Health & Science

Inside a lab near Washington, D.C., there is a stack of stainless steel that weighs a million pounds.

It's part of a unique machine that was built in 1965 and just refurbished for the first time. And in the world of metrology, the science of measurement, this giant is a source of national pride.

Oklahoma lawmakers have passed a bill that makes performing an abortion a felony.

NPR's Jennifer Ludden told our Newscast unit that the bill is the first of its kind, and an pro-abortion rights group plans to sue if the governor signs the bill into law. Gov. Mary Fallin has not yet indicated what she plans to do. Here's more from Jennifer:

While Congress fidgets over whether and how to pay for the fight against the Zika virus, state and local health departments are scrambling and slimming down.

That's because these front-line public health agencies have already seen their budgets chopped because of the debate.

The Obama administration gathered feedback from students about what they want to see in STEM programs. This came after 9-year-old Jacob Leggette encouraged President Obama to ask students about their opinions at a White House science fair.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

After four years of drought in California, concerns are finally beginning to ease in parts of the state. Northern California saw strong snowfall and rainfall recently, but Central and Southern California remain dry.

The discrepancy has prompted state water regulators to approve new regulations that allow local water authorities to set their own conservation standards.

Photo courtesy of Jen Miller

New Jersey based freelance writer and runner Jen Miller wrote an article for the New York Times last fall that described her journey through weight gain and loss while she was competing in marathons. The article, Crossing the Finish Line 25 Pounds Lighter, was shared across social media and continues to prompt discussions about what a healthy body looks like.

A team of scientists has developed "robot flies" about the size of a quarter that can perch on almost any surface.

She was a mother in rural Ghana. She only wanted four children. But she had seven.

That's a story that Faustina Fynn-Nyame told at the Women Deliver conference this week in Copenhagen, Denmark. Fynn-Nyame works with the reproductive health care nonprofit Marie Stopes International.

"She was let down by the community, the government and us," Fynn-Nyame told the audience. And there are millions of women like this Ghanaian mom, unable to get access to contraception.

We've all been caught in that hazy tug of war between wakefulness and sleep. But the biology behind how our brains drive us to sleep when we're sleep-deprived hasn't been entirely clear.

Mattie Hagedorn / Flickr

If you’re trying to eat healthier, you might find yourself switching out butter for olive oil. Many believe that plant-based fats, rich in linoelic acid, are healthier than saturated fats like lard or butter. Saturated fats raise your cholesterol, and that supposedly raises your risk of dying from a heart attack. 

People have been wrapping their babies like burritos since before there were burritos. My husband described the skillful nurses where I gave birth as "swaddling ninjas," and by my estimation he had at least his brown belt by the time we left.

In a basement office at Purdue University in Indiana, associate professor of engineering practice Brad Duerstock has designed a special space.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The message from Google's developers' conference is clear: The company is prepared to take on competitors as well as regulators.

CEO Sundar Pichai and his team were flexing. Big time.

Through a litany of product announcements at the so-called I/O annual conference in Mountain View, Calif. — messaging apps, a personal virtual assistant and a voice-controlled speaker that connects you with it -- the company basically said:

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