Health & Science

Ways to Connect

Spoiler alerts are sacred.

We plunge our fingers into our ears when a friend divulges details about a TV series we have yet to finish. We avoid articles that discuss important plot points of a movie we haven't gotten around to watching.

Sometimes, this 'no spoilers' mentality leaks in other parts of our lives. We avoid getting an important medical test done, fearing bad results. We turn off the news when the headlines make us upset, even though the information is pertinent to us. According to economist Joshua Tasoff, this behavior is irrational.

An official from Toronto has called Amazon's search for the second headquarters "the Olympics of the corporate world."

It's a unique situation of its kind and scale. Typically, cities and states vie for factories or offices behind the scenes. This time, Amazon's public solicitation of bids from essentially all major metropolitan areas in North America has prompted reporters and analysts across the continent to run their own odds on potential winners.

What's at stake?

A semitrailer pulls up, full of rice, water, clothes, medicine, biscuits.

Aid workers hand out the supplies to thousands of anxious, impatient and hungry refugees.

The scene is chaotic — and aid groups say that's how it has been for the past few weeks. Over 400,000 Rohingya refugees have fled government violence in Myanmar — where they are a Muslim minority — for Bangladesh. They are straining the capacity of aid agencies on the ground and of the Bangladesh government. And more refugees arrive each day.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This new chapter in Amazon's history inspired us to look at its past. We found an interview with Jeff Bezos from the mid-1990s.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

A feature of Apple's new high end iPhone X called Face ID — the phone will unlock when you look at it, or rather when it looks at you — has got privacy advocates nervous.

The new feature set off a fairly silly joke meme on Twitter with jibes such as "Face ID is the worst thing to happen to Beverly Hills plastic surgeons." But critics are taking the feature seriously, in part because Apple is likely to make Face ID very appealing and simple to use.

A year ago, Washington D.C.'s Capital Area Food Bank — one of the largest in the country — decided to turn away junk food, joining a growing trend of food banks that are trying to offer healthier options to low-income Americans. From soda to chips, the CAFB has reduced the junk food it supplies to its 444 nonprofit partners, including soup kitchens and food pantries, by 84 percent.

The Problem With Free Menstrual Pads

Sep 18, 2017

Sanitary pads are expensive. And in some parts of the world, hard to come by. So why not give pads away for free?

Galloping Ghost, one of the largest video-game arcades in the world, sits in an unassuming, single story brick building in Brookfield, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, that seems to go on forever, each corner bursting with beeping, blinking and flashing arcade cabinets.

Owner Doc Mack says they have more than 600 games. He says he didn't set out have quite that many.

"I have a huge collecting problem that I've had since childhood so I should have seen it coming, but who knew?" Mack asks rhetorically.

In his latest tweet about North Korea, President Trump gave leader Kim Jong Un a new nickname — "Rocket Man" — and seems to indicate he thinks sanctions on the country are working: "Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!" Trump wrote.

But are they, really? And what, if anything, could that tell us about the North Korean economy right now?

Can A Cat Be Both A Liquid And A Solid?

Sep 18, 2017

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Not long ago those of us suffering from celiac disease — an autoimmune illness triggered by the ingestion of gluten — could only look on longingly while our friends and family gorged on pasta, slurped up spaghetti, and blissed out over layers of cheese-and-sauce-soaked lasagna.

Then came the dawn of gluten-free food, including pastas often crafted of rice or corn. The problem seemed solved for all those who must avoid wheat — though substitutes never quite rivaled the slippery but chewy mouthfeel of pasta made from durum semolina wheat.

Earlier this year, when Emily Chodos was about 25 weeks into her pregnancy, she woke up one night feeling horrible.

"My hands were tremoring, my heart racing, " recalls Chodos, who lives near New Haven, Conn. She couldn't take a deep breath. "I'd never felt so out of control of my body."

She ended up paging her obstetrician's office at 4 a.m., and one of the midwives in the practice, after listening to her symptoms, said, "It sounds like you're having a panic attack."

