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Purple Sweet Potato A Contender To Replace Artificial Food Dyes

Consumers are demanding "natural" food dyes, and scientists say the purple sweet potato is the most promising source of pigments to make them. But it may be a while before your red Popsicle is made with this kind of vegetable-based dye.
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Richard Dawkins: "An Appetite For Wonder"

The author of "The Selfish Gene" and "The God Delusion" talks about the evolution of his own thinking.


It's OK To Protest In China, Just Don't March

China runs the largest censorship machine in human history, researchers say. But Harvard studies of Internet postings in China suggest that even vitriolic criticisms of leaders and state policies are not what officials want to censor.

From Birth, Our Microbes Become As Personal As A Fingerprint

Trillions of microbes live on and in the human body, tucked into very different ecosystems. Some like the dark, warm confines of the mouth. Others prefer the desert-dry skin of the forearm. The biggest and most active collection of microbes hang out in the gut.

Answering The Cranes' Call: 40 Years Of Preserving Grace

Cranes are elegant and endangered. For four decades, the International Crane Foundation has focused on their conservation. NPR's Jacki Lyden talks to one of the organization's co-founders, George Archibald, about a life spent researching his feathered friends all around the world.

From The Fall Of Failure, Success Can Take Flight

Risking and embracing failure is part of the job for explorers and adventurers like aeronaut Salomon August Andrée. His fatal attempt at reaching the North Pole motivated others to push their own limits. The September issue of National Geographic investigates "famous failures" and why they mattered.

'Memory Pinball' And Other Reasons You Need A Nap

Researchers have found that sleep helps you learn and that when you don't have it, you get cranky. But fundamental questions about this complex function go unanswered. For starters, why do we sleep to begin with?

How Sounds Undermine Sleep

Why can some people sleep through a jackhammer at the window, while others waken with the lightest whisper? Host Rachel Martin speaks to Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center researcher Jeffrey Ellenbogen about his new study on how noises interrupt sleep.

Billy Crystal, Up Since 1948

Comedian Billy Crystal has long suffered from insomnia. He tells NPR's Scott Simon his mind is constantly racing, and jokes that he sleeps like a baby — he's up every two hours.

Dreams: The Telling Tells More Than The Contents

How we describe our dreams can be more important than what they contain. Host Rachel Martin talks with Stephen Grosz, a practicing psychoanalyst and the author of The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves. Grosz uses dreams to better understand his patients' motivations and feelings.