On the morning of Monday, Aug. 27, Seth Frotman told his two young daughters that he would likely be home early that day and could take them to the playground. They cheered.
On the morning of Monday, Aug. 27, Seth Frotman told his two young daughters that he would likely be home early that day and could take them to the playground. They cheered.
Five years ago, Finca El Valle, a small, family-run coffee farm south of Antigua, Guatemala, was producing 140,000 pounds of superior-quality Arabica for a select handful of America's premier specialty-coffee roasters.
Sign up for the CommonHealth newsletter to receive a weekly digest of WBUR's best health, medicine and science coverage. In some ways, it can be harder to be a doctor of animals than a doctor of humans.
Charlie Hinderliter wasn't opposed to the flu shot. He didn't have a problem with vaccinations. He was one of about 53 percent of Americans who just don't get one.
The oldest evidence of life on Earth probably isn't found in some 3.7 billion-year-old rocks found in Greenland, despite what a group of scientists claimed a couple of years ago. That's according to a new analysis, published Wednesday in the journal Nature by a different team of experts.
I'm often asked for medical advice by friends, family members, even new acquaintances: What about this diet? What should I do about this symptom? What about this medication? People are usually disappointed when I don't share their enthusiasm about the latest health fads.
Being overweight can raise your blood pressure, cholesterol and risk for developing diabetes. It could be bad for your brain, too. He didn't start out studying what people ate. Instead, he was interested in learning more about the hippocampus, a part of the brain that's heavily involved in memory.
What made Mozart great? Or Bobby Fischer? Or Serena Williams? The answer sits somewhere on the scales of human achievement. On one side: natural talent. On the other: hard work. Many would argue that success hangs in some delicate balance between them. But not Anders Ericsson.
After two years of research and more than 400 interviews about midlife, former NPR reporter Barb Bradley Hagerty received dozens of insights about how to live well in the middle years. We've distilled them here, with a little context.
Why do people act the way they do? Many of us intuitively gravitate toward explaining human behavior in terms of personality traits: characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that tend to be stable over time and consistent across situations.
When Susan Cain wrote Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking in 2012, it was a big success.
As laptops become smaller and more ubiquitous, and with the advent of tablets, the idea of taking notes by hand just seems old-fashioned to many students today. Typing your notes is faster — which comes in handy when there's a lot of information to take down.
Money can't buy happiness, right? Well, some researchers beg to differ. They say it depends on how you spend it.
Editor's note: This is an excerpt from the latest episode of the Invisibilia podcast and program, which is broadcast on participating public radio stations. This story contains language that some may find offensive.
It's a well-worn (if not-entirely-agreed-upon) idea that college makes people more liberal. But a new report adds a twist to this: the most educated Americans have grown increasingly liberal over the last couple of decades.
Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How? When a child asks you a question like this, you have a few options. You can shut her down with a "Just because." You can explain: "Red is for stop and green is for go.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends an average of eight hours of sleep per night for adults, but sleep scientist Matthew Walker says that too many people are falling short of the mark. Walker is the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley.
My back hurts when I sit down. It's been going on for 10 years. It really doesn't matter where I am — at work, at a restaurant, even on our couch at home. My lower back screams, "Stop sitting!"
We think of aging as something we do alone, the changes unfolding according to each person's own traits and experiences. But researchers are learning that as we age in relationships, we change biologically to become more like our partners than we were in the beginning.
Sounds, particularly those made by other humans, rank as the No. 1 distraction in the workplace. According to workplace design expert Alan Hedge at Cornell, 74 percent of workers say they face "many" instances of disturbances and distractions from noise.
If the Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov were alive today, what would he say about smartphones? He might not think of them as phones at all, but instead as remarkable tools for understanding how technology can manipulate our brains.
When Samantha Deffler was young, her mother would often call her by her siblings' names — even the dog's name. "Rebecca, Jesse, Molly, Tucker, Samantha," she says.
About a hundred years ago, something devious started happening in our homes and offices, in our cars and at restaurants — and our backs have never been the same. For hundreds — even thousands — of years, chairs were made of wood.
To age well, we must eat well. There has been a lot of evidence that heart-healthy diets help protect the brain.
Human viruses are like a fine chocolate truffle: It takes only one to get the full experience. At least, that's what scientists thought a few days ago. Now a new study published Thursday is making researchers rethink how some viruses could infect animals.
