Richard Harris http://ktep.org en Ebola Drug Could Be Ready For Human Testing Next Year http://ktep.org/post/ebola-drug-could-be-ready-human-testing-next-year The <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/04/08/300509073/the-ebola-outbreak-three-weeks-in-dire-but-not-hopeless">Ebola outbreak</a> in West Africa is terrifying because there's no drug to treat this often fatal disease. But the disease is so rare, there's no incentive for big pharmaceutical companies to develop a treatment.<p>Even so, some small companies, given government incentives, are stepping into that breach. The result: More than half a dozen ideas are being pursued actively.<p>And these are boon days for drugs that can treat viruses. Fri, 11 Apr 2014 20:30:00 +0000 Richard Harris 38510 at http://ktep.org Ebola Drug Could Be Ready For Human Testing Next Year How Mouse Studies Lead Medical Research Down Dead Ends http://ktep.org/post/how-mouse-studies-lead-medical-research-down-dead-ends Most experimental drugs fail before they make it through all the tests required to figure out if they actually work and if they're safe. But some drugs get fairly far down that road, at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, based on poorly conducted studies at the outset.<p>Medical researchers reviewing this sorry state of affairs say the drug-development process needs serious improvement.<p>Consider drugs that are being developed to treat <a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/amyotrophiclateralsclerosis.html">ALS</a>, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Tue, 08 Apr 2014 07:44:00 +0000 Richard Harris 38216 at http://ktep.org How Mouse Studies Lead Medical Research Down Dead Ends Simple Blood Test To Spot Early Lung Cancer Getting Closer http://ktep.org/post/simple-blood-test-spot-early-lung-cancer-getting-closer One of these days, there could well be a simple blood test that can help diagnose and track cancers. We aren't there yet, but a burst of research in this area shows we are getting a lot closer.<p>In the latest of these studies, scientists have used blood samples to identify people with lung cancer.<p>At the Stanford School of Medicine, <a href="http://stemcell.stanford.edu/about/Laboratories/diehn/index.html">Dr. Maximilian Diehn</a> spends some of his time as a radiation oncologist treating patients with cancer, and some of his time delving into the world of DNA. Sun, 06 Apr 2014 17:22:00 +0000 Richard Harris 38140 at http://ktep.org Simple Blood Test To Spot Early Lung Cancer Getting Closer Fewer People Are Getting Infections In Hospitals, But Many Still Die http://ktep.org/post/fewer-people-are-getting-infections-hospitals-many-still-die Hospital-acquired infections continue to be a big problem in health care, with 4 percent of patients getting a new infection while hospitalized, a study finds. And 11 percent of those infections turn deadly.<p>It's the first time that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has attempted to catalog all hospital infections, not just the infections with germs on their watch list. Wed, 26 Mar 2014 16:18:00 +0000 Richard Harris 37420 at http://ktep.org Fewer People Are Getting Infections In Hospitals, But Many Still Die Flu Drugs Saved Lives During 2009 Pandemic http://ktep.org/post/anti-flu-drugs-saved-lives-during-2009-pandemic Drugs used to treat the flu really did save the lives of seriously ill people during the influenza pandemic of 2009-2010, <a href="http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600%2814%2970041-4/abstract">a study</a><strong> </strong>in <em>The</em> <em>Lancet Respiratory Medicine</em> suggests.<p>Adults who promptly received doses of <a href="http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm107838.htm">Tamiflu</a>, <a href="http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm188870.htm">Relenz Tue, 18 Mar 2014 22:32:00 +0000 Richard Harris 36932 at http://ktep.org Flu Drugs Saved Lives During 2009 Pandemic Google's Flu Tracker Suffers From Sniffles http://ktep.org/post/googles-flu-tracker-suffers-sniffles If you want to know what's up with the flu at the moment, you have a few choices: You can get the latest information at <a href="https://www.google.org/flutrends/us/#US">Google Flu Trends</a>. Thu, 13 Mar 2014 20:23:00 +0000 Richard Harris 36611 at http://ktep.org Google's Flu Tracker Suffers From Sniffles Report: Burning Natural Gas Is Better Than Using Coal http://ktep.org/post/report-burning-natural-gas-better-using-coal Methane is both a fuel and a potent greenhouse gas. A study in Science magazine suggests that about 50 percent more methane is leaking into the atmosphere than official estimates suggest. Even so, they conclude that it's better for the environment to switch electricity generation from coal power plants to those that burn methane. Fri, 14 Feb 2014 10:06:00 +0000 Richard Harris 34784 at http://ktep.org Ancient DNA Ties Native Americans From Two Continents To Clovis http://ktep.org/post/ancient-dna-ties-native-americans-two-continents-clovis The mysterious Clovis culture, which appeared in North America about 13,000 years ago, appears to be the forerunner of Native Americans throughout the Americas, according to <a href="http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v506/n7487/full/nature13025.html">a study</a> in <em>Nature</em>. Thu, 13 Feb 2014 08:03:00 +0000 Richard Harris 34705 at http://ktep.org Ancient DNA Ties Native Americans From Two Continents To Clovis Glacier Blamed For Berg That Sank Titanic Unleashes More Ice http://ktep.org/post/iceberg-blamed-sinking-titanic-pushing-more-ice-ocean The glacier that's blamed for producing the iceberg that sunk the Titanic has been pushing much more ice into the ocean over the past two years, according to a new study published Monday.