Health & Science

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Workplace wellness programs that offer employees a financial carrot for undergoing health screenings, sticking to exercise regimens or improving their cholesterol levels have long been controversial.

For generations, R. Elamparithi's family farmed rice paddies in a lush corner of southeast India that's also dotted with coconut palms and banana groves.

But 10 years ago, a representative from a nearby palm oil production plant visited, and convinced him to switch over to oil palms.

Oil palms grow bunches of fruit that look like dates or small plums, flanked by prickly fronds. The fruit is pressed, yielding palm oil — which is used in all sorts of processed foods, cosmetics and even biofuel.

Walter Mischel, a revolutionary psychologist with a specialty in personality theory, died of pancreatic cancer on Sept. 12. He was 88.

Kul Chandra Gautam was born in a rural village with no electricity or running water, no doctors and schools. The nearest town with a market was a five-day walk away.

He left home at age 7 to study — and study he did. He was one of the first people in the world to learn English from a Peace Corps volunteer, and his outstanding grades eventually won him a full scholarship to Dartmouth.

But getting there wasn't easy.

It's been a tough couple of years for the business of voting.

There's the state that discovered a Russian oligarch now finances the company that hosts its voting data.

Then there's the company that manufactures and services voter registration software in eight states that found itself hacked by Russian operatives leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

And then there's the largest voting machine company in the country, which initially denied and then admitted it had installed software on its systems considered by experts to be extremely vulnerable to hacking.

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Young people around the country are among those joining the debate over Christine Blasey Ford's accusation of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh in 1982, when both were teenagers.

What are teens learning from all this? And how should adults be handling this conversation?

One night during the summer of 2017, a teenager named Francesca in Virginia was assaulted by a classmate: "I was pinned down and he fondled my breasts and sexually assaulted me." We're only using her first name because she's 15 years old.

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Children registering for school in Florida this year were asked to reveal some history about their mental health.

The new requirement is part of a law rushed through the state legislature after the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Google has warned some senators and Senate aides that their personal Google accounts have been targets of attempted hacks backed by foreign governments, the company confirmed on Thursday.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., wrote to Senate leaders on Wednesday that his office has discovered a number of senators and Senate staff members were warned by a major technology company "that their personal email accounts were targeted by foreign government hackers."

Last week, hackers stole an estimated $59 million from a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange called Zaif, according to a statement released Thursday by the owners of the exchange.

According to Cointelegraph, the Tech Bureau Corp. said the breach occurred on September 14. The company discovered something was wrong on September 17, and realized it was a hack the following day, September 18.

Carmen Lugo has lived in Puerto Rico her whole life, and her whole life she has feared the water that comes out of her tap.

"When I was a child, we used filters," she says, leaning on the doorjamb with her 11-year-old in front of her and two teenage sons sleepy-eyed behind her on a morning in July.

"The water here," she says, pausing as she purses her lips in a tight smile. She chooses her words carefully. "We want to be in good health," she finally says. "My husband, he buys water from the Supermax," referring to a local grocery store.

It was a damp and dreary November nearly three years ago, when the London Metropolitan Police decided it was time to act. People kept calling with reports of grisly findings: mutilated cats, some with their heads and tails removed in and around the borough of Croydon.

Once a hub of steel production, Pittsburgh is now a hotspot for another burgeoning industry: artificial intelligence.

It’s home to Carnegie Mellon University, a trailblazer in A.I. research since the 1950s. And over the last few years, the city has caught the attention of tech giants in Silicon Valley — and now plays host to a variety of new projects.

Scientists say they have taken a potentially important — and possibly controversial — step toward creating human eggs in a lab dish.

A team of Japanese scientists turned human blood cells into stem cells, which they then transformed into very immature human eggs.

The eggs are far too immature to be fertilized or make a baby. And much more research would be needed to create eggs that could be useful — and safe — for human reproduction.

Experiments with two gambling monkeys have revealed a small area in the brain that plays a big role in risky decisions.

When researchers inactivated this region in the prefrontal cortex, the rhesus monkeys became less inclined to choose a long shot over a sure thing, the team reported Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

The psychoactive drug known as ecstasy can make people feel extra loving toward others, and a study published Thursday suggests it has the same effect on octopuses.

Coverage of the fires raging through California this summer is hard for anyone to watch, but it's especially difficult for the Cates family.

"My wife can't even watch the news — it singes us to the core," says Chris Cates, a retired cardiologist whose family-owned Segassia Vineyard in Napa Valley, Calif., known for its rich cabernet, was ravaged by fires about this time last year.

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Nearly a third of households in the United States have struggled to pay their energy bills, the Energy Information Administration said in a report released Wednesday. The differences were minor in terms of geography, but Hispanics and racial minorities were hit hardest.

If you look at the sugar content of some yogurts in the supermarket, you might mistakenly think you're in the dessert aisle. Yogurt is marketed as a healthy food, but a study published this week in the British Medical Journal is the latest reminder that not all yogurt is created equal.

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Conservationists have developed a new high-tech strategy to trace the cartels that smuggle much of the illegal ivory around the world — by using DNA to track ivory back to specific ports.

Biologist Samuel Wasser from the University of Washington is behind the effort. He notes that while poaching in Africa has dipped recently, too many elephants are still dying.

"Right now we're estimating that there are about 40,000 elephants being killed every year," he says, "and there are only 400,000 left in Africa. So that's a tenth of the population a year."

North Korea announced today that it will permanently close a major missile test site. Kim Jong Un, the North's leader, said the site would be dismantled in the presence of international inspectors.

Have you heard the theory that low air pressure during a hurricane can cause a surge in births?

Supposedly a steep drop in barometric pressure makes it easier for a baby to pop out.

As Hurricane Florence ripped through the Carolinas, we wondered if that was really true.

"It's one of those old wives' tales," said Dr. Hal Lawrence, executive vice president and CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

When patients come to Dr. Molly Quinn for infertility treatments, they usually aren't too interested in hearing about the possible downsides, she says. They just want to get pregnant.

Let's figure out how to end hunger forever. And do it fast.

That's the lofty goal of the World Food Programme's Innovation Accelerator, a 2-year-old venture inspired by the startup scene. It's gathering an arsenal of ideas to fight hunger — both by brainstorming internally and supporting outside entrepreneurs — to test out in the real world as quickly as possible.

Spock's Fictional Home Planet Discovered

Sep 19, 2018

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Whales And Navy Sonar

Sep 19, 2018

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After a high-profile campaign to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016, a number of states moved to make it harder to protest oil and gas projects. Now in Louisiana, the first felony arrests of protesters could be a test case of these tougher laws as opponents vow a legal challenge.

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