Health & Science

Mark Seidenberg is not the first researcher to reach the stunning conclusion that only a third of the nation's schoolchildren read at grade level. The reasons are numerous, but one that Seidenberg cites over and over again is this: The way kids are taught to read in school is disconnected from the latest research, namely how language and speech actually develop in a child's brain.

If the Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov were alive today, what would he say about smartphones? He might not think of them as phones at all, but instead as remarkable tools for understanding how technology can manipulate our brains.

At first glance the images are unremarkable. They're grainy, ill-defined, seemingly more akin to television static or an 8-bit video game than they are to the high-resolution masterworks sent back by the Hubble Space Telescope.

But take another look.

Jerry Bergman is sitting in the audience at a Broadway matinée performance of The Band's Visit. Despite the fact that a huge sign above the stage tells the audience — in English, Hebrew and Arabic — to turn off cellphones, Bergman is keeping his on so he can read closed captions while watching the show.

He is one of an estimated 48 million Americans who have some degree of hearing loss. And he is availing himself of new technology that allows deaf and hearing-impaired people to enjoy shows with something most people have in their pocket — a smartphone.

A medical company is trying to make hospital gowns less terrible — maybe even good. The company is called Care+Wear and it's currently testing out the new gowns at MedStar Montgomery in Olney, Md.

You know the old gown, sometimes called a "johnny": It's got the flimsy ties and the exposed back.

Finding Planets Outside The Milky Way

Feb 11, 2018

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

This is Lulu's log, stardate Feb. 11, 2018, where we explore matters of space, the stars, and the universe.

(SOUNDBITE OF C418'S "MOOG CITY")

Teens And Gender

Feb 11, 2018

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Recently, an online survey asked me to name African women scientists I admired. I found myself struggling — even though I'm a Kenyan entomologist, researching sustainable ways to feed our expanding population amid a changing climate. I thought to myself, why are there so few of us?

I was wrong: We are not few at all. Twitter proved it.

The website Levers in Heels, which features African women in STEM, in January called on the internet to tweet the names of African women scientists. People shared hundreds.

More Religious Leaders Challenge Silence, Isolation Surrounding Suicide

Feb 11, 2018

The Rev. Talitha Arnold was just 2 years old when her father, a World War II veteran, took his own life.

"You just didn't talk about those things back then. We didn't even talk about suicide when I was in the seminary," says Arnold, who leads the United Church of Santa Fe in New Mexico.

Then, when the wife of one of her divinity school professors killed herself and no one muttered a word about it during the service, Arnold says she was appalled. "I was sitting there thinking, 'This was nuts. Why can't you name it?' " That was almost 40 years ago.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Fiona the hippo may be one of the greatest living social media stars of the decade, but in terms of those who aren't living, look no further than Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex.

Though she's a fossil, Sue is a true Chicagoan and has been on display in her home at The Field Museum since 2000.

Like many of us these days, Sue is sassy and shares her hot takes on Twitter with adoring fans.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Technology is marching on, bringing us smart speakers and smartphone updates and cars that drive themselves down the street. And yet it's the little challenges that bedevil.

The dreaded blinking orange light.

(SOUNDBITE OF PAPER RUSTLING)

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It's hard to imagine that a blue dye sold in pet food stores in the U.S. to fight fungal infections in tropical fish could be a potent weapon against malaria.

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