Health & Science

The Many Eyes Of Scallops

Dec 3, 2017

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

The light coming from screens, like the one on your smartphone, is known as blue light, and it can interfere with sleep. So some people use apps to filter out some of that blue light. NPR's Jon Hamilton had some questions, so he rang up some scientists.

The Call-In: DNA Testing

Dec 3, 2017

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Time now for The Call-In - last week, we asked you about your experiences with DNA testing kits. Hundreds of you responded.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: And it found a link between her and my father.

Vincent Thomas had battled multiple myeloma for quite some time and gone through countless treatments and drug regimens, which weren't stopping his cancer. He and his family made the decision to go on hospice care.

The thing was, his eyesight had failed him. He had significant cataracts, or clouding of the lenses, in both eyes. He couldn't see his family, he couldn't drive himself to his doctor's appointments, and this once-fiercely independent man had to learn to depend on others just to cut his food.

He wanted to see his family before he died.

There's more than cars at an auto show.

Auto shows are not only a place for consumers but for vendors, executives, reporters, activists, investors and consumers. They are more like conventions. With 10,000 parts on a car, that means a lot of vendors.

U.N. Body Alarmed Over Mining Waste Disasters

Dec 2, 2017

Some of the worst mining disasters do not happen in mines.

They take place at dams.

After minerals are extracted from mines, there are waste materials — including sand, rock and chemicals. They're known as "tailings" and are permanently stored in dams constructed of earth, rock-fill or concrete.

This week, the president of the United States passed along malicious messages from a racist, ultranationalist fringe group directly to almost 44 million people. Those 44 million follow him on Twitter and may have now retweeted those anti-Muslim messages to millions more.

For more than a century, corn has been the most widely planted crop in the country and a symbol of small-town America. Think of the musical Oklahoma, where the corn is as tall as an elephant's eye, or the film Field of Dreams, in which old-time baseball players silently emerge from a field of corn.

Even farmers are partial to corn, says Brent Gloy, who grows some himself, on a farm in Nebraska. (He also graduated from the University of Nebraska. You know, the Cornhuskers.)

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Tucked away in the House and Senate tax bills is a big break for companies that have stockpiled money overseas. The hope is that bringing that cash back to the U.S. will lead to more jobs here. NPR's Aarti Shahani reports.

At a meeting in Geneva today, the treaty organization that shook the music industry with new trade regulations on rosewood took formal action to clarify and potentially ease some of the regulations.

Rosewood is a prized "tonewood" used for musical instruments from guitars to clarinets and oboes.

The treaty cracked down on the material's international movements late last year to combat worldwide depletion of rosewood trees, driven by China's burgeoning demand for rosewood furniture.

Planet Money Goes To Space

Dec 1, 2017

Space is easier to get to than ever and it will change life on earth. Private companies are pouring billions of dollars into tiny satellites, new rockets, and gathering information on earth from above. To see how it all works, we are getting in on the action ourselves.

We adopt an adorable satellite, go rocket shopping, and try to figure out how to turn our little piece of the new space race into a profit.

Episode 1: We're Going To Space

It's been two decades since we established effective treatment against HIV, rendering what was nearly always a fatal infection to a chronic, manageable condition.

I remember one of the first AIDS patients I met as a medical student in the mid-90s: Harry, a young man losing his sight from an opportunistic infection called CMV retinitis. We had only one drug we could give him to try to stop him from going blind.

That bag of frozen cauliflower sitting inside your freezer likely sprang to life in a vast field north of Salinas, Calif. A crew of men and women here use a machine to drop seedlings into the black soil. Another group follows behind, stooped over, tapping each new plant.

It is backbreaking, repetitive work. Ten-hour days start in the cold, dark mornings and end in the searing afternoon heat.

As the tax bill moves through Congress, an issue has risen that hits dangerously close to U.S. efforts in science.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on December 1 and has been updated.

World AIDS Day was December 1. The White House hung a red ribbon. Hundreds of red balloons were released in the air in Brazil. And Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their first appearance as a royal couple at an AIDS charity event in Nottingham, U.K.

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