<p>Greenland's <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17587215">Jakobshavn glacier</a> is essentially a river of ice that floats in a narrow valley. Over the past decade, it has been flowing faster toward the sea. Mon, 03 Feb 2014 22:02:00 +0000 Richard Harris 34077 at http://ktep.org Glacier Blamed For Berg That Sank Titanic Unleashes More Ice Neanderthal Genes Live On In Our Hair And Skin http://ktep.org/post/neanderthal-genes-live-our-hair-and-skin Neanderthals died out long ago, but their genes live on in us. Scientists studying human chromosomes say they've discovered a surprising amount of Neanderthal DNA in our genes. And these aren't just random fragments; they help shape what we look like today, including our hair and skin.<p>These genes crept into our DNA tens of thousands of years ago, during occasional sexual encounters between Neanderthals and human ancestors who lived in Europe at the time. Wed, 29 Jan 2014 20:56:00 +0000 Richard Harris 33752 at http://ktep.org Ancient And Vulnerable: 25 Percent Of Sharks And Rays Risk Extinction http://ktep.org/post/ancient-and-vulnerable-25-percent-sharks-and-rays-risk-extinction There are more than a thousand species of sharks and rays in the world, and nearly a quarter of them are threatened with extinction, according to a new study. Wed, 22 Jan 2014 08:44:00 +0000 Richard Harris 33241 at http://ktep.org Ancient And Vulnerable: 25 Percent Of Sharks And Rays Risk Extinction An Old Tree Doesn't Get Taller, But Bulks Up Like A Bodybuilder http://ktep.org/post/old-trees-grow-faster-every-year Like other animals and many living things, we humans grow when we're young and then stop growing once we mature. But trees, it turns out, are an exception to this general rule. In fact, scientists have discovered that trees grow faster the older they get.<p>Once trees reach a certain height, they do stop getting taller. So many foresters figured that tree growth — and girth — also slowed with age.<p>"What we found was the exact opposite," says <a href="http://www.werc.usgs.gov/person.aspx?personid=138">Nate Stephenson</a>, a forest ecologist with the U.S. Thu, 16 Jan 2014 08:27:00 +0000 Richard Harris 32876 at http://ktep.org An Old Tree Doesn't Get Taller, But Bulks Up Like A Bodybuilder Whales, Dolphins Are Collateral Damage In Our Taste For Seafood http://ktep.org/post/thousands-whales-dolphins-killed-satisfy-our-seafood-appetite Hundreds of thousands of marine mammals are injured or killed every year by fishermen around the world. And because most seafood in the U.S. is imported, that means our fish isn't as dolphin-friendly as you might expect.<p>Under pressure from conservation groups, federal regulators are preparing to tighten import standards to better protect marine mammals.<p>There was a time, more than 40 years ago, when U.S. fishermen killed millions of dolphins while fishing for tuna. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 16:05:00 +0000 Richard Harris 32367 at http://ktep.org Whales, Dolphins Are Collateral Damage In Our Taste For Seafood West Coast's Early Warning System For Quakes Still Spotty http://ktep.org/post/west-coasts-early-warning-system-quakes-still-spotty Earthquake scientists on the West Coast would like to build a system that would give people a bit of warning before they get jolted with strong shaking from a distant quake.<p>Seismic waves take time to travel from the epicenter, which means such a warning system could issue alerts ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes. Thu, 26 Dec 2013 23:01:00 +0000 Richard Harris 31654 at http://ktep.org West Coast's Early Warning System For Quakes Still Spotty Could Big Batteries Be Big Business In California? http://ktep.org/post/could-big-batteries-be-big-business-california The California Public Utilities Commission has called on utilities and private companies to install about $5 billion worth of batteries and other forms of energy storage to help the state power grid cope with the erratic power supplied by wind and solar energy.