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Science: Episodes

In one of the most remote parts of the Peruvian Amazon, researchers are in midst of a extensive health census. The study could be key to figuring out the impact of mercury used in illegal mining.
An economist in the United Kingdom looked at how 150 TV series finales affected the U.S. stock market. He observed a decrease in stock returns on the following trading day.
Cole Cohen struggled with math, keeping time, getting lost. Eventually she found out she had a hole in her brain the size of a lemon. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Cole about her new memoir, <em>Head Case.</em>
When the price of gold skyrocketed, illegal miners flooded into the country's Amazon basin, eager to find even the tiniest bits of the precious metal. Trees and villagers have paid a price.
For astrophysicist Shrinivas Kulkarni, "The sky is so much richer and so much more imaginative than the imagination."
Royal Dutch Shell can drill oil exploration wells this summer in the Chukchi Sea, if Shell shows it can prevent and clean up a potential spill. Environmentalists are skeptical; Shell says it's ready.
NPR's Audie Cornish speaks to Gene Brandi, vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation, about how beekeepers and farmers are coping with the large die-off of honeybees.
Kinder Morgan is proposing the pipeline to carry oil and natural gas through South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. But smaller oil suppliers are also concerned about markets like Savannah, Georgia.
New charities pop up all the time. But how do you know which ones work? Economists have come up with a strategy to figure it out. They've used it to tackle one of the biggest problems in the world.
Researchers in Seattle are busy cataloging what scientists have learned. For now that includes detailed information on 240 mouse cells. Next up: a data trove of details on human brain cells.
A carrot isn't enough — bring on the stick. A study finds smokers are more likely to quit tobacco if they lose some of their own money after a relapse, than if they get a bonus for quitting the habit.
NPR's Melissa Block interviews Santa Fe, N.M., Mayor Javier Gonzales about how the city managed to cut water usage by one-fifth while its population grew by 10 percent.
Under the growing burden of drought, California is struggling to supply enough water to all of the people currently living there. The state is also working on ways to ensure water for millions more residents expected to live there in the future.
Hoping to help trace the history of how velociraptors evolved into birds, researchers at Harvard and Yale may have tracked a key beak transformation to two genes.
Genes linked to inflammation are more active in winter, a study hints. That might partly explain why some diseases, including Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, are more likely to start then.
Saturday's magnitude-7.8 quake released stress that was building for 150 years, scientists say, and it reshuffled tension to nearby faults.
A small dose of aspirin taken regularly can help prevent a second heart attack or stroke. But too many healthy people are taking the drug for prevention, and for them, the risks may outweigh benefits.
Dallas Mildenhall is one of the world's few forensic pollen experts. He recently identified a rare, mutated pollen grain that helped police crack a murder case in his native New Zealand.
Amid this week's hoopla celebrating the Hubble Space Telescope, don't forget the clever astronomer for whom the space scope was named. In the 1920s, he changed our sense of ourselves and the universe.
Once embraced by cities for its beautiful white flowers, disease resistance and ability to grow just about anywhere, the Callery pear is now considered a nuisance due to its smell and invasive nature.
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