Science: What Geeks are talking about from National Public Radio


Here is the latest Science News from National Public Radio.

What’s Good For The Heart Is Good For The Brain
Choosing a heart-healthy lifestyle can help protect your brain as you age, research suggests. And it’s not just memory skills that benefit. Problem solving abilities and judgement are preserved, too.

Forget Talent, Success Comes From ‘Grit’
Rachel Martin talks with Angela Duckworth, the psychologist who brought the idea of “grit” as a marker of success into the American mainstream. Her book posits that achievement is about persistence.

#NPRreads: Take Your Pick Of Space, Race Or Celebrity
In this weekly story roundup, NPR reporters, editors and producers share what they have been reading. Today’s mix explores life away from Earth, forgotten photos and fallen stars.

Tighter Alcohol Curbs For All Help Reduce Teen Motor Vehicle Deaths
Raising the cost of alcohol with taxes makes it less likely that teenagers will die in a drunk-driving accident, a study finds. Some teen-specific policies like graduated drivers licenses help, too.

Let’s Not Hug It Out With Our Dogs
Your dog doesn’t like your hugs. Psychologist and author Stanley Coren says that when he looked at a random sample of pictures showing people hugging dogs, most of the dogs showed signs of stress.

When It Came To Food, Neanderthals Weren’t Exactly Picky Eaters
During the Ice Age, it seems Neanderthals tended to chow down on whatever was most readily available. Early humans, on the other hand, maintained a consistent diet regardless of environmental changes.

Weasel Apparently Shuts Down World’s Most Powerful Particle Collider
The Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland is offline, following a run-in with a small mammal that munched on a power cord.

Join Us At 12pm EST Today For An #AirbnbWhileBlack Twitter Chat
Today, Code Switch’s Gene Demby and Hidden Brain’s Shankar Vedantam will be leading a Twitter chat to discuss what it’s like to be a person of color participating in the sharing economy.

Reborn At 40, She Uncovered New Life In A ‘Dream’ — Looking At Skulls
But not just looking at skulls — reconstructing human faces from them. This forensic artist once worked several jobs, hating “every morning I got up.” Then, she took a class in anthropology.

In Houston, Pregnant Women And Their Doctors Weigh Risks Of Zika
Mosquitoes infected with Zika haven’t turned up along the U.S. Gulf Coast yet, but could thrive in the region’s sultry summer weather. Pregnant women and their doctors are already taking precautions.

Ashley Madison Hack Inspires Social Scientists To Look Behind The Names
A leak of names from one of the world’s most famous “adultery” sites, Ashley Madison, got social scientists thinking. They’ve recently tried to see if people who like to cheat in their marriages also have a propensity to cheat at work.

Genetic Variations Help Make Fraternal Twins More Likely
Scientists identified two genetic variants that make it more likely that a woman will give birth to fraternal twins. Knowing this might help develop safer fertility treatments.

Mars By 2018? SpaceX And NASA Announce A New Space Project
The Red Dragon missions are aimed at figuring out what’s needed “to land large payloads propulsively on Mars.” For now, the plan doesn’t include sending astronauts to the red planet.

Loathed By Farmers, Loved By Ancients: The Strange History Of Tiger Nuts
One of the worst weeds in the world had its start as an ancient and valuable tuber used for food and medicine. Now tiger nuts are making a comeback in the health food aisle.

A Concussion Can Lead To Sleep Problems That Last For Years
Eighteen months after a concussion or other traumatic brain injury, two-thirds of the patients in a recent study were still sleepy during the day. And most were unaware of their symptoms.

Scans Show The Brain Groups Words By Meaning
Brain maps constructed by MRI imaging show that language meaning is distributed throughout the brain’s outer layer. And it turns out that different people organize language in similar ways.

Ruling May Help Patients Keep More Of The Winnings When They Sue
When someone’s been hurt and gets cash as part of a legal decision, health plans routinely demand to be reimbursed for medical costs they covered. But a Supreme Court ruling may hinder that strategy.

Beneath An Ugly Outside, Marred Fruit May Pack More Nutrition
Why are some fruits and veggies born ugly? Fighting off fungus, heat and pests can leave blemishes. Some researchers think these battle scars may actually boost the antioxidant content in produce.

Super Hearing And Fast Growth … Scientists Learn Why Sauropods Ruled
A nearly complete fossilized skull from Argentina helps explains the success of these giant dinosaurs that roamed some 95 million years ago.

When Personalization Leads To Discrimination On AirBnB
In the sharing economy, the goal to personalize the exchange can have some unintended consequences. The Hidden Brain podcast explores how discrimination plays out on AirBnB.

