Science

12:16pm

Wed December 10, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Space, Time, Love And Stephen Hawking

Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking in 2006.
ELIZABETH DALZIEL AP

Stephen Hawking is the world's most famous scientist. I can't think of another example of a scientist who has had so many headlines and, now, a biographic movie while still alive.

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9:21am

Wed December 10, 2014
Shots - Health News

A Crowd Of Scientists Finds A Better Way To Predict Seizures

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 8:12 am

Mathematician Phillip Adkins (left) and Drew Abbot, a software engineer at AiLive. They were members of the winning team.
Courtesy of Phillip Adkins

An online contest for data scientists has produced a great leap forward in efforts to predict when someone with epilepsy is going to have a seizure. The winning team used data on electrical activity in the brain to develop an algorithm that predicted seizures 82 percent of the time.

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4:54am

Wed December 10, 2014
Shots - Health News

Scientists Often Skip A Simple Test That Could Verify Their Work

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 5:34 pm

When the wrong cells take over, scientists' experiments can be derailed.
Chris Nickels for NPR

There's a simple test that scientists could use to make sure the cells they're studying in the lab are what they think they are. But most of the time, academic scientists don't bother.

That omission is a problem. One study found that between 18 percent and 36 percent of all cell lines have been misidentified. And this kind of mistaken identity is one reason that many results from experiments run in scientific labs can't be reproduced elsewhere.

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6:27pm

Tue December 9, 2014
The Two-Way

After $4.75 Million Auction, Watson Will Get Nobel Medal Back

The 1962 Nobel Prize Medal in Medicine or Physiology that James Watson sold at auction last week will be returned to him, at the buyer's request.
Christie's

It was the first time a living Nobel Prize recipient had ever sold his medal. And now scientist James Watson, 86, will hang on to the medal he won for his work on DNA, after a Russian billionaire who bought the medal for $4.75 million at auction says he wants Watson to keep it.

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5:16pm

Tue December 9, 2014
Shots - Health News

This Nursing Home Calms Troubling Behavior Without Risky Drugs

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 5:34 pm

It's a sunny autumn afternoon and a good time to make apple crisp at Pathstone Living, a memory care facility and nursing home in Mankato, Minn. Activities staffer Jessica Abbott gathers half a dozen older women at a counter in the dining area, where the soundtrack is mostly music they could have fox-trotted to back in the day.

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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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