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Updated: 1 hour 16 min ago

Wearable Sensor Turns Color-Blind Man Into 'Cyborg'

Sat, 01/11/2014 - 7:00am

Wearable devices were all the rage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, from smart watches to Google Glass. NPR's Scott Simon talks to someone who has gone beyond wearable technology. Artist Neil Harbisson calls himself a cyborg. The co-founder of the Cyborg Foundation considers the device that he wears to correct color blindness to be an integral part of his body.

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A Green-Movement Website Shakes Up The Debate Over GMOs

Fri, 01/10/2014 - 11:19am

If you're confused by the fight over genetically modified food — and even more if your mind is already made up — you might want to turn to an investigation of the topic carried out by the environmental website Grist. Instead of preaching to the deep-green choir, Grist's in-depth series questioned its faith.

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When Big Carnivores Go Down, Even Vegetarians Take The Hit

Fri, 01/10/2014 - 2:01am

A drop in the numbers of fierce beasts worldwide might seem good news for deer and antelope — at first. But expanding herds of grass-eaters leave streambanks naked and vulnerable to erosion, and can even change the stream's course, according to scientists calling for more protection of large predators.

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It's Not Magic On The Mountain, It's A Rain-Making Machine

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 3:00pm

The snowpack in the Mountain West is at just a small fraction of its normal level, and it was the driest year ever recorded in many parts of California. Cloud seeders are trying to squeeze raindrops out of Mother Nature by spraying tiny silver iodide particles into incoming clouds.

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Space Music: How To Hear Solar Flares From The Moon

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 2:50pm

Space weather can be heard, in a sense, by tuning in to CRaTER Radio, a "sonification" project that uses data from a NASA lunar orbiter to generate musical sounds. The results are then streamed onto the Internet.

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Is Sugar Addiction Why So Many January Diets Fail?

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 12:13pm

Over the last few years, scientists who study the way food influences our brains and bodies have been moving toward a consensus that sugar is addictive. We've rounded up their tips on how to conquer cravings for one of nature's most pleasurable substances.

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Space-Weather Forecast Slightly Off On Arrival Of Solar Flare

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 10:10am

NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center says the Earth-bound coronal mass ejection from Tuesday's X-class solar flare is "slightly overdue."

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A Rain Forest Begins With Rain, Right? Is This A Trick Question?

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 6:08am

This is a "Which came first?" riddle. Not chicken versus egg. This one is about rain forests. When rain forests begin, do they start with rain ("Yes!" say I) or trees ("No! That's ridiculous!" say I)? I should warn you: Sometimes, nature has a sense of humor.

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Legal Loopholes Leave Some Kids Without Dental Insurance

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 2:40am

Dental coverage is a required benefit for children under the Affordable Care Act. But it's not turning out to be quite that simple. For one thing, there are no federal subsidies to help pay for stand-alone dental policies.

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There She Blew! Volcanic Evidence Of The World's First Map

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 2:38am

Some archaeologists have long suspected that a faded painting from the ruins of the 9,000-year-old Turkish village known as Catalhoyuk might be a map — of a settlement at the foot of an erupting volcano. Others said no. Now geologists have evidence that the volcano indeed erupted around that time

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Solar Flare Will Hit Earth Thursday; Northern Lights May Expand South

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 5:34pm

Tired of reading about intensely cold temperatures? How about an intense solar flare that's being blamed for disrupting a NASA mission. The good news is that the flare is also expected to expand the viewing field of the Aurora Borealis.

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This GMO Apple Won't Brown. Will That Sour The Fruit's Image?

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 3:15pm

A small Canadian company has created a genetically engineered apple that doesn't go brown when you slice it. It's waiting for approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But some apple producers are worried that this new product will taint the apple's wholesome, all-natural image.

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Sealant Inspired By Beach Worm Could Become Surgical Superglue

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 1:27pm

Scientists have engineered a natural adhesive that can patch a hole in a pig's heart. The experimental glue is nontoxic, dissolves in the body and withstands high pressure inside a beating heart. But there's still a long way to go before the superglue could replaces sutures in the operating room or on the battlefield.

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Whales, Dolphins Are Collateral Damage In Our Taste For Seafood

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 10:05am

More than 80 percent of the seafood consumed in the U.S. now comes from abroad. And fishermen in other parts of the world continue to kill not just dolphins but seals and even whales. So conservation groups are calling for tougher import rules to protect sea animals at risk from fishing.

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Thousands Of Whales, Dolphins Killed To Satisfy Our Seafood Appetite

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 10:05am

More than 80 percent of the seafood consumed in the U.S. now comes from abroad. And fishermen in other parts of the world continue to kill not just dolphins but seals and even whales. So conservation groups are calling for tougher import rules to protect sea animals at risk from fishing.

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NASA Reportedly Gets OK To Keep Space Station Going Until 2024

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 8:41am

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the White House has given approval for the extension, which still must be funded by Congress. However, the decision could lead to a budget crunch down the road.

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Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 7:27am

What are the odds you will die this year? Whatever they are, the mortality tables suggest those odds will double eight years from now. Death, apparently, moves closer at a curiously regular pace. Why this eight-year progression? Is it something biological? Random? What is it about eight that attracts the Grim Reaper? Let's ask.

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Think You're Cold And Hungry? Try Eating In Antarctica

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 6:21pm

The polar vortex putting much of the U.S. in a deep freeze may have you reaching for the comfort cookies. But in Antarctica — where the coldest temperatures on Earth have been recorded — 5,000 calories a day isn't a bad idea. One thing the continent's history teaches us: When life is stripped down to man versus the most brutal elements, bring plenty of snacks.

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50 Years After Landmark Warning, 8 Million Fewer Smoking Deaths

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 4:22pm

Back in 1964, people smoked cigarettes at work, in restaurants and in grocery stores. Few would have predicted that a report from the U.S. surgeon general would spark a public health revolution that has increased life expectancy in this country by 30 percent.

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To Make Healthier Choices, Color-Code Your Food (Green Means Go!)

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 7:26am

Could a little red circle help you skip the comfort food this winter and maybe drop a few pounds? Doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital think so. They put traffic-light labels on their cafeteria's menu to signal the healthfulness of dishes. The colorful cues helped improve eating habits even two years later.

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