Health & Science

Ways to Connect

Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET

A special celestial event is on the calendar for this Sunday night and experts are already raving:

"A full 62 luxurious minutes of totality," says Sky and Telescope Magazine.

"The Only Total Lunar Eclipse of 2019," promises NASA.

A diver in California has stumbled on an unexpected source of plastic waste in the ocean: golf balls.

As the balls degrade, they can emit toxic chemicals. And there appear to be lots of them in certain places underwater — right next to coastal golf courses.

One More Thing The Shutdown Took: Panda Cams

6 hours ago

The partial government shutdown has its long arms in many aspects of people's daily lives. Here is yet another: animal live cams.

It turned out to be the little sprout that couldn't.

The vaunted cotton seeds that on Tuesday China said had defied the odds to sprout on the moon — albeit inside a controlled environment — have died.

China's state-run Xinhua News Agency announced the news, simply stating: "The experiment has ended."

Annie Duke was about to win $2 million.

It was 2004, and she was at the final hand of the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions. Annie had beaten some of the best poker players in the world — all men — to get to this point.

But she wasn't sure she deserved to be there.

"I'm sort of thinking, if I fold and I'm wrong, everybody's going to be like, 'See, she plays like a girl, look how he pushed her around,' " said Annie.

Updated at 5:47 p.m. ET

President Trump unveiled a sweeping plan Thursday to defend the U.S. and its allies from missile attack.

The plan is the first update to the nation's missile defense strategy in nearly a decade, but in many ways it is reminiscent of President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, a pie-in-the-sky program that was later dubbed "Star Wars."

Scientists Find Brain Cells That Make Pain Hurt

9 hours ago

Pain is a complicated experience. Our skin and muscles sense it, just like they sense softness or warmth. But unlike other sensations, the experience of pain is distinctly unpleasant.

Pain has to hurt for us to pay attention to it, and avoid hurting ourselves further.

But for people in chronic pain, the pain has largely lost its purpose. It just hurts.

While it has long been understood how nerves signal pain to the brain, scientists haven't known how the brain adds a layer of unpleasantness.

Saturn is famous for its lovely rings, but a new study suggests the planet has spent most of its 4.5 billion years without them.

That's because the rings are likely only 10 million to 100 million years old, according to a newly published report in the journal Science that's based on findings from NASA's Cassini probe.

For nearly a year before family separation became an official and controversial policy of the Trump administration in the spring of 2018, federal immigration agents separated "thousands" of migrant children from their parents. That's according to a government watchdog report released Thursday.

A new law in California allows home cooks to prepare and sell meals out of their personal digs as of January 1. But would-be household hash slingers shouldn't grab their aprons and chef hats just yet. The law — the first of its kind in the country — has a major caveat: counties have to opt in, and so far, none have. But some Bay Area and Central California counties are considering it.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Twenty five years ago, at 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 17, 1994, the Northridge earthquake shook Angelenos from their beds. For those of us who lived through it, the memories of chaos early in the morning are unforgettable.

"We were just literally startled awake by a freight train driving right through our bedroom," said my father, Mark Margolis, who along with my sister, my mother and myself, was sleeping just about seven miles from the epicenter. "I mean the blinds that were supposed to be hanging vertical were like out horizontal. So, there was a tremendous amount of movement."

While Shakespeare's Romeo spent only about two days banished in Mantua, away from his beloved Juliet, Romeo the frog has remained in complete isolation — sans love interest, cousins, friars or friends — living in a laboratory for the last 10 years. But that's all about to change.

Sniffles, sore throats and fevers seem to be all around lately.

If things get bad enough for you or a loved one to seek care, what are your expectations about treatment? Do you want a prescription for an antibiotic if symptoms suggest an infection?

Want to reduce your risk of dementia in older age? Move as much as you can.

We've all heard about techniques to get us more physically active — take the stairs, park the car a bit further from your destination, get up and march in place for a minute or two when standing or sitting at a desk.

Now a study finds even simple housework like cooking or cleaning may make a difference in brain health in our 70s and 80s.

