Health & Science

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In all his 50 years, Georges Kouamé Koffi has eaten chocolate once. "Someone gave me a piece to try," says the cocoa farmer. "It was lovely." Chocolate bars are on sale at a store in his city of San Pedro, in southwestern Ivory Coast. "But they are too expensive for us," he says.

Updated 8:30 p.m. ET

Federal authorities have arrested and charged a man in St. Louis who they say is responsible for making at least eight threats against Jewish schools and organizations across the U.S.

The threats were allegedly part of the suspect's larger cyberstalking campaign against a woman with whom he once had a romantic relationship, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York said.

In the last three years, 33 U.S. states have passed laws aimed at helping dying people get easier access to experimental treatments that are still in the early stages of human testing. Supporters say these patients are just looking for the right to try these treatments.

Such laws sound compassionate, but medical ethicists warn they pose worrisome risks to the health and finances of vulnerable patients.

It was in 2012 that Barry Eggers, a venture capitalist, noticed that his two high school-aged children were getting obsessed with a curious new app called Snapchat. After a little investigation, Eggers persuaded his company, Lightspeed Venture Partners, to become one of the first to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in the fledgling app.

Amazon says a typo caused its cloud-computing service to fail earlier this week.

On Tuesday, part of Amazon Web Services stopped working. The company's so-called simple storage service, or S3, provides features ranging from file sharing to web feeds.

In an online statement, Amazon described the circumstances of the disruptive typo this way:

The U.S. is producing less air pollution, but smog levels are still rising in the western U.S. because of pollutants released in Asian countries that then drift over the Pacific Ocean. Researchers say their findings show the importance of a global approach to preserving air quality.

"Scientists found Asian air pollution contributed as much as 65 percent of an increase in Western ozone in recent years," NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Shanghai. "China and India, where many consumer products are manufactured, are the worst offenders."

Last year, when presidential candidate Donald Trump hammered the Affordable Care Act as "a fraud," "a total disaster" and "very bad health insurance," many Americans seemed to agree with him.

Now that President Trump and fellow Republicans are attempting to keep their promise to get rid of the law, voters increasingly seem to be having second thoughts.

Near Esparto, in the beautiful Capay Valley region of central California, 1,400 young almond trees flourish in a century-old orchard overlooking the hills. Since November, they've stood in perfect rows without a hint of foliage — resting, naked and dormant, for the upcoming growing season. Their branches now swell with bright pastel blooms in preparation for pollination.

In 2014, the New Orleans Police Department made a bold move into body cameras, requiring all uniformed officers to wear them and record their contact with the public.

The program got off to a rough start: NPR documented spotty use by officers, and, crucially, how hard it was for the office of the city's independent police monitor — which handles complaints about police misconduct — to gain access to videos of police use of force.

Prescribed narcotic painkillers continue to fuel a nationwide opioid epidemic—nearly half of fatal overdoses in the United States involve opioids prescribed by a doctor.

Vice President Pence used a private AOL account to conduct official business in his former position as the governor of Indiana, according to public records. And at one point, the account was hacked and used to send fraudulent emails seeking money from his contacts.

In a birth announcement of sorts, the Smithsonian National Zoo and the Nashville Zoo released a joint statement Thursday saying that a male clouded leopard cub was born on March 1. The cub is the first of his species to be born from artificial insemination using frozen (and then thawed) semen.

The video is unnerving.

More than 15 turkeys walk in a circle — not running or distressed, but walking with intention — around a dead cat in the middle of the road.

Twitter user @TheReal_JDavis filmed the moment. "That is the craziest thing I've ever seen," he says on the video. "Bro, this is wild."

"These turkeys trying to give this cat its 10th life," the Boston resident wrote, in a tweet that proceeded to go viral.

At a conference in Brussels on Thursday, more than a dozen nations and private funders pledged a combined total of $190 million for international family planning charities that stand to lose their U.S. support as a result of President Trump's Jan. 23 executive action to block U.S. foreign aid funding of groups linked to abortion.

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Women of NASA will soon get the Lego treatment.

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Lego announced this week that it will make a set featuring five female pioneers from NASA's history.

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A patch of mold has fetched a pretty penny in London - over $14,000. Now, to be clear, this isn't the black stuff growing in damp corners of the bathroom. It's a dish of perhaps the most important mold in medical history.

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In its first cyber policy paper, the Chinese government is emphasizing its control over Internet access in China, and argued that each nation should govern the Internet as it sees fit.

"Countries should respect each other's right to choose their own path of cyber development," read an English translation of the paper published by the state-run news agency Xinhua.

People who have survived melanoma were more likely to protect themselves from sun exposure than those who hadn't experienced the disease, but a significant portion of them still reported getting a sunburn in the past year, among other behaviors that might increase the risk of a new cancer.

President Trump's declaration during his speech to Congress Tuesday night that Obamacare is "collapsing" and must be replaced was cheered by Republicans.

But Republican lawmakers remain unable to coalesce behind an approach to their oft-stated goal of repeal and replace, and Democrats believe they hold the upper hand to the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

In an interview with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that aired Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the odds "are much greater than half" that the ACA will remain in place.

In Latin America, Lent is full of elaborate Catholic rituals, from palm weavings and sawdust carpets to processions of robed penitents. But only in Ecuador will you find fanesca, the equally elaborate Lenten soup.

My bank sends me a text alert when my account balance is low. My wireless company sends me a text alert when I'm about to use up my monthly data. Somebody — I guess the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration? --sends me a text alert when it's going to rain a whole lot.

A few clever researchers said: "Hey! What if we could send text alerts to parents when students miss class or don't turn in their homework?" And what do you know, it worked.

An aircraft flying at night drops a flock of unpowered drones. They carry food, medicines and batteries. After delivering their load on the ground, the drones vaporize into thin air within hours.

Farmers in the U.S. like to point out that their products feed people all over the world. And while this is a diverse country, the people working on farms and elsewhere in agriculture often don't reflect the nation's demographics. Changing that is becoming a priority, in hopes that new people will bring fresh ideas to meet some of our food system's greatest challenges.

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Ali Brivanlou slides open a glass door at the Rockefeller University in New York to show off his latest experiments probing the mysteries of the human embryo.

"As you can see, all my lab is glass — just to make sure there is nothing that happens in some dark rooms that gives people some weird ideas," says Brivanlou, perhaps only half joking.

Brivanlou knows that some of his research makes some people uncomfortable. That's one reason he has agreed to give me a look at what's going on.

Shares of Snap Inc., parent of the popular disappearing-message and camera-centric app Snapchat, rose by more than $8 in the first hours of trading Thursday, as the company watched the $17 price of its initial public offering of 200 million nonvoting shares soar by 50 percent as of mid-day Thursday.

The stock opened above $24 when the new offering began sales shortly after 11 a.m. It then rose above $25 a share, hitting $25.64 by 1:31 p.m.

Remember those pictures of parched lawns and bone-dry unplanted fields when it seemed that Californians could only pray for rain and snow?

Now thanks to one of the wettest winters on record, scientists say that the snowpack along the Sierra Nevada mountain range is a whopping 185 percent of average. And that's important because the runoff from the Sierra snowpack provides one-third of all of California's water.

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