Many Americans Ignored Thanksgiving Travel Warnings From CDC, Data Show : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

More Americans stayed home for Thanksgiving this year compared with last year — but by relatively small margins.

An NPR analysis of mobile phone location data showed that 42% of Americans with smartphones remained home, up from 36% last year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention repeatedly urged people to avoid holiday travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the warnings, 13% of Americans still traveled a significant distance, the data showed, although that number was down from 17% last year.

Ali Mokdad, from the University of Washington, said that ideally, more people would have stayed home given the high case rates. “This level of travel will unfortunately lead to a rise in cases,” said Mokdad, who is the chief strategy officer for Population Health.

Data, provided to NPR by SafeGraph, are based on tracking the locations of about 18 million mobile phones across the United States. NPR analyzed

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3 Ex-Presidents Say They Will Take Coronavirus Vaccine On Camera : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton volunteered to take the coronavirus vaccine, once it’s available, on camera to assuage concerns about the shot.

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Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton volunteered to take the coronavirus vaccine, once it’s available, on camera to assuage concerns about the shot.

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who better to promote a product than a former president? How about three?

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are willing to lend their star power for a good cause, saying this week that they would publicly take a coronavirus vaccine, once it’s available in the U.S., to encourage skeptical Americans to do the same.

Obama said that if Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, thought the vaccine was safe and effective,

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Poisonous Rats Have A Secret, Softer Side To Their Personality : NPR

The African crested rat is the only mammal known to sequester lethal plant toxins.

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Stephanie Higgins

The African crested rat is the only mammal known to sequester lethal plant toxins.

Stephanie Higgins

A poisonous rat that licks deadly toxins onto its own fur sounds like some kind of made-up nightmare species. But these creatures are real, and scientists now say they are also unexpectedly affectionate—at least with their own kind.

To would-be predators, the African crested rat, Lophiomys imhausi, is trouble. They dwell in forested areas on the eastern side of the continent, and people there have long known to steer clear of these elusive black and white rodents.

“If a dog tried to attack them, the dogs would get sick and die. So that information has been sort of circulating around for a very long time,” says Sara Weinstein, a researcher with the

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Measuring The Height Of Mount Everest : Short Wave : NPR

Mount Everest, the world’s tallest peak, seen from Syangboche in Nepal.

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Mount Everest, the world’s tallest peak, seen from Syangboche in Nepal.

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For three years, Roxanne Vogel trained, single-mindedly, with one number in mind: 29,029 feet.

She slept in a special tent, outside her home in California, that simulated high altitude. She summited dozens of peaks, on nearly every continent. And finally, last year, Vogel climbed up to 29,029 feet in the Himalayan mountains – the top of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak.

“That’s the closest to heaven, or the closest to outer space, that I will ever get on this Earth,” Vogel, 35, told NPR. “It’s kind of life-changing, when you’re up there.”

Roxanne Vogel, a US mountaineer, atop Everest on May 22, 2019.

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Helicopter Pilots Spot Sci-Fi-Looking Object In Utah’s Red Rock Country : NPR

This monolith was discovered in rural Utah, but officials do not know its source or reason for being installed.

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This monolith was discovered in rural Utah, but officials do not know its source or reason for being installed.

Utah Department of Public Safety

State officials were flying over southeastern Utah looking for sheep as part of a routine task. Instead they found something straight out of a sci-fi movie.

From a helicopter, officers from the Utah Department of Public Safety spotted a large metal monolith — a single block of metal — last week. It was sitting in Utah’s Red Rock Country in the southeast. Officials have no idea how or when it got there — or who might have placed it.

“That’s been about the strangest thing that I’ve come across out there in all

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The Science of Optical Illusions and Ambush Predators : Wow in the World : NPR



MINDY THOMAS, HOST:

Hey, Wowzer fams (ph). Mindy here. And if you’re looking to give the gift of wow this holiday season, a membership to our World Organization of Wowzers has got you covered. By gifting a membership, your Wowzer will receive access to over 700 episode-specific digital activities – including science experiments, crafts, games, recipes, booklets and more. They’ll also receive an autographed picture of Guy Raz and me, an exclusive WOW T-shirt and discounts and early access to events.

