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Updated: 1 hour 10 min ago

Are There More Than Five Basic Tastes?

Thu, 01/19/2017 - 5:24pm

Scientists have long believed we have just five tastes - salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami (or savory). Geneticist Nicole Garneau argues we might be able to taste a sixth — fat.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Dr. Nicole Garneau)

5th 'Mars Mission' Simulation Ready For Launch In Hawaii

Thu, 01/19/2017 - 12:33pm

Starting Thursday, six people will spend eight months in a dome on Mauna Loa volcano to study what living on Mars might be like. The mission is co-sponsored by the University of Hawaii and NASA.

(Image credit: University of Hawaii News)

Athlete-Turned-Trucker Works To Improve Truckers' Health

Thu, 01/19/2017 - 11:08am

Once an elite swimmer and a Yale grad, Siphiwe Baleka now coaches 3,000 fellow truckers on the best ways to work out, eat right and stay connected on the road. Drivers say his wellness plan works.

(Image credit: Alex Smith)

Scientists Needn't Get A Patient's Consent To Study Blood Or DNA

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 5:41pm

In its update of ethics rules aimed at protecting patients, the Obama administration decided against a provision that scientists said would hinder research. Consumer advocates aren't happy.

(Image credit: Dana Neely/Getty Images)

U.S. Report Confirms 2016 Was The Hottest Year On Record

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 3:32pm

2016 was the warmest year on record, according to a new report by the U.S. government. This is the third year in a row that global temperatures have soared above the 20th century average. The report comes ahead of the inauguration of Donald Trump, who has at times, referred to global warming as a "hoax."

States Could Take Lead On Environmental Regulation Under Trump

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 3:32pm

NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Dallas Burtraw, senior fellow with the nonpartisan think tank Resources for the Future, about what role states have traditionally played in environmental regulation, and what a decentralized approach under the Trump administration would look like.

EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Acknowledges Existence Of Climate Change

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 3:32pm

Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency has acknowledged that human activity plays "some" role in the changing climate. In his confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Scott Pruitt said he wants to work with states to protect the environment while also encouraging economic growth.

What Does It Mean When Cancer Findings Can't Be Reproduced?

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 1:19pm

Results from some key cancer studies were different when the experiments were redone in different labs. Scientists don't yet know why, but say the answer could have health implications for patients.

(Image credit: Geoff Tompkinson/Science Photo Library/Getty Images)

2016 Was The Hottest Year Yet, Scientists Declare

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 9:31am

Global temperatures soared above the 20th century average last year, as the climate continues to change. It hasn't been this hot since scientists started tracking global temperatures in 1880.

(Image credit: Alyson Hurt/NPR)

Coronations, Coups, And Keeping Up With The Kardashians

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 11:00pm

It's in our nature to idolize the rich and famous. But this week on Hidden Brain, we explore the other side of our nature: the part of us that wants to see the rich and powerful fall from grace.

(Image credit: D Dipasupil/WireImage)

How Chickens Shifted From Sacred To Diet Staple

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 4:16pm

For the last three years, researchers in the United Kingdom have been studying the lowly chicken, and they say there's much more to the ubiquitous bird than many people realize.

Gene Cernan, Last Man To Walk On The Moon, Dies At 82

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 2:49pm

Cernan flew in space three times, took the second American spacewalk, and was just as thrilled to walk on the moon as if he had been the first to do it.

(Image credit: NASA)

Researchers Unravel Strange And Contradictory Feelings About Power

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 3:58am

It's inauguration season in Washington, D.C. Many of us revel in the pomp and circumstance — yet we have another side to our psychology that enjoys seeing the powerful fall from grace.

When The Brain Scrambles Names, It's Because You Love Them

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 3:42am

If your mom had to run though the name of everyone in the family, including the dog, before hitting yours, it's probably because you're all in a mental folder labeled "loved ones."

(Image credit: Alex Reynolds/NPR)

An Ice Shelf Is Cracking In Antarctica, But Not For The Reason You Think

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 3:41am

Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf is about to lose an iceberg the size of Delaware. Scientists gathering in the U.K. are scratching their heads about why it's cracking off.

(Image credit: John Sonntag/NASA)

Bountiful Beach Buffet: Fresh Seaweed Is Making Waves Among Foragers

Sun, 01/15/2017 - 6:00am

Ocean algae is plentiful and grows rapidly, and most of it is safe to eat. People have been harvesting seaweed for thousands of years, but now it's become so popular, you can even take a class.

(Image credit: Joy Lanzendorfer for NPR)

Watch Live: SpaceX Successfully Launches Falcon 9 Rocket, Months After Blast

Sat, 01/14/2017 - 11:31am

The private space company's Falcon 9 rocket is bearing 10 satellites into orbit. SpaceX's launch came months after a blast wrecked its most recent test.

(Image credit: NASA/NASA via Getty Images)

Spider Silk Is Stronger Than Steel — And Now It Can Be Made In A Lab

Sat, 01/14/2017 - 7:02am

Swedish scientist Dr. Anna Rising was among a team of researchers to discover how to synthesize artificial spider silk. She says they hope to use the strong silk in medical applications and textiles.

Miniaturized Nuclear Power Plant? U.S. Reviewing Proposed Design

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 2:05pm

A company has submitted a design for what it describes as a "modular" nuclear power plant — a radical departure from other nuclear plants. Each module would be small enough to fit on a flat-bed truck.

(Image credit: NuScale )

Is There A Limit To How Many Friends We Can Have?

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 7:46am

Anthropologist Robin Dunbar believes the evolutionary structure of social networks limits us to 150 meaningful relationships at a time — even with the rise of social media.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Robin Dunbar)

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