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The Salt
2:34 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

A Milk Mystery: Did Gloomy Weather Make Us Love The Stuff?

A new study on lactose tolerance among early farmers in Spain challenges a leading theory that humans developed an appetite for milk to avoid calcium deficiency.
iStock

Humans have a love-hate history with milk.

For thousands and thousands of years, adults couldn't digest dairy products without an upset stomach and a trip to the bathroom.

And then one day, poof!

A few changes in our DNA gave about a third of the world's population – mostly Europeans — the ability to knock back cheese, pizza and chocolate ice cream without a care in the world.

But why? Why did this ability to digest lactose suddenly crop up in our European ancestors about 10,000 years ago? That's been a big mystery for scientists.

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Scientist To W.Va. Lawmakers: 'I'm Not Drinking The Water'

The banks of the Elk River in Charleston, W.Va.
Tom Hindman Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 2:54 pm

"I'm not drinking the water."

That's what an environmental scientist from Marshall University and a member of the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board told state lawmakers today during a hearing about a chemical spill that contaminated the drinking water of nine counties.

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All Tech Considered
2:25 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

A Boarding Pass Design That's So Much Better Than What We Have

The better boarding pass design.
Pete Smart

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 10:58 am

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

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Parallels
2:20 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

On A Roman Street, Graffiti Celebrates 'SuperPope'

Graffiti artist Mauro Palotta says Pope Francis is the only world leader who stands on the side of the people.
Sylvia Poggoli NPR

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 10:00 am

First, he's Time magazine's "Person of the Year." Then, he's Rolling Stone's cover story: "The Times They Are A-Changin'" in the Roman Catholic Church.

Now, he's "SuperPope," the latest incarnation of Pope Francis, who has rapidly become one of the most popular leaders on the planet.

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The Two-Way
1:51 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Spy Chief Says Classified Leaks 'Pose Critical Threat' To U.S.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies during a hearing before Senate Select Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

In his yearly report (pdf) to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the country's spy chief says one of the top threats facing the United States is the unauthorized leak of classified information.

In his threat assessment report, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, listed "insider threats," alongside cyber attacks and terrorism.

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