Science & Environment

StoryCorps
5:16 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Out Of The Rat Race: Lucky Rodents Find Their Own 'Taj Mahal'

Dawn and Don Burke opened a rat sanctuary, The Rat Retreat, in their home in Boise, Idaho. Most people don't realize what affectionate pets rats can be, Dawn says.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 11:12 am

Dawn Burke had always thought of rats as filthy animals, she says, until her neighbor introduced her to his "soft and cuddly" pet rats. Years later, she stopped by a pet shop on a whim — and ended up coming home with a rat of her own.

From there, says Dawn's husband, Don Burke, "it grew very quickly from one rat to 72." Before long, the couple had opened a rat sanctuary in their home in Boise, Idaho.

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Research News
5:06 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Open-Access Journals Hit By Journalist's Sting

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:36 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Publication is the coin of the realm for scientists. It's how they make their careers.

GREENE: Traditionally, it's been hard to get research published at least until the last decade and explosion of open-access journals online.

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Shots - Health News
6:37 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Some Online Journals Will Publish Fake Science, For A Fee

You could do all that brain work. Or you could make it up.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:34 am

Many online journals are ready to publish bad research in exchange for a credit card number.

That's the conclusion of an elaborate sting carried out by Science, a leading mainline journal. The result should trouble doctors, patients, policymakers and anyone who has a stake in the integrity of science (and who doesn't?).

The business model of these "predatory publishers" is a scientific version of those phishes from Nigerians who want help transferring a few million dollars into your bank account.

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The Two-Way
6:16 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Shutdown Quiets NASA, So Space Station Astronauts Enjoy View

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 5:20 pm

Of all the government agencies, NASA is among the hardest hit by the government shutdown. As of Oct. 1, nearly all of its employees have been told to pack up and head home.

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The Two-Way
11:46 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Tropical Storm Karen Heading For U.S. Gulf Coast

The storm track forecast for Karen.
National Hurricane Center, Miami

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 2:07 pm

Newly formed Tropical Storm Karen, which could reach hurricane strength by Friday, is expected to make landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast sometime over the weekend.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the late-season storm formed Thursday morning about 485 miles south of the Mississippi Delta, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. It was moving north-northwest at 12 mph, but was expected to speed up.

Forecasters say it will make landfall in the U.S. either Saturday or Sunday.

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Shots - Health News
3:03 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Studying The Science Behind Child Prodigies

Cellist Matt Haimovitz made it big in the classical music scene as a little kid.
Stephanie Mackinnon

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 12:53 pm

Matt Haimovitz is 42 and a world-renowned cellist. He rushed into the classical music scene at age 10 after Itzhak Perlman, the famed violinist, heard him play.

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Shots - Health News
5:39 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

A DEET-Like Mosquito Spray That Smells Like Jasmine Or Grapes?

Scientists have discovered four new DEET-like mosquito repellents. Three of them are safe to eat.
Courtesy of Pinky Kai/University of California, Riverside

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:56 am

California scientists are reporting a pair of victories in the epic struggle between man and mosquito.

A team at the University of California, Riverside, appears to have finally figured out how bugs detect the insect repellent known as DEET. And the team used its discovery to identify several chemical compounds that promise to be safer and cheaper than DEET, according to the report in the journal Nature.

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The Salt
4:45 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Fish Guidelines For Pregnant Women May Be Too Strict, Study Suggests

In a study of 4,000 pregnant women, fish accounted for only 7 percent of blood mercury levels.
JackF iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 5:22 pm

The health benefits of eating fish are pretty well-known. A lean source of protein, fish can be a rich source of healthful omega-3 fatty acids and has been shown to benefit heart, eye and brain health.

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Space
4:40 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

The Government Shutdown's Final Frontier: How NASA Is Dealing

While almost all of NASA's employees have been furloughed because of the government shutdown, ground control activities for the International Space Station are still operational. Above, astronaut Chris Cassidy on a spacewalk aboard the ISS on May 11.
AP

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:39 am

If ET wants to phone home, this is not the week to do it. NASA's phone lines are down, as are its website and many Twitter feeds. All have been silenced by the government shutdown, whose far-reaching consequences are now stretching into space.

The shutdown began on Tuesday, after Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives failed to come to an agreement over the federal budget. Most of the government's nonessential services have ground to a halt, and among the hardest hit agencies is NASA.

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Shots - Health News
2:07 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Why Eye Contact Can Fail To Win People Over

Eye contact may prove persuasive only if a person's already on your side, a study finds.
iStockphoto.com

Pop psychology holds that to connect with someone, you should look deep into their eyes. The more you look, the more persuasive you'll be. But that may work only when your audience already agrees with you.

Researchers in Germany tested the power of the eye lock by polling university students about their opinions on controversial issues like assisted suicide, nuclear energy and affirmative action in the workplace.

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