Science & Environment

Research News
5:36 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Mummy Study Shows Heart Disease Could Be A Natural Human Condition

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Ever wonder why mummies always sound like they're suffering from serious indigestion?

(SOUNDBITE OF SCOOBY DOO SEGMENT)

CARTOON CHARACTER #1: Golly, look.

CARTOON CHARACTER #2: That's a mummy and it's moving.

CORNISH: A little "Scooby Doo" for you there. But that mummy sounds like a cry for some Tums, right?

(SOUNDBITE OF A GROWL)

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The Two-Way
12:21 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

International Convention Moves To Limit Shark 'Finning' Trade

Indonesian fishermen unload their catch, including sharks and baby sharks, in Lampulo fish market in Banda Aceh last week.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 2:33 pm

Delegates to an international species conservation conference in Bangkok, Thailand, this week have agreed to limit the trade of shark fins and meat.

NPR's Christopher Joyce reports that government representatives to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, have agreed to put the porbeagle, oceanic whitetip, three kinds of hammerhead shark and two kinds of manta ray on its Appendix II list, which places restrictions on fishing but still allows limited trade.

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Author Interviews
11:56 am
Mon March 11, 2013

'Frankenstein's Cat': Bioengineering The Animals Of The Future

Cover of Frankenstein's Cat

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 1:52 pm

In her new book, Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts, science journalist Emily Anthes talks about how the landscape of bioengineering has expanded since Dolly the Sheep was cloned in 1996. Scientists, she says, are now working to create pigs that can grow organs for human transplant, goats that produce valuable protein-rich milk, and cockroaches that could potentially serve as tiny scouts into danger zones for the military.

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Shots - Health News
11:49 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Hardening Of Human Arteries Turns Out To Be A Very Old Story

A 3-D reconstruction of Mummy 38's CT scans shows calcification in her aorta and iliac arteries.
Courtesy of The Lancet

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 1:23 pm

Going "paleo" may not be the answer to heart disease, after all.

A few years ago, a team of researchers challenged our understanding of heart disease as a modern affliction. They found evidence of hardened arteries in the CT scans of ancient Egyptian mummies.

It was a little surprising since our predecessors didn't have fried chicken or cars.

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Shots - Health News
4:41 am
Mon March 11, 2013

New Voices For The Voiceless: Synthetic Speech Gets An Upgrade

Samantha Grimaldo was born with a rare disorder, Perisylvian syndrome, and has never been able to speak.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 1:23 pm

Ever since she was a small child, Samantha Grimaldo has had to carry her voice with her.

Grimaldo was born with a rare disorder, Perisylvian syndrome, which means that though she's physically capable in many ways, she's never been able to speak. Instead, she's used a device to speak. She types in what she wants to say, and the device says those words out loud. Her mother, Ruane Grimaldo, says that when Samantha was very young, the voice she used came in a heavy gray box.

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Education
5:01 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Are There Too Many PhDs And Not Enough Jobs?

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 8:50 am

Our country needs more people with science, math and engineering degrees — at least, that's the common refrain among politicians and educators.

American students lag behind the rest of the world when it comes to math and science test scores, and the president and others have called for a change in immigration laws that would make it easier for people who come to the U.S. to get technical degrees to stay in the country permanently.

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Environment
5:01 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Remembering Aldo Leopold, Visionary Conservationist And Writer

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 10:13 am

"There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot. Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now, we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free." — A Sand County Almanac

A Sand County Almanac, a collection of essays and observations, was written decades ago by Aldo Leopold, the father of the American conservation movement.

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Science
6:04 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

Scientists Make Plans To Blast Threatening Asteroids

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 7:41 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ARMAGEDDON")

STANLEY ANDERSON: (as the President) What is this thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It's enormous.

BILLY BOB THORNTON: (as Dan Truman) It's an asteroid, sir.

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

In the 1998 film "Armageddon," the character played by Bruce Willis saves the Earth by knocking aside an asteroid headed straight for us. Pure fiction, right? Well, maybe not.

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Krulwich Wonders...
6:22 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Guy Builds Solar-Powered Death Ray In His Backyard (Yawn)

YouTube

Aatish, a guy I follow on Twitter, tosses this stuff off like it's no biggie, but that's because he's a physics grad student. He knows things I don't know. And because I don't know them, what he finds mildly amusing makes me gasp. Really.

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Animals
4:36 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Adult Prairie Dogs Dig Living In Mom's Burrow

John Hoogland of the University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Science holds up a female prairie dog to check for signs of pregnancy, nursing or injury.
Courtesy of Elaine Miller Bond

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 9:47 pm

Like many humans, most young animals approaching adulthood tend to leave their parents and siblings and strike out on their own. They want to avoid competing with relatives. They want to avoid incest. In certain species, they want to avoid nagging.

But a new paper published in Thursday's Science shows there's at least one species that bucks this trend. Prairie dogs, especially female prairie dogs, stay home. They tend to only leave their native territories when all of their relatives are gone.

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