Updated at 7:23 p.m. ET

Students and faculty at Michigan State University have called for the resignation or firing of interim President John Engler almost from the day he was appointed. This week, they got their wish.

On Wednesday evening, MSU Board of Trustees member Dianne Byrum confirmed she had received a letter of resignation from Engler and that letter would be acted upon at the trustee meeting scheduled for Thursday morning.

The next great insect repellent might come from a strain of bacteria that lives inside a common parasitic worm.

A study published Wednesday in Science Advances has found that a compound derived from these bacteria is three times more potent than DEET in repelling mosquitoes. More research must be done to demonstrate its safety, but this bacterial chemical could play an important role in the fight against mosquito-borne illness.

There is more than just January's cold currently gripping the city of Westbrook, Maine. An immense, icy disk doing a solitary pirouette on the Presumpscot River is dazzling observers, local and distant alike.

Scientists say the disk is naturally occurring and has been seen before. Most of us have spotted eddies in flowing water, that is when a cross current creates a small whirlpool. But winter's cold adds a whiff of mystery to this phenomenon.

Sign up for the CommonHealth newsletter to receive a weekly digest of WBUR's best health, medicine and science coverage.

Sriracha sauce. It's everywhere. Even beer and donuts. The fiery chili paste concocted by Vietnamese-American immigrant David Tran has conquered the American market and imagination in the past decade.

But the original Sriracha is actually Thai — and comes from the seaside city of Si Racha, where most residents haven't even heard of the U.S. brand, which is now being exported to Thailand.

Netflix has raised its prices for U.S. viewers, as the company invests in original content amid growing competition from other streaming services.

The company's most popular subscription plan, which allows high-definition viewing on two screens, has jumped from $10.99 to $12.99 per month. Its cheapest, non-HD plan has risen from $7.99 to $8.99, and its premium plan from $13.99 to $15.99.

Huawei Founder Denies His Firm Spies For China

Jan 15, 2019

The founder and CEO of Huawei denies his company spies for China. In a rare public appearance at the tech company's campus in Shenzhen, Ren Zhengfei told reporters he would refuse to share user data with the government if asked, and he said he misses his daughter, who is in Canada facing possible extradition to the U.S.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Is Facebook ripe for disruption in 2019? That's a question we're asking in this week's All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

A hint of a cotton plant is growing on the moon, inside China's lunar lander, scientists in China say.

Photos released on Tuesday by Chongqing University, in collaboration with the China National Space Administration, show the small, green shoot from a cotton seed reaching out of a latticed container aboard the probe Chang'e-4, named after the Chinese lunar goddess.

~~~~~https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Fguardian%2Fstatus%2F1085114562830102529~~~~~~

The overuse of technology has overtaken drugs, sex and bullying as the biggest parental worry, according to the annual Brigham Young and Deseret News American Family Survey.

But what are we actually supposed to be doing about it?

Jordan Shapiro, a Temple University professor whose background is in philosophy and psychology, has a prescription that might surprise you. In his new book, The New Childhood, his argument is that we're not spending enough screen time with our kids.

What The Future Of Work Means For Cities

Jan 15, 2019

NOTE: This is an excerpt of Planet Money's newsletter. You can sign up here.

Last September, the Trump administration unveiled a controversial proposal — a policy that, if implemented, could jeopardize the legal status of many immigrants who sign up for some government-funded programs, including Medicaid.

Human trafficking has taken on "horrific" dimensions, according to the 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons released this month by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

When Joshua Mezrich was a medical student on the first day of surgical rotation, he was called into the operating room to witness a kidney transplant.

What he saw that day changed him.

After the donor kidney came out of ice and the clamps on it were released, he says, "it turned pink and literally, in front of my eyes, this urine just started squirting out onto the field."

By definition, whiskey is a grain spirit. And until now, that "grain" has been limited by federal law to four specific crops: corn, wheat, rye and barley.

So when Darek Bell, founder of Corsair Distillery in Nashville, Tenn., wanted to start experimenting with alternatives, there wasn't really a playbook to follow.

Pages