Science

The Two-Way
5:13 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Tracking Roadkill? There's An App For That, Too

Adult bison and calves cross a dirt road on Antelope Island, northwest of Salt Lake City. A team of scientists from Utah State University has developed a smartphone app to track animal-vehicle collisions.
Douglas C. Pizac AP

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 11:54 am

Want to know where most motorists hit deer? To answer such a question, at least in Utah, used to involve the laborious task of sifting through mountains of paperwork. And the results weren't even all that accurate.

But a team of scientists at Utah State University has developed a smartphone application to make the task easier, and is hoping that "citizen scientists" will help compile a roadkill database.

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Shots - Health News
4:17 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Quick DNA Tests Crack Medical Mysteries Otherwise Missed

Doctors used a rapid DNA test to identify a Wisconsin teen's unusual infection with Leptospira bacteria (yellow), which are common in the tropics.
CDC/Rob Weyant

Originally published on Sat June 7, 2014 8:07 am

Researchers are developing a radical way to diagnose infectious diseases. Instead of guessing what a patient might have, and ordering one test after another, this new technology starts with no assumptions.

The technology starts with a sample of blood or spinal fluid from an infected person and searches through all the DNA in it, looking for sequences that came from a virus, a bacterium, a fungus or even a parasite.

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The Two-Way
2:34 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Wall Of Ice Surrounding Fukushima Will Contain Radioactive Water

Members of a local government council check an outlet of a so-called groundwater bypass system as they inspect the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station earlier this week.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 3:56 pm

Earlier this week, workers in Japan began constructing an underground "ice wall" around the melted-down nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The wall is designed to stop hundreds of tons of radioactive groundwater from leaking into the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Building a subterranean wall of ice sounds a little crazy. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel, who's been covering the story, says it is a little crazy — but not as far-fetched as it sounds.

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Shots - Health News
1:07 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

The GPS In Your Head May Work A Lot Better Than That Phone

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 10:11 am

If I tell you to make your way to NPR's headquarters from the NOMA Metro stop a few blocks away, odds are you'll get yourself here, no problem. But how?

By using two GPS systems in the brain, one that determines the direct distance to the destination, and another that calculates the twists and turns you'll need to take along the way.

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The Salt
10:54 am
Thu June 5, 2014

At 'Pestaurant,' Grasshopper Burgers Win Over Eaters Who Say 'Yuck'

A Grasshopper Burger topped with Mexican spice mealworms.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 7:17 am

If you're a scientist and you work for a pest control company, you're used to thinking about bugs as the enemy you're trained to kill.

Now try putting one in your mouth.

It took some mental rearranging for Nancy Troyano, an entomologist for Ehrlich Pest Control. But on Wednesday she did it for the first time in her life.

"I'm used to looking at grasshoppers under a microscope," Troyano tells The Salt. "I know what their internal organs and the spines on their legs look like, so I was kind of thinking about them."

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