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If I spot a blade of interesting-looking grass, my first inclination isn't to wonder what it tastes like. But a group of researchers in Australia recently stumbled upon two new species of grass with a peculiar flavor that some liken to a favorite snacking combo: salt and vinegar chips.

Can Your Ceramic Cookware Give You Lead Poisoning?

Dec 8, 2017

Crockpots — ceramic slow cookers that coax chili into tender perfection — can make home cooks wax poetic. A Google search of "I love my crockpot" turns up well over a million matches, including testimonials about their flexibility, ease and affordability. But there's another search that also gets a lot of results: "crock pots and lead poisoning."

Adults Can Get Type 1 Diabetes, Too

Dec 8, 2017

David Lazarus had just moved to Los Angeles to start a new job as a business and consumer columnist for the Los Angeles Times when he suddenly developed some of the classic signs of diabetes: extreme thirst, fatigue and weight loss. He dropped close to 15 pounds in two weeks.

Lazarus was in his early 40s. "The weight loss was the first big red flag. It happened really fast," he says. He consulted a physician, who diagnosed him with Type 2 diabetes and recommended a "monastic" low-carb, macrobiotic diet.

Pizza-Making Gains World Heritage Status

Dec 8, 2017

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On a melancholy Saturday this past February, Shalon Irving's "village" — the friends and family she had assembled to support her as a single mother — gathered at a funeral home in a prosperous black neighborhood in southwest Atlanta to say goodbye.

It wasn't criminal; it was celestial. A police dashcam in New Jersey caught a dazzling sight in the early hours of Saturday: a meteor soaring through the sky in a flash of fiery brilliance. A second or two passes and then with a burst of light, it's gone and the sky returns to blackness.

Hamilton Police Sgt. Michael Virga was on patrol around 3 a.m. when he saw it. "It was a pinpoint in the sky, then a bright lime green streak and then it disintegrated," he tells NPR.

Something unprecedented happened this week. The Food And Drug Administration released its annual accounting of antibiotics sold in America for use in poultry, pigs and cattle, and for the very first time, it reported that fewer of the drugs were sold. Sales of medically important antibiotics in 2016 declined by 14 percent, compared to 2015.

The delivery of federal food benefits for millions of low-income people is likely to change after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday it'll allow states more flexibility in how they dole out the money.

You're in your car, heading for an intersection. The light turns yellow, so you decide to hit the gas. Then you see a police car.

Almost instantly, you know that stomping on the accelerator is a big mistake. But there's a good chance you'll do it anyway, says Susan Courtney, a professor in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University.

Narwhals — the unicorns of the sea — show a weird fear response after being entangled in nets. Scientists say this unusual reaction to human-induced stress might restrict blood flow to the brain and leave the whales addled.

After the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Conn., people across the country went out and bought guns.

A study published Thursday concludes that a subsequent increase in gun exposure led to more accidental firearm deaths than otherwise would have occurred in the months after the school shooting.

Certain pivotal events in history seem to open up a schism in time, separating what really happened from countless other "what ifs."

At least one young woman suffered eye damage as a result of unsafe viewing of the recent total solar eclipse, according to a report published Thursday, but it doesn't appear that many such injuries occurred.

Doctors in New York say a woman in her 20s came in three days after looking at the Aug. 21 eclipse without protective glasses. She had peeked several times, for about six seconds, when the sun was only partially covered by the moon.

In his tiny kitchen, chef Thitiwat Tantragarn throws a handful of raw bamboo caterpillars into a hot skillet and sautés them with olive oil, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Seconds later, the cream-colored larvae are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Tantragarn adds white wine, then spoons the bugs, brown beady eyes and all, over grilled scallops and Jerusalem artichokes before sending the plate out to the dining room.

It's long been known that hormonal contraception, like any medicine, carries some risks. But doctors and women have hoped that the newer generations of low-dose contraceptive pills, IUDs and implants eliminated the breast cancer risk of earlier, higher-dose formulations.

Now a big study from Denmark suggests the elevated risk of getting breast cancer — while still very small for women in their teens, 20s and 30s – holds true for these low-dose methods, too.

High-ranking U.S.-based Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt has been sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay a $400,000 fine for his part in a decade-long diesel-emissions cheating scandal.

Airlines including American, Delta and Alaska have announced restrictions on so-called smart luggage because the lithium-ion batteries found in many of these suitcases pose a fire risk.

These kinds of bags have proliferated in recent years, including motorized suitcases you can ride and one pitched as an autonomous "robot companion" that follows you around.

Mayors from across the country say a lack of leadership in Washington on climate change is prompting them to take action themselves.

More than 50 mayors from cities large and small wrapped up a climate change summit in Chicago on Wednesday, at which they signed a formal agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their cities. They also agreed to meet goals similar to those in the Paris climate accord, which President Trump announced earlier this year the U.S. would withdraw from.

Mike Sutter, food critic for the San Antonio Express-News, always did have good taco game, but would he actually prevail in his mission to eat at a different taco joint every day for a year?

Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities, affecting up to 17 percent of the population, who have difficulty reading, writing and spelling. Recognizing dyslexia in students who are just learning to read can be difficult, but once the disorder is identified, it can be addressed through special education. The earlier, the better.

Of all types of skin cancer, melanoma causes the majority of deaths. When on the scalp it can be especially difficult to catch in a self-examination — when was the last time you examined the top of your head?

One person who might be able to help: your hairdresser. While cutting your hair, they've got a great view for a scalp inspection. And they can learn how to spot scary changes, researchers say.

Trial and error, experimentation, the understanding that some questions have complex answers or no answers at all, the notion that failure teaches, the acceptance that mistakes can actually guide you in the right direction, persistence in the face of difficulty: These are some of the everyday components of scientific research, accumulated wisdom that can serve us well in many walks of life — from how to face challenges as individuals to running corporations.

Scientists have just discovered a supermassive black hole that existed surprisingly early in the history of the universe, and the puzzling find is shedding new light on when the first stars blinked on.

Astronomers spotted the black hole, the most distant ever found, sitting inside a bright object so far away that the light had been traveling for 13 billion years before reaching Earth.

It may not be rocket science, but a group of surgeons at the University of Michigan has devised an approach to help curb the nation's opioid epidemic — starting at their own hospital.

xvaughanx / Foter

New research from Georgia State University finds the majority of smokers are looking to quit cigarettes. That’s especially difficult in a world that glorifies smoking through media, advertising, and regulatory language. The new study recommends we change the way regulators talk about smoking, and give less emphasis to the pleasurable aspects of the habit.

The rage inspired by dots on plates requires us to warn readers of some rather salty language used in this story.

Dots of sauce. Scribbles of jus. Globs of honey. Plops of purée. Squiggles of sriracha. Should we go on? Schmears of chocolate. Squirts of squid ink. Trickles of coulis. You get the idea. It's Pollock on a plate. Plating at its finest — and most formulaic.

Jessica Ladd was sexually assaulted while at Pomona College, just as one in five college women are. She says she found the reporting process, "more traumatic than the assault" itself. She felt "like I didn't have control. A lack of agency. I wasn't believed, and ended up regretting reporting."

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Jim Beam Presents The Smart Decanter

Dec 6, 2017

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. I bring you the perfect drinking buddy.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD, "JIM BY JIM BEAM")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As man) Hey, JIM, what's the weather today?

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