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Updated: 1 hour 37 min ago

A Thank You To NPR's Science Commentary Readers

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 7:27am

For six and a half years, Barbara J. King has written commentaries for NPR on everything from animals and anthropology to gender and higher education. Here, she offers up some of her favorite pieces.

(Image credit: Mark Mawson/Getty Images)

Really Random Numbers

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 4:19am

Random numbers are essential for secure cyber communications. But making truly random numbers is harder than it seems. Now scientists have devised a way to make the most random random numbers ever.

Male OB-GYNs Are Rare, But Is That A Problem?

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 4:00am

Women outnumber men in obstetrics and gynecology residencies and medical practices in the U.S. Heads of training programs now wonder if they should go out of their way to recruit more men.

(Image credit: Alex Olgin/WFAE)

Environmental Group Plans Methane-Tracking Satellite

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 6:30pm

Scientists hope MethaneSAT will show where the potent greenhouse gas is coming from. Tracking methane in the air is difficult because it rises and spreads from the source.

(Image credit: Environmental Defense Fund)

From The Big Bang To This Commentary

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 10:58am

In 13.7, we aimed to present the passion, the drama, the social and intellectual relevance of science as one of the deepest expressions of engagement with the unknown, says physicist Marcelo Gleiser.

(Image credit: George Rose/Getty Images)

PrEP Campaign Aims To Block HIV Infection And Saves Lives In D.C.

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 10:47am

PrEP is shorthand for a pill that prevents HIV infection, if taken daily. As Washington, D.C. aims to cut new infections in half by 2020, it hopes to quadruple the number of residents on the medicine.

(Image credit: Tyrone Turner/ WAMU)

Everybody Lies, And That's Not Always A Bad Thing

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 8:01pm

When we think of lies, we think of the big stuff. We say, "I could never do something like that." But big lies start with small deceptions. Dan Ariely talks about why we lie and why we're honest.

(Image credit: Gary Waters /Getty Images/Ikon Images)

A Grass-Roots Movement For Healthy Soil Spreads Among Farmers

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 2:16pm

America's farmers are digging soil like never before. A movement for "regenerative agriculture" is dedicated to building healthier soil and could even lead to a new eco-label on food.

(Image credit: Dan Charles)

Trump Touts Pruitt's 'Great Job,' But EPA Rollbacks Have A Long Road Ahead

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 4:00am

Embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt has moved to reverse or weaken dozens of environmental measures. But many face a slow regulatory process, and may yet be undone.

(Image credit: George Frey/Getty Images)

The Impact Of Pruitt's EPA Rollback

Sun, 04/08/2018 - 4:12pm

NPR's Michel Martin asks former EPA official Lisa Heinzerling whether EPA administrator Scott Pruitt's moves to roll back regulations are actually making an impact on the agency and the environment.

Medical Marijuana's 'Catch-22': Limits On Research Hinders Patient Relief

Sat, 04/07/2018 - 6:00am

Suffering Americans seek medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids and other powerful pharmaceuticals. Though legal in 29 states, doctors say the lack of strong data makes it hard to recommend.

(Image credit: Melissa Bailey/Kaiser Health News)

2018 Hurricane Season Will Bring Another Battery Of Storms

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 4:48pm

Forecasters are cautioning the public to brace themselves, predicting 14 tropical storms this year. Seven are expected to become hurricanes and three of those are expected to be major hurricanes.

(Image credit: NASA /AP)

After Raising Concerns About Scott Pruitt, A Number Of EPA Officials Were Demoted

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 3:24pm

A number of Environmental Protection Agency officials have been demoted or reassigned after raising concerns about the way EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is managing the agency, according to a report from The New York Times.

Another Place Plastics Are Turning Up: Organic Fertilizer From Food Waste

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 1:34pm

Turning food waste into fertilizer is popular in parts of Europe and is catching on in the U.S. But tiny plastics are also making their way into that fertilizer — and into the food chain.

(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Are Humans Biologically Programmed To Fear What They Don't Understand?

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 3:19pm

In a world increasingly drawn to the black-and-white of defined categories, Allie n Steve Mullen has found living in between those categories to be invigorating. They switch between male and female throughout each day, based on their activities.

NASA Hopes Supersonic X Plane Will Deliver Less Bang For The Buck

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 2:21pm

The new plane will test technologies to reduce the loud boom planes make when they break the sound barrier.

(Image credit: Courtesy Lockheed Martin)

How The NRA Worked To Stifle Gun Violence Research

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 2:01pm

For decades, the NRA pushed legislation designed to stifle the study and spread of information about the causes of gun violence. Now some researchers are calling for a resumption of that research.

(Image credit: Cliff Owen/AP)

What Do Hamburgers Have To Do With Gender?

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 12:32pm

Meat and veggie burgers evolved together in the 20th century, but when it comes to associations with gender, their histories diverge. Anthropologist Barbara J. King explores a new book on the topic.

(Image credit: Piotr Marcinski/Getty Images/EyeEm)

Invisibilia: When Daydreaming Gets In The Way Of Real Life

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 7:00am

In this episode of the Invisibilia podcast, our hosts explore how it feels to be "in-between," including the story of one woman who spends so much time daydreaming that it interferes with her life.

(Image credit: Lily Padula for NPR)

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