On Friday, Pope Francis released a 256-page document called "Amoris Laetitia," or "The Joy of Love." In it, he calls for the Catholic Church to approach issues of sex, marriage, family planning and divorce with less emphasis on dogmatic law and more emphasis on individual conscience.
Every August, Spain's countryside comes alive with fiestas. A jolly trombone player prances through a crowd of revelers in Cantalejo, a small town about 1 1/2 hours' drive north of Madrid. But the hubbub is deceiving — because hardly anyone actually lives here.
There's new evidence that excessive screen time early in life can change the circuits in a growing brain. Scientists disagree, though, about whether those changes are helpful, or just cause problems. Both views emerged during the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego this week.
Older brains may forget more because they lose their rhythm at night. During deep sleep, older people have less coordination between two brain waves that are important to saving new memories, a team reports in the journal Neuron.
To see if you're bending correctly, try a simple experiment. That little look down bends your spine and triggers your stomach to do a little crunch. "You've already started to bend incorrectly — at your waist," Couch says. "Almost everyone in the U.S. bends at the stomach."
As a specialist in Alzheimer's prevention, Jessica Langbaum knows that exercising her mental muscles can help keep her brain sharp. But Langbaum, who holds a doctorate in psychiatric epidemiology, has no formal mental fitness program. She doesn't do crossword puzzles or play computer brain games.
Editor's note, June 10: We have added an acknowledgement of several sources that Esther Gokhale used while developing her theories on back pain. These include physiotherapy methods, such as the Alexander Technique and the Feldenkrais Method, and the work of anthropologist Noelle Perez-Christiaens.
Research has shown that sharp reductions in the amount of food consumed can help fish, rats and monkeys live longer. But there have been very few studies in humans.
At the end of October, Donald Trump spoke in Gettysburg, Pa., and released a plan for his first 100 days in office. The plan (below) outlines three main areas of focus: cleaning up Washington, including by imposing term limits on Congress; protecting American workers; and restoring rule of law.
Most people have a colleague or two who don't seem to do much work at work. They're in the break room watching March Madness, or they disappear for a two-hour coffee break. For Allison Lamb, that person is her cubicle mate. Lamb is a statistical clerk for a company in Fishers, Ind.
In 1984, two men were thinking a lot about the Internet. One of them invented it. The other is an artist who would see its impact on society with uncanny prescience. First is the man often called "the father of the Internet," Vint Cerf.
Maybe the smart phone's hegemony makes perfect evolutionary sense: Humans are tapping a deep urge to seek out information. Our ancient food-foraging survival instinct has evolved into an info-foraging obsession; one that prompts many of us today to constantly check our phones and multitask.
There are two kinds of parents in modern America, says Alison Gopnik in her recent book, The Gardener and the Carpenter. The "carpenter" thinks that his or her child can be molded.
Brian Butcher, a history teacher at Ballou High School, sat in the bleachers of the school's brand-new football field last June watching 164 seniors receive diplomas. It was a clear, warm night and he was surrounded by screaming family and friends snapping photos and cheering.
It was one of the worst moments of Durga's life: the morning her father suddenly announced that in about a week's time she would have to get married. She was 15 years old. Her husband-to-be was in his 40s, had barely been to school and had a reputation as a heavy drinker.
A hunter with bow and arrow, in a steamy sub-Saharan savanna, stalks a big, exotic animal. After killing and butchering it, he and his hunt-mates bring it back to their families and celebrate. This enduring scenario is probably what many of us have stuck in our heads about how early humans lived.
What are the hidden messages in the storybooks we read to our kids? That's a question that may occur to parents as their children dive into the new books that arrived over the holidays.
People who played action video games that involve first-person shooters, such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, experienced shrinkage in a brain region called the hippocampus, according to a study published Tuesday in Molecular Psychiatry.
A lot of fake and misleading news stories were shared across social media during the election. One that got a lot of traffic had this headline: "FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide.
In late October, Donald Trump released an action plan for what he hopes to accomplish in his first 100 days in office. Below, NPR reporters and editors from the politics team and other coverage areas have annotated Trump's plan.
These days parents, caregivers and teachers have lots of options when it comes to fulfilling that request. You can read a picture book, put on a cartoon, play an audiobook, or even ask Alexa.
There is one generation that has been consistently defined by its obsessions: avocado toast, memes, Harry Potter ... and self-care. They are often perceived as entitled snowflakes, but millennials might be the generation of emotional intelligence. Self-care existed long before millennials did.
