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Research News

Morning Edition

After Congressional Green Light, Scientists Begin Hemp Studies

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Scientists are studying how hemp might be used in the electronic, medical and manufacturing industries. Because the plant's been illegal for decades, it's been difficult to do research on its uses.

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Morning Edition

Why Ants Handle Traffic Better Than You Do

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ants don't show road rage. In fact, some research shows they rarely get into traffic jams, able to maintain a steady speed even as their numbers swell. Can physics explain it?

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Researchers Learn To Dust Feathers For Fingerprints

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Researchers in Scotland say they have a new way to investigate the killing of large birds of prey. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to forensic scientist Dennis Gentles about dusting birds for fingerprints.

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One Scientist's Race To Help Microbes Help You

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Moving the American Gut Project to a biotech hub like San Diego may speed the jump from basic research to real treatments. At least that's microbe tracker Rob Knight's plan.

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Highflying Geese Save Energy By Swooping Like A Roller Coaster

Thursday, January 15, 2015

They could shoot up to 24,000 feet and maintain that altitude in a long-distance migration across the Himalayas. But it's more efficient for bar-headed geese to soar and dive, scientists find.

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Morning Edition

From The Mouths Of Apes, Babble Hints At Origins of Human Speech

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

You say banana; this orangutan says ... well, it's hard to tell what she's saying. But the rhythmic, speechlike sounds of the zoo-dwelling ape have started scientists talking.

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U.S. Funding of Health Research Stalls As Other Nations Rev Up

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

It's not just government-sponsored medical research that's dwindled in the last few years in the U.S. Drug firms have curbed their investment, too, especially in early-stage hunts for new drugs.

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Morning Edition

Ancient Scottish Sea Reptile Not 'Nessie,' But Just As Cute

Sunday, January 11, 2015

It was 15 feet long, with a snout shaped like a dolphin's. This newly identified meat-eater swam the seas near the Isle of Skye in the time of dinosaurs.

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All Things Considered

DNA, It Turns Out, Is A Lot More Loopy

Saturday, January 10, 2015

There's another image for DNA that goes beyond the double helix — bundles and bundles of loops. NPR's Arun Rath talks to researcher Suhas Rao about how this discovery could help fight disease.

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Why Pygmies Aren't Scared By The 'Psycho' Theme

Friday, January 09, 2015

Deep in the Congolese rain forest, a group of Pygmies lives in near isolation from Western music. When a team of scientists played them music from Star Wars and Psycho, the results were surprising.

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Want Your Marriage To Last? Start With A Huge, Cheap Wedding

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Research last year found that more attendees at your wedding means a lower chance for divorce — but so does spending as little as possible on the festivities, and even on the engagement ring.

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All Things Considered

Look Out, This Poker-Playing Computer Is Unbeatable

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Forget chess. Poker may be even harder for a computer. But a software program has now "solved" a variant of Texas Hold'em, the bot's creators say. And nothing can keep it from winning.

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Morning Edition

Specialists Split Over HPV Test's Role In Cancer Screening

Thursday, January 08, 2015

An HPV test could replace the Pap smear for many women, two groups of physicians say. But other doctors, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, still urge dual testing.

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All Things Considered

Why The U.S. Still Bans Blood Donations From Some U.K. Travelers

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Rules governing who can donate blood in the United States have recently changed. But anyone who spent more than three months in the UK between 1980 and 1996 is still prohibited from donating.

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All Things Considered

Scientists Hit Antibiotic Pay Dirt Growing Finicky Bacteria In Lab

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

A natural compound kills germs that have become resistant to antibiotics, researchers say. If it works in humans, it could help combat diseases like tuberculosis.

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Morning Edition

A Bed Of Mouse Cells Helps Human Cells Thrive In The Lab

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Researchers have developed a powerful method for growing human cells in the laboratory that has led to some unusual findings. Cell tests suggest a malaria drug might work against cervical cancer.

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All Things Considered

Kids May Not Benefit From Extended Isolation After Concussions

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

New research suggests isolating children with concussions for more than two days may do more harm than good compared to adults.

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Morning Edition

The Downside Of Cheaper Gas: More Accident Fatalities

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Falling gasoline prices are a benefit to motorists — but those lower prices come with a hidden cost: increased traffic fatalities.

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All Things Considered

How A Position Of Power Can Change Your Voice

Monday, January 05, 2015

Once you become the boss, it's likely that you'll start to speak quite differently. The pitch, resonance and intensity of your speech change in ways that listeners can detect as signs of power.

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Faith And Aquarium Pumps: The Stuff Of Science In 2014

Sunday, January 04, 2015

It may seem scientists are aloof geniuses who churn out discoveries. Joe Palca's NPR series, Joe's Big Idea, shows us how science really works. He reviews 2014 highlights with NPR's Rachel Martin.

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