research

Climate Change
5:19 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Melting Of Antarctic Ice Sheet Might Be Unstoppable

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 6:31 pm

Scientists have long worried about climate change-induced melting of the huge West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Now they say that not only is the disintegration of the ice already underway, but that it's likely unstoppable.

That means that in the coming centuries, global sea levels will rise by anywhere from 4 to 12 feet. As NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports, that's a larger increase than the United Nations expert panel noted last year. But it would occur over a longer time frame — centuries instead of decades.

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Pregnancy Health
1:31 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Driving While Pregnant Is Riskier Than You Might Think

Be a bit more careful? The risk of a traffic accident rises by about 40 percent during the second trimester of pregnancy.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 5:04 pm

Don't scuba dive. Be careful about flying. Stay out of those hot tubs. Pregnancy comes with a long list of do's and don'ts.

Now it looks like we might need to add another item to that list: Drive more carefully.

Expectant mothers are more likely to have serious car crashes, a large study out of Canada finds.

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Climate Change
9:06 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Could Climate Change Spread Ticks and Mosquitoes In Connecticut?

Around 30 million people in the Northeast could be exposed to West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes by the end of the century.
James Gathany CDC/ National Climate Assessment

Climate change is linked to more floods, hotter and drier weather, and melting sea ice, but it could also affect infectious diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile Virus. The problem is we don't know how.

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Climate Change
9:08 am
Tue May 6, 2014

New Report Finds Climate Change Already Having Broad Impact

People survey the damage on Scenic Highway in Pensacola, Fla., after part of it collapsed following heavy rains and flash flooding on April 30.
Marianna Massey Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 11:22 am

A new U.S. government report released Tuesday finds that climate change is already having a broad impact on both weather and the economy.

NPR's Elizabeth Shogren tells our Newscast unit the third National Climate Assessment is the most comprehensive look at climate change that the government has ever produced. It was put together by more than 300 experts "guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee."

She filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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For Your Health
8:51 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Newly Diagnosed With Epilepsy, and Not Sure What It Means

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says seizures are caused by "anything that disturbs the normal pattern of neuron activity—from illness to brain damage to abnormal brain development."
Johan Swanepoel/iStock Thinkstock

Want to know how to scare your co-workers? Fall to the ground and have a seizure in front of everyone.

About two weeks ago, that’s what happened to me. I don’t remember what happened, and I only remember scattered moments from the rest of the day. The wire to my headphones snapped and my face was noticeably battered.

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Technology
9:24 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Department of Defense Gives UConn Millions For Hardware Security

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded $7.5 million to UConn to study hardware security.
Danny Hope Creative Commons

April was all about cybersecurity: fixes for the so-called "Heartbleed" bug, alerts about exploits in Internet Explorer, and a now, a security initiative spearheaded by UConn.

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Humor Research
10:31 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Home Of Second City Comedy Ranks First In Humor

Head to Chicago for top-shelf comedy.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:45 pm

Need a good laugh? Try Chicago.

The Humor Research Lab at the Leeds School of Business at University of Colorado Boulder (and doesn't that sound like it was created by The Onion?) concocted an algorithm to rate America's funniest cities.

Humor researchers calculated factors like the number of working comics and comedy clubs per capita, funny local tweeters and visits to funny websites. They asked people to assess what they called their "need for levity."

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Supersymmetry
10:31 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Are Physicists Ready To Give Up The Chase For SUSY?

The Large Hadron Collider's ATLAS detector under construction in 2005. ATLAS is one of the tools physicists are using to try and understand how the universe works.
Maximilien Brice CERN

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 9:58 am

Is physics in crisis? An article in the May issue of Scientific American by physicists Joseph Lykken, from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and Maria Spiropulu, from the California Institute of Technology, lay bare an issue that is keeping a growing number of physicists up at night.

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Economic Development
6:49 am
Fri April 25, 2014

UTC Tax Package Headed to Malloy's Desk

A rendering of planned new headquarters for Pratt and Whitney.
Credit Pratt and Whitney

A $400 million tax relief package for United Technologies is on its way to Governor Dannel Malloy's desk after the legislation passed the state senate.

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Sick Presidents
2:14 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Dirty Money: A Microbial Jungle Thrives In Your Wallet

Even some euro bank notes may need a good scrubbing. Like dollar bills, these notes are made from cotton and they harbor an array of bacteria.
Thomas Leuthard The Preiser Project/Flickr

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:23 am

You may have heard that dollar bills harbor trace amounts of drugs.

