Health & Science

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The vaquita is a small porpoise found only in the northern Gulf of California, in Mexico. Today, the species is critically endangered, with less than 60 animals left in the wild, thanks to fishing nets to catch fish and shrimp for sale in Mexico and America. The animal is an accidental victim of the fishing industry, as are many other marine mammals.

Unexplained, short radio bursts from outer space have puzzled scientists since they were first detected nearly a decade ago.

The elusive flashes — known as fast radio bursts, or FRBs — are extremely powerful and last only a few milliseconds. The way their frequencies are dispersed suggests they traveled from far outside our galaxy. About 18 have been detected to date. They've been called the "most perplexing mystery in astronomy."

A comparison of kid brains and grownup brains may explain why our ability to recognize faces keeps getting better until about age 30.

Brain scans of 25 adults and 22 children showed that an area devoted to facial recognition keeps growing long after adolescence, researchers report in the journal Science.

Citing local regulations, Apple has removed The New York Times news app from its app store in China. The incident is the latest in the long history of media restrictions in the country, but also in the ongoing pattern of tech companies getting involved in the efforts.

After multiple recent studies showing that feeding peanut-containing foods to infants can reduce the risk of peanut allergies, there are new federal guidelines for parents about when to start feeding their infants such foods.

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

Intelligence agency leaders repeated their determination Thursday that only "the senior most officials" in Russia could have authorized recent hacks into Democratic National Committee and Clinton officials' emails during the presidential election.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper affirmed an Oct. 7 joint statement from 17 intelligence agencies that the Russian government directed the election interference — and went further.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

Four people have been charged with hate crimes for allegedly carrying out an assault, live-streamed online, in which a man was tied up, hit and cut with a knife by several assailants.

Authorities say the victim, who had been reported missing before the attack, has "mental health challenges." He was encountered by police on Tuesday evening and is recovering in the hospital.

ZTE is a company known for phones. Based in China, it's one of the largest smartphone makers around the world. But as it's trying to branch out, it launched a project last year to crowdsource a new path, asking its customers what they want. Maybe some kind of drone, ZTE executives thought, or a new way to use virtual reality.

Dorlyn Catron's cane is making its radio debut today — its name is Pete. ("He's important to my life. He ought to have a name," she says.)

Catron is participating in one of the America InSight tours at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. The museum offers twice-a-month tours, led by specially trained docents, to blind and visually impaired visitors.

For a revolutionary, Deepali Vishwakarma is more quiet and reflective than you might expect. She's in her 30s, small, with a round face that holds intense brown eyes and a shy grin.

President Obama and Vice President-elect Mike Pence were both on Capitol Hill Wednesday, making competing cases for and against Obama's signature health care law. Republicans have promised to make repeal of the Affordable Care Act their first order of business, once they control both Congress and the White House.

Leaders at a medical center in Beaver Dam are leading communities in Dodge County in a multi-year effort to be happier and healthier. 

It's the first Wisconsin site for an international initiative called the Blue Zones Project. The project aims to help communities make healthier choices by making them more accessible.

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