What if it's not just our genes or our lifestyle, exactly, that makes us skinny or fat, healthy or sick? What if it's also the makeup of the bacterial ecosystem that inhabits our gut?
A growing pile of scientific studies is pointing us in that direction. Researchers in this hot new field describe the microbes in our gut as a vital organ that's as essential as our liver or kidneys. They're finding that this organ, which they call the "microbiome," varies greatly from person to person.
The amount of plastic debris in the part of the Pacific Ocean known as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" has grown 100-fold in the past 40 years.
In a paper published today by the journal Biology Letters, scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography report that most of that plastic has degraded into pieces no bigger than a fingernail. But that wasn't the major finding the scientists are reporting.
The scientists have found that all those pieces of plastic have provided ample opportunity for insects called "sea skaters" to breed.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. It's official: Gary Johnson lands the Libertarian presidential nomination. Former standard-bearer Ron Paul picks up GOP delegates. And Democrats wonder about the pace of evolution. It's Wednesday and time for a...
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Absolutely comfortable...
CONAN: Edition of the political junkie.
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.
VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?
The fall of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi's regime in Libya was hailed as one of the great successes of the Arab Spring. More than six months later, attacks continue on the prime minister's compound and well-armed mercenary fighters and stockpiles of weapons have made their way into Sub-Saharan Africa.
I was thinking about a conversation I had with a friend of mine who just got back from a wedding in Central America. He was telling me how impressed he was that just everybody at his hotel was, it seemed to him, effortlessly bilingual and even multilingual.
People switched back and forth from Spanish to English, and sometimes to French, in the span of minutes, depending on who was standing there and what was needed. I thought: Of course they are. They have to be. Their livelihood and advancement depend on it.
It was a story about the little guy taking on the big, multinational corporation on equal footing: Heather Peters, a California woman, took Honda to small claims court claiming her hybrid Civic wasn't getting the gas mileage promised on the window sticker.
A woman lights a candle during a tribute to slain Mexican journalists at the Monument of Independence in Mexico City on May 5. The vigil took place to protest violence against the press after the brutal murders of four journalists in Veracruz state.
Credit Yuri Cortez / AFP/Getty Images
A mourner holds up a copy of Proceso magazine with investigative reporter Regina Martinez on its cover at the vigil in Mexico City last week. At the end of April, Martinez's body was found in her bathroom, beaten and strangled.
Credit Felix Marquez / AP
A priest sprinkles holy water on the coffins of photojournalists Gabriel Huge (bottom) and Guillermo Luna during a public Mass in Veracruz last week. Killed by unknown assailants, the bodies were found dumped in plastic bags by a canal in Veracruz less than a week after the killing of Regina Martinez.
Credit John Burnett / NPR
Mexicans hold up posters of journalists who have been killed in recent years, at a recent vigil in Mexico City.
Mexico is reeling from another round of brutal murders of journalists. Four journalists and photographers who covered the police beat have been killed in eastern Mexico's crime-ridden state of Veracruz.
There's a new call for the federal government to take measures to protect journalists in a country where more and more reporters censor themselves out of fear.
The ceremony to remember the most recent killings took place last weekend in Mexico City on the steps of the Monument of Independence between statues depicting peace and law.
The Food and Drug Administration has a proposition for the companies that make X-ray machines.
Make sure your new equipment has settings and instructions that minimize radiation hazards for kids, or the agency will look to slap a label on the machines that recommends they not be used for children at all.
The agency proposed the approach today (details in the Federal Register); it's the latest move to curb radiation hazards from imaging equipment.