Science & Environment

Shots - Health News
5:18 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

What's Going On In There? How Babies' Brains Practice Speech

The magnetoencephalograph can record electrical signals from a baby's brain without requiring the child to be perfectly still.
University of Washington

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 8:08 am

A baby's first words may seem spur of the moment, but really, the little ones have practiced their "Mamas" and "Dadas" for months in their minds.

Using what looks like a hair dryer from Mars, researchers from the University of Washington have taken the most precise peeks yet into the fireworks display of neural activity that occurs when infants listen to people speak.

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The Salt
4:52 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Captain Ahab's Revenge: Brewing Beer From An Ancient Whale Bone

Jasper Akerboom of the Lost Rhino Brewing Co. in Ashburn, Va., tested a dozen yeasts before finding one that was perfect for making bone beer.
Ryan Kellman NPR

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 5:54 pm

What happens when an amateur paleontologist with a love for beer teams up with a microbiologist? Bone beer, or beer made from yeast scraped from a 35-million-year-old whale fossil, to be precise.

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The Salt
8:48 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Calorie Counting Machine May Make Dieting Easier In The Future

A model of General Electric's automatic calorie counter, fitted over a plate of food.
Courtesy of GE

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 12:51 pm

Part of losing weight boils down to making tweaks to the simple equation of calories in versus calories out.

Americans spend over $60 billion a year on diet and weight loss products, according to market research, but the weight often comes right back. That may be because it's such a hassle to count calories — tracking everything you order or cook at home.

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Research News
8:03 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Why Smartphone Breaks At Work Aren't Such A Bad Idea

A little bit of this at work might make for more productive employees.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 9:00 am

In that cubicle by the water cooler you see him: your employee, on your dime, tilted back in that pricey Herman Miller chair, his personal smartphone in hand. Judging by the furrowed brow, you'd guess it's a hot game of Words With Friends.

Which do you do?

1. Chastise him.
2. Ignore him.
3. Give him a smile and a thumbs-up, and suggest he keep playing.

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Business
6:30 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Coal-Burning Power Plant To Give New Life To Texas Oil Field

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 11:15 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There is a coal-burning power plant outside of Houston that ranks among the nation's biggest emitters of carbon dioxide. With pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the plant is hoping to capture that CO2 and use it to boost energy production in an old oilfield. Houston Public Media's Andrew Schneider reports.

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Environment
6:10 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Underwater Meadows Might Serve As Antacid For Acid Seas

UC Santa Barbara's Jay Lunden and Andrew Brinkman, a summer intern for NOAA, prepare to deploy an instrument that measures temperature and salinity throughout the water column, and collects water samples.
Umihiko Hoshijima UCSB

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 12:45 pm

The world's oceans are changing — chemically changing. As people put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the oceans absorb more of it, and that's making the water more acidic.

The effects are subtle in most places, but scientists say that if this continues, it could be a disaster for marine life.

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Shots - Health News
3:30 am
Tue July 15, 2014

When Work Becomes A Haven From Stress At Home

Lucinda Schreiber for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 11:13 am

In the land that came up with the phrase "Thank God it's Friday," and a restaurant chain to capitalize on the sense of relief many feel as the work week ends, researchers made an unusual finding in 2012.

Moms who worked full time reported significantly better physical and mental health than moms who worked part time, research involving more than 2,500 mothers found. And mothers who worked part time reported better health than moms who didn't work at all.

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Shots - Health News
4:15 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

This Is Your Stressed-Out Brain On Scarcity

Josh Neufeld for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 6:24 pm

Being poor is stressful. That's no big surprise.

In a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, 1 in 3 people making less than $20,000 a year said they'd experienced "a great deal of stress" in the previous month. And of those very stressed-out people, 70 percent said that money problems were to blame.

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Shots - Health News
3:08 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Do We Choose Our Friends Because They Share Our Genes?

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 11:15 am

People often talk about how their friends feel like family. Well, there's some new research out that suggests there's more to that than just a feeling. People appear to be more like their friends genetically than they are to strangers, the research found.

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Goats and Soda
12:05 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Pathogens On A Plane: How To Stay Healthy In Flight

Suspicious travel companions: Bacteria can survive for days on surfaces inside a plane. But that doesn't mean you have to take these critters home with you.
Benjamin Arthur for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 2:30 pm

From Ebola in West Africa to chikungunya in the Caribbean, the world has had plenty of strange — and scary — outbreaks this year.

Some pathogens have even landed in the U.S. Just a few months ago, two men boarded planes in Saudi Arabia and brought a new, deadly virus from the Middle East to Florida and Indiana.

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