November 27, 2011 A 71-year-old amnesiac in Germany has become well known in medical circles there. Even though the patient has lost nearly all memory of his past and has difficulty planning anything in the present or for the future, new research shows the former concert cellist is still able to learn new music. Audie Cornish speaks with Dr. Carsten Finke, a neurologist at The Charite university hospital in Berlin, about the unique patient.
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November 25, 2011 New findings in the science of charity reveals some counter-intuitive results. For instance, people will give more money to a single suffering person than to a population of suffering people, and also give more when some type of physical discomfort — for example, running a marathon — is involved.
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Flies are attracted to glycerol, a chemical in beer produced during fermentation. Understanding more about the genes responsible for taste and smell in flies could help make powerful insect repellents.
November 25, 2011 If a fly walked into a bar, he'd chose beer, and scientists think they've figured out why. The secret? A molecule that tastes sweet but isn't sugar. The research could help create more powerful insect repellents.
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November 23, 2011 A study funded in part by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute assesses the germs that lurk in public restrooms. Researchers found 19 different types of bacteria in bathrooms on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder.
November 18, 2011 Citing "capital scarcity" the Geron Corporation said it will abandon its research into using human embryonic stem cells to treat spinal cord injuries. Stem cell expert Leonard Zon discusses the announcement and what it means for the future of embryonic stem cell research.
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November 18, 2011 Toilets, as most of us know them, haven't changed much since the 1800s--they use a lot of water, and require an infrastructure that many communities can't afford. Ira Flatow and guests look at the problem of access to sanitation, and how engineers are making toilets better.
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November 18, 2011 Reporting in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers write that complete strangers are capable of spotting individuals with a genetic predisposition to empathy and sociable behavior. Author Sarina Saturn discusses the study, and how sociability has evolved across cultures.
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November 18, 2011 Seven solar companies have filed a trade complaint with the federal government, accusing China of dumping artificially cheap solar panels on the US market. But solar installers welcome the low prices. Ira Flatow and guests discuss what's best for the domestic solar industry--and US jobs--in the long run.
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H5N1 avian flu viruses (seen in gold) grow inside canine kidney cells (seen in green).
November 17, 2011 At a recent conference, a Dutch scientist said he'd made bird flu virus highly contagious between ferrets — the animal model used to study human flu infection. Just five mutations did the trick. Security experts fear publishing the work could spur development of new weapons.
November 17, 2011 Scientists are worried about the deadly bird flu called H5N1 which sometimes infects people. It's never acquired the ability to transmit easily between humans, but researchers would like to know if that could happen. Recently, they've essentially been altering the genes of H5N1 to make the virus spread more easily between lab animals — raising concerns about biosafety and how this research is regulated.
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The most common cause of brain injury in premature infants is a lack of oxygen in the days and weeks after birth, researchers say.
November 17, 2011 Each year more than 60,000 babies are born weighing less than 3.3 pounds. As scientists learn more about how brain injuries occur among these very premature infants, it could point the way to possible prevention and repair strategies.
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November 16, 2011 Animals, of course, don't have towels. So when they get wet, what do they do? They shake themselves into a frenzy. Have a look.
November 13, 2011 Until now, a 250-year-old encoded text titled the Copiale Cipher baffled cryptographers and historians with bizarre symbols and seemingly random letters. Computer scientist Kevin Knight and two Swedish researchers have broken the code to the 105-page manuscript, and NPR's Daniel Hajek reports on what the Cipher revealed.
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November 12, 2011 There is art beyond price in the caves of southwestern France. The paintings date back to the Paleolithic period and depict spotted horses, which, according to new research, may actually be how horses looked at the time. Guest host Linda Wertheimer speaks with Professor Terry O'Connor of the University of York in the United Kingdom about the ancient art.
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November 11, 2011 Discovery Channel's MythBusters have taken on more than 700 myths, from how hard it is to find a needle in a haystack (it's hard) to whether toothbrushes have fecal matter on them (they do). Series hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage talk about the show with host Ira Flatow.
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