Health & Science

Ways to Connect

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Viruses are supposed to be tiny and simple — so tiny and simple that it's debatable whether they're even alive.

They're minimalist packets of genetic information, relying entirely on the cells the infect in order to survive and reproduce.

But in 2003, researchers identified a new kind of virus that that turned scientific understanding of viruses upside down, and tested the boundary of what can be considered life.

In telecom circles, Comcast's plans and efforts to wade into the mobile market go back years. On Thursday, the company finally revealed the specifics of what its new service will look like.

Comcast is calling its cellphone program Xfinity Mobile, expected to launch in the next few weeks. Its target audience is existing Comcast customers — the company hopes they'll be drawn by the savings from adding mobile service to a home Internet service or bigger bundles.

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Tech

NASA announced last month it will recruit a team of Georgia Tech researchers for a new project. The team, called REVEALS, will study radiation on other planets and build radiation proof space suits. What can this technology do for us in space exploration?

We ask the team leader, Thomas Orlando, a Director in the Center for Space Technology and Research at Georgia Tech.

On April 6, 1917, the U.S. declared war on Germany and formally entered World War I. By late June, American infantry troops began arriving in Europe. One thing they couldn't do without? Coffee.

"Coffee was as important as beef and bread," a high-ranking Army official concluded after the war. A postwar review of the military's coffee supply concurred, stating that it "restored courage and strength" and "kept up the morale."

There's a clear culprit in the rising drug overdose death count in Massachusetts, but it's not heroin. It's the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

April 6 marks 100 years since the U.S. Congress voted to declare war on Germany, entering World War I. The war took the lives of 17 million people worldwide. What's not as well-known is the role that animals played at a time when they were still critical to warfare.

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

You probably feel like sometimes you are literally living on your smartphone or tablet. You're catching up on the news, maybe you're playing some games.

(SOUNDBITE OF CANDY CRUSH GAME)

UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: Tasty.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A surprising medical finding caught the eye of NPR's veteran science correspondent Richard Harris in 2014. A scientist from the drug company Amgen had reviewed the results of 53 studies that were originally thought to be highly promising — findings likely to lead to important new drugs. But when the Amgen scientist tried to replicate those promising results, in most cases he couldn't.

It was about unity, Pepsi explained. But the company's new ad, set at a protest march, was quickly called out for being tone-deaf, offensive, and perhaps worst of all for the brand: not "woke."

In a suspected chemical weapon attack like the one in Syria on Tuesday, children are the most vulnerable targets. They are more likely than adults to die from chemical agents and to suffer injures. If they survive, they also suffer from the physical and mental trauma of the attack for far more years than adults simply because they have more years left to live.

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

­

Mario Alberto Maciel Tinajero looks like a fairly healthy 68-year-old. He has a few extra pounds on his chest but he's relatively fit. Yet he's suffered for the last 20 years from what he calls a "terrible" condition: diabetes.

"I've never gotten used to this disease," he says. Maciel runs a stall in the Lagunilla market in downtown Mexico City. This market is famous for its custom-made quinceañera dresses and hand-tailored suits.

In emergencies, administering drugs quickly and easily can be a matter of life and death. This has emergency departments turning to the nose as a delivery route because it's so accessible and doesn't require direct contact with a needle.

Investor Warren Buffett is the new face of Cherry Coke, at least in China.

The billionaire CEO of Berkshire Hathaway is fond of the beverage — photos from shareholder meetings show him sipping on the soda year after year. He's also a major investor: Berkshire Hathaway is the biggest shareholder in Coca-Cola.

The idea that neuroscience is rediscovering the soul is, to most scientists and philosophers, nothing short of outrageous. Of course it is not.

When you hear Alana Hope Levinson talk about the death threats she got late last year, in response to a Gizmodo story she wrote railing against "manthreading," she speaks so lackadaisically, you could almost forget how serious it all was.

"I had to alert security at work," she half-jokes, as if that really didn't happen. (It happened.) "Yeah, I mean people were just tweeting at me that they wanted to kill me, and stuff like that."

Driverless cars could transform the way our country moves, potentially making roads more efficient and possibly saving lives because of fewer traffic accidents. But for all the benefits of a driverless future, this next-generation transportation is threatening the livelihood of America's professional drivers, including scores of people of color.

YouTube is launching a streaming TV service Wednesday. It's one of many — Sling, PlayStation Vue and local cable companies among them. But Google-owned YouTube TV offers several features the others don't.

They include a cloud-based DVR with no storage limits, allowing users to record as many shows as they want for later playback. Membership also gives access to original series and movies featured on its other subscription streaming service, YouTube Red. And customers can create up to six accounts on one membership, with up to three streams running at once.

It doesn't take more than a few episodes of the Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch to get the idea that commercial fishing can be a career path rife with risk, making it one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S.

FBI Director James Comey has warned that Russia will try once again to influence U.S. elections, possibly as early as next year. To prepare, the federal government has declared elections to be a part of the nation's critical infrastructure that demands special attention.

But the federal government's focus has state and local election officials, who are very protective of how they do things now, extremely nervous.

Experts are increasingly confident that a powerful nerve agent was used to kill and injure victims in an attack on a rebel-held region of Syria on Tuesday.

More than 70 people were killed in a bombing in Idlib province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The organization says that the death toll so far includes 20 children.

Elsewhere in the province, more than 30 people were reported killed in conventional attacks.

Do you pop up from your seat during meetings and finish other people's sentences? And maybe you also procrastinate, or find yourself zoning out in the middle of one-on-one conversations?

It's possible you have adult ADHD.

Six simple questions can reliably identify adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to a World Health Organization advisory group working with two additional psychiatrists.

The questions are:

The investment firm that owns Krispy Kreme, Caribou Coffee and other enterprises, is purchasing the Panera Bread Co. for $315 per share in cash — a premium of roughly 30 percent over its recent average trading price.

The deal with JAB Holding Co. is valued at around $7.5 billion, Panera said Wednesday.

If the transaction is finalized in the third quarter of 2017 as planned, Panera would be privately held.

The U.S. military is trying to figure out whether certain heavy weapons are putting U.S. troops in danger.

The concern centers on the possibility of brain injuries from shoulder-fired weapons like the Carl Gustaf, a recoilless rifle that resembles a bazooka and is powerful enough to blow up a tank.

Philadelphia created a buzz last summer when its city council voted to impose a tax on sweetened drinks.

Three cities followed suit with similar measures. But the beverage industry has been fighting back.

On Wednesday, a panel of judges in a Pennsylvania appeals court is expected to hear oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by the beverage industry against the city.

There's a new brand on the Internet that's taking over some old ones — or at least old in Internet years. Yahoo and AOL are now under an umbrella company called Oath. The new brand has sparked more than a few jokes on Twitter and elsewhere.

One critic pointed out it sounded a lot like Oaf — and another asked if "Oof" was already taken. But with more than a billion customers, the combination has potential.

AOL CEO — soon to be Oath CEO — Tim Armstrong says consumers aren't really going to hear that name very much.

This story starts with the mystery of a missing cow.

University of Utah researchers placed seven cow carcasses in Utah's Great Basin Desert, and set up cameras to learn about the behavior patterns of local scavengers.

But a week later, researcher Evan Buechley returned to one of the sites and found no sign of the cow.

There was a lot of buzz when Philadelphia passed a soda tax, and there's early evidence it's led to its intended aim of reducing sugary drink consumption. But further expansion of the pre-K programs the tax is intended to fund is in limbo. That's because the American Beverage Association and local businesses are suing to to abolish the tax. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for April 5. The case could end up in the state's Supreme Court.

Pages