Science & Health

Animals
12:08 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Birding for the Holidays

The Audubon's 113th Christmas Bird Count is underway, and thousands of volunteers are taking part this year. Ornithologist David Bonter, and Gary Langham, Audubon's chief scientist, share tips on which species to look out for, and how even birding beginners can get involved.

Medical Treatments
12:08 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Stem Cells Treat Lou Gehrig's Disease, In Mice

Reporting in Science Translational Medicine, researchers write that neural stem cell implants were able to slow the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, in mice. Study author Evan Snyder discusses the stem cells' protective effect, and why human trials may not be far behind.

History
12:08 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Debunking Doomsday And Exploring Maya Science

The ancient Maya had many scientific accomplishments: they tracked the Moon and the planets, knew a solar year was 365 days, and even invented the concept of zero. As for the 2012 apocalypse? It's simply a misinterpretation of the Maya calendar, say archaeologists Marcello Canuto and William Saturno.

Animals
11:45 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Future Fibers May Be Spun From Slime

The hagfish or "slime eel" shoots out slime containing silk-like fibers of remarkable strength. Douglas Fudge, a biologist at the University of Guelph, says it could be a good substitute for today's synthetic fibers--it's 10 times stronger than nylon, for example--and bacteria can be trained to make it.

Books
11:42 am
Fri December 21, 2012

The SciFri Book Club Tours 'The Planets'

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 12:08 pm

The SciFri Book Club is touring the solar system, with Dava Sobel's 2005 The Planets. Call in with a review of the book. Plus Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA, joins the club to give an update on what's happened planet-wise since the book was published.

NPR Story
11:42 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Shooting Stars: Capturing The Night On Camera

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 3:16 pm

Photographer Colin Legg makes time-lapse movies of celestial scenes, from auroras to eclipses. Photographing mostly in remote parts of Australia, where human-made light doesn't compete with starlight, Legg describes some of the challenges of this type of photography: from babysitting cameras for days and nights on end to running electronics in the backcountry.

Space
11:42 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Could Life Exist on Newfound Alien Planet?

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 12:08 pm

In a paper to be published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, researchers identified five possible planets around the star Tau Ceti. One of these alien worlds is within the star's habitable zone. Study co-author Steven Vogt discusses whether life could exist on the planet.

Research News
2:52 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Why Some Kids Have An Inflated Sense Of Their Science Skills

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 7:49 pm

If you're a student at the halfway point of the academic year, and you've just taken stock of your performance, perhaps you have reason to feel proud of yourself.

But a recent study suggests some of the pride you feel at having done well — especially in science — may be unfounded. Or at least your sense of your performance may not be a very accurate picture of how good you actually are.

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Science & Health
2:50 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Medicare Starts To Reward Quality, Not Quantity, Of Care

In a push to improve quality, Medicare will pay some hospitals more and others, including Boston's Massachusetts General, less.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

It's no longer enough for hospitals to just send a bill to Medicare and get paid.

The nation's biggest insurer is starting to dole out bonuses and penalties to nearly 3,000 hospitals as it ties almost $1 billion in payments to the quality of care provided to patients.

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The Salt
2:21 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Drought, Economics And Your Holiday Feast

Think your prime rib holiday dinner is more pricey this year? You're right. But maybe not for the reason you think.
Todd Patterson iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

Nobody really wants to think about economics, the famously dismal science, while sitting down at a table loaded with love and calories. Like it or not, though, supply and demand drive food production and set the price of dinner.

So, in a season of feasts, what are the business stories on your holiday menu?

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