Health & Science

Ways to Connect

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The way environmentalist Craig Cox sees it, streams and rivers across much of the country are suffering from the side effects of growing our food. Yet the people responsible for that pollution, America's farmers, are fighting any hint of regulation to prevent it.

"The leading problems are driven by fertilizer and manure runoff from farm operations," says Cox, who is the Environmental Working Group's top expert on agriculture.

A new company is doing more than just monitoring electricity use.

It's making tracking your electrical data fun.

Steve Reed of San Diego says he signed up for free with OhmConnect. He was eager to see how much his family could cut back on electricity at times when there is a high demand for it in the area.

Soon, he got a text prompting him to lower use for an hour — from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. the next day.

This week on Hidden Brain, we return to our archives to ask what happens when you empathize with your enemy? Why does reaching out to another tribe make our tribe so angry? In order to get at this question, we talk with Israelis and Palestinians who took the radical step of empathizing with the other side. From their experiences, we learn that not only can empathizing with the enemy be very difficult, it can also be dangerous.

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Tossing a coin into a pool is believed to be good luck. But it proved to be terrible luck for a green sea turtle who consumed nearly 1,000 coins thrown into her pool.

The female green sea turtle is now recovering from an hours-long surgery on Monday. Veterinarians removed some 11 pounds of metal that she couldn't digest, according to The Associated Press.

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A new study wades into the ongoing debate over the health benefits of tofu, soy milk and other soy products. The study published in the journal Cancer looks at soy's effects on breast cancer survivors, in particular. NPR's Allison Aubrey takes a look.

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Emojis are no longer just for smartphones. Those smiley faces, thumbs up and pizza slices are now cropping up in the real world. That's where we start this week's All Tech Considered.

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When you pick up a newspaper and read a story about the latest results on breast cancer, autism, depression or other ailments, what are the odds that finding will stand the test of time?

The answer, according to a study in the journal PLOS One is: flip a coin.

Unscrambling The Nutrition Science On Eggs

Mar 6, 2017

Historically, when humans have sought a reliable source of calories — particularly one that can be readily nabbed from an unsuspecting animal with minimal exertion and zero horticulture skills — we have often turned to eggs.

We've pilfered the ova of countless creatures since Neolithic times. But it is the nutritive and symbolic capacities of the humble bird egg, primarily that of the chicken, that we have most consistently championed: reliable nourishment, a hangover cure, an emblem of rebirth — when necessary, a supreme projectile.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

For young adults, social media may not be so social after all.

Among people in that age group, heavy use of platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram was associated with feelings of social isolation, a study finds.

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Last summer Felicia Keesing returned from a long trip and found that her home in upstate New York had been subjected to an invasion.

"There was evidence of mice everywhere. They had completely taken over," says Keesing, an ecologist at Bard College.

It was a plague of mice. And it had landed right in Keesing's kitchen.

This spring and summer may be a doozy for Lyme disease, at least in parts of the Northeast.

"We're anticipating 2017 to be a particularly risky year for Lyme," says Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York.

Ostfeld has been studying the debilitating tick-borne disease for more than 20 years, and has developed an early warning system based on mice. For more on that, check out the piece in our sister blog, Goats and Soda.

South Korea's military says North Korea has test-fired a handful of "unknown projectiles" off its west coast into its east coast waters, further rattling an already uncertain situation on the Korean peninsula under ongoing political drift in Seoul and a new American administration.

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Moving on to technology...

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Thomas Starzl, the doctor who pioneered liver transplant surgery, has died at the age of 90. In an announcement on its website, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center said Starzl died peacefully at his home on Saturday.

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In a pink-painted village clinic converted into a field hospital a few miles from the Mosul front lines, there is no emergency care facility, so wounded Iraqi troops are just wheeled into the foyer for treatment.

Over the crackle of walkie-talkies, one of two men arriving with shrapnel wounds from a car bomb calls out, "Mohammad Jassim, my brother, where is he?"

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What comes to mind when I say the words Chicago winter? An icy wind, perhaps, maybe the frozen lake. How about snow piled high in the streets?

When Amazon comes to town to sell books from a bricks-and-mortar store of its own, what happens to a neighborhood bookstore nearby?

On Tuesday, the online retailer opened a 5,800-square-foot store in Dedham, Mass. — the company's first bookstore on the East Coast. The suburban Boston store joins Amazon's three other locations on the West Coast.

How YouTube Is Changing Our Viewing Habits

Mar 4, 2017

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Time now for Talkin Birds.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ray Brown's Talkin' Birds.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FLY LIKE AN EAGLE")

After the upset results of the presidential election, some people felt motivated to become politically active. Justine Lee? She got the urge to host a dinner.

But not your typical dinner party, where, if politics seeps into the conversation, things typically don't turn volatile because all the guests likely share the same views. No, Lee was interested in the opposite: a gathering over a meal where all sorts of perspectives get aired.

A comic book about menstruation ... aimed at boys?

That's what Indonesia has created.

It started when a UNICEF team there looked at what happens when a girl gets her period.

In a survey of over 1,100 girls, the team found lots of concerns about the cruel remarks boys would make. They'd point at a girl's stained skirt and say, "Hey, it's leaking."

Spending time in space changes people: Not just their outlook on life, but also their eyesight.

For years, a North Texas doctor has been trying to find out what is causing this vision change among astronauts. His latest research provides some clues — and connects astronauts on the International Space Station, cancer patients on a roller coaster plane flight, and high-tech sleeping sacks.

Here are the claims: Oranges taste better in the shower. Eating oranges in the shower will make you happy. The shower orange experience could turn your entire life around.

Thousands of Reddit users have been finding out for themselves. And they have chronicled their adventures on the subreddit /r/ShowerOrange/.

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