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Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode What Makes Us ... Us

About Anil Seth's TED Talk

When we look around, it feels like we're seeing an objective reality. But neuroscientist Anil Seth says everything we perceive, from objects to emotions, is an act of informed guesswork by the brain.

About Anil Seth

The Department of Transportation has announced new federal voluntary guidance on the development and use of automated vehicles — with the goal of "removing unnecessary barriers" to innovation.

More than two months since an Ebola outbreak was declared in an eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, health officials are still struggling to end it.

So far at least 130 people have been infected. Last week the World Health Organization declared that the risk has gone from "high" to "very high" that the disease will spread to other parts of the country and to neighboring countries.

Yet some key health officials remain optimistic that it won't actually come to that.

How is that possible?

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Sarah Stewart likes to think about what happens when planets collide. She uses two actual cannons to simulate those massive impacts. Here's one firing in her lab at UC Davis.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Firing in three, two, one.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Have you ever noticed that when something important is missing in your life, your brain can only seem to focus on that missing thing?

Life lately in the tiny northern Minnesota town of Gilbert has resembled a scene out of an Alfred Hitchcock film. Birds, lots of birds, have been "flying into windows, cars and acting confused," according to the city police department, which has been fielding reports from anxious residents.

Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello had just moved to New York when Hurricane Sandy blew in from the Atlantic and buffeted the East Coast.

She heard that the labs at New York University, where she was working — and its freezer — were losing power. So she ran to the failing freezer, took the microbiota samples she'd gathered as a researcher in Puerto Rico over the past 14 years and stored them elsewhere.

Microbiota are the bacteria colonizing the human body — the gut, skin, mouth, and so on — that often help regulate your health. Researchers call them "beneficial germs."

Gregg Gonsalves took a wild, meandering path to the Ivory Tower. His route to becoming a professor at Yale started in street protests and spanned the globe.

On Thursday he was honored with a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship.

Gonsalves is one of this year's MacArthur "geniuses." The award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation comes with a $625,000 no-strings-attached stipend.

Last week, Facebook announced the most serious security breach in its history, in which unknown hackers were able to log onto the accounts of nearly 50 million Facebook users.

Updated at 3:57 p.m. ET

What could possibly bring together a painter, an economist, a pastor and a planetary scientist? If you ask the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the answer is simpler than you may think: They've all shown creativity, potential for future achievements — and the likelihood that $625,000, meted out over five years, will help them complete their grand designs.

You Don't Have To Pass Out To Be Blackout Drunk

Oct 4, 2018

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Unless you've been blissfully unplugged, you must have come across the term "blackout" lately. And you may have thought it means inebriated to the point of unconsciousness. Falling-down drunk. Blotto.

The story Nicole Chung was told about her adoption was always the same: "Your birth parents had just moved here from Korea. They thought they wouldn't be able to give you the life you deserved."

Her adoptive parents were white Catholics living in Oregon who told the story with joy: explaining that Chung was born 10 weeks premature, that her birth parents worried she would struggle all her life, that they believed adoption was the best thing for her.

The wrenching testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, who is accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a sexual assault years ago, raises questions about the long-term emotional and physical toll this kind of trauma takes on survivors and how our society responds to those who come forward long after the assault.

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