National News

Extreme drought conditions in California have state officials looking for alternative sources of water, including desalinated ocean water.

The Search For Drinking Water In California Has Led To The Ocean

California is getting some much needed rain this week, but more than two-thirds of the state is still in extreme drought conditions, and that has the state thinking about alternative ways of getting water.

On the coast in Carlsbad, Calif., construction workers are building what will be the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. When finished in early 2016, it is expected to provide up to 50 million gallons of fresh drinkable water every day.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

Ask Me Anything: Reporting From Ground Zero In Ukraine

NPR's Berlin Correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has covered four revolutions in the last three years, including the Arab Spring.

Should you fear a chemical inside metal food containers like the ones that hold beans? Government scientists say no.

Maybe That BPA In Your Canned Food Isn't So Bad After All

Maybe BPA isn't so bad after all.

The plastic additive has been vilified by environmental advocacy groups. But the chemical had no effect on rats fed thousands of times the amount a typical person ingests, government scientists are reporting in the journal Toxicological Sciences.

The new test scans a mother's blood for bits of a fetus's DNA.

DNA-Based Blood Test For Down Syndrome Is Much More Accurate

A new blood test offers pregnant women a safe and much more accurate way to screen a fetus for Down syndrome.

A study that evaluated the test in 1,914 pregnancies found that by checking fetal DNA it produces far fewer false alarms than current screening techniques.

Boy meets girl, sperm meets egg — how much does the age of each matter?

More Hints That Dad's Age At Conception Helps Shape A Child's Brain

Traditionally, research has focused on women's "biological clock." But in recent years, scientists have been looking more and more at how the father's age at conception might affect the baby, too.

A study published Wednesday hints that age really might matter — in terms of the child's mental health.

When it comes to Internet security, many experts agree outsourcing can create added risks, even if they disagree on the merits of outsourcing in the first place.

With Tech Outsourcing, The Internet Can Be 'A Scary Place'

When you hear the word outsourcing, you might think of threats to American jobs. To cyber experts, there's another threat: to our data.

This week, thousands of the industry's leading minds from around the world are discussing the Internet and security at their annual powwow in San Francisco, the RSA Conference. These topics matter more and more to us non-experts, especially as people become the victims of cybercrime.

Instructions for the colon screening test were devised so they can be understood in any language.

You Got What In The Mail? Home Test Boosts Colon Cancer Screening

Everybody's supposed to get screened for colon cancer starting at age 50, but many of us haven't gotten around to it. That's especially true in the Latino community, where about half of people are up to date on screening, compared to 66 percent of non-Latino whites.

Up till now, all babies have had two genetic parents. That could soon change.

Scientists Question Safety Of Genetically Altering Human Eggs

A panel of government advisers has expressed serious concerns about a controversial proposal to allow scientists to try to make babies using eggs that have been genetically altered to include DNA from another woman.

Members of the Food and Drug Administration panel said they were worried that not enough research has been done to know whether the experiments would be safe.

Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts signed the law enacting the state's latest phase of health care on August 6, 2012.

Massachusetts Launches Health Care Shopping Experiment

To shop for health care, it would help to know what childbirth or a CT scan will cost ahead of time. But is it possible to actually list prices for medical procedures? And will patients armed with the information look for bargains when they seek care?

Massachusetts is trying to find out. Since Jan. 1, hospitals and doctors there have been required to tell patients how much things cost, if they ask. It's part of the state's health care cost control law. We set out to run a test.

A demonstrator confronts riot policemen during an anti-government protest in Caracas, Venezuela's capital, on Feb. 22.

U.S. Has Little Leverage To Stop Political Violence In Venezuela

The escalating political crisis in Venezuela has set off alarms in Washington. But there's little the U.S. has been able to do, aside from criticize the jailing of opposition figures or the rising death toll as protesters continue to take to the streets, blaming the government for high inflation and crime.