Can Big Data Resolve The Human Condition?
What makes the Kavli HUMAN Project, which will follow 10,000 people over 20 years, so exciting is that it’s exactly the kind of approach that can show us if Big Data really works, says Adam Frank.

How Being Busy Affects Our Motivation
There’s an old saying: If you want to get something done, ask a busy person. Researchers find that busy people are more motivated to complete tasks after missing a deadline than their non-busy peers.

Many Grouchy, Error-Prone Workers Just Need More Sleep
Sleep researchers say about 30 percent of employees at big firms are so tired they’re making as many mistakes as if they were coming to work drunk. Some offices now have “napping pods.”

#AirbnbWhileBlack: How Hidden Bias Shapes The Sharing Economy
The sharing economy is making online transactions far more personal, which can lead to some unintended consequences.

Babies Who Eat Rice Cereal Have Higher Arsenic Levels, Study Finds
Multiple studies have found that rice-based foods contain traces of arsenic. Now a study finds babies fed rice cereals and other rice-based snacks have higher concentrations of arsenic in their urine.

National Park Service Celebrates 100th Anniversary
The National Park Service is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its creation this year. NPR spends time on the job with workers in the country’s busiest national park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to explore the vast variety of work the park service does and the challenges it’s facing.

Astronaut Completes London Marathon From The International Space Station
About 38,000 runners competed in the London Marathon today – and one of them ran it in orbit 200 miles above Earth. British astronaut Tim Peake says microgravity is “perfect” for post-race recovery.

These Earth-Saving Robots Might Be The Future Recyclers
Apple recently unveiled Liam, a robot with 29 arms that takes apart iPhones so materials can be recycled and reused. As we accumulate more waste, recycling robots like Liam might become more common.

Experimental Solar-Powered Plane Completes Journey Across The Pacific
Solar Impulse 2 flew for three days from Hawaii to Calif., after a nine month delay for repairs. The team is aiming to complete a round-the-world journey using only the sun’s power.

Reef Larger Than Delaware Found At The Mouth Of The Amazon River
The reef is unusual because it lies in muddy waters, and scientists had only seen hints of its existence until recent research expeditions. They say it’s already in danger because of oil drilling.

How Do Ants Survive Floods? Rafts Of Course
Scott Simon talks with entomologist Jessica Purcell about her research into the ingenious strategy one kind of European ant uses to stay safe in floods: joining their bodies to form floating rafts.

#NPRreads: 3 Stories To Soak Up This Weekend
The premise of #NPRreads is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading and each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

Listeners Got Active About Our Active Learning Stories
Two recent reports on a Stanford Noble Laureate’s efforts to change how undergraduate science education struck a nerve with many of you.

U.S. Proposes Removing Yellowstone Grizzly Bears From Endangered Species List
Grizzly bears in Yellowstone may soon lose protection from the federal government. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed taking the bears off the endangered species list, saying the population has recovered to a self-sustaining number. Opponents dispute that, in part because they say federal biologists aren’t sufficiently accounting for climate change threatening their food sources.

#EarthDay: The High Cost Of Eco-Activism
Why the world’s poorest people are some of the most effective — and vulnerable — environmental activists.

Florida Keys Weigh Options For Battling Mosquitoes And Zika
Residents of these islands have waged many campaigns against disease-carrying mosquitoes. But there’s still not much agreement at public meetings about how the mosquitoes should be controlled.

For Earth Day, Report Has News To Ease A Meat-Lover’s Conscience
The World Resources Institute says you don’t have to bid burgers bye-bye in order to reduce the environmental footprint of what you eat. Americans cutting back on beef could go a long way, it says.

Earth Day Brings Celebrations, Signing Of Historic Climate Pact
Earth Day brings everything from special Google Doodles and beautiful views of our planet to the historic signing of an international climate agreement.

Task Force Calls For More Safety Oversight At NIH Research Hospital
NIH Director Francis Collins has stopped research at two leading labs for now. But an independent board of experts wants even more oversight to ensure patient safety is the top priority.

Can The U.S. And China Keep Their Climate Pledges?
The two nations topping the world in greenhouse gas emissions agreed at the Paris talks to cut way back. But critics have stalled a key part of the U.S. plan, and China’s good start may be fragile.

Half Your Brain Stands Guard When Sleeping In A New Place
No wonder we don’t feel rested after a first night in a new place: Half of our brain has stayed alert while the other half enjoyed deeper sleep, a study finds. We really have been half-asleep.

Experimental Solar-Powered Plane Takes Flight After 9-Month Delay
Solar Impulse 2 is attempting to circumnavigate the world using only the sun’s power. It has been grounded in Hawaii for maintenance and is now on a three day journey heading to California.

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