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Updated: 1 hour 42 min ago

Scientists Have Twisted Molecules Into The Tightest Knot Ever

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 1:06pm

This new knot has eight crossings, far more than previous molecular knots. The "rope" is very short — just 192 atoms long, or 500 times smaller than a red blood cell.

(Image credit: Stuart Jantzen/Biocinematics.com/Science)

New Gene-Editing Techniques Hold the Promise Of Altering The Fundamentals Of Life

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 12:28pm

New Yorker writer Michael Specter discusses emerging biotechnologies that will make it possible to remove disease and change the characteristics of life by rewriting the genetic code in cells.

Flipping A Switch In The Brain Turns Lab Rodents Into Killer Mice

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 11:14am

When scientists activate hunting circuits in the brains of genetically modified mice, the animals attack insects and even bottle caps as prey. It gives clues to the evolution of hunting in humans.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Ivan de Araujo/Cell Press)

Menopause Mystery: Why Do Female Killer Whales Experience The Change Of Life?

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 11:02am

Killer whales are one of only three species known to have menopause. Researchers are looking at the conflict and cooperation between older and younger female whales to understand why.

(Image credit: Mark Malleson/Center for Whale Research/AP)

The Curious Case Of The Hyolith, An Ancient 'Ice Cream Cone' That's Found A Home

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 5:00am

The creature, which roamed ocean floors over 500 million years ago, went years without a definitive scientific classification. Now, researchers think the oddball finally has a group to call its own.

(Image credit: Danielle Dufault/(C) Royal Ontario Museum)

Obesity-Linked Diagnoses On The Rise Among Kids And Teens

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 4:00am

A new analysis of U.S. health insurance claims is worrisome, pediatricians say: More and more young people are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

(Image credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

Gas Taxes May Go Up Around The Country As States Seek To Plug Budget Holes

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 4:00am

This year could see a wave of state tax hikes on gasoline and diesel. Oklahoma is one of about a dozen states seriously considering increases.

(Image credit: Sue Ogrocki/AP)

California Nail Salons Start To Invest In Worker Safety

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 3:35am

A statewide collaborative of nail salons now has 120 members; all have made ventilation upgrades and switched from toxic products to safer ones. Will clients be willing to pay extra to help workers?

(Image credit: Jenny Gold/Kaiser Health News)

We Asked People What They Know About Obamacare. See If You Know The Answers.

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 1:55am

A new NPR/Ipsos poll shows many Americans don't know details about the Affordable Care Act. And only 1-in-7 favor repealing the law altogether without a replacement.

(Image credit: Alyson Hurt and Katie Park/NPR)

New 'Skywalker' Ape Species Will Need Jedi Powers To Survive

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 4:55pm

Scientists named a new species of gibbon ape after Star Wars rebel character Luke Skywalker. Like similar species that live in China and Myanmar, the so-called skywalker hoolock gibbon is endangered.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Peng-Fei Fan)

Powerful Storms Make Dent In California's Historic Drought

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 3:29pm

A week of powerful storms on the West Coast is helping to put a dent in California's historic drought, yet state officials are warning they are by no means a drought buster.

Fitness Trackers Aim To Improve The Health And Happiness of Zoo Elephants

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 3:52am

OK, so they're not using Fitbits. But zoos across America are using software to minutely track the activity, behavior and physiology of captive elephants, and using that data to improve zoo life.

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo)

52 Million-Year-Old Tomatillo Fossils Rewrite Veggie History

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 4:52pm

Potatoes, tomatoes and bell peppers belong to the nightshade family. Newly discovered fossils in Patagonia suggest that family started much earlier than believed, perhaps when dinosaurs roamed.

(Image credit: Peter Wilf, Penn State University)

Warmer Oceans Could Boost The Toxins In Your Shellfish Dinner

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 6:00am

A new study finds a link between warming waters and a dangerous neurotoxin that builds up in species like Dungeness crab, clams and mussels — and harms us if we eat them.

(Image credit: Eric Risberg/AP)

Travel To The Moon With David Bowie (360° Video)

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 5:00am

See panoramic views of a trip to the moon in Skunk Bear's latest video. It's a journey that spans David Bowie's long career - and his greatest hits serve as the soundtrack.

(Image credit: Photo Illustration by NPR's Skunk Bear/David Bowie Image by Ron Fraizer)

Humans Worry About Self-Driving Cars. Maybe It Should Be The Reverse

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 4:16am

Self-driving cars will perform rationally. For example: stop when someone is in their way. Research suggests humans will take advantage, and step into an intersection when they know they shouldn't.

Scientists Predict Star Collision Visible To The Naked Eye In 2022

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 4:55pm

If it happens, it would be the first time such an event was predicted by scientists. They say two stars in the constellation Cygnus will eventually merge and explode.

(Image credit: NASA/IPAC/MSX )

Bears That Inspired 'Adorable' Korean Paralympic Mascot Live In Caged Captivity

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 4:00am

The 2018 Paralympic mascot is the Asiatic black bear, a symbol of Korean folklore. But behind the caricature, South Korea has a troubled relationship with the bears, farming them for their bile.

(Image credit: Elise Hu/NPR)

Bears That Inspired 'Adorable' Korean Paralympic Mascot Live In Caged Captivity

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 4:00am

The 2018 Paralympic mascot is the Asiatic black bear, a symbol of Korean folklore. But behind the caricature, South Korea has a troubled relationship with the bears, farming them for their bile.

(Image credit: Elise Hu/NPR)

SeaWorld's Orca Tilikum, Subject Of 'Blackfish' Documentary, Dies

Sun, 01/08/2017 - 7:35am

The death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau has been the catalyst for major changes in how the theme park handles its killer whales. The whale responsible for Brancheau's death, has died in Orlando.

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