Health & Science

Sharon Long found her calling later in life. Back in the 1980s, she was a single mom trying to support her two kids, holding down several jobs at once — none of which she liked much.

"I worked at the Dairy Queen, and I cleaned a dentist's office, and I was a secretary," Long recalls, on a recent visit with StoryCorps. "I hated every morning I got up."

But, as she tells her colleague Steve Sutter, everything changed for her at age 40. When she she took her daughter to register for college, a financial aid officer persuaded Long to enroll herself.

The al-Quds hospital in Aleppo, Syria, is the latest health care facility to get blown apart.

The 34-bed hospital was tucked into the lower floors of a five-story building in the Sukkari neighborhood of Aleppo. Sandbags blocked the windows and fortified the entrance. Concrete apartment buildings pressed on either side of it. Late Wednesday night, witnesses say, a low-flying fighter jet unleashed a missile that smashed directly into the hospital.

In his lab at George Mason University in Virginia, Sean Luke has all kinds of robots: big ones with wheels; medium ones that look like humans. And then he has a couple of dozen that look like small, metal boxes.

He and his team at the Autonomous Robotics Lab are training those little ones to work together without the help of a human.

In the future, Luke and his team hope those little robots can work like ants — in teams of hundreds, for example, to build houses, or help search for survivors after a disaster.

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

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

As summer approaches, anxiety about Zika is growing in Gulf Coast states like Florida and Texas. The virus hasn't spread to mosquitoes in the region, and it may not, but experts are preparing nonetheless.

It might not have been a drone that struck a British Airways plane on April 17 after all.

British Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told Parliament on Thursday that it was probably "not a drone incident," according to The Register, an online tech publication.

ebru / Flickr

It’s no secret that fast food is probably not the best choice if you’re concerned about fat, salt or the origins of the meat or dairy products. If that weren’t enough, new research shows you may be ingesting more than your recommended daily allowance of hormone disruptors, along with your side of fries.

A new study published by Environmental Health Perspectives found people who frequently eat fast food have nearly 40% more phthalates in their blood than those who eat less or no fast food. So what are phthalates? 

The nation's falling teen birth rate saw an even bigger drop over the past decade, with dramatic declines among Hispanic and black teens.

Birth rates are down a whopping 51 percent among Hispanics age 15 to 19 since 2006, and down 44 percent among black teens, according to a survey of census data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Teen pregnancy rates among whites also fell by a third.

Its name will be "Red Dragon." And if the latest partnership between SpaceX and NASA works out, the privately funded craft will land on Mars to collect scientific data — possibly within the next two years. The plan is to use the Dragon capsule, but without a human crew.

"SpaceX is planning to send Dragons to Mars as early as 2018," the company said via Facebook Wednesday. "These missions will help demonstrate the technologies needed to land large payloads propulsively on Mars."

Genetic Variations Help Make Fraternal Twins More Likely

Apr 28, 2016

Fraternal twins tend to run in families, and scientists think they've identified genetic variations at play. Understanding that might someday help predict who is more likely to have a risky pregnancy, and might also help treat fertility problems.

The extremely high-profile dispute between Apple and the FBI has ushered in a new phase in the debate over the future of secure communications. Though many Americans still struggle with the technical implications of encryption, it's now a household word.

In the 1990s Chuck Slaughter built the online clothing retailer, TravelSmith, from a startup to a company with sales in excess of $100 million a year. Then he signed up to be an Avon lady.

"[Avon] is the original social network business. In some ways it's better than Twitter and Facebook because Avon figured out how to monetize the social network," Slaughter says over coffee at a café in Oxford, England.

Eight-year-old Mari Copeny from Flint, Mich., sent President Obama a message last month. She told him about her activism on behalf of those affected by Flint's contaminated water and asked if he would meet with her and others from Flint when they came to Washington, D.C., for testimony by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at a congressional hearing.

"My mom said chances are you will be too busy with more important things, but there is a lot of people coming on these buses and even just a meeting from you or your wife would really lift people's spirits," she wrote.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has signed legislation that allows mental health counselors and therapists to refuse to treat patients based on religious objections or personal beliefs.

Critics of the law say it could result in discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. As Nashville Public Radio reported earlier this month:

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