later

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 2:58 pm

How much is too much?
Robert S. Donovan/Flickr

To ward off big memory problems in your 70s and beyond you may want to cork the bottle more often now.

In a study of 6,500 people published this week, adults with a midlife history of drinking problems were more than twice as likely as those without alcohol problems to suffer severe memory impairment decades later.

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