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New Tech City

Save the Children

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Shhhh...don’t tell the kids, but grown-ups are mostly just making up the rules about technology as they go along. But maybe there is a right and a wrong when it comes to screen time. Hear four radically different strategies, from an outright ban to full digital immersion.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Your Sleep Stories: How to Get Good Rest — and Enough of It

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Don't look at the clock. Plan your outfit for tomorrow. Have sex. We got some incredible tips from listeners about how they manage to rock eight hours of good sleep each night.

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The List Of Animals Who Can Truly, Really Dance Is Very Short. Who's On It?

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

YouTube is chock full of cats, gophers, dogs and chimps who are supposed to be dancing. But they're not. Biologists say the list of "true" dancers is extremely small. We're on it. But guess who else?

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Fraud Found In Study Claiming Fast, Easy Stem Cells

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The lead author of a recent "breakthrough study" fabricated the data and is guilty of scientific misconduct, according to a Japanese research panel. The scientist says she will appeal the judgment.

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The Takeaway

Today's Highlights | April 01, 2014

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Also on Today's Show: Wisconsin has long been heralded as a place ahead of its time when it comes to environmentalism. But all that might change...Could an American who was convicted decades ago for spying for Israel be a key bargaining chip in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

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Radiolab

WHAT IF WE DON’T KILL ‘EM ALL?

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

We can end the mosquito madness without turning a select few into genetically modified assassins. And the other ways to do it are just as far out. 

Read More

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Becoming More Popular Doesn't Protect Teens From Bullying

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

You'd think that the popular kids don't get picked on, but as a teenager's social status rises, they're more apt to be bullied. Increased social combat may be to blame.

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Morning Edition

Methane-Producing Microbes Caused 'The Great Dying'

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The world's biggest extinction some 250 million years ago wiped out 90 percent of all living things. What caused it has puzzled scientists, and now they think microbes may have done it.

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The Takeaway

Climate Change Means Profits for Some, Action for Few | #ThisIsWhere: Poems About Places That Matter | GM Faces Another Test for Survival: Congress

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

After Recalling 6.1M Vehicles, GM Faces Another Test for Survival: Congress | Why is it So Hard to Legislate Climate Change? | Could an American Spy be the Key to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict? | The Takeaway TV Smackdown: Lucy Ricardo Vs. Dowager Countess | #ThisIsWhere: Poems About Places That Matter | ...

PRI's The World

A shifting climate could mean trouble for one of Africa’s staple crops

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

One of the warnings from the new climate change report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, is food insecurity: It will be harder to grow many crops in parts of the world.

That includes staple crops like corn, wheat and rice. In Kenya, this could dramatically shift societal norms, where corn is life.  

“Almost everybody is growing maize [corn], everybody is consuming maize. It’s made into a very thick porridge for the dinner time and into a less thick porridge for the breakfast time,” said Bruce Campbell, director of the climate change and agriculture program at CGIAR, a global food research organization.  

“You can get a vision of what happens with any impact on maize if you go back to 2008 when something like 1 million people in rural areas, 4 million in urban areas, were food insecure.”

Corn prices shot up 60 percent leading to food riots. The social fabric of Kenya began to fray. That corn shortage was caused by failed short-term rains combined with previous harsh seasons. Global economic factors, such as fuel prices, also contributed to the price rise.

Campbell said as the climate warms, incidents like 2008 could become more regular in Kenya.

“Undoubtedly, one does have a vision going forward of price increases both progressively as well as many more spikes in relation to extreme events.”

Extreme events range from drought on the one hand to flash flooding on the other. As to when these changes could become the new normal, Campbell can’t say when exactly for sure. No one can.  But he thinks it could be much more difficult to grow corn in Kenya by 2050.

But Campbell said the good news is that farmers are very adaptable

“They’re always adapting to price signals by changing crops, or to weather signals, perhaps by planting at different times of the year.”

But shifting the growing season by a few weeks… that’s the easy part. Campbell says in some areas in Kenya, corn won’t grow at all.

