Health & Science

Ways to Connect

Amy Knowlton pilots the 29-foot research vessel Nereid out of Lubec harbor and into the waters of the Bay of Fundy, off of easternmost Maine. A scientist with the New England Aquarium's Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life Knowlton points to harbor porpoises chasing fish in the wind-swept waters on a recent morning.

Then something much larger appears off the stern.

"Whale behind us," Knowlton says, steering closer. "It's probably a humpback or fin whale, we'll get a better look."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

A new climate report commissioned by the United Nations paints a pretty dire picture for the year 2040 - high food shortages, wildfires, droughts, rising sea levels, poverty and massive destruction to coral reefs.

Copyright 2018 WHYY. To see more, visit WHYY.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

It's time now for All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF ULRICH SCHNAUSS' "NOTHING HAPPENS IN JUNE")

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Unlabeled stimulants in soft drinks. Formaldehyde in meat and milk. Borax — the stuff used to kill ants! — used as a common food preservative. The American food industry was once a wild and dangerous place for the consumer.

Deborah Blum's new book, The Poison Squad, is a true story about how Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, named chief chemist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1883, conducted a rather grisly experiment on human volunteers to help make food safer for consumers — and his work still echoes on today.

The ancient Maya might be known for their mathematical aptitude, their accurate calendars, and their impressive temples. But did you know they were also salt entrepreneurs?

During the peak of Maya civilization – from 300 to 900 A.D. — coastal Maya produced salt by boiling brine in pots over fires. The end result was shaped into salt cakes, then paddled by canoe to inland cities and traded at extensive markets.

Some of the world's top climate scientists have concluded that global warming is likely to reach dangerous levels unless new technologies are developed to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says pledges from the world's governments to reduce greenhouse gases, made in Paris in 2015, aren't enough to keep global warming from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees F) above pre-industrial temperatures.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NOEL KING, HOST:

New laws in Europe and California are forcing tech companies to protect users' privacy or risk big fines.

Now, the industry is fearing that more states will enact tough restrictions. So it's moving to craft federal legislation that would pre-empt state laws and might put the Federal Trade Commission in charge of enforcement.

Europe enacted a tough law in May which requires, among other things, that companies make data breaches public within 72 hours of discovering them.

The new trade deal with Canada and Mexico has been warmly welcomed by farmers, manufacturers and business groups across the country, but not always for the reasons President Trump anticipated.

While the president has touted improvements and changes as compared to North American Free Trade Agreement, many people are focusing on what didn't change and expressing relief that there's a deal at all.

As a specialist in Alzheimer's prevention, Jessica Langbaum knows that exercising her mental muscles can help keep her brain sharp.

But Langbaum, who holds a doctorate in psychiatric epidemiology, has no formal mental fitness program. She doesn't do crossword puzzles or play computer brain games.

"Just sitting down and doing Sudoku isn't probably going to be the one key thing that's going to prevent you from developing Alzheimer's disease," she says.

Paige Thesing has struggled with insomnia since high school. "It takes me a really long time to fall asleep — about four hours," she says. For years, her mornings were groggy and involved a "lot of coffee."

After a year of trying sleep medication prescribed by her doctor, she turned to the internet for alternate solutions. About four months ago, she settled on a mobile phone meditation app called INSCAPE.

A year ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping stood before the 19th Communist Party Congress and laid out his ambitious plan for China to become a world leader by 2025 in advanced technologies such as robotics, biotechnology and artificial intelligence.

It was seen as a direct challenge to U.S. leadership in advanced technology. James Lewis, a specialist in China and technology at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says China recognizes that technological superiority helps give the United States an edge in national security and wants in on it.

At the Vdara Hotel and Spa in Las Vegas, robots are at the front line of room service. "Jett" and "Fetch" are delivery robots, designed to look like dogs, each about three feet high.

They can bring items from the hotel's cafe right to your room. Among their many capabilities, they can travel alone across the lobby, remotely call for an elevator, and even alert guests when they arrive at their hotel room through an automated phone message.

How Fruit Became So Sugary

Oct 7, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Many of the images we see of refugees, migrants and immigrants portray them as burdens on society or victims of oppression.

A new photo show, Another Way Home, offers a different narrative.

In this week’s Medical Minute, Dr. Joseph Hobbs, chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, discusses how obesity, alcoholism, and hepatitis actually lead down the road to liver damage.

The Medical Minute airs at 8:18 a.m., 1:20 p.m. and 5:18 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday on the 17 GPB radio stations across Georgia. For more Medical Minute episodes, visit the GPB Augusta SoundCloud page. The Medical Minute is written and produced by The Medical College of Georgia in collaboration with GPB Augusta.


Ever heard of these food additives? Synthetically-derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, methyl eugenol, myrcene, pulegone, or pyridine?

These compounds can help mimic natural flavors and are used to infuse foods with mint, cinnamon and other flavors.

You've likely never seen them on food labels because food manufacturers are permitted to label them simply as "artificial flavors."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Sans Forgetica: A Font To Remember

Oct 6, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This week in the Russia investigations: 21st century great power competition means the challenge of defending American democracy will get tougher, not easier.

The woods are dark and deep

Americans inside and outside of Washington, D.C., spent the last week transfixed by the drama over President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, but there also were ample reminders about how the rest of the world is not standing still.

Months in prison didn't rid Daryl of his addiction to opioids. "Before I left the parking lot of the prison, I was shooting up, getting high," he says.

Daryl has used heroin and prescription painkillers for more than a decade. Almost four years ago he became one of more than 200 people who tested positive for HIV in a historic outbreak in Scott County, Ind. After that diagnosis, he says, he went on a bender.

NPR's health reporting team would like to hear your thoughts. We're working on a story about how to start an exercise habit. What keeps you from the gym? What are your biggest obstacles to getting consistent exercise?

Please fill out our form and share a voice memo with us. You might end up in a story or a podcast. Please submit a voice memo within the form below, or if it's easier, you can email your voice memo to nprcrowdsource@npr.org (include your name and where you're from with "exercise" in the subject line).

Thanks!

In 2014, Nadia Murad, a member of the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq, was taken captive by ISIS members and sexually enslaved for three months before escaping. In 2016, at the age of 23, she was named the U.N.'s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. Today, she became the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who treats victims of rape.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode What Makes Us ... Us

About Anil Seth's TED Talk

When we look around, it feels like we're seeing an objective reality. But neuroscientist Anil Seth says everything we perceive, from objects to emotions, is an act of informed guesswork by the brain.

About Anil Seth

The Department of Transportation has announced new federal voluntary guidance on the development and use of automated vehicles — with the goal of "removing unnecessary barriers" to innovation.

More than two months since an Ebola outbreak was declared in an eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, health officials are still struggling to end it.

So far at least 130 people have been infected. Last week the World Health Organization declared that the risk has gone from "high" to "very high" that the disease will spread to other parts of the country and to neighboring countries.

Yet some key health officials remain optimistic that it won't actually come to that.

How is that possible?

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Pages