Mary Fusillo and her husband, Bob, have been married for 20 years. She met him on a blind date in Houston. Right away, she knew she liked him. He was very intellectual, and he "read jazz biographies of dead jazz musicians," she says, laughing.
For much of the past half-century, children, adolescents and young adults in the U.S. have been saying they feel as though their lives are increasingly out of their control. At the same time, rates of anxiety and depression have risen steadily. Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?
Fifteen years ago, psychologists Barbara Rogoff and Maricela Correa-Chavez ran a simple experiment. They wanted to see how well kids pay attention — even if they don't have to. They would bring two kids, between the ages 5 to 11, into a room and have them sit at two tables.
It's impolite to stare. But when it comes to severely injured soldiers, maybe we don't look enough; or maybe we'd rather not see wounded veterans at all. That's the message you get from photographer David Jay's Unknown Soldier series.
During my senior year of high school, I started dreading calculus. Every time my teacher slapped our tests face-down on our desks, I would peel up the corner of the page just enough to see the score, circled in red. The numbers were dropping quickly: 79, 64, 56.
In Charlotte Zwerin's 1988 film Straight, No Chaser, Thelonious Monk road manager Bob Jones tells a story about Monk appearing on a television show sometime in the late '50s. Monk is asked what kind of music he likes, to which he replies "all kinds.
Twitter Who doesn't love a good scary story, something to send a chill across your skin in the middle of summer's heat? And this year, we're celebrating the 200th birthday of one of the most famous scary stories of all time: Frankenstein — so a few months ago, we asked you to nominate your
Most of the world didn't know anyone lived in the highlands of Papua New Guinea until the 1930s, when Australian gold prospectors surveying the area realized there were about a million people there. When researchers made their way to those villages in the 1950s, they found something disturbing.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the man who invented recorded sound — Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville. He beat the more well-known inventor Thomas Edison by 20 years, though his accomplishments were only recognized over the last decade.
Why do you do what you do? What is the engine that keeps you up late at night or gets you going in the morning? Where is your happy place? What stands between you and your ultimate dream? Heavy questions. One researcher believes that writing down the answers can be decisive for students.
The first death was on the night of Jan. 9. It was a Saturday. Pele Kristiansen spent the morning at home, drinking beers and hanging out with his older brother, which wasn't so unusual. There wasn't a lot of work in town. A lot of people drank.
Since NPR Ed first published this piece last year, it has become one of our most popular posts of all time. And since then, there has been a little anecdotal proof of concept for these parenting theories: Kathy Pasek, one of the authors interviewed, has a son named Benj Pasek.
As college students grapple with the rising costs of classes and books, mortgaging their futures with student loans in exchange for a diploma they're gambling will someday pay off, it turns out many of them are in great financial peril in the present, too.
Childhood — and parenting — have radically changed in the past few decades, to the point where far more children today struggle to manage their behavior. That's the argument Katherine Reynolds Lewis makes in her new parenting book, The Good News About Bad Behavior.
Shiru Cafe looks like a regular coffee shop. Inside, machines whir, baristas dispense caffeine and customers hammer away on laptops. But all of the customers are students, and there's a reason for that. At Shiru Cafe, no college ID means no caffeine.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright describes herself as an "optimist who worries a lot." And lately, it seems, there has been much to worry about.
Erika Christakis' new book, The Importance of Being Little, is an impassioned plea for educators and parents to put down the worksheets and flash cards, ditch the tired craft projects (yes, you, Thanksgiving Handprint Turkey) and exotic vocabulary lessons, and double-down on one, simple word:
NPR has retracted the story that was previously on this page because it did not meet our standards. "Fairness" is one of our guiding principles, and to that end we have pledged to "make every effort to gather responses from those who are the subjects of criticism.
Humans have suffered from migraines for millennia. Yet, despite decades of research, there isn't a drug on the market today that prevents them by targeting the underlying cause.
Does the neighborhood you grow up in determine how far you move up the economic ladder? Harvard University economist Raj Chetty has been working with a team of researchers on this tool — the first of its kind because it marries U.S. Census Bureau data with data from the Internal Revenue Service.
White evangelicals are a formidable force in American politics. Republican candidates hustle for their votes. White evangelical leaders have befriended presidents of both parties. The group even gets its own separate question in presidential exit polls.
From the self-affirmations of Stuart Smalley on Saturday Night Live to countless videos on YouTube, saying nice things to your reflection in the mirror is a self-help trope that's been around for decades, and seems most often aimed at women.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton went head to head Monday night in the first presidential debate. NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, live annotated the debate.
