People are turning to artificial sweeteners as a lower-calorie alternative to sugar. Writing in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, researcher Susan Swithers argues that artificial sweeteners may negatively affect our metabolism and brain — and even lead to weight gain.
For years, electrical experts have been calling for a "smart grid" that could better sense and adapt to changing conditions, from electrical outages to shifts in power consumption. Massoud Amin, referred to by some as the "father of the smart grid," talks about how and why the country should improve its aging electrical infrastructure.
Reporting in Science, researchers write of discovering four radio bursts from outer space. Physicist Duncan Lorimer, who detected the first such explosion in 2007, discusses what could be causing these radio signals, such as evaporating black holes, an idea proposed by Stephen Hawking in the 1970s.
A day at the shore can leave beachgoers with more than a sunburn — a gulp of seawater can expose swimmers to disease-causing microbes like norovirus, salmonella, and adenovirus. Marine scientist Rachel Noble and environmental medicine researcher Samuel Dorevitch discuss the risk, and what's being done to limit swimmers' exposure.
Social media guru Clay Shirky looks at "cognitive surplus" — the shared, online work we do with our spare brain cycles. While we're busy contributing to the web in our small ways, we're building a better, more cooperative world.
Pianist John Bunch was born in Tipton, Ind., a small farming community north of Indianapolis. As a boy, he studied piano, and at 14, he was already playing with bands in central Indiana. During WWII, he served on a B17 Flying Fortress that was shot down over Germany. Bunch and his crew were taken captive, and while in a prison camp, he learned to arrange for big bands.
Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 12:55 pm
The morning's major economic news:
-- Inflation. Wholesale prices rose 0.8 percent in June from May, fueled by a 2.9 percent surge in the price of energy products, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. As drivers can confirm, a 7.2 percent jump in the cost of gasoline was responsible for most of that boost.
Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 10:27 am
If you have a Twitter account, there's an excellent chance you already know about Sharknado, SyFy's meteorological-marine horror movie that premiered last night. When I tell you that a lot of people were tweeting about Sharknado, I'm not lying.
Not to mention ... well, you know. Possibly NPR personalities.
The Kremlin's security agency has bought $15,000 worth of electric typewriters. A source told a Russian newspaper that after WikiLeaks and the Edward Snowden scandal, the Kremlin decided to "expand the practice of creating paper documents."
Russia is preparing for the 2014 Winter Games — turning a sleepy valley in the Northern Caucasus Mountains into an Olympic village, with brand-new facilities for every Alpine sport. Officials say it will be a world-class destination for winter-sports enthusiasts long after the Games are over. Environmentalists say it's an ecological disaster in the making.
The words eurozone and crisis have been firmly linked together for the past half decade. Many eurozone economies have collapsed to Depression-era levels. And yet this week, the Baltic nation of Latvia, chose to join the euro. To understand that move, David Greene talks to Pauls Raudseps, economics editor of the Latvian weekly news magazine IR.
The imminent arrival of the future heir to the British throne is spawning gambling, baby products and guessing over names. There's been no official announcement about when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's baby is due. It's believed to be Saturday, and the kingdom is prepared.
Another movie opening is "Pacific Rim." Critic Kenneth Turan says it has plenty of explosions and special effects, but he says there's actually more to it than most of the other blockbusters this summer.
Moshe Haim always wanted to be a soldier. The 20-year-old is now a sergeant, more than halfway through three years of service in the Israeli military.
But when he goes home on leave, he doesn't talk about his military experiences to any of his eight siblings, especially his brothers.
"I know that for my parents and my brothers, the first, best choice is to be in the yeshiva and study there," he says at a small West Bank outpost where he's stationed. "It wasn't good for me, but my brothers are still pure."
The battle for the city of Dera'a in southern Syria has become a test of an American pledge to give military support to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad. After a string of defeats, the rebels have scored rare victories around Dera'a.
But in interviews,rebel commanders passing through neighboring Jordan say those gains could be lost without a dependable arms pipeline and promised U.S. support.
Yasser Aboud, a thin, intense former colonel in the Syrian army, commands the joint operations center for southern Syria.
The area of ocean set aside as a nature preserve could double or triple in the coming days, depending on the outcome of a meeting in Germany. Representatives from 24 countries and the European Union are considering setting aside large portions of ocean around Antarctica as a protected area. And the deal may hinge on preserving some fishing rights.
There are two proposals on the table: One would set aside huge parts of the Southern Ocean around East Antarctica; the other would focus on the Ross Sea, south of New Zealand.