Ariana Marciano is adding to her collection of about 75 tattoos at Body Electric, a tattoo and piercing studio on trendy Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. "I think they're so cool and I think they're visually really nice to look at," she says. There's a ram's head, an elk, a green-and-peach praying mantis, a love bug and a moth. Today she's getting a ladybug.

"I love bugs," Marciano, 23, says. "I think they're kind of overlooked." In about 20 minutes, a small ladybug with dots on its back and a bit of rusty orange takes its place on her elbow.

Copyright 2017 KPBS Radio. To see more, visit KPBS Radio.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Scientists Work To Grow Food In Space

Sep 17, 2017

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOOG CITY'S "C418")

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

This is Lulu's log, stardate September 17, 2017, where we consider matters of space, the stars and the universe.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOOG'S CITY'S "C418")

Copyright 2017 Georgia Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Georgia Public Broadcasting.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

We asked, and you answered.

In a recent series we explored a different way of giving aid to people in poor countries. Instead of handing out seeds or a cow or job training, what if you just gave people cash and let them decide how to use it?

Then we put the call out to you, our audience: Was there ever a time when you got a little cash with no strings attached and it made a huge difference? Or when you wished for a tiny windfall to tackle a problem?

At 87, Dolores Huerta is a living civil rights icon. She has spent most of her life as a political activist, fighting for better working conditions for farmworkers and the rights of the downtrodden, a firm believer in the power of political organizing to effect change.

Updated at 11 a.m. ET Sunday

With a pair of Sunday television interviews, President Trump's administration furthered ambiguity on the United States' position with regard to the Paris climate agreement.

On CBS' Face The Nation, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was asked by John Dickerson if there was a chance the U.S could stay in the accord.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The power outages that followed hurricanes Harvey and Irma are unfortunately a common reality with powerful storms, just as is the fact that the affected people need to eat.

Hurricane diets can consist of a lot of processed, prepackaged food, but with a bit of imagination or preparation, hot meals are possible.

After Hurricane Irma hit Florida, Tara Gatscher and her family returned to their house in Tampa Bay to find that while the house didn't have any terrible damage, they didn't have power.

Leprosy Is Not Quite Yet A Disease Of The Past

Sep 16, 2017

Leprosy is an ancient disease, a biblical curse and, even in the 21st century, a cultural shame so severe that in some countries, patients are sent to live in isolated colonies or tossed out of their own homes.

"I met a woman whose husband and children forced her to live in the cow shed," says Gareth Shrubshole, programs and advocacy officer at the Leprosy Mission. "Her boys refused to share a meal with their own mother." That was in India.

When he came to the United States 12 years ago, Edgar Velazquez hardly spoke a word of English. Most days of his first year, the 14-year-old Mexican immigrant went to the library after school to read the dictionary, determined to learn 250 words — the minimum for basic conversation.

At home, Velazquez often did his homework in the bathroom. It was the quietest spot in his family's 500 square-foot studio in the Tenderloin, a San Francisco neighborhood with "needles on the ground and a lot of homeless on the streets," he recalls.

A couple of high-tech entrepreneurs thought they'd put a personable name on an impersonal product.

Paul McDonald and Ashwath Rajan, formerly of Google, unveiled a box this week with glass doors, stocked with nonperishable items, that people can unlock with their cellphones while a camera records what they take and charges them.

It's essentially a tech-connected vending machine. But the entrepreneurs chose a name for their venture that many people found offensive: Bodega.

Nearly 400,000 Rohingya people have fled government violence in Myanmar and crossed into neighboring Bangladesh. The majority of them are children — 60 percent, by U.N. estimates. And at least 1,100 are separated from their parents.

The challenges for aid groups are unfathomable with a refugee crisis this large, caused by what Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, says seems to be "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

The situation is even more daunting when so many children are at risk.

Hospital pharmacist Mandy Langston remembers when Lulabelle Berry arrived at the emergency center of Stone County Medical Center in Mountain View, Ark., last year.

Berry couldn't talk. Her face was drooping on one side. Her eyes couldn't focus.

"She was basically unresponsive," Langston recalls.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Pages