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Shots - Health Blog
12:27 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

A Deadly Fire That Changed How Hospitals Are Built

Rescue workers carry a hospital bed through a flooded corridor at Hartford Hospital in 1961.
The Hamilton Archives at Hartford Hospital

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:12 am

Fifty years ago it was still OK to smoke in hospitals.

And on Friday, Dec. 8, 1961, someone, nobody knows who, dumped smoldering cigarette ashes down a trash chute at Hartford Hospital, igniting a ferocious fire that killed 16 people.

The fire began at 2:38 p.m. Within minutes a ball of flame zoomed from the basement to the ninth floor, blowing out a rickety trash chute door and engulfing much of the floor in flame and smoke.

An investigation into the fire and how it spread led to changes in fire codes for hospitals across the country.

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The Picture Show
12:21 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Russia By Rail: Getting Into Hot Water

The hot water boiler on the Trans-Siberian Railway is a social gathering place, as well as a convenient way to prepare tea, coffee, oatmeal or instant meals.
Laura Krantz NPR

In American offices, it's the water cooler.

On Russian trains? The boiler.

It's where passengers gather to make tea, coffee, oatmeal, soup, instant pasta or instant anything whose preparation demands hot water.

The boiler – standing proud and tall near the train attendant's compartment in each rail car – is a metal canister keeping water scalding and available at any hour.

Occasional passengers - including myself - refer at times to the appliance as a "samovar."

But this risks offending traditionalists.

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The Two-Way
12:01 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Japan's Prime Minister Says Crippled Nuke Plant Will Be Stable By Year's End

This file handout picture shows workers spraying water to cool down the spent nuclear fuel in the fourth reactor building at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
TEPCO via AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 2:54 pm

Japan's prime minister said that the Fukushima nuclear power plant crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in March is on schedule to be stabilized by the end of the year.

The AP reports:

"Temperatures of the three melted reactor cores have fallen below the boiling point and radiation leaks have significantly subsided, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said.

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Space
12:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

US Military Keeps Wary Eye On Asia's Space Race

In Asia's Space Race: National Motivations, Regional Rivalries, and International Risks, Naval Postgraduate School professor James Clay Moltz discusses the potential militarization of fast-growing space programs in China, India, and Japan--and why US military officials are keeping watch.

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Inbreeding To Blame For Bedbug Renaissance

Presenting at a meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, researchers said bedbugs can survive many generations of inbreeding, allowing one pregnant female to cause a building-wide infestation. Biologist Rajeev Vaidyanathan discusses that study, and another on pesticide resistance.

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Engineers Give The Jump Rope A Spin

When they both worked at Princeton, Howard Stone and Jeff Aristoff used to play basketball at lunchtime. One day, when Dr. Stone was warming up with his jump rope, the two wondered if anyone had mathematically modeled the shape of the rope. The two researchers decided to give it a whirl.

Research News
12:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Rats Show Empathy, By Freeing Trapped Companions

Reporting in Science, researchers write of an experiment in which rats worked to open the cages of trapped rats, but not empty or dummy-filled cages. Author Peggy Mason discusses empathy in non-primates, and the value rats place on freeing a companion--about equal to that of a stash of chocolate chips.

Food
12:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Debating Genetically Modified Salmon

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 12:37 pm

Transcript

JOE PALCA, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Joe Palca. Ira Flatow is away this week. The biotech company AquaBounty Technologies of Waltham, Massachusetts, has developed a genetically modified Atlantic salmon that grows twice as fast as regular salmon. How has it done this? By tinkering with the salmon's genome, adding a growth hormone gene from one fish plus an antifreeze gene from another.

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Research News
12:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Python Could Help Treat Heart Disease

Adult Burmese pythons can swallow prey as large as deer. Now, researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder say the way the python's heart balloons after it eats could help treat human heart disease. Molecular biologist Leslie Leinwand discusses her team's python experiments.

The Two-Way
11:15 am
Fri December 9, 2011

As Candidates Decline, Will Trump Moderate A Debate? 'Don't Know,' He Says

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich listens at right as Donald Trump talks to media after a meeting in New York.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 12:33 pm

The news that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) have decided not to participate in the Dec. 27 Republican presidential debate that businessman/TV personality/self-proclaimed potential independent presidential candidate Donald Trump is supposed to be moderating means just two GOP contenders would be left for the event:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.).

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