Health & Science

Ways to Connect

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Cathy Fennelly tried to save her son from heroin addiction.

For eight years, she tried to help him get sober. She told him he couldn't come home unless he was in treatment. It tormented her, knowing that he might be sleeping on the streets, cold at night.

But nothing worked. In 2015, she found him dead from an overdose on her front step.

"No matter how many detoxes I put him in, no matter how many mental facilities; I emptied out my 401(k), I sold my jewelry," she says. "This will never get easier. Never."

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Pope Francis didn't exactly reverse the Catholic Church's long-held stance again contraception today, but in light of the rapid spread of the Zika virus, he appeared to make an exception.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

In a few days, Apple will formulate its formal response to the federal judge's order seeking the company's help for the FBI to get inside a phone used by Syed Farook, one of the attackers in the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings.

Valentina Vitoria was born in December.

She has microcephaly, the birth defect that causes an abnormally small head and can cause brain damage as well.

The baby's mother is 32-year-old Fabiane Lopes. She's caring for her daughter in a tiny, windowless one-room apartment in Rio de Janeiro. A whirring fan is the only relief they have from the heat.

In Brazil, doctors are getting closer to untangling the possible connection of Zika to microcephaly. The country has seen thousands of babies born with this birth defect since the virus arrived last year.

The doctor told Sharlene Adams to get a blood pressure cuff, so she set out to buy one.

A leaking natural gas storage well on the outskirts of Los Angeles has been permanently sealed and shut down, after spewing methane into the atmosphere for months, California officials say.

When Rachel Mollen strolls into the cafe at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh with her 5-year-old son, she knows exactly the kind of food they will eat.

"Will, he's the youngest of four, and he wanted to do something special today," Mollen says. "I was trying to think of some place that we could go for lunch and have a healthy lunch and do something fun."

It's well-known that Americans are not getting enough sleep. But some parts of the United States do it better than others. If you bed down in Minnesota, South Dakota or Colorado, you're likely getting seven or more hours a night. But you're less in luck if you live in Hawaii, where only 56 percent of adults get enough rest.

The Freedom 251 smartphone, which went on sale Thursday, has sparked intense interest in India and beyond. Priced at 251 rupees ($3.65), the 3G device is being called the cheapest smartphone in the world. But it's also sparking questions about how the phone works — and whether it's legal.

It's often a split-second decision.

You're in the produce aisle, and those organic apples on display look nice. You like the idea of organic — but they're a few bucks extra. Ditto for the organic milk and meat. Do you splurge? Or do you ask yourself: What am I really getting from organic?

Updated at 8:11 p.m. E.T.

California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health rejected proposed regulations Thursday that would have required actors in all pornographic films statewide to use condoms.

Cal/OSHA's Standards Board voted 3-2 to accept the new regulations, but needed four "yes" votes to pass them. The board then voted to ask Cal/OSHA staffers to get to to work on new regulations for the porn industry.

The standards board heard five hours of testimony from scores of actors, writers, directors and producers at the hearing in Oakland.

Pizza Added To Meals-Ready-To-Eat Menu

Feb 18, 2016

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

When I was growing up, there was no question of what I wanted for dinner. I wanted glorified "American" food: hamburgers, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese. I dreamed of coming home from school to find my mom pulling a pot roast from the oven, not setting the table with chopsticks and bowls of rice.

It wasn't until I left home for college that I began to miss my mother's cooking and decided to re-create some of her dishes. After a few mishaps and a cupboard full of burnt pans, I decided to look to the Internet for guidance, discovering the wonderful world of food blogs.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Updated 12:25 p.m. ET, with the FCC's vote.

The Federal Communications Commission has begun a process that could lead to TV viewers being able to own their cable TV set-top boxes.

That's probably a problem most subscribers didn't know they had, but a congressional study found that cable subscribers pay an average of $231 a year to rent their cable boxes.

Apple and the U.S. government are in a legal clash over Apple's refusal to comply with a court order to help the FBI crack the passcode on an iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. This case follows a long debate over how matters of national security should be balanced against an individual's privacy.

Sarah Parcak is a space archaeologist. She uses satellite imagery to track looted ancient burial sites and find pyramids hidden under Egyptian cities. Now, she has bigger plans: to launch a worldwide campaign to make all of us space archaeologists.

As men age, they lose testosterone — which some say affects their sense of well-being and sexual function. But for healthy older men, using supplemental testosterone as a remedy has been controversial. Past studies of the supplement's use have been relatively small, and the evidence about benefits and risks has been mixed.

What caused the collapse of Easter Island, widely believed to be the world's most isolated inhabited place, hundreds of years ago? The question is a matter of hot debate.

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First Mention: iPhone

Feb 17, 2016

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This fight between law enforcement and Apple seems like the right moment to dip into our feature...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: First mention.

SHAPIRO: To discover when NPR initially spoke the word, iPhone.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Remember the cryptex, the little handheld safe from The Da Vinci Code where entering the correct combination will reveal the secret message and entering the wrong one will destroy it?

Now replace the little safe with an iPhone, and instead of a secret message, it's holding evidence in a terrorism case. The critical combination? It's a passcode — one the FBI doesn't know, and one that Apple is reluctant to help the agency figure out.

Midway through Matt Keil's second deployment in Iraq, he came home and married his fiancee, Tracy, in 2007.

He had two weeks R&R; no time for a honeymoon.

Before he went back to war the couple had the sort of conversation unique to newlyweds in the military. "I told her if you get a phone call that I'm injured, I'm probably fine," Matt says. "But if they come to the apartment or to your work in person, then I'm dead."

He loves Argentinian empanadas and dulce de leche. In 2015, he said that if he had only one wish, it would be to travel unrecognized to a pizzeria and have a slice — or two or three. In other words, he may be protected by the world's smallest army and be responsible for the spiritual governance of 1.2 billion people, but when it comes to eating, Pope Francis loves comfort food as much as the next person.

Taxpayers Confused By Late Health Law Forms

Feb 17, 2016

As the 2015 tax filing season gets underway, tax preparers said a delay in health law tax forms is tripping up some consumers, while others want details about exemptions from increasingly stiff penalties for not having insurance.

Under the law, most people must have health insurance or pay a fine. In 2015, the penalty was $325 per adult and $162.50 per child up to $975, or 2 percent of household income, whichever is greater.

A federal judge in California has ordered Apple to help unlock a phone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino attack. Apple CEO Tim Cook has vowed to resist the judge's order, which pits digital privacy against national security interests.

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