Science, Technology and Environment

Science news

In many countries, the decisions teens make at 15 can determine the rest of their lives. But, often, girls don't have much say — parents, culture and tradition decide for them. In a new series, #15Girls, NPR explores the lives of 15-year-old girls who are seeking to take control and change their fate. Warning: Some of the depictions and images in this story are graphic.

It's our first morning in El Salvador's capital. We're eating breakfast and we get a call from a local reporter we know.

How 'Forbidden' Black Rice Flourished For Millennia

1 hour ago

In ancient China, black rice was considered so superior and rare, it was reserved exclusively for the emperor and royalty. These days the grain, also known as forbidden rice, has become the darling of gourmets and people seeking superior nutrition.

Should scientists play a role in shaping global policy?

8 hours ago

Albert Einstein knew scientists must be involved in determining domestic and global policy.

When he wrote a letter to President Roosevelt warning him about Nazi Germany developing the atomic bomb, he also wrote, “Those with the privilege to know have the duty to act.”

The medicines they helped develop are credited with improving the lives of millions. And now three researchers working in the U.S., Japan and China have won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Among the winners: William C. Campbell of Drew University in Madison, N.J., for his work on the roundworm parasite.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

In this installment of NPR's series Inside Alzheimer's, we're sharing a recent video of Greg O'Brien at home on Cape Cod, Mass. A longtime journalist, O'Brien was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease in 2009.

The first time I interviewed Greg O'Brien, back in January, I asked him what he was most afraid of.

Amy and Dave Freeman are willing to risk brutal winters, thin ice and hordes of hungry mosquitoes to raise awareness about impending mining operations on the border of public lands in northern Minnesota.

A year without a shower takes a tremendous amount of dedication and passion. Why do the Freemans believe the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is worth the sacrifice?

"The Boundary Waters belong to all of us. It's a national forest, it's federal lands. It's like a Yellowstone or a Yosemite," Dave says. "There's no other place like it on Earth."

You might have seen the article by now: " 'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens." The Onion, a satirical news site that runs fake news stories, has published a story with that headline three times over the last year and a half: this week after a shooter killed nine people at an Oregon community college; in June of this year after a violent rampage in a black Charleston church that also killed nine people; and last May, after a shooting at the University of California Santa Barbara that killed seven.

Scientists have just made a breakthrough in understanding how clouds interact with the surrounding air by studying some of the most boring clouds you can imagine in unprecedented detail.

"If you ask a child to draw a cloud they would draw a white puffy cloud floating in the air all by itself — and that's the kind of cloud we were looking at," says Raymond Shaw, an atmospheric scientist at Michigan Technological University.

Princess Leia and the Conundrum of Language Translation

Oct 2, 2015

The following is an excerpt from The Art of Language Invention, by David J. Peterson. Listen to SciFri on October 2, 2015, to hear Peterson talk more about linguistics and inventing languages.