Health & Science

Research News
7:19 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Want Perfect Pitch? You Might Be Able To Pop A Pill For That

Jazz singer Ella Fitzergerald was said to have perfect pitch.
Klaus Frings AP

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 9:13 am

In the world of music, there is no more remarkable gift than having perfect pitch. As the story goes, Ella Fitzgerald's band would use her perfect pitch to tune their instruments.

Although it has a genetic component, most believe that perfect pitch — or absolute pitch — is a primarily a function of early life exposure and training in music, says Takao Hensch, professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard.

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Science
4:53 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Tree-Incarnation: Christmas Trees Return To Nature (A Poem)

Alexandra Jones-Twaddell and Malley Chertkov add a Christmas tree to the growing line in Island Beach State Park in February 2013. Similar dune restoration projects — using trees as a foundation to trap sand — will be carried out this year all along the Atlantic Coast.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 1:38 pm

There are lots of creative Christmas tree recycling programs around the country, and in keeping with the holiday spirit, here are a few of them — set to verse.

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Technology
7:43 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

For The Blind, Connected Devices Create A Novel Way To Read

This Braille reader connects to a smartphone.
John Suchocki The Republican/Landov

Saturday is World Braille Day, commemorating the birth of Frenchman Louis Braille, who was blinded in an accident when he was a toddler. Undeterred, he became a brilliant student but was frustrated that he couldn't read or write.

In school, he learned about a system of dots used by soldiers to communicate at night. Braille adapted that system into something that would transform the lives of the blind and visually impaired.

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Shots - Health News
3:43 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

California County Pushes Drugmakers To Pay For Pill Waste

Ground zero for a new approach to prescription drug disposal.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

The leftover prescription drugs you have around your house are at the center of a battle between small government and big pharmaceutical companies.

The immediate aim is to have the pharmaceutical companies take care of disposing of extra drugs. But Alameda County in northern California wants to make manufacturers think about the life cycles of their products — from their creation to what happens when they're no longer needed.

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Health Care
3:43 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

This Is Not Your Parents' Health Insurance

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. It's been years since a new for-profit health insurance company launched in the U.S. The industry's dominated by large established firms. But some young tech entrepreneurs in New York believe they can take on the big guys, offering plans on the New York Exchange. NPR's Dan Bobkoff has their story.

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The Two-Way
3:43 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

The NSA's Quantum Code-Breaking Research Is No Secret

The National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. The agency has been trying to build a quantum computer, The Washington Post reports — but that news doesn't surprise experts in the field.
Saul Loeb Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

So the world's most clandestine spy agency is working on something called a quantum computer, The Washington Post tells us. It's based on rules Einstein himself described as "spooky," and it can crack almost any code. That's got to be top-secret stuff, right?

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Arts & Life
3:43 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

'Playboy' Gets Pranked: Group Flips The Script On Sex

You can't buy these panties at your local Victoria's Secret. While they mimic the look of that brand's Pink line, they're actually part of a project by FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture.
Courtesy of FORCE

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

Rebecca Nagle sometimes finds herself asking the question: What would Hugh Hefner say?

"The only sex that is good is when it's good for everyone," she says, laughing. "And I've only ever had good sex."

Hefner didn't actually say that. Nagle wrote it.

"But you can really imagine Hugh Hefner saying that," she insists.

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The Salt
3:16 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Let Them Eat Sandwiches: USDA Eases School Lunch Restrictions

After the the school lunch program was overhauled in 2012 to curb childhood obesity, lots of kids began complaining that lunches were too skimpy.

Why? Because in some cases, schools had to limit healthy foods — such as sandwiches served on whole-grain bread or salads topped with grilled chicken — due to restrictions the U.S. Department of Agriculture set on the amount of grains and protein that could be served at meal-time.

In some districts, program participation dropped as more kids decided to brown-bag it and bring their own food to school.

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Shots - Health News
11:52 am
Fri January 3, 2014

5 Things That Could Alter The Perception Of Obamacare

Maria Webster joins others protesting Texas Gov. Rick Perry's stance against the Affordable Care Act in early 2013.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 7:06 am

Nearly four years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, most of its major provisions are now in effect. And they appear to be as controversial as ever.

To help make sense of the partisan arguments, here are five things that are likely to be important measuring sticks of the law in 2014 and beyond.

1. How many people sign up for coverage in the insurance marketplaces and how many of them are in good health.

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TED Radio Hour
10:24 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Can One Girl Challenge The Traditions Of Her Village?

"It doesn't matter, your background. What matters is what you take from the opportunity you're given, where you go with that." — Kakenya Ntaiya
Ray Ortega TED

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 1:48 pm

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Overcoming.

About Kakenya Ntaiya's TEDTalk

Kakenya Ntaiya tells the fearless story of challenging ingrained traditions, insisting on continuing school, and becoming the first girl to leave her Maasai village for college.

About Kakenya Ntaiya

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