Science & Technology

Research News
1:16 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Trapped In A Fossil: Remnants Of A 46-Million-Year-Old Meal

A very old squished mosquito found in fossilized rock from Montana. Analysis of the insect's gut revealed telltale chemicals found in blood.
PNAS

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 5:19 pm

Scientists who study why species vanish are increasingly looking for ancient DNA. They find it easily enough in the movies; remember the mosquito blood in Jurassic Park that contained dinosaur DNA from the bug's last bite? But in real life, scientists haven't turned up multi-million-year-old DNA in any useable form.

Fortunately, a team at the Smithsonian Institution has now found something unique in a 46-million-year-old, fossilized mosquito — not DNA, but the chemical remains of the insect's last bloody meal.

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Krulwich Wonders...
6:43 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Watch Daniela. She's Up To Something Big

YouTube

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 10:03 am

Somebody should be watching Daniela Rus and her pals at MIT, because what they are doing is so crazy, so potentially important, people need to know about them. Not because they're dangerous, but because what they're doing might be changing the world and nobody should change the world without the world noticing.

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Animals
4:53 pm
Sun October 13, 2013

Birds Of A Feather Spy Together

AFP/ Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 5:12 pm

The scene: Two men in a chilly Soviet apartment converse in whispers, careful to protect their plans from enemy ears. Little do they know, the benign-looking raven outside their window is not merely a city scavenger hunting for food, but a spy for the U.S. government.

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Science
6:49 am
Sun October 13, 2013

Bill Nye Returns To Science Entertainment

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 7:47 am

Bill Nye, who gained a cult following as the Science Guy, has a new web series, a collaboration with NASA Why with Nye. He joins host Rachel Martin to talk about the new series.

Pop Culture
4:07 pm
Sat October 12, 2013

The New And The Next: Six-Second Comedy And A Spin On News

Courtesy of Elise Andrew

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 1:27 pm

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Politics
7:05 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Shutdown's Reach Extends To South Pole

Research season was just getting started when the government shutdown put McMurdo Station into "caretaker" mode, halting data collection. Host Scott Simon speaks to Gretchen Hofmann, a professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, about the government shutdown's impact on research in Antarctica.

The Salt
5:38 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Shutdown Leaves Some Seniors Worried About Their Next Meal

Seniors around the country depend on weekly deliveries of nutritionally balanced food from the USDA's supplemental nutrition program.
tmarvin iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 6:27 pm

You've no doubt heard of Senior Meals on Wheels preparing hot meals delivered to the elderly. But there's a different meal program that's been put on hold because of the partial government shutdown. It's the USDA's Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

In Michigan's western Kent County alone, more than 1,300 low-income seniors depend on the program. For them, it's a nutrition lifeline: They can't just go to a food pantry for similar assistance.

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Technology
4:22 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Shutting Down Government Websites Is No Small Endeavor

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 5:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

One of the side effects of the government shutdown is the closure of many federal websites. The big ones, like the IRS and the White House, are still up and running. But there are others that have shut down, such as those of NASA or the Library of Congress. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports that while shutting the sites is likely to save money in the short run, it could create hassles down the road.

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Digital Life
4:22 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Making Babies? Yep, There's An App For That

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 5:38 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A warning, this next story contains some explicit content. It's about SmartPhone apps that help people track their sexual activity. We're not talking about hookup apps for sex around the corner. Rather, these apps help you get pregnant. And they're becoming very popular. From member station KQED in San Francisco, Aarti Shahani reports.

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Shots - Health News
3:50 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Why A Peanut Butter Test For Alzheimer's Might Be Too Simple

University of Florida researcher Jennifer Stamps administers the peanut butter sniff test to a volunteer.
Jesse S. Jones University of Florida

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 11:47 am

Alzheimer's disease can be tough to diagnose, especially early on. Doctors can order brain scans and assay spinal fluids. But existing tests are imperfect and some can be invasive.

So you might understand the appeal of an alternative that researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville tried. They had asked patients to sniff a dab of peanut butter during a routine test of cranial nerve function. Later, the team wondered if it could help them figure of it someone might be in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

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