You'd think that someone who is a science correspondent and is as allergic to poison ivy as I am would have heard of urushiol, but no. I didn't recognize the word when I saw it a week or so ago. Now, thanks to my new beat (Joe's Big Idea), I'm allowed to dig a little deeper into stories, and what I learned about urushiol is pretty amazing.
Acne, the scourge of many an adolescent life, is getting harder to treat, but 80 percent of teenagers have some form of it.
Conventional treatment includes topical and oral antibiotics. Studies are now finding the bacteria that cause acne are increasingly resistant to antibiotic treatment. Alternatively, there are effective laser treatments. But these are costly and typically not covered by insurance.
It's Monday after another football weekend in America. From the Friday night drama on high school fields to the multibillion-dollar juggernaut NFL, the game seems as popular as ever.
But in fact, amid the cheering, there's concern — a growing anxiety about head injuries in the sport, from the NFL all the way down to the pee-wee leagues. Some say kids shouldn't be playing until their teenage years. High-profile NFL players have gone on record saying they don't want their children playing at all because of the concussion risk.
"I know the whole world is watching now, and I wish the world could see what I see."
Those were the words of Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner as he plummeted toward Earth faster than the speed of sound. He jumped 24 miles from the stratosphere and landed gracefully just more than nine minutes later in a desert in Roswell, N.M., Sunday.
His plunge was record-breaking on three fronts: the highest jump, the longest distance of a free fall and the fastest vertical velocity. Baumgartner's free fall was seconds shorter than the record set by Joe Kittinger in 1960.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 7:09 am
The soaring drone of a full bagpipe and drum corps greeted thousands of people who marched into a Denver arena for the Great American Beer Festival this past weekend. The martial music seemed a fitting way to prepare the crowd to test their palates, and their fortitude, against 2,700 different beers made by some of the best breweries in the United States.
The universe of great theatrical sports is rather small. There's roller derby and wrestling, but that's about as far as it goes.
But there's a new addition to this little corner of the sports world: women's arm wrestling. Jayme Dyer didn't know what to expect when she signed up for her first event in Durham, N.C., two years ago.
The sport seems to combine all the right ingredients — promising empowering, women-centered bawdiness that raises money for good causes. Not to mention some suggestive outfits.
More Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are running for Congress than ever before. A total of 36, including incumbents, launched campaigns this year — more than double the number from a record set just two years ago, according to the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.
Of those, a record 21 contenders — 18 Democrats and three Republicans — claimed victories in their primaries and are now vying to represent districts across the nation.
With only 23 days left until the presidential election, the race is heating up. Thursday, the vice presidential candidates duked it out in their only debate of the campaign season. This Tuesday, President Obama and Governor Romney will face-off at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, for the second of three presidential debates. NPR's Ari Shapiro is on the road with the Romney campaign. Hi, Ari.
Fifty years ago, the United States stood on the brink of nuclear war.
On Oct. 16, 1962, the national security adviser handed President John F. Kennedy black-and-white photos of Cuba taken by an American spy plane. Kennedy asked what he was looking at. He was told it was Soviet missile construction.
The sites were close enough — just 90 miles from the U.S. — and the missiles launched from there could reach major American cities in mere minutes.
The Cold War was heating up to a near-boiling point.
In previous elections, candidates from both parties have campaigned on pledges to be environmental presidents. This time, neither candidate is talking much about cleaning up the air or protecting scenic lands.
Instead, the debate has focused on whether and how much environmental regulations hurt businesses, especially the energy industry.
Mostly it's been GOP candidate Mitt Romney criticizing President Obama for what he sees as overzealous environmental regulations that strangle the economic recovery.