<p>The need to store energy has become urgent because the state is planning to get a third of its electricity from renewable sources by the end of the decade. Mon, 23 Dec 2013 08:24:00 +0000 Richard Harris 31437 at http://ktep.org Could Big Batteries Be Big Business In California? Environmentalists Split Over Need For Nuclear Power http://ktep.org/post/environmentalists-split-over-need-nuclear-power California is regarded as the leading state when it comes to addressing climate change. But in 2012, according to analysts at <a href="http://rhg.com/">Rhodium Group</a>, California's carbon emissions actually increased more than 10 percent, bucking the national trend of decreases. Tue, 17 Dec 2013 08:04:00 +0000 Richard Harris 31041 at http://ktep.org Environmentalists Split Over Need For Nuclear Power Big Batteries Needed To Make Fickle Wind And Solar Power Work http://ktep.org/post/big-batteries-needed-make-fickle-wind-and-solar-power-work Giant batteries are coming to a power grid near you. In fact, they're already starting to appear on the grid in California.<p>That's because California is planning to rely increasingly on power supplies that aren't necessarily available every minute of every day. The state plans to get one-third of its electricity from wind and solar energy by 2020.<p>Utilities in the state are trying to figure out how they can cope with that uncertain power supply. Batteries aren't a panacea, but they could help.<p>Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Wed, 11 Dec 2013 21:46:00 +0000 Richard Harris 30705 at http://ktep.org Big Batteries Needed To Make Fickle Wind And Solar Power Work Slashing Fossil Fuel Consumption Comes With A Price http://ktep.org/post/slashing-fossil-fuel-consumption-comes-price Governments around the world have agreed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). That would require an 80 percent reduction in energy sources like coal, oil and natural gas, which emit carbon dioxide into the air.<p>Nations are far from that ambitious path. There are big political and economic challenges. But technologists do see a way — at least for the United States — to achieve that goal.<p>Nowhere is that aspiration clearer than at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Tue, 03 Dec 2013 00:38:00 +0000 Richard Harris 30099 at http://ktep.org Slashing Fossil Fuel Consumption Comes With A Price Tech Leaders, Economists Split Over Clean Energy's Prospects http://ktep.org/post/tech-leaders-economists-split-over-clean-energys-prospects There is a broad scientific consensus that to keep global warming in check, we need to phase out 80 percent of all oil, coal and natural gas by midcentury. President Obama has set a nonbinding target to do precisely that.<p>There are technologists who say this national goal is well within reach, but there are also economists who are quite pessimistic about those prospects. Sat, 30 Nov 2013 10:37:00 +0000 Richard Harris 29966 at http://ktep.org Tech Leaders, Economists Split Over Clean Energy's Prospects By Accident, Scientists Discover Lakes Beneath Greenland http://ktep.org/post/scientists-discover-lakes-beneath-greenland Transcript <p>LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: <p>Flying to or from Europe, many a transatlantic traveler has gazed down at the brilliant white surface of Greenland and maybe wondered what is beneath those massive sheets of ice. Well, scientists have discovered jagged mountains, ravines that rival the Grand Canyon.<p>And now NPR's Richard Harris reports that for the first time they've come across some lakes under the ice as well.<p>RICHARD HARRIS, BYLINE: It's odd to think of pools of water sitting under thick sheets of ice, but in fact scientists have found more than 300 lakes under Antarctica. Thu, 28 Nov 2013 09:45:00 +0000 Richard Harris 29870 at http://ktep.org What's In It For U.S. To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions? http://ktep.org/post/whats-it-us-cut-greenhouse-gas-emissions The United Nations <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=246409449">negotiations in Warsaw</a> over a climate treaty are moving at glacial speed — and that's in part because there's a fundamental problem.<p>In the coming decades, carbon dioxide emissions from China, India and other rapidly developing countries are expected to grow quickly. Tue, 26 Nov 2013 07:51:00 +0000 Richard Harris 29710 at http://ktep.org What's In It For U.S. To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions? At Climate Meeting, Tensions Rise Between Rich And Poor Nations http://ktep.org/post/climate-meeting-tensions-rise-between-rich-and-poor-nations Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>NPR's Richard Harris has covered the U.N. climate talks since the first treaty was negotiated in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. He's monitoring these new talks, and he joins us now to talk about this long-running argument over climate-related funding for the developing world. Richard, thanks for being here.<p>RICHARD HARRIS, BYLINE: My pleasure.