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Why Can We Taste Bitter Flavors? Turns Out, It's Still A Mystery

The first bite of a bitter fruit or nut can be shocking, even revolting. That's led scientists to think that bitter tastes evolved to help us avoid poisonous plants. But a new a genetic study in Africa challenges that notion.
WAMU 88.5

Carl Sagan Collection Opened With Help From 'Family Guy' Creator

Thanks in part to a donation by entertainer Seth MacFarlane, the Library of Congress has opened a new collection of archival works from famous astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan.

NPR

Why Typhoon Haiyan Caused So Much Damage

Scientists say Typhoon Haiyan is one of the strongest ever recorded, though limited measurements may prevent them from declaring it as the record holder. Still, the storm was devastating: "We had a triple whammy of surge, very high winds and strong rainfall," says one climate scientist.
NPR

'Ferrari Of Space' Crashes And Burns In Earth's Atmosphere

More than a ton of advanced electronics crashed into Earth's atmosphere Sunday night, when the European GOCE orbiter ended its four-year mission. When it re-entered the atmosphere over the South Atlantic Ocean, most of the 2,425-pound craft disintegrated; about 25 percent did not.
NPR

Lessons In Leadership: It's Not About You. (It's About Them)

It takes more than a decisive vision to solve intractable world problems, says Harvard leadership expert Ronald Heifetz. Instead, he advises his students — including budding heads-of-state — to think less like surgeons and more like psychiatrists.
NPR

Lighting Up The Investigative Path With Polonium-210

Conspiracy theories continue over the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and polonium is suspected as the weapon of the alleged assassin. Whatever happened to Arafat, there is a case from 2006 that shows just how destructive the radioactive element can be. It all started with a sip of green tea.
NPR

Billions Of Planets Could Support Life

A study released this week found there could be as many as 40 billion habitable planets in the galaxy. Host Rachel Martin talks to Mike Brown, a professor of astronomy at the California Institute of Technology, to help digest the enormity of the finding.
NPR

'Ferrari Of Space' Crashing Back To Earth — Maybe Tomorrow

Sometime Sunday or early Monday, a 2,425-pound satellite that ran out of fuel last month and began falling from its already low orbit will plunge back to Earth. About a quarter of the European Space Agency's satellite is expected to survive re-entry and strike somewhere on the planet.
NPR

Can We Eat Our Way To A Healthier Microbiome? It's Complicated

It may be possible to cultivate a healthier community of bacteria on and inside us by modifying our diet. For starters, eating more vegetables probably won't hurt.
NPR

Which Is It? Hurricane, Typhoon Or Tropical Cyclone?

When it comes to what you call a particular tropical cyclone, it's really a matter of location, location, location.

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