But those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They're teeming with life.

Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface, scientists have found. Most are harmless. But cash also has DNA from drug-resistant microbes. And your wad of dough may even have a smudge of anthrax and diphtheria.

In other words, your wallet is a portable petri dish.

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Natural Gas Drilling
2:21 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Documents Show New York's Fracking Health Study Is Ongoing

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 2:37 pm

Documents obtained by a group opposed to hydrofracking in New York show that the Cuomo Administration is conducting a thorough and comprehensive health study on the controversial natural gas drilling process. The Finger Lakes-based organization is wondering, why then, the review has been conducted almost entirely in secret.

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Marijuana Use
1:42 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Study Links Casual Pot Use With Brain Abnormalities

(prensa420/Flickr)

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:30 pm

Young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week showed changes in the size and shape of two key brain regions, according to a new study of 20 pot smokers and 20 non-pot smokers between 18 and 25.

This is the first time recreational marijuana use has been connected to significant brain changes.

The findings, a collaboration between Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, were published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

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WAMC News
12:04 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Progress Reported On Casino Impact Research Project

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 6:41 pm

Thousands of Massachusetts residents are being surveyed as part of multi-year, multi-million dollar research project on the social and economic impacts of introducing casino gambling to the state.

The members of the UMass Amherst led research team say initial results will be reported to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in September. These findings will be the baseline that will be used to measure changes in problem gambling, domestic violence, housing prices and a host of other socio-economic factors as casinos open over the next one to three years.

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Dinosaurs
3:43 am
Wed April 16, 2014

A T. Rex Treks To Washington For A Shot At Fame

Pat Leiggi (right) of the Museum of the Rockies prepares to move a leg bone of the T. rex at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 4:33 pm

This week, scientists at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History will start unpacking some rare and precious cargo. It's something the Smithsonian has never had before — a nearly complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

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Food Psychology
3:22 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Mind Over Milkshake: How Your Thoughts Fool Your Stomach

Bianca Giaever for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 2:58 pm

It was late, almost 9 at night, when Justin Holden pulled the icy pizza box from the refrigerator at the Brookville Supermarket in Washington, D.C.

He stood in front of the open door, scanning the nutrition facts label.

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Brain Science
10:09 am
Thu April 10, 2014

How Yale Scientists Are Trying to Read Minds

New research is using brain data to reconstruct images of facial memories.
Credit digitalbob8/flickr creative commons

New research out of Yale University is claiming clairvoyance. It's called "neuroimaging," a fancy way of saying scientists are reading your mind.

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Cosmos And Culture
2:36 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Sizing Up Your Children Is A Tricky Business

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 2:25 pm

When I had a second baby earlier this year, my three-year-old suddenly seemed enormous. "Check out the size of those feet!" I marveled. She seemed so heavy, so tall, so substantial.

She even seemed more capable, more robust. Images of airborne cookware and toppling bookshelves faded. The staircase didn't seem quite so treacherous. Instead, I trusted in her basic competence to scale the kitchen stools without incident and to keep (most) sharp-and-pointy things beyond the envelope of her person.

It wasn't just me: my husband reported the same experience.

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Health Disparity
2:59 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Smoking Rates Decline in Connecticut, But Striking Disparities Persist By County

Credit Marius Mellebye / Creative Commons

Although smoking rates in Connecticut decreased between 1996 and 2012, striking disparities persist among counties, according to new research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

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Science Education
8:55 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Changing The Face Of Astronomy Research

Students from CUNY's AstroCom NYC program meet for a weekly class at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Dennis Robbins, an associate professor of science education at CUNY's Hunter College, teaches Betsy Hernandez (from left), Jaquelin Erazo, Ariel Diaz and Mario Martin.
Beth Fertig WNYC

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 1:04 pm

Shooting for the stars is expensive.

Advanced sciences like astronomy require years of study and graduate degrees. And the soaring cost of college can be a heavy obstacle for low-income and minority students hoping to break into those fields.

A program at the City University of New York hopes to lift that burden by providing scholarships and one-on-one mentoring to underrepresented students.

