Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

Hurricane Florence has captured people's attention this week, and it's a sure bet that this unusual weather is also being closely monitored by hundreds of millions of migrating birds.

This is the peak of the fall migration season, after all, and birds avoid bad weather — which is helping scientists predict migration patterns.

As scientists in the Netherlands tried to figure out how to build a super-agile flying robot, they took inspiration from one of nature's most acrobatic flyers: The humble fruit fly.

And by building this robot, they've gained new insights into how the fly carries out one of its flashiest maneuvers.

Do prehistoric fossils belong only in a museum or educational center that communicates science to the public? Is it ever right for commercial fossil hunters to sell dinosaur skulls to movie stars for display in their living rooms?

Bells toll at the abbey where Dom Perignon is buried in the French region of Champagne. The Benedictine monk is said to have discovered the method for turning wine into champagne here more than 300 years ago.

As far as the eye can see, neat rows of vines look as if they're stitched across the rolling hillsides.

California is convening an international summit this week to push for global action on climate change. As the Trump administration has rolled back federal climate policies, California has partnered directly with other nations and cities.

On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown set the stage by signing a new state goal for 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

Scientists working in South Africa say they've found the earliest known drawing. It was dug up in a cave where early humans apparently lived for thousands of years and left behind numerous artifacts.

World Fungi Report

Sep 12, 2018

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Cristina Rivell has been struggling with an opioid addiction since she was a teenager — going in and out of rehab for five years. The most recent time, her doctor prescribed her a low dose of buprenorphine (often known by its brand name, Suboxone), a drug that helps curb cravings for stronger opioids and prevents the symptoms of withdrawal.

More Older Americans Are Turning To Marijuana

Sep 12, 2018

Members of the generation that came of age in the era of marijuana are reaching for weed in their golden years.

A study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence this month suggests that increasing numbers of middle aged and older adults are using marijuana — and using it a lot.

An intriguing study published this week suggests that bonobos, among the closest relatives to humans, are surprisingly willing to hand over food to a pal. But they didn't share tools.

The discovery adds a new wrinkle to scientists' efforts to understand the evolutionary origins of people's unusual propensity to help others.

Just inland from the North Carolina coast, right in the path of Hurricane Florence, there's an area where there are many more pigs than people. Each big hog farm has one or more open-air "lagoons" filled with manure, and some could be vulnerable to flooding if the hurricane brings as much rain as feared.

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Kids with ADHD are easily distracted. Barn owls are not.

So a team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is studying these highly focused predatory birds in an effort to understand the brain circuits that control attention.

The team's long-term goal is to figure out what goes wrong in the brains of people with attention problems, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Hurricane Florence is moving relentlessly toward the Southeastern U.S. It's a large, powerful cyclone that will likely bring storm surge and high winds to coastal communities.

But climate scientists say one of the biggest threats posed by Florence is rain.

In a new bid to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, two Native American communities are suing the Trump administration, saying it failed to adhere to historical treaty boundaries and circumvented environmental impact analysis. As a result, they are asking a federal judge in Montana to rescind the 2017 permit and block any further construction or use of the controversial pipeline.

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Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

California has established an ambitious goal of relying entirely on zero-emission energy sources for its electricity by the year 2045.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill mandating the electricity target on Monday. He also issued an executive order calling for statewide carbon neutrality — meaning California "removes as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it emits" — by the same year.

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Astrophysicist Awarded $3 Million Prize

Sep 9, 2018

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This is Lulu's Log, stardate September 9, 2018, where we explore matters of space, the stars and the universe.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Dr. Leslie Norins is willing to hand over $1 million of his own money to anyone who can clarify something: Is Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia worldwide, caused by a germ?

By "germ" he means microbes like bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. In other words, Norins, a physician turned publisher, wants to know if Alzheimer's is infectious.

The Sahara desert is expanding, and has been for at least a century. It's a phenomenon that seems impossible to stop.

But it hasn't stopped at least one group of scientists from dreaming of a way to do it. And their proposed solution, a grand scheme that involves covering vast areas of desert with solar panels and windmills, just got published in the prestigious journal Science.

Pomegranates symbolize life and vitality in many cultures. They are mentioned in the Quran, in ancient Greek mythology, and in Chinese folktales. Perhaps you bought one to split open during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebrated this weekend.

The Bug Black Market

Sep 8, 2018

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The U.S. is in the middle of a steep and sustained increase in sexually transmitted diseases.

So how are public health officials responding?

In northwest Oregon's Clackamas County, health officials have decided to ask anyone who comes in with an STD who their sexual partners are — and then track those partners down.

For a short week, it sure has been a long one. So here's something refreshing.

Over the last week, a group of common dolphins has been racing along the Pacific coast in Monterey, Calif.

Each of its 87 turbines stands more than twice as tall as the entire Statue of Liberty. Together, they generate enough electricity to power nearly 600,000 homes, in what's being called the largest offshore wind farm in the world, off the coast of northwestern England.

Editor's note: This story has been updated.

As drug-related deaths rise to record numbers, at least a dozen U.S. cities are considering opening supervised injection sites, where people can use illicit drugs with trained staff present, ready to respond in case of an overdose.

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Dying Well.

About Michelle Knox's TED Talk

How can we better cope with grief? After observing funerals around the world, banker and travel blogger Michelle Knox suggests we talk about death with our loved ones — especially when we're healthy.

About Michelle Knox

Michelle Knox works in Finance Transformation for Westpac Banking Corporation in Sydney Australia.

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