Fake news stories can have real-life consequences. On Sunday, police said a man with a rifle who claimed to be "self-investigating" a baseless online conspiracy theory entered a Washington, D.C., pizzeria and fired the weapon inside the restaurant. So, yes, fake news is a big problem.
Michael Frank ran his finger down his medical bill, studying the charges and pausing in disbelief. The numbers didn't make sense. His recovery from a partial hip replacement had been difficult. He had iced and elevated his leg for weeks.
Comedian Hari Kondabolu made a documentary in 2017 called The Problem With Apu. It's not very long — less than an hour. In it, he interrogates the legacy of Apu, the convenience store owner on The Simpsons voiced by Hank Azaria.
When you whack yourself with a hammer, it feels like the pain is in your thumb. But really it's in your brain.
Back in the early 1990s, psychologist Suzanne Gaskins was living in a small Maya village near Valladolid, Yucatán, when she struck up a conversation with two sisters, ages 7 and 9. The girls started telling her — with great pride — about all the chores they did after school.
A museum in Southern France has discovered more than half its collection of paintings thought to be by a celebrated local artist are counterfeit. And investigators say that works attributed to other regional artists could also be fakes.
Sometimes the true value of an invention isn't obvious until people start using it. Consider what happened to inventor Nate Ball and his powered ascender. About 15 years ago, Ball was an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology when the U.S.
On New Year's Eve, back in 2012, Savannah Eason retreated into her bedroom and picked up a pair of scissors. Her dad managed to wrestle the scissors from her hands, but that night it had become clear she needed help.
Eventually it happens to everyone. As we age, even if we're healthy, the heart becomes less flexible, more stiff and just isn't as efficient in processing oxygen as it used to be. In most people the first signs show up in the 50s or early 60s.
Walking through the woods alone can be a scary prospect for a kid, but not for 7-year-old Matthew of Portland, Oregon. He doesn't have much of a backyard at his condo, so the woods behind his house essentially serve the same purpose.
It took an explosion and 13 pounds of iron to usher in the modern era of neuroscience. In 1848, a 25-year-old railroad worker named Phineas Gage was blowing up rocks to clear the way for a new rail line in Cavendish, Vt.
To the average pedestrian, it was just a curb. To an observant one, perhaps, it was an oddly misaligned curb. To geologists, it was a snapshot of the earth's shifting tectonic plates — an accidental experiment, a field trip destination for decades.
In 1933, faced with a housing shortage, the federal government began a program explicitly designed to increase — and segregate — America's housing stock. Author Richard Rothstein says the housing programs begun under the New Deal were tantamount to a "state-sponsored system of segregation."
Are we really in a post-truth era? Somebody on the Internet said so. Many people, actually. The presidential campaign was filled with falsehoods. Our president-elect no longer poses as a truth-teller: Aides and supporters say we should not take him literally.
Standing before several dozen students in a college classroom, Travis Rieder tries to convince them not to have children. Or at least not too many. Why question such assumptions? The prospect of climate catastrophe.
There's no other way to put it: Maria de los Angeles Tun Burgos is a supermom.
Author Peggy Orenstein says that when it comes to sexuality, girls today are receiving mixed messages. Girls hear that "they're supposed to be sexy, they're supposed to perform sexually for boys," Orenstein tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "but that their sexual pleasure is unspoken."
The Fox News Channel and a wealthy supporter of President Trump worked in concert under the watchful eye of the White House to concoct a story about the death of a young Democratic National Committee aide, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
We know we should put the cigarettes away or make use of that gym membership, but in the moment, we just don't do it. There is a cluster of neurons in our brain critical for motivation, though. What if you could hack them to motivate yourself?
Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2016 and has been updated. People do the darnedest things in hopes of avoiding mosquito bites. They burn cow dung, coconut shells or coffee. They drink gin and tonic. They eat bananas.
Plastic trash is littering the land and fouling rivers and oceans. But what we can see is only a small fraction of what's out there. Since modern plastic was first mass-produced, 8 billion tons have been manufactured. And when it's thrown away, it doesn't just disappear.
We live in a unique moment of human history where the tools our parents used are not the ones we take in hand.
Is failure a positive opportunity to learn and grow, or is it a negative experience that hinders success? How parents answer that question has a big influence on how much children think they can improve their intelligence through hard work, a study says.