Science

#NPRreads: Take Your Pick Of Space, Race Or Celebrity

In this weekly story roundup, NPR reporters, editors and producers share what they have been reading. Today's mix explores life away from Earth, forgotten photos and fallen stars.

Weekend Edition Saturday

Let's Not Hug It Out With Our Dogs

Your dog doesn't like your hugs. Psychologist and author Stanley Coren says that when he looked at a random sample of pictures showing people hugging dogs, most of the dogs showed signs of stress.

Tighter Alcohol Curbs For All Help Reduce Teen Motor Vehicle Deaths

Raising the cost of alcohol with taxes makes it less likely that teenagers will die in a drunk-driving accident, a study finds. Some teen-specific policies like graduated drivers licenses help, too.

When It Came To Food, Neanderthals Weren't Exactly Picky Eaters

During the Ice Age, it seems Neanderthals tended to chow down on whatever was most readily available. Early humans, on the other hand, maintained a consistent diet regardless of environmental changes.

Code Switch And Hidden Brain Teamed Up For An #AirbnbWhileBlack Twitter Chat

On Friday, Code Switch's Gene Demby and Hidden Brain's Shankar Vedantam led a Twitter chat to discuss what it's like to be a person of color participating in the sharing economy.

All Things Considered

Weasel Apparently Shuts Down World's Most Powerful Particle Collider

The Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland is offline, following a run-in with a small mammal that munched on a power cord.

Morning Edition

Reborn At 40, She Uncovered New Life In A 'Dream' — Looking At Skulls

But not just looking at skulls — reconstructing human faces from them. This forensic artist once worked several jobs, hating "every morning I got up." Then, she took a class in anthropology.

All Things Considered

Ashley Madison Hack Inspires Social Scientists To Look Behind The Names

A leak of names from one of the world's most famous "adultery" sites, Ashley Madison, got social scientists thinking. They've recently tried to see if people who like to cheat in their marriages also have a propensity to cheat at work.

All Things Considered

In Houston, Pregnant Women And Their Doctors Weigh Risks Of Zika

Mosquitoes infected with Zika haven't turned up along the U.S. Gulf Coast yet, but could thrive in the region's sultry summer weather. Pregnant women and their doctors are already taking precautions.

Mars By 2018? SpaceX And NASA Announce A New Space Project

The Red Dragon missions are aimed at figuring out what's needed "to land large payloads propulsively on Mars." For now, the plan doesn't include sending astronauts to the red planet.

Autonomous Vehicles Could ‘Change Everything,’ But ‘Growing Pains’ Are Likely

April 29, 2016
Bryan Reimer, right, of the New England Transportation Center at MIT and the MIT AgeLab, confers with Thomas McWilliams about upgrading a Volkswagen Beetle driving simulator with new equipment. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The formula for a congestion-free future is intelligent intersections and smart, driverless vehicles. But there are also societal and ethical questions to consider.

Why A ‘Moonshot’ To Cure Cancer Might Just Work

April 29, 2016
Vice President Joe Biden speaks with Nobel Laureate Dr. Paul Modrich, left, as Dr. A. Eugene Washington, Chancellor for Health Affairs at Duke University, right, and Vickers Burdett, wife of Dr. Modrich, middle listen in a laboratory at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C. Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016. Vice President Joe Biden visited Duke to speak about his Cancer Moonshot initiative. (Ben McKeown/AP)

With increased investment and strategic management, we have a shot at a cure for cancer.

Water Innovation In America's Driest State

April 27, 2016
FILE - In this April 15, 2015 file photo, a man takes a picture of the fountains in front of the Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas. The vice president of sustainability for MGM Resorts International, Chris Brophy, told a panel of the Nevada Drought Forum on Friday, July 17, the company saved 2 billion gallons of water since 2008 through a variety of conservation efforts. The company has 15 properties on the Las Vegas Strip. (AP Photo/John Locher,File)

Can the thirstiest city in the driest state in the country become the Silicon Valley of water? Las Vegas is set to try.

Beyond The Science Wars: Stories Of A Shared Future

April 27, 2016
Wade Roush: The gridlock in many areas of science and technology policy is not a sign that we disagree about the fundamental nature of reality. Mostly, I think we’re just avoiding difficult conversations about our core values. (Daria Nepriakhina/Unsplash)

Maybe the problem is that people on opposing sides aren’t having the right conversations.

