Health & Science

One in five working coal miners in central Appalachia who have worked at least 25 years now suffer from the coal miners' disease black lung. That's the finding from the latest study tracking an epidemic of the incurable and fatal sickness.

Each spring, barnacle geese migrate more than 1,800 miles from the Netherlands and northern Germany to their breeding grounds in parts of Russia above the Arctic Circle.

The journey north usually takes about a month, and the geese make multiple stops along the way to eat and fatten up before they lay their eggs, says Bart Nolet of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and the University of Amsterdam.

Three Dimensions, Endless Possibilities

Jul 19, 2018

Five years ago, Cody Wilson fired the world’s first fully 3-D-printed gun at a range in central Texas. Then he shared the blueprint online, where it was downloaded over 100,000 times in the first few days.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is clarifying remarks he made about whether his platform should remove content posted by Holocaust deniers, saying he wasn't defending them when he commented that it was hard to know their intentions. His initial comments set off intense criticism earlier this week.

Tall, dreadlocked Josh Scheper knew he was out of place as he surveyed the scene at a Santa Ana, Calif., parking lot on a Sunday morning this past April. And the 46-year-old loved it.

Hundreds of people waited in line at stalls for vegan food, but few people looked like the Los Angeles resident. Nearly everyone in the crowd was young and Latino, as were the chefs. The food on sale was Mexican — but not hippie-dippy cafe standbys like cauliflower tacos, or tempeh-stuffed burritos. Instead, chefs reimagined meaty classics that were honest-to-goodness bueno.

A Texas nonprofit that works with families separated at the border has turned down a $250,000 contribution from Salesforce, a company under pressure for its work creating software for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Did you notice the emoji explosion on social media this week?

Mission Health, the largest hospital system in western North Carolina, provided $100 million in free charity care last year. This year, it has partnered with 17 civic organizations to deliver care for substance abuse by people who are low-income.

Based in bucolic Asheville, the six-hospital system also screens residents for food insecurity; provides free dental care to children in rural areas via the "ToothBus" mobile clinic; helps the homeless find permanent housing and encourages its 12,000 employees to volunteer at schools, churches and nonprofit groups.

Smartphones and tablets have quickly become a permanent part of students' daily lives. Kids up to 8 years old spent almost an hour a day on mobile devices, Common Sense Media reported last year.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Dr. Elliot Tapper has treated a lot of patients, but this one stood out.

"His whole body was yellow," Tapper remembers. "He could hardly move. It was difficult for him to breathe, and he wasn't eating anything."

The patient was suffering from chronic liver disease. After years of alcohol use, his liver had stopped filtering his blood. Bilirubin, a yellowish waste compound, was building up in his body and changing his skin color.

Disturbing to Tapper, the man was only in his mid-30s – much younger than most liver disease patients.

The Terminator's killer robots may seem like a thing of science fiction. But leading scientists and tech innovators have signaled that such autonomous killers could materialize in the real world in frighteningly real ways.

During the annual International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Stockholm on Wednesday, some of the world's top scientific minds came together to sign a pledge that calls for "laws against lethal autonomous weapons."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Rising drug prices, especially in Medicaid, are straining state budgets. Lawmakers across the country are being forced to make tough choices between giving the poor access to medications and other budget priorities, like education.

Julie Davis directs half a dozen volunteers as they unload a 16-foot truck in front of a Nashville duplex. Bunk beds, dressers, lamps and a diaper-changing station come out of the truck; so do boxes with shampoo, books, toys, a kitchen's worth of supplies.

When people think of particle accelerators, they tend to think of giant structures: tunnels many miles long that electrons and protons race through at tremendous speeds, packing enormous energy.

But scientists in California think small is beautiful. They want to build an accelerator on semiconductor chips. An accelerator built that way won't achieve the energy of its much larger cousins, but it could accelerate material research and revolutionize medical therapy.

First of all, what is an accelerator?

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