“And in those circumstances, you’re going to have to change completely the farming system, perhaps to crops which are much less familiar. For example, cassava is very temperature resistant.”  

Cassava root is a good source of carbohydrates. But it’s hardly as tasty or flexible as corn. Kenyans would survive, but eating cassava would be a huge shift in diet.

But Campbell has another reason for hope in Kenya.

“They seem to be taking climate change really seriously. They’ve put in place national adaptation strategies. On the ground, we’ve implemented the so-called 'climate smart villages' where farmers are trialling new varieties of crops. So right from the ground level up to the government level, I think people are thinking about what needs to happen in the future, so that’s very positive.”

Of course, there’s only so much they can do in Kenya. If we, the global community, continue to emit increasing amounts of greenhouse gasses, the planet will continue to warm.

The IPCC report says the changes ahead will help agriculture in some places. But on the whole, the changes will be bad news for the global food system.  

Campbell takes the pessimistic view: By 2050, he says no adaptation strategies will work in some already-marginal agricultural areas. In those places, you just won’t be able to grow anything.

Food

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How Your Face Shows Happy Disgust

Monday, March 31, 2014

Scientists are studying the way we show complex emotions. It turns out we're better at it than was previously thought, mixing and matching basic expressions with sophistication — and consistency.

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All Things Considered

Is The Latest Climate Report Too Much Of A Downer?

Monday, March 31, 2014

One researcher who participated in the latest U.N. report on climate change says the final product is simply too depressing. Others say the somber tone is justified — but that humans can also adapt.

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All Things Considered

International Ruling Puts Stop To Japan's 'Scientific' Whaling

Monday, March 31, 2014

Since the world community banned whaling, Japan has continued to permit its fleet to kill whales under the guise of scientific research. The International Court of Justice in the Hague Monday ordered Japan to stop whaling in the Antarctic Ocean. Japan says it will abide by the ruling.

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The Takeaway

A Balloon to the Brink of Space

Monday, March 31, 2014

Space might be closer than you think. By the end of 2016, a private company, World View, plans to bring tourists to the brink of outer space in a high-altitude balloon.

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Japan Must Halt Whaling Program In Antarctic, Court Says

Monday, March 31, 2014

Japan's government had argued that whales were hunted for research purposes. The International Court of Justice said there wasn't enough scientific research to justify killing hundreds of whales.

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Morning Edition

Researchers Detail How Climate Change Will Alter Our Lives

Monday, March 31, 2014

A United Nations panel has released a report from scientists who are getting a much better understanding of the effects of climate change.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Why Being Poor Is Bad for Your Health

Monday, March 31, 2014

For the second part of this week's installment of Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America, Dr. Benard Dreyer, Professor of Pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine, and Dr. Peter Muennig, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, discuss the impacts poverty has on cognitive development and overall health, especially in children, and what policies could improve health and mental health of children and families.

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PRI's The World

Why China is turning to Chicago for advice on its new skyscrapers

Monday, March 31, 2014

The earliest skyscrapers were a uniquely American creation. More specifically, a Chicago thing. The first skyscraper appeared there in 1884. 

It was just 10 stories high. Since then, they've grown taller, of course.

And many of the newest and tallest buildings in the world are now being built in China. But Chicago is still playing a big role.

Architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, Blair Kamin, writes about China's building boom in his story, "Designed in Chicago, made in China."

"Remember the movie 'Ghostbusters,' you know, if you've got a problem, who do you go to? Ghostbusters!" Kamin says. "Well, if you want a skyscraper, and you're in China, you go to the experts and they're in Chicago."

Kamin says Chicago is where the skyscraper was invented and that it's where the world's tallest buildings continue to be designed.

"Chinese developers lack the expertise to do great skyscrapers," he says. "During the Cultural Revolution their architectural profession was decimated. It really became more about purely engineering. So if you're a Chinese developer, you go to Chicago."

A key aspect of the American architectural savvy is creativity. But, how do you take a building that is going to house fairly ordinary functions, hotels, offices, etc., and how do these become symbols for a city?