And as the gift that keeps on giving, for every membership purchased, Tinkercast will donate one teacher membership to an underserved classroom via First Book. To give the gift of wow this holiday season and learn more about the World Organization of Wowzers, visit tinkercast.com/membership. That’s tinkercast.com/membership. That’s it. And now let’s get on with the show.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “THE GOLDEN AGE (WOW IN THE WORLD PODCAST THEME

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DNA Technology Could Help Investigators In Prince George’s County Reopen Cold Cases : NPR

Prince George’s County will reopen cold cases with the help of DNA technology.

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A $470,000 grant to use new DNA technology could be the answer to solving cold cases in Prince George’s County.

The county was one of 10 in the nation to receive the three-year-long grant from the Department of Justice. The grant will allow the county to reopen cases, some going as far back as 1979, using forensic genetic genealogy — an investigative tool comparing and analyzing DNA samples from crime scenes and popular genealogy websites like 23andMe and Family Tree. The county’s State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy’s office was the recipient of the grant.

“This is a process that holds great promise for achieving justice and bringing closure for victims of cold case crimes and their loved ones,” Braveboy said in a statement. “It’s important for the community

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Exploring Bose-Einstein Condensate And Superfluids : Short Wave : NPR

MIT’s Martin Zwierlein works with ultracold atomic gases. Within these glowing clouds of atoms, “superfluid” states of matter form.

Zwierlein Ultracold Quantum Gases Group


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Zwierlein Ultracold Quantum Gases Group

MIT’s Martin Zwierlein works with ultracold atomic gases. Within these glowing clouds of atoms, “superfluid” states of matter form.

Zwierlein Ultracold Quantum Gases Group

Sharpen your pencils. Get out your notebook. Today, we are unveiling a new series called “Back To School.”

In these episodes, we take a concept you were taught in school and go a little deeper with it. Short Wave reporter Emily Kwong and host Maddie Sofia explore OTHER states of matter — beyond solid, liquid, gas, and plasma.

Have you heard of Bose-Einstein condensate? Or superfluids? It’s your lucky day. We speak with Martin Zwierlein, professor of physics at Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), about his work with ultracold quantum gases and observing

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China Moon Mission Will Try To Bring Back The First Lunar Rocks In Decades : NPR

The rocket, pictured on Nov. 17, will launch China’s Chang’e-5 lunar probe on Tuesday. Here it is being transported to the launching area at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in southern China’s Hainan province.

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The rocket, pictured on Nov. 17, will launch China’s Chang’e-5 lunar probe on Tuesday. Here it is being transported to the launching area at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in southern China’s Hainan province.

Stringer/AFP via Getty Images

China is planning to launch an uncrewed spacecraft to the moon on Tuesday, which will shovel up lunar rocks soil and bring them back to Earth. If successful, it would be the first time any country has retrieved samples from the moon in more than 40 years.

The mission, called Chang’e-5, is part of a series of complex trips to the moon by the China National

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New Climate Satellite Measures Sea Level Rise : NPR

Sentinel 6

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In this animation a radar pulse bounces between the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite and the sea surface, collecting data on the height of the ocean.

A satellite scheduled to launch from California later this month will measure sea level rise and provide other crucial data to scientists who study how global warming is affecting the Earth’s oceans.

Melting ice has already caused sea levels to rise by about 8 inches since 1880, and the trend is accelerating. The Earth’s oceans have soaked up the vast majority of the extra heat, and about one quarter of the extra carbon dioxide, that humans have generated by burning fossil fuels.

The new satellite, named Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich after the former director of NASA’s Earth Science division, will measure sea level around the globe for the next five years. At that point a second satellite of the same type will take its place,

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