<p>BLOCK: And we just heard Mr. Khan mention this goal of $100 billion in aid per year, starting in 2020. He thinks that's realistic. Wed, 20 Nov 2013 21:34:00 +0000 Richard Harris 29425 at http://ktep.org Why Typhoon Haiyan Caused So Much Damage http://ktep.org/post/why-typhoon-haiyan-caused-so-much-damage <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiWRUfz_zjw</p> Mon, 11 Nov 2013 22:52:00 +0000 Richard Harris 28809 at http://ktep.org Why Typhoon Haiyan Caused So Much Damage For A New Kind Of Commute, Some Eye The Sky http://ktep.org/post/new-kind-commute-some-eye-sky <em>This story is part of a series on commuting in America.</em><p>Orangutans Kiko, Iris and Batang have a short commute — only about 500 feet between the buildings at the National Zoo where they sleep and pass their days. But it's a tricky trip.<p>They travel 50 feet above the ground on what's called the Orangutan Transit System — the <a href="http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ThinkTank/OLine/" target="_blank">O Line, for short</a>. Thu, 31 Oct 2013 08:02:00 +0000 Richard Harris 28059 at http://ktep.org For A New Kind Of Commute, Some Eye The Sky Delegates To Debate Watered-Down Plan For Antarctic Marine Preserve http://ktep.org/post/delegates-debate-watered-down-plan-antarctic-marine-preserve Less than 1 percent of the world's oceans are set aside as protected areas, but diplomats meeting now in Australia could substantially increase that figure.<p>Delegates from 24 nations and the European Union have convened to consider proposals to create vast new marine protected areas around Antarctica.<p>This same group met over the summer and didn't reach consensus, so it's now considering a scaled-back proposal.<p><a href="http://www.ccamlr.org/">The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources</a> exists principally to regulate fishing around Antarctica. Wed, 23 Oct 2013 22:08:00 +0000 Richard Harris 27629 at http://ktep.org Delegates To Debate Watered-Down Plan For Antarctic Marine Preserve Fuel Efficiency Standards Live On After 1973 Oil Embargo http://ktep.org/post/fuel-efficiency-standards-live-after-1973-oil-embargo Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>This year is the 40th anniversary of the OPEC oil embargo - an event that has shaped our nation's politics and the cars we drive ever since. In 1973, the Arab world decided to cut oil exports to punish nations that supported Israel during its war with Egypt and Syria. While the embargo only lasted several months, it triggered an energy crisis that lasted for years. Thu, 17 Oct 2013 08:38:00 +0000 Richard Harris 27203 at http://ktep.org How Many Scientists Does It Take To Write A Climate Report? http://ktep.org/post/how-many-scientists-does-it-take-write-climate-report Scientists and government representatives are meeting in Stockholm this week to produce the latest high-level review of climate change. It's thousands of pages of material, and if it's done right, it should harbor very few surprises.<p>That's because it's supposed to compile what scientists know — and what they don't — about climate change. Tue, 24 Sep 2013 08:01:00 +0000 Richard Harris 25637 at http://ktep.org How Many Scientists Does It Take To Write A Climate Report? Natural Gas May Be Easier On Climate Than Coal, Despite Methane Leaks http://ktep.org/post/despite-leaks-during-production-natural-gas-still-better-coal From the standpoint of global warming, burning natural gas can be better than burning coal, a study published this week suggests.<p>This is a contentious issue among people who are opposed to the natural gas drilling practice known as fracking. That technique involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into wells to release far more gas than conventional drilling can. Mon, 16 Sep 2013 21:55:00 +0000 Richard Harris 25172 at http://ktep.org Natural Gas May Be Easier On Climate Than Coal, Despite Methane Leaks Remote Antarctic Trek Reveals A Glacier Melting From Below http://ktep.org/post/remote-antarctic-glacier-disappearing-below Scientists watching Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier from space have noticed with some alarm that it has been surging toward the sea.<p>If it were to melt entirely, global sea levels would rise by several feet.<p>The glacier is really, really remote. It's 1,800 miles from McMurdo, the U.S. base station in Antarctica, so just getting there is a challenge. Sun, 15 Sep 2013 09:14:00 +0000 Richard Harris 25088 at http://ktep.org Remote Antarctic Trek Reveals A Glacier Melting From Below See Ya, Voyager: Probe Has Finally Entered Interstellar Space http://ktep.org/post/see-ya-voyager-probe-has-finally-entered-interstellar-space NASA's two Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977, have made history in a dramatic fashion by exploring the outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Now one of the vehicles, Voyager I, has made another pioneering leap. It is the first spacecraft to leave the vast bubble of hot gas that surrounds our solar system.<p>At long last, Voyager 1 is now in interstellar space.<p>There was no question that the Voyager spacecraft would someday become the first objects made by human beings to get there. Thu, 12 Sep 2013 22:41:00 +0000 Richard Harris 24957 at http://ktep.org See Ya, Voyager: Probe Has Finally Entered Interstellar Space