Health & Science

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Scientists believe they may have new insights into why passenger pigeons went extinct, after analyzing DNA from the toes of birds that have been carefully preserved in museums for over a century.

Internet freedom is on the decline for the seventh consecutive year as governments around the world take to distorting information on social media in order to influence elections, a new report says.

The nongovernmental organization Freedom House released its annual Freedom on the Net report this week, which found that online "manipulation and disinformation tactics played an important role" in elections in 18 countries, including the U.S.

In the east-Bohemian city of Havlíčkův Brod, two hours by train from Prague, the Potato Research Institute is caught in the crosshairs of time.

This week, another big name in tech was toppled by accusations of sexual harassment — venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, an investor in Tesla and SpaceX who left his prominent Silicon Valley company.

The big-money world of Silicon Valley remains dominated by men and remains a hard place for women to speak out if they want to join the ranks of its richest. And some women think the best way to fight harassment is to tread carefully and get to the top.

Governments are wrapping up a meeting in Bonn, Germany, to figure out how to implement a global climate agreement.

The conference has focused on the pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which nations made two years ago in Paris. But even as negotiators debate the details, scientists are warning that carbon dioxide levels are again on the rise, and the efforts in Paris may not be enough.

For years the Food and Drug Administration has been trying to get doctors to quit prescribing codeine, an opioid painkiller, to children after getting their tonsils or adenoids out.

But it can be hard to get clinicians to change their prescribing habits, even when children have died and other less risky medications are available.

Hurricane Harvey as a ball of swirling sea salt. Hurricane Irma scooping up the sands of the Sahara. Hurricane Ophelia, bizarrely, taking smoke from Portugal and pulling it up to the coast of Ireland.

A new visualization from NASA shows the hurricanes from 2017 season from a new perspective — that is, their impact on particles carried in the wind.

A 79-year-old man picked up an object with his left hand and suddenly felt a sharp pain in his shoulder. Something moved in his upper arm. And with that, he was Popeye.

His right arm looked the same as it always had: lean and sagging a little with age. But his left biceps now sported a baseball-size bulge that looked like it could land a powerful punch. The brand-new muscle mound looked even bigger when the man flexed his biceps. The only thing was, it hurt. A lot.

When U.S. officials feared an outbreak of the Zika virus last year, the Department of Health and Human Services and state officials kicked into high gear.

They tested mosquitoes neighborhood by neighborhood in Miami and other hot Gulf Coast communities where the virus was likely to flourish. They launched outreach campaigns to encourage people to use bug spray. And they pushed the development of a vaccine.

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The gap between rich and poor is one of the great concerns of modern times. It's even driving archaeologists to look more closely at wealth disparities in ancient societies.

"That's what's so fun about it," says Timothy Kohler, at Washington State University. "It widens our perspective, and allows us to see that the way things are organized now is not the only way for things to be organized."

Two years ago, when the Zika virus was first identified as the cause of microcephaly in babies, women were scared. Expectant mothers who got infected had no idea what the chances were of having a healthy baby.

Researchers have since learned that while Zika infection is dangerous, about 94 percent of babies born to women infected with Zika appear to be normal at birth.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

The U.S. military's restrictions on covering abortions can create logistical, emotional, career and health challenges for service members who become pregnant, according to a newly released study.

How To Stop Hazing

Nov 15, 2017

Once again, Greek life at American colleges is under scrutiny – this time after the death of a 20-year-old fraternity pledge at Florida State University. FSU has suspended Greek activities.

In Pennsylvania, Penn State students are being charged in the death of a pledge.

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