Health & Science

Confused if you should "dip" or swipe your new chip card?

You might be haunted by the memory of the last time the machine balked when you inserted your chip credit card in the slot — and you suffered the impatient glares from that long line of people behind you.

It can take time for new technology to settle in. Chip cards, designed to curb fraud, have been in use in Europe and the rest of the world since 2002, but they're new to the United States.

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Insurance giant UnitedHealth Group says it will stop selling insurance on Obamacare exchanges in most states starting next year.

In a Tuesday call detailing UnitedHealth's first quarter earnings, CEO Stephen Hemsley said the company would "remain only in a handful of states," after losing money on the individual health plans it sold on state exchanges.

With the Zika virus spreading through Latin American and into U.S. territory, lots of researchers want to pursue projects to help fight the disease.

But there's one problem: money.

Or rather, getting money to researchers. President Obama has requested $1.9 billion from Congress to fight Zika, but this appeal is being held up by a vote in Congress. In the interim, the White House redirected $510 million from federal money left over from the response to Ebola.

U.S. lawmakers Tuesday once again brought Apple, the FBI, security experts and law enforcement officials to testify on the ongoing debate over encryption and the ability of investigators to access data on electronic devices.

If you're like most people in North America, you probably spend most of your time indoors. Leave home in the morning, drive to work, stay in your cube all day, head home again. Ninety percent of our lives are spent inside a built environment of some kind – ones that we share with millions of invisible microbes.

Scientists increasingly recognize that rooms and buildings have their own microbiomes, and that those microbial roommates may affect the health of human inhabitants. Those microbes vary depending on what city you're in, according to a study published Tuesday.

To show that the tainted water in Flint, Mich., is safe when filtered, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says he will be drinking it for the next month when he's at home and at work.

During a visit to Flint on Monday, Snyder said he visited a family's home and drank filtered tap water, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Picture a dusty, nomadic herdsman around 5000 B.C., trudging with his mare somewhere in Central Asia, and pausing to quaff a refreshingly tart yogurt drink from his gourd. Fast-forward to the present day, and it seems all you need for your daily dose of friendly flora is to wander into the kitchen and pop a breakfast burrito in the microwave.

Denise Johnson works two jobs, but neither of them offers health insurance to part-timers like her. She signed up for a marketplace plan this year, but for routine medical care Johnson still goes to the free clinic near her home in Charlottesville, Va.

The problem is her plan's deductible of at least $1,000. She can't recall the precise figure, but it doesn't really matter. "It's absolutely high," said Johnson, 58. "Who can afford that?" She struggles to pay her $28 monthly premium.

Appearing to drown all hope that the U.K.'s new $300 million research vessel will be named "Boaty McBoatface," Science Minister Jo Johnson says the ship needs a more "suitable" name.

Updated at 12:24 p.m. ET, with Facebook statement

An 18-year-old woman in Ohio is being charged with kidnapping, rape, sexual battery and a variant of distributing child pornography.

What led to this extraordinary list of alleged crimes? Live-streaming the alleged rape of her 17-year-old friend.

Prosecutors say Marina Lonina broadcast the incident on the Twitter-owned app Periscope. Lonina claims through her lawyer that she live-streamed the alleged rape because she was trying to get the man to stop.

We know that a third party helped FBI crack the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. But many questions remain. Should the FBI reveal the software loopholes, or vulnerabilities, of the iPhone to Apple? If yes, then what's the process? Can the hackers hold onto the technique and re-sell it in the future? And who can own a software vulnerability to begin with?

Sharyn Morrow, Flickr

Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is putting forward an idea to help the country reduce its heroin epidemic. His plan would impact senior citizens.

Johnson says the U.S. must tighten its border security to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the country. Yet he knows plenty of people develop heroin addictions because they first become hooked on opioid painkillers.

The senator wants to tweak Medicare rules so they don’t inadvertently encourage physicians to over-prescribe drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin to seniors.

Hidden Brain host Shankar Vedantam takes you on vacation with him to Alaska. You'll hike on top of a glacier, drink from a cool stream, and talk with fellow tourists from around the world. But the trip comes with an upsetting observation: Glaciers in Alaska are retreating. The Mendenhall glacier, visited by tens of thousands of tourists each year, has receded more than a mile and a half in the last half century.

"It's sort of just collapsed in on itself," says John Neary, director of the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

Outside Reno, in Nevada's high desert, Tesla is building what it says is the world's largest battery factory. The Gigafactory, as it's called, will churn out batteries for the company's electric cars. But it's also making something new — a battery for the home.

Tucked away in a dusty valley near Sparks, Nev., the Gigafactory is kind of like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory: It's mysterious, it's big and few people have been inside.

Actually, "big" may not do it justice.

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