How Traffic Forms, And How Changing Driver Habits Could Help

April 26, 2016
If you drive to work, you probably know exactly where the bottlenecks are. Here's one for a lot of people: the Sullivan Square traffic circle. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Traffic comes from many sources — not just too many cars on the road. But better driving and targeted reductions in the number of cars could yield major benefits.

Standing Up By Sitting In: Student Activists Move The Needle On Fossil Fuel Divestment

April 21, 2016
Frederick Hewett: The students at UMass remind us that sustaining our democracy requires active participation. (UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign/Facebook)

The students at UMass remind us that sustaining our democracy requires active participation.

The World Is About To Switch To A New Polio Vaccine

April 20, 2016
An Afghan health worker administers the polio vaccine to a child during a vaccination campaign on the outskirts of Jalalabad in Nangarhar province on June 24, 2014. A new three-day nationwide immunisation campaign against polio supported by Afghanistan's Ministry of Public Health had begun, officials said. (Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images)

Over the next two weeks, public health officials are working to get the entire world to switch from one polio vaccine to another.

Researchers Working To Speed Development Of A Zika Vaccine

April 20, 2016
Sanofi Pasteur employees work in a vaccine laboratory on November 22, 2012, in Neuville sur Saone. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images)

An expert at Sanofi Pasteur discusses the process of vaccine development and when a Zika vaccine might be ready.

Denny Alsop Draws Attention To Massachusetts Water In An Unusual Way

April 19, 2016
Denny Alsop near the Charles River in Newton (Deborah Becker/WBUR)

The 69-year-old has been paddling the rivers of Massachusetts for the past month.

Were Dinosaurs Early Victims Of Climate Change?

April 19, 2016
Dinosaurs (Pixabay)

A new study finds dinosaurs were having trouble even before the asteroid hit, as a result of changes in climate.

Preparing For The Next Deadly Earthquake

April 19, 2016
Josefa Cevena, from left, her sisters Rita Cevena and Elian Cevena, carry their children as they look for shelter, after their home was destroyed in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, in Portoviejo, Ecuador, Monday, April 18, 2016. The Saturday night quake left a trail of ruin along Ecuador’s normally placid Pacific Ocean coast. At least 350 people died and thousands are homeless. President Rafael Correa said early Monday that the death toll would “surely rise, and in a considerable way.” (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Powerful earthquakes hit Japan and Ecuador. We’ll look at vulnerability and preparedness around the world—and here in the USA.

Nobel Laureate: College Lectures Are About As Effective As Bloodletting

April 15, 2016
An illustrated portrait of Carl Wieman. (LA Johnson/NPR)

Carl Wieman is on a quest to bury the big lecture in favor of evidence-based techniques. But it’s not clear higher education is listening.

Mass. Water Systems Test Over Federal Limit For Lead

April 14, 2016
Old pipes, like these from Galesburg, Ill. have lead to tainted water in Mass. (Seth Perlman/AP)

Thirty-three water systems in Massachusetts have tested over the federal lead standard at least once during the past three years.

Blinded By The Shiny New Thing: When Innovation Is A Double-Edged Sword

April 14, 2016
Tesla Motors Inc. CEO Elon Musk delivers a conference at the Paris Pantheon Sorbonne University as part of the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Paris, Dec. 2, 2015. (Francois Mori/AP)

As our capabilities become ever more advanced, so too does our need to assess and debate the possible consequences of our technological advances.

NASA’s First Computers Were Women With Pencils

April 13, 2016
rocket cover

Nathalia Holt’s new book ‘Rise of the Rocket Girls’ tells the story of these pioneering, mathematical women.

Exploring Stephen Hawking’s ‘Starshot’ Project

April 12, 2016
Theoretical Physicist Professor Stephen Hawking sits on stage ahead of the announcement of the Stephen Hawking medal for science, 'Starmus' on December 16, 2015 in London, England. The new award for science communication is in honour of Professor Stephen Hawking and recognises the work of those helping to promote public awareness of science through music, arts and cinema. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Cosmologist Stephen Hawking and billionaire Yuri Milner are unveiling “Starshot,” their new space exploration initiative.

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