"In China this is very important because China is undergoing massive urbanization," Kamin says. "By 2030 it's estimated China will have one billion people living in its cities, that's one out of every eight people on Earth. So when the Chinese are trying to devise symbols of this urbanization, they’re going to the experts and the experts are in Chicago, London, New York, and other western cities."

Kamin says the experience of being in these new urban areas can be a little daunting, especially if you're walking around.

"The new urban areas are oriented toward the car, the roads are wide, it's not a great place to walk, and as a result they don't walk, they drive, and this contributes to the air pollution problem. "

Kamin cites the Chinese architect Wang Shu (the 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize winner) who said, "We used to have great cities in China, now people just sell off land to a big developer, the developer constructs high rise housing blocks, wide roads, and every Chinese city turns into a big suburb."

China has also gone for height. Shanghai for example will soon have the second highest tower in the world, the Shanghai Tower which is currently now under construction. Kamin went and visited the tower and says it was an incredible experience to go up to the top.

He even ventured out on a wire mesh construction platform, 111 (of an eventual 120) stories up and to gazed straight down 200 feet.

"I think it’s safe to say OSHA (Occupation Safety and Health Admin) would not have approved this."

Fast moving urbanization and looming skyscrapers dominate China's urban landscape. What's does the future hold for China's cities?

"I think the future for urban areas in China really has to do with focusing less on iconic buildings, individual structures that stand out, and realizing that great cities have to do with texture, human scale, they have to do with the spaces in between buildings, not just buildings as objects, standing there as trophies."

Kamin says China has much to learn not only from the US but from their own traditions of urban design.

"I think people there are hungry for a more pedestrian oriented type of city, a more liveable city, and that's really what this is about," he says. "When you're designing cities that are going to be home to one out of eight of the world's people, you want them above all to be liveable places, places that encourage creativity, where parents aren't afraid to send their children out, because of bad air pollution."  

Kamin says the Chinese can learn in part from mistakes made by earlier generations of American city planners and architects.

"We have made these mistakes. It's foolish for them to make them again and at such an amazing scale."

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The Leonard Lopate Show

How Poverty Affects Mental Health

Monday, March 31, 2014

For the first part of this week’s installment of our series Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America, we’re finding out how poverty affects mental health. Epidemiologist Dr. Jane Costello examines the impact poverty has on mental health, especially among children. She tells us about her Great Smoky Mountains Study—a longitudinal study of more than 1,400 children in North Carolina—looking at who gets mental illness, who gets treatment, and how rising out of poverty improves the mental health of children and families. Dr. Costello is Associate Director for Research, Center for Child & Family Policy and Professor of Medical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University.

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PRI's The World

Japan told it can't hunt whales near Antarctica — because it's not scientific

Monday, March 31, 2014

Whale activists got some good news today. Japan's whale hunting near Antarctica should stop immediately. 

The UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled Monday that Japan's whale hunting must cease, because it's not for scientific research purposes. That had been Japan's argument, they they were doing it for science. The waters around Antarctica were declared a whale sanctuary in 1994.

The court sided with Australia, which brought the case against Japan in 2010.

"It's a great outcome," said Kevin Rudd, the forner prime minister of Australia. Rudd was prime minister when Australia brought the case against Japan's whaling program.   

"When you know that they're endangered around the world due to excessive whaling activities, the least we can do is take care of other members of the created order who require us to act responsively in relation to them," he added.

Japan's chief negotiator, Koji Tsuruoka, said Japan would abide by the order, though Tsuruoka expressed "deeep disappointment with the decision. 

Rudd said bringing this case was a difficult decision, because Japan is the second largest tradition partner for Australia. "There was a lot of pressure at the time not to disturb the diplomatic relations between the two countries." Rudd said. "But we believed this was important question of principal."

Virtually all of the world's countries have agreed to a ban on commercial whaling, but a few, primarily Japan, Norway and Iceland, have resisted restrictions. 

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