Health & Science

Ways to Connect

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In the spring of 2016, there was a frenzy over the threat of Zika virus at Brazil's Olympic Games. As infections reached their peak, a group of scientists called for the games to be moved somewhere else. A number of athletes, worried about sexually transmitting the virus to pregnant partners, chose to stay home.

But a group of researchers with University of Utah and the United States Olympic Committee announced Saturday that they weren't able to find any evidence that U.S. Olympians, Paralympians or staff got Zika virus at all.

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Talkin' Birds On The Galapagos Islands

Oct 7, 2017

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ROCKIN' ROBIN")

BOBBY DAY: (Singing) Tweedilly, tweedilly, deet. Tweedilly, dillidy, deet. Tweedilly, tweedilly, deet.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Time now for "Talkin' Birds."

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: A bird show - I like that. I love birds.

For college freshmen who left home for the first time this year, learning to live with a roommate may be one of the easy challenges. For many, this is also the first time they will schedule medical appointments, fill prescriptions, and make decisions about their own health care. Unfortunately, many students aren't prepared to meet these basic life challenges. But with a little planning and parental guidance, college can be an opportunity for young adults to learn how to stay healthy and figure out how to get the right care when they are ill.

Paul Melquist of St. Paul, Minn., has a message for the people who wrote the Affordable Care Act: "Quit wrecking my health care."

Teri Goodrich of Raleigh, N.C., agrees. "We're getting slammed. We didn't budget for this," she says.

Millions of people have gained health insurance because of the federal health law. Millions more have seen their existing coverage improved.

There is one small field on Michael Sullivan's farm, near the town of Burdette, Ark., that he wishes he could hide from public view.

The field is a disaster. There are soybeans in there, but you could easily overlook them. The field has been overrun by monsters: ferocious-looking plants called pigweeds, as tall as people and bursting with seeds that will come back to haunt any crops that Sullivan tries to grow here for years to come.

"I'm embarrassed to say that we farm that field," Sullivan says. "We sprayed it numerous times, and it didn't kill it."

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In a few months, AOL Instant Messenger will go the way of such tech touchstones as AltaVista and Netscape. It was 20 years ago that "AIM" went online. It quickly exploded in popularity, peaked and then slowly succumbed to competitors.

For many of us, AIM conjures up memories of dial-up modems, the sound of a "handshake" and the phrase "You've Got Mail."

Sharelle Klaus says she has always been a foodie.

So she was gutted when she had to pass up an opportunity to dine at The French Laundry, the famous Napa Valley restaurant with three Michelin stars. She was pregnant at the time — and not drinking.

"What would be the point?" she says she remembers thinking.

She didn't want to travel all the way from Seattle — and be stuck drinking water while her dining companions enjoyed an array of Napa wines, carefully chosen to complement and complete each dish.

Every day, we are inching closer to some kind of artificial intelligence.

At this point, it isn't so important whether we're talking about truly self-conscious machines or not. Advances in big data, machine learning and robotics are all poised to give us a world in which computers are effectively intelligent in terms of how we deal with them.

Should you be scared by this proposition? Based on a lecture I just attended, my answer is: "absolutely, but not in the usual 'robot overlords' kind of way."

Monopoly Man became the Internet crush of the day on Wednesday, after upstaging former Equifax CEO Richard Smith at a Senate hearing on the company's massive data breach.

The board game character, whose name is Rich Uncle Pennybags, was brought to life by Amanda Werner, an arbitration campaign manager for Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform, groups that advocate for consumer rights and protections.

Almost immediately, the monocle, mustache, top hat, pillowcase-sized bag of (#fake) Benjamins became a social media sensation.

Which Items In Our Kitchens Contain BPA?

Oct 6, 2017

It's not exactly a secret that many plastic products have an additive called "bisphenol A," or "BPA," for short. NPR has covered the chemical substance many times, including here, here, and here.

Last weekend's massacre in Las Vegas is only the latest reminder of the persistent gun violence in the United States. And a new set of statistics on the rates of gun violence unrelated to conflict underscores just how outsize U.S. rates of gun deaths are compared with those in much of the rest of the world.

Austin Rogers is not your typical Jeopardy! champion.

Sure, he's got brains — answering rapid-fire trivia in the form of a question to the tune of $278,000 in winnings.

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Right now we're in the peak of the fall migration season. Billions of birds are making their way south. Many species travel at night, and a new study shows how artificial light can affect their journey through darkness. NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports.

Russian hackers stole top secret cybertools from a National Security Agency contractor in yet another embarrassing compromise for U.S. spy agencies, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The NSA contractor is believed to have taken highly sensitive official software home to a personal computer in 2015. His machine was running a Russian security program made by Kaspersky Labs, which can be exploited by Russia's intelligence agencies, the Journal reported.

His School For 540 Needy Kids Earns Him A U.N. Prize

Oct 5, 2017

"Once upon a time, I was a child," says Zannah Mustapha. And a fortunate one, at that, adds the 58-year-old Nigerian lawyer.

This is not the case for many young people today in his city of Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria's Borno State — and the epicenter of the Boko Haram insurgency.

An estimated 1 million kids have been displaced, and too many of them have lost their parents to violence.

Mustapha's response? "I have to protect them."

Artificial intelligence is the subject of great hopes, dire warnings, and now — a congressional caucus.

Neanderthals died out some 30,000 years ago, but their genes live on within many of us.

About 40 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. That is a staggering figure.

Where can people expect to live the longest?

The answer to that question is usually pretty predictable and often dependent on wealth: People generally live longer in richer countries. Like Japan and Switzerland, where average life expectancies exceed 83 years.

In lower income countries, expected years of life are often far shorter — hovering below 55 in a number of sub-Saharan countries, including Chad, Mozambique and Sierra Leone.

Every day across Puerto Rico, with its shattered power grid, hospitals are waging a life-and-death battle to keep their patients from getting sicker in the tropical heat. Now two weeks after the storm, about three-quarters of Puerto Rico's hospitals remain on emergency power. This creates dangerous conditions for critically ill patients.

When baker Julie Richardson was growing up in Vermont, Autumn Saturdays had a particular rhythm. First, soccer practice. And then, to the apple orchard for some cider and donuts.

"I would sit there and watch that machine — watch the doughnuts plop into the hot oil, go down the conveyor belt and plop out the other end," she says.

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In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, inevitably everyone turns to the question of why - why would someone do something so horrific? President Trump was asked this very question right before he boarded Marine One. And here's what he said.

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There's about 10 feet between Judge Craig Hannah's courtroom bench and the place where a defendant stands to be arraigned here in Buffalo City Court.

But for 26-year-old Caitlyn Stein, it has been a long, arduous 10 feet.

"This is your first day back! Good to see you!" Judge Hannah says as he greets her.

"Good to see you," Stein says, smiling.

"We've got to do that after picture. We did the before," Judge Hannah reminds her.

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