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Agriculture
1:16 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Report: New England Should Develop Locally-Grown Food System

Buttonwoods Farm in Griswold from above.
Chion Wolf WNPR

A new report on sustainable agriculture policy recommends that New England build its own regional food system with locally-grown products. Cris Coffin, New England director of the American Farmland Trust, a co-author of the study, said consumers in the region want to buy local. 

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Here & Now
4:17 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Climate Report Warns of 'Severe' and 'Irreversible Impacts'

Severely damaged corn stalks due to a widespread drought are seen at sunset on a farm near Oakland City, Indiana, August 15, 2012. A new report from the IPCC details the current and future effects of climate change, including droughts and crop shortages. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 4:14 pm

The United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change released its fifth report on climate change today.

The report details recent impacts of climate-related extremes such as wildfires, droughts and floods and predicts the vulnerability of human and natural resources, including a stress on crops and water resources.

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Climate Change
7:15 am
Mon March 31, 2014

U.N. Report Raises Climate Change Warning, Points To Opportunities

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report.
ipcc.ch

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 10:07 am

"The effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans," and the world is mostly "ill-prepared" for the risks that the sweeping changes present, a new report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes.

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Healthy Eating
3:31 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Rethinking Fat: The Case For Adding Some Into Your Diet

Nutrition researchers are reaching a new consensus: Cut back on all those refined carbs. And remember that some fat is good.
Stacy Spensley/Flickr

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:10 pm

Remember the fat-free boom that swept the country in the 1990s? Yes, we know from the Salt readers who took our informal survey that lots of you tried to follow it. And gave up.

"I definitely remember eating fat-free cookies, fat–free pudding, fat-free cheese, which was awful," Elizabeth Stafford, an attorney from North Carolina, told us in the survey.

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Science Education
2:29 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Physics 101: Why Did the Universe Blow Up?

Credit STILLFX/iStock / Thinkstock

Recent observations of so-called "gravitational waves" are providing astronomers with the strongest confirmation yet of cosmic inflation, a theory that says the universe rapidly expanded following the Big Bang.

Why, exactly, did the universe balloon by 100 trillion trillion times, in less than the blink of an eye, 13.8 billion years ago?

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Child Mental Health
2:03 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Kids Benefit From Counseling At The Pediatrician's Office

Behavior issues like defiance and aggression are common, and short-term counseling can help parents and kids do better.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 2:49 pm

Pediatricians often recommend some mental health counseling for children who have behavior problems like defiance and tantrums. But counseling can be hard to find. Children are much more likely to get help if the counselor is right there in the doctor's office, a study finds.

The children in the study had behavior problems, and many also had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or anxiety. They were 8 years old, on average, and two-thirds were boys.

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Medicine
8:07 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Cancer Treatments Could Hurt Your Heart

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for cancer survivors. A relatively new scientific field called "cardio-oncology" is working to change that.

Chemotherapy and radiation may save you from cancer, but they can also do a lot of damage to your heart. 

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Astrophysics
1:16 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Scientists Announce A Big-Bang Breakthrough

This image released Monday by Harvard-led researchers represents the gravitational waves in the Cosmic Microwave Background in the microsecond after the Big Bang.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 4:19 pm

This post was update at 4:00 p.m. ET.

Researchers say they've discovered that gravitational waves rippled through the fabric of space-time in the first sliver of a second after the Big Bang — the first direct evidence for a mysterious, ultrarapid expansion at the dawn of the universe. If confirmed, it would represent one of the most profound insights in decades to emerge from the field of cosmology.

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Way Under Our Feet
7:22 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Rare Diamond Points To Mass Quantities Of Water In Earth's Mantle

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 5:53 pm

Impurities found in a pea-sized diamond that came from the (very) deep have bolstered evidence for a vast "wet zone" in the Earth's mantle, scientists publishing in the latest issue of Nature say.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu March 6, 2014

What's In A Name?

Credit kaatjevevoort / Flickr Creative Commons

Just last week, a Tennessee judge ruled that the parents of a baby boy they named “Messiah,” must change his name to Martin.

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Spider Venom
11:43 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Could Tarantula Venom Cure Your Aches and Pains?

Researchers at Yale have identified what they say is a more efficient way to screen thousands of spider neurotoxins against different pain receptors in the body. Above, the Peruvian Green Velvet tarantula.
Credit Yale University

Spider venom could be the next big thing to cure pain, according to research reported in the March issue of Current Biology from Yale University.

There are a lot of different components in venom. And here’s a cheery thought: not every part is out to kill you. 

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