The Pulse – Feb. 13 2015

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    This is the final weekend to sign up for Obamacare in 2015, and Latinos are one of the groups that could really stand to benefit from this insurance option—they make up about one-third of the nation’s uninsured. Even so, sign ups have lagged. Elana Gordon reports on new strategies to change that.

    “The honest truth is that I had never expected to stay this long,” said FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg in a recent interview. After six years running the organization, she’s making her exit. We sit down with an FDA watcher to discuss the high and lows of Hamburg’s record tenure and discuss the people who could succeed her.

    Scientific and medical issues can and do turn into political footballs—think global warming, vaccines, fracking. But watch out politicians: there’s a new sheriff in town! SciCheck is a new branch of the website FactCheck.org, and it’s leader hopes to keep politicians attempts to bend science in check as an election season nears.

    Each winter, the city of Philadelphia uses 20 to 40 thousand tons of rock salt to keep its roads ice-free. In a bad season, like last year, that number can balloon to more than 80,000. That’s just one city, and that huge number doesn’t include you and me, throwing a thick coat of salt on our sidewalk every time we see a flake of snow. Jessica McDonald reports on what all that salt is doing to our health.

    It appears that Americans are becoming more unified on the issue of climate change, and more supportive of governmental action to reduce carbon emissions. