Science & Environment

The Two-Way
5:36 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Stephen Hawking Backs Assisted Suicide For The Terminally Ill

British scientist Stephen Hawking appears during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games in London last year.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 6:54 pm

Cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who has lived for years with the progressive and debilitating motor neuron condition known as Lou Gehrig's disease, tells the BBC that he favors assisted suicide for people with terminal illnesses.

Hawking, 71, who uses a wheelchair and speaks through a computer speech synthesizer activated by his eye movements, said: "We don't let animals suffer, so why humans?"

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All Tech Considered
5:34 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Calculated To Win: Supercomputers Power America's Cup

Oracle Team USA heads to the waterfront after winning the ninth race of the America's Cup with a 47-second victory over Emirates Team New Zealand.
Eric Risberg AP

The 2013 America's Cup isn't just about using human muscle to race faster than the wind. This year, the international sailing competition is about supercomputing.

Tech teams are working behind the scenes to crunch numbers and model things like how a half-degree change in wing angle could add 5 knots in speed.

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The Salt
4:43 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Auto-Brewery Syndrome: Apparently, You Can Make Beer In Your Gut

Most of us prefer drinking fermented beverages,€” not producing them in our gut.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 6:29 pm

This medical case may give a whole new meaning to the phrase "beer gut."

A 61-year-old man — with a history of home-brewing — stumbled into a Texas emergency room complaining of dizziness. Nurses ran a Breathalyzer test. And sure enough, the man's blood alcohol concentration was a whopping 0.37 percent, or almost five times the legal limit for driving in Texas.

There was just one hitch: The man said that he hadn't touched a drop of alcohol that day.

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The Two-Way
4:28 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

New Private Spacecraft Set For Mission To Resupply Space Station

An artist's rendering of the Cygnus spacecraft approaching the International Space Station.
Orbital Sciences

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 5:18 pm

The SpaceX Dragon may have gotten there first, but Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft is set to become the second private robotic ship to dock with the International Space Station after a Wednesday launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The launch is scheduled for 10:50 a.m. EDT on Wednesday from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops.

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The Salt
1:23 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Golden Rice Study Violated Ethical Rules, Tufts Says

Genetically modified to be enriched with beta-carotene, golden rice grains (left) are a deep yellow. At right, white rice grains.
Isagani Serrano International Rice Research Institute

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 6:30 pm

Tufts University announced Tuesday that one of its researchers broke ethical rules while carrying out a study of genetically modified "golden rice" in China.

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Shots - Health News
12:39 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Healthful Living May Lengthen Telomeres And Lifespans

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:22 pm

Scientists claim they have evidence that explains why lifestyle changes known to be good for you — low-fat diets, exercise, reducing stress — can lengthen your life.

Based on a small, exploratory study, researchers say these good habits work by preventing chromosomes in our cells from unraveling. Basically, they assert that healthy living can reverse the effects of aging at a genetic level.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:45 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Always, Always There

An Iraqi civilian walks through the vault of the National Museum in Baghdad, Iraq, on April 12, 2003. Looters opened the museum vault, went on a rampage breaking ancient artifacts stored there by museum authorities before the war started.
Jerome Delay AP

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 2:26 pm

I'm going to tell two stories here, two very different stories. One's about bad guys hurting good guys that made me think the world is going to hell; the other is about good guys outfoxing bad guys and made me smile — made me think there's hope, always hope. I found them in different books.

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The Two-Way
9:27 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Company Promises To Pay For Hawaii's Massive Molasses Spill

One of the fish thought to have died because of the molasses spill off Honolulu.
Hugh Gentry Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 10:33 am

Matson Inc., the shipping company that spilled 233,000 gallons of molasses into Honolulu Harbor earlier this month, has pledged to pay all the costs stemming from the disaster that has devastated marine life there.

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Research News
5:36 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Telomeres May Hold Clues To Effects Of Aging

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 9:38 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Scientists are reporting an advance in the science of aging and maybe even a clue how to reverse some of aging's effects. They have evidence that lifestyle changes already known to be good for you, like healthy diet, exercise, reducing stress may prevent the chromosomes in our cells from unraveling.

NPR's Richard Knox reports that it's all about little caps on our chromosomes called telomeres.

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