Science and Technology

The Salt
2:26 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Rice Theory: Why Eastern Cultures Are More Cooperative

It takes a village to grow rice paddies: Taiwanese farmers break a Guinness World Record for the largest number of people planting rice at once in August 2012.
Sam Yeh AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 3:26 pm

Ask Americans to describe themselves, and chances are you'll get adjectives like "energetic," "friendly" or "hard-working."

In Japan, the responses would likely be much different. "Dependent on others" and "considerate" might pop up, studies have found.

Psychologists have known for a long time that people in East Asia think differently, on average, than do those in the U.S. and Europe. Easterners indeed tend to be more cooperative and intuitive, while Westerners lean toward individualism and analytical thinking.

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The Two-Way
1:37 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Snapchat Settles With FTC Over Privacy Breach

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel poses for photos, in Los Angeles, last year. The company has come under fire for violating promises to delete customer data.
Jae C. Hong AP

Mobile messaging service Snapchat has agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that it deceived customers by collecting their user information without permission.

Snapchat's mobile app promises users that video and photos will "disappear forever" soon after they're sent, thus insuring privacy and safeguarding against data collection.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:17 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

A Question Of Biggitude: What's The Largest Creature On Earth?

J. Zapell USDA

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 9:59 am

What's the biggest living thing on Earth? I can think of two. I'm not sure which is biggest, but neither of them is a blue whale. These are weirder. Much, much weirder.

One is a tree. The other eats trees.

This is the tree.

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Shots - Health News
11:44 am
Thu May 8, 2014

If Polar Bears Can Eat A Ton Of Fat And Be Healthy, Why Can't We?

Lots of swimming in icy seas may have helped bears evolve to eat a high-fat diet yet remain healthy.
Sebastien Bozon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 5:20 pm

If you were a bear and wanted to make a go of it in the frozen North (think polar bear, of course), what would you need to survive?

White fur would help, to help you sneak up on prey. Also plenty of body fat to stay warm. And you'd need great stamina to swim many miles from one ice floe to the next.

And there's another important trait, researchers reported Thursday: Polar bears have genes that help them live on a diet that's overloaded with fat — without suffering the sorts of human diseases that typically come with a diet of that sort.

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The Salt
9:57 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Less Nutritious Grains May Be In Our Future

Wheat fields like this one could yield wheat with less zinc and iron in the future if they are exposed to higher levels of CO2, according to the journal Nature.
Zaharov Evgeniy iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 8:26 am

In the future, Earth's atmosphere is likely to include a whole lot more carbon dioxide. And many have been puzzling over what that may mean for the future of food crops. Now, scientists are reporting that some of the world's most important crops contain fewer crucial nutrients when they grow in such an environment.

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Research News
6:58 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Study: Time Away Can Hurt Surgeons' Job Performance

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This next story begins with an old saying among musicians: If I miss one day of practice, I notice it. If I miss two days, the critics notice it. If I miss three days of practice, the audience will notice. A study found evidence that saying applies to surgeons, and lives may be at stake.

NPR's Shankar Vedantam has been looking at the results of that study. He's in our studios. Hi, Shankar.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: What was the research?

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Death Penalty
6:52 am
Thu May 8, 2014

The Executioner's Lament

Dr. Jay Chapman, pictured here in 2007, developed the original formula for lethal injections with the intention of making executions in the U.S. more humane.
Ben Margot AP

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 1:47 pm

In 1977, death row inmate Gary Mark Gilmore chose to be executed by a firing squad. Gilmore was strapped to a chair at the Utah State Prison, and five officers shot him.

The media circus that ensued prompted a group of lawmakers in nearby Oklahoma to wonder if there might be a better way to handle executions. They approached Dr. Jay Chapman, the state medical examiner at the time, who proposed using three drugs, based loosely on anesthesia procedures at the time: one drug to knock out the inmates, one to relax or paralyze them, and a final drug that would stop their hearts.

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Science
5:13 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Civil War Invades An Elephant Sanctuary: One Researcher's Escape

A female forest elephant charges, in Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve in the Central African Republic.
Michael K. Nichols National Geographic/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 9:14 am

Ivory poachers are killing some 22,000 African elephants a year. Among the recent casualties was a group of rare forest elephants in the Central African Republic.

Those elephants were featured in an NPR program, Radio Expeditions, in 2002, when former NPR host and correspondent Alex Chadwick and sound engineer Bill McQuay went to central Africa to record them.

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Environment
4:11 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Stanford Dumps Its Holdings In Coal, With Climate In Mind

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 8:59 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
3:59 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Telepsychiatry Brings Emergency Mental Health Care To Rural Areas

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 8:59 am

North Carolina is facing a very big mental health care challenge — 28 counties across the state do not have a single psychiatrist. That's despite the fact that in recent years, emergency rooms in the state have seen more patients with mental health, developmental disability or substance abuse problems.

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