Health & Science

This is the time of year when donations to food banks spike. But, some food banks are getting pickier about what they'll accept.

Earlier this year the Capital Area Food Bank announced it would "dramatically" cut back on junk food it receives and distributes. This means saying "no" to donations such as sheet cakes, holiday candy, sugary sodas and other processed, bakery items.

Turkey has tabled a controversial measure by the ruling party that would have allowed some sexual abusers of children to escape prison time if they married their victims. The bill was sharply criticized by opposition parties and human rights groups.

"The government was already on the defensive after demonstrations erupted to oppose the legal change," as NPR's Peter Kenyon tells our Newscast unit from Istanbul. "Critics said it amounted to a pardon for abusers, and more pain for their victims."

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More than a quarter million people on the eastern side of the Syrian city of Aleppo effectively have no access to hospital care. That's after a government offensive targeted that part of the city, which is the part that's controlled by rebels.

When the asteroid believed to have killed off the dinosaurs smashed into Earth some 66 million years ago, its sheer force made the planet's surface momentarily act like a liquid.

The asteroid ripped open a 60-mile-wide hole. From miles deep in that abyss, rock hurtled upward to a height twice that of Mount Everest and then collapsed outward to form a ring of mountains.

And it all happened within 5 minutes — 10 tops, as Sean Gulick, a geophysicist at the University of Texas, Austin, tells The Two-Way.

Have bed nets lost their power to protect people from malaria-carrying mosquitoes?

That's the subject of debate among researchers looking for ways to cut down on malaria cases and deaths.

Over the past two decades, the insecticide-treated bed net has been one of the most powerful tools against malaria.

Audrey Nowakowski

Just because the weather is getting colder, doesn’t mean you can't keep cycling. Whether you’re facing the cold or in a room on a stationary bike, cycling is an effective cardiovascular workout for any time of year.

If you’re not into facing the cold and don’t just want to ride the stationary bike, most gyms and fitness centers offer cycling, or spinning class.

It's around 6 o'clock on a Sunday evening, and Anne-Charlotte Mornington is running around the food market in London's super-hip Camden neighborhood with a rolling suitcase and a giant tarp bag filled with empty tupperware boxes. She's going around from stall to stalll, asking for leftovers.

Mornington works for the food-sharing app Olio. "If ever you have anything that you can't sell tomorrow but it's still edible," she explains to the vendors, "I'll take it and make sure that it's eaten."

Grant Ernhart works with the U.S. Biathlon Team, so he spends a lot of time among snow-capped mountains. From the Canadian Rockies, he lobbed a question to Skunk Bear, NPR's science YouTube channel.

Infectious diseases are no longer the major killers in the U.S. that they once were, but they still surprise us.

According to a report published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, deaths from infectious disease accounted for 5.4 percent of deaths from 1980 to 2014.

Every holiday season, things get a "bit tricky," says Risa Greene, 53, from New York City. "You have one child who is a human garbage disposal and will eat anything you put in front of him, and you have another child who is more restricted than [the] TSA."

Greene's son is an omnivore — he eats everything. Her daughter, Jessica, is a vegan. She stopped eating meat when she was in high school years ago, then dropped dairy products and eggs in college and eventually gave up gluten, too.

As resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, N.D., concludes its seventh month, two narratives have emerged:

  1. We have never seen anything like this before.
  2. This has been happening for hundreds of years.

Both are true. The scope of the resistance at Standing Rock exceeds just about every protest in Native American history. But that history itself, of indigenous people fighting to protect not just their land, but the land, is centuries old.

The Hidden Brain / Facebook

Much of the work of social scientists centers around explaining why we humans do the things we do. Not all social scientists are good at explaining that work – or putting it into context – for general audiences. But fortunately, one of tasks of journalists is also to explain why things are the way they are.

In 1941, science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov stated "The Three Laws of Robotics," in his short story "Runaround."

Law One: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Law Two: A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

Law Three: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Some encouraging news in the battle against Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia: The rate at which older Americans are getting these conditions is declining. That's according to a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers say one reason for the improved outlook is an increase in education.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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