A new report from grain safety researchers at Purdue University says eight people died while trapped in grain last year, another steep drop from the record year of 2010, when 31 people lost their lives in grain bins and other grain storage facilities.
The continued decline in incidents since 2010 is credited to drier and smaller harvests since then. The grain stored in bins in 2010 was generally harvested wet and tended to spoil and clog. Workers and farmers went into bins to unclog grain and were trapped in a "quicksand" effect common in flowing grain.
Most health policy meetings are a dull gray snooze of business suits talking data. They seem a million miles removed from making sick people healthy. But this week in Washington, D.C., some of those meetings was enlivened by a sudden flash of color.
The back of one woman's suit jacket bore a painting, a Renoir-like portrait of a mother and child. A man's blazer showed him reborn after years of despair. Another woman's jacket portrayed a young man holding his organ donor card. A petite redhead's jacket blazed with a scarlet letter "A."
Note: The audio and text of this review describe a major plot point that is not revealed until partway into the book.
If you know Karen Joy Fowler's writing only from her clever, 2004 best-seller, The Jane Austen Book Club, you're in for a shock. Fowler's new novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, is a different literary creature altogether — still witty but emotionally and intellectually riskier, and more indebted to Fowler's other books that toy with the sci-fi genre.
There's been an arrest by federal authorities who are trying to track down the person responsible for last month mailing possibly ricin-laced letters to President Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a gun control group the mayor supports.
The director of the National Park Service doesn't have anything against hot dogs or pizza being served in eateries in national parks.
"But I wanted more options, and more healthy choices," Jonathan Jarvistold me at a tasting event this week to unveil new standards for the concessionaires who operate more than 250 food and beverage operations in national parks.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Up next, surviving the big one, and I mean a really big one. As any fan of dinosaurs knows, extinction happens. The Earth isn't immune to assaults. You've got your asteroids, your volcanic eruptions, events that cause so much disruption to the environment that eventually life or most of life is wiped out.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. In the disease multiple sclerosis, the body's own immune cells stage a mutiny. Those cells, white cells, normally go after foreigners in the body like bacteria or other invaders that make us sick. But in MS, the immune cells go after the body itself, attacking the myelin covering that wraps around nerve cells. As that myelin gets degraded, nerve signals don't get transferred properly, and that's what leads to the symptoms of MS.
As President Obama and his Chinese counterpart prepare for a weekend summit in California to discuss thorny bilateral issues, a new poll shows that ordinary Americans and Chinese increasingly eye one another with suspicion.
California's San Onofre nuclear power plant will be shut down for good amid concerns as to whether it could be safely restarted after being offline since early last year because of a radiation leak.
The plant's operator, Southern California Edison, said in a statement Friday that San Onofre's twin reactors "had served the region for over 40 years" but that the 16 months of uncertainty about whether they would or wouldn't go back online "was not good for our customers, our investors or the need to plan for our region's long-term electricity needs."
In his most extensive comments so far on the revelations this week about the electronic data that the nation's spy agencies are collecting, President Obama told the American people Friday that "nobody is listening to your telephone calls."
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we speak with a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer who just lost his job after 44 years at the Chicago Sun-Times. But first, speaking of jobs, the latest figures are out from the Department of Labor. The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs last month. That's the good news. The bad news is the unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent. How does that math work? We're going to talk about that.
The Chicago Sun-Times made a surprise announcement last week: it fired its entire photography staff. Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist John White worked there for more than forty years. He talks to guest host Celeste Headlee about what this news means for him personally and the future of photojournalism.
And now it's time for Backtalk, that's the time when we hear from you. Editor Ahmad Omar is with us today. What is going on?
AHMAD OMAR: Celeste, we have a little clarification. In our political chat last week, we talked about a staff shakeup for South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. The co-chair of her reelection committee resigned over connections to the Council of Conservative Citizens. The Southern poverty Law Center calls that a white nationalist group.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Powerful storms this spring: tornadoes like the ones in Oklahoma have caused damage estimated in the billions of dollars and dozens of deaths. But does the destruction have to be so devastating? What are the engineering challenges to designing and building stronger, more tornado-resistant structures and providing better protection for the people who live there?
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. If you're thinking about getting married or having children or just contemplating your health care options, you or your doctor may decide to have your DNA analyzed, looking for genes that may indicate possible trouble ahead. Maybe there's a telltale mutation hiding there or a recognizable pattern of genes.
Many people associate France today with the production of great wines. But winemaking isn't native to the French. Patrick McGovern, an archaeologist of fermented beverages, has dated the beginning of viniculture in France to around 500 B.C. and contact with the Etruscans.
When it comes to profound depression, many people just can't get relief from current treatments.
Now there's more evidence that the anesthetic ketamine, sometimes abused as a club drug, has potential as a fast-acting treatment for the condition.
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic gave 10 patients ketamine twice a week as an infusion that lasted 100 minutes. All the people had depression that had resisted other treatments. The patients got ketamine until their symptoms abated or they'd had four infusions of the drug.
The two Koreas have agreed in principle to talks aimed at mending their almost nonexistent relations, but they are stalled on the question of where to meet.
South Korea has suggested that high-level talks take place in its capital, Seoul, but North Korea has countered that only lower-level negotiations should take place and they should be held in its border city of Kaesong.
The rival Koreas have not met face to face for such negotiations since February 2011.
This story from Planet Money's Alex Blumberg and NPR's Laura Sydell aired this weekend on This American Life. A shorter version of the piece is also airing today on All Things Considered. Here's the story.
It is as embarrassing a diplomatic gaffe as you can make: French President François Hollande was in the same room as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, this morning, when he offered the "Chinese people" condolences for the 10 citizens it lost during the Algerian hostage crisis in January.