A light micrograph image of telomeres, shown in yellow, at the end of human chromosomes. Women tend to have longer telomeres than men and tend to outlive men, according to new research matching genetic information with medical records.
A massive research project in California is beginning to show how genes, health habits and the environment can interact to cause diseases. And it's all possible because 100,000 people agreed to contribute some saliva in the name of science.
Indeed, a Gallup poll this year reported that 46 percent of Americans (58 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of independents) held a nonscientific belief in creationism, the religious-based view that humans were divinely created within the past 10,000 years.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 11:55 am
We've been hearing a lot recently about how algorithms can predict just about anything. They find long-lost friends on Facebook and guess which books we'll buy next on Amazon. Algorithms hit the big time this month, when New York Times blogger Nate Silver used mathematical models and statistics to correctly forecast the outcome of every state in the presidential election.
You might think that actor Irrfan Khan — the co-star of the special effects-filled film Life of Pi -- performed his scenes by himself, or with inanimate objects that would later be transformed via CGI. Not so: As the older Pi in Ang Lee's new adaptation of the best-selling novel, Khan went back to the basics.
He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he thinks of scenes as being like duets: "You strike a note, and somebody responds, and then you respond accordingly," Khan says.
At Analy High School in Sebastopol, Calif., three students are taking apart a bicycle that generates electricity. Another student is calibrating a laser cutter. They're all working in a cavernous building that once held the school's metal and electronics shop. Let's just say it has been updated.
"I'm thinking that I might make a quadrocopter and a tremolo. It's a type of guitar thing that uses light to change the volume. And a few other things; we'll see," says Gabe Cook-Spillane, a senior at Analy High.
Edward Blum studies the history of race and religion in the U.S., and is a professor at San Diego State University. His previous books include W.E B. Du Bois: American Prophet and Reforging the White Republic.
What did Jesus look like? The many different depictions of Christ tell a story about race and religion in America. Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey explore that history in their new book, The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America. The book traces how different races and ethnic groups claimed Christ as their own — and how depictions of Jesus have both inspired civil rights crusades, and been used to justify the violence of white supremacists.
In Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln, Academy Award-winning actress Sally Field plays Abraham Lincoln's emotionally tormented wife, Mary Todd Lincoln.
Field lobbied hard for the role and did extensive research to capture the complex first lady, who modern observers believe may have suffered from bipolar disorder. Field immersed herself in biographies and books about the era, and visited Mary's home and collections of Lincoln memorabilia.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden, in Washington, Neal Conan is away. Conflict between Israel and Gaza continues for a sixth day, as Israel has responded to a barrage of rocket fire from Hamas with air strikes and missiles fired by the Israeli navy. More than 90 Palestinians have been killed and three Israelis. Israel has called up tens of thousands of reservists in case of a possible ground invasion.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden, in Washington. When a parent is deported, goes to prison or passes away, an older child may step into the role to keep the family together. In an instant, thoughts of prom dates and sports matches are replaced with worry about finding work and paying bills.
Bill Withers' very first single became a breakout hit in 1971. He would go on to record nine albums over the next 14 years, and all of them are now available on a new box set, The Complete Sussex and Columbia Masters.
Many teens aspire to have lean bodies and big muscles, like the professional athletes they so admire. But they don't always want (or know how) to sweat to get them. A new study finds a surprisingly high number of teens have used steroids to try to slim down and bulk up.
Six percent of teenagers say they've used steroid drugs in the past year, which is a lot higher than the 1.1 percent reported in a 2011 survey.
The Israelis and Palestinians have clashed repeatedly over the Gaza Strip, but the recent upheavals in the Middle East have changed the dynamics this time. Here, a Palestinian woman is helped after being injured in an Israeli strike in Gaza City on Monday.
Credit Oded Balilty / AP
Israel says its Iron Dome missile interceptor system has been effective in combating Palestinian rockets. This Iron Dome launch in Tel Aviv was directed an an incoming rocket on Nov. 17.
Credit Majdi Fathi / AFP/Getty Images
An Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Nov. 17. More than 80 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed in the fighting.
Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 7:49 am
This round of Israeli-Palestinian fighting may seem almost identical to all the battles that came before. After all, the Israelis and Palestinians waged an intense fight over the Gaza Strip just four years ago, in December 2008 and January 2009.
But since then, the Arab Spring and its aftermath have radically altered the dynamics of the Middle East. Here are several reasons to look at this clash from a different perspective:
Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 11:33 am
Just days before the movie's premiere, there's word that during the filming of director Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as many as 27 animals used in its production died at the farm in New Zealand where they were housed.
Animal wranglers tell The Associated Press that there were "bluffs, sinkholes and other 'death traps' " at the farm. Three horses died, along with "six goats, six sheep and a dozen chickens."
xkcd: "Another thing that is a bad problem is if you're flying toward space and the parts start to fall off your space car in the wrong order. If that happens, it means you won't go to space today, or maybe ever."
Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 10:27 am
There are people (and I hear from them constantly) who think if a subject is sophisticated, like science, the language that describes it should be sophisticated, too.
If smart people say torque, ribosome, limbic, stochastic and kinase, then the rest of us should knuckle down, concentrate and figure out what those words mean. That's how we'll know when we've learned something: when we've mastered the technical words.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, the fiscal cliff is seen as a serious threat to the nation's financial health but for federal workers the impact could be even more immediate and devastating. We'll take a closer look at that in a moment.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, the reelection of President Obama triggered a huge amount of racism on social media, particularly on Twitter. We'll talk about the psychology behind those tweets.
After the president's re-election, a slew of racist comments appeared on Twitter and Facebook. Guest host Celeste Headlee discusses some of the legal and privacy issues raised when people vent online. She speaks with Rey Junco of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society and The Root's Political Correspondent Keli Goff.
Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 10:30 am
San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener (yes, that's his name) says last year's law ordering those who bare everything in public to put a towel between their bottoms and public benches or restaurant seats hasn't stopped the complaints he gets about men who prefer to go without (clothes, that is) in the city's Castro District.
Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 12:39 pm
Two positive economic indicators:
-- "Sales of existing homes increased in October, even with some regional impact from Hurricane Sandy, while home prices continued to rise due to lower levels of inventory supply," the National Association of Realtors reports.
Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 7:07 am
President Obama, in the midst of a five-day trip to Asia, is making stops in Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. But the strongest diplomatic signals are probably aimed farther north, at China, which has significant economic and strategic interests in the region.
Obama, who has billed himself as "America's first Pacific president" has already made several trips to Asia, but his administration's goal of making a "pivot" to the region — both militarily and diplomatically — has been hamstrung by the need to wind down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
NPR's Scott Horsley, reporting on 'Morning Edition'
We've noted before that whether you call the Southeast Asian nation Burma or Myanmar has mattered to many for many years.
It's official U.S. policy, out of support for the opposition that has pressed for democratic reform in that country, to call it Burma. That's the name the nation was known by before a military regime took power in 1989 and started using Myanmar.
On 'Morning Editon': Sheera Frankel reports about 'Iron Dome'
(We rewrote the top of this post at 7:45 p.m. ET to sum up the day's news.)
The sixth day of Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip saw Israel striking a media center and other Palestinian targets, raising the Palestinian death toll to more than 100. Palestinian militants fired 95 rockets at Israel; a third of them were intercepted by Iron Dome, the Israeli missile shield. Also Monday, a flurry of diplomacy that attempted to mediate a cease-fire between the two sides.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with a credit card that's worth its weight in gold. For those who want to buy bling with bling, a bank in Kazakhstan plans to offer a Visa card made of gold, plus a couple of dozen diamonds and mother of pearl. It will require $100,000 upfront and an annual fee of $2,000, but there are no late fees and you get a free iPhone. It won't be the first bejeweled card, just the first made of pure gold. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Does technology enrich our lives? This weekend in Glasgow, Scotland, it did. A Bank of Scotland ATM was dispensing cash at double the amount requested. Lines formed around the block until the police came. The bank says it's unlikely they'll try to get their money back. And they apologize for, quote, "any inconvenience caused." We suspect no apologies needed. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.