Health & Science

An imagined conversation between two yeast cells appears in Kurt Vonnegut's 1973 novel Breakfast of Champions. "They were discussing the possible purposes of life," Vonnegut writes. If that's not absurd enough, their existential discussion takes place against a weird, dismal backdrop, "as they ate sugar and suffocated in their own excrement." Little did they know, their little yeasty lives had an important, human-centric purpose.

At 87, Maxine Stanich cared more about improving the quality of her life than prolonging it.

She suffered from a long list of health problems, including heart failure and chronic lung disease that could leave her gasping for breath.

When her time came she wanted to die a natural death, Stanich told her daughter, and she signed a "do not resuscitate" directive, or DNR, ordering doctors not to revive her should her heart stop.

Google says it has received more than 650,000 requests to remove certain websites from its search results since a European court ordered the company to allow Europeans the "right to be forgotten" in 2014.

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The United States is now producing 10 million barrels of crude oil a day. The last time that happened...


Amazon really wants to come over to your house. Or at least make it to the front door.

The Seattle-based tech giant announced Tuesday it's made another move into the home security and surveillance business, acquiring Ring, a smart-doorbell maker that streams audio and video to cellphones.

The highest court in the home of Volkswagen and BMW has reached a verdict: And it goes against some diesel cars.

The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled that cities have the right to ban some heavily polluting diesel cars. The decision could drive manufacturers away from combustion engines and force them to improve exhaust systems.

When the economy takes a turn for the worse, birth rates go down. It's both common sense and an empirically observed phenomenon.

But it's not the whole story.

A team of economists, taking a closer look at the connection between fertility and recessions, found that conception rates begin to drop before the economy starts its downturn — and could even be used to predict recessions.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit



Veteran children's book publisher Philip Lee is describing his a-ha moment. Nine years ago, he was visiting with members of Washington State's Farm to School office. Someone began talking about the achievement gap for low-income students and its implications for test scores. "But they pointed out, 'Kids that don't have a proper breakfast can't learn by 10 a.m., so we don't really have a learning problem; we have a public health problem,' " Lee remembers.

Antidepressants and medications for bipolar disorder can be life-changing and even lifesaving, but journalist Lauren Slater warns that the long-term side effects of these drugs are "cloaked in mystery."

"As a nation, we're consuming them; we're gobbling them down," she says. "And we don't really know what we're taking into our bodies."

As the nation's dairy farmers struggle through their fourth year of depressed milk prices, concerns are rising that many are becoming depressed themselves. The outlook for the next year is so bleak, it's heightening worries — especially in the Northeast — about farmer suicides.

Agri-Mark Inc., a dairy cooperative with about 1,000 members, saw three farmers take their own lives in the past three years. The most recent was last month. It's a very small sample, but very sharp and disturbing increase.

Can Nuclear Power Plants Generate Artistic Inspiration?

Feb 27, 2018

Vincent Ialenti is a MacArthur Nuclear Waste Solutions Fellow at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. He holds a PhD in anthropology from Cornell University and an MSc in Law, Anthropology & Society from the London School of Economics.

First, he forgot about owning millions of dollars' worth of bitcoin. Then he bragged about it. Now, 50 Cent, who is filing for bankruptcy, says he never owned any of the digital currency after all.