Health & Science

If movies were trying to be more realistic, perhaps the way to summon Batman shouldn't have been the Bat-Signal — it should have been the bat squeak.

New research from the Bat Lab for Neuro-Ecology at Tel Aviv University found that bats are "vocalizing" more information than many researchers previously thought. And researchers were able to decipher what the bats were squeaking to each other about — often they were bickering over things like food, sleep and mating.

A version of this story previously ran as part of The American Homefront Project, a national reporting collaboration from member stations WUNC, KUOW and KPCC.

When his convoy was attacked with an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2007, Army Sgt. Jeff Lynch was seriously wounded. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, was hospitalized for months, and underwent more than a hundred surgeries.

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Eighteen years ago, on New Year's Eve, David Fisher visited an old farm in western Massachusetts, near the small town of Conway. No one was farming there at the time, and that's what had drawn Fisher to the place. He was scouting for farmland.

"I remember walking out [to the fallow fields] at some point," Fisher recalls. "And in the moonlight – it was all snowy – it was like a blank canvas."

With a president-elect who has publicly supported the debunked claim that vaccines cause autism, suggested that climate change is a hoax dreamed up by the Chinese, and appointed to his Cabinet a retired neurosurgeon who doesn't buy the theory of evolution, things might look grim for science.

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks to cybersecurity expert Robert Knake on what tools the U.S. has to retaliate against Russia in cyberspace. Knake, former director of cybersecurity policy with the National Security Council, is now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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

In November, the typically straitlaced Office of Government Ethics surprised observers with a series of tweets mimicking Donald Trump's bombastic style, exclamation points and all: "Brilliant! Divestiture is good for you, good for America!"

'Panda Grandpa' Pan Pan Dies In China

Dec 30, 2016

In the final days of a year that has become known for a number of celebrity deaths, 2016 struck again. The Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported this week that what is thought to be the world's oldest male panda has died in China at the age of 31 — around 100 in human years.

In Puerto Rico, A Woman Infected With Zika Prays For A Healthy Baby

Dec 30, 2016

Before the virus overwhelmed Puerto Rico, Zika already lurked in Keishla Mojica's home in Caguas.

First her partner, John Rodríguez, 23, became infected. His face swelled and a red, itchy rash covered his body. Doctors at the time diagnosed it as an allergy.

Two months later, Mojica, 23, had the same symptoms. Medics administered shots of Benadryl to soothe the rash and inflammation. She didn't give it much more thought.

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that's often characterized by the shame that can come with it. Actress Carrie Fisher rejected that.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Terrorist attacks, hurricanes, a divisive U.S. election, Brexit — 2016 has not been easy. With the year coming to an end, we thought it was time to get some serious perspective — from the scale of the entire universe.

We're tackling big questions: what scientists know, and what they have yet to learn.

So before you ring in another year, take a moment to contemplate the billions of years that led to 2017 and the billions more yet to come.

Being overweight can raise your blood pressure, cholesterol and risk for developing diabetes. It could be bad for your brain, too.

Is It Possible To Die Of Grief?

Dec 29, 2016

The actress Debbie Reynolds' death just one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, died has led some to speculate that grief from the loss might have been a contributing factor. There was similar speculation when actress Brittany Murphy's husband, Simon Monjack, was found dead at just 39, several months after the sudden death of his wife.

Here's a timely reminder for all you would-be revelers out there: Be careful with your countdowns this New Year's Eve. There will be a little extra time to bask in the glow of a retreating 2016 — or curse its name, as the case may be.

Whatever your inclination may be, one thing is certain: Before the year is out, the world's foremost authority on time will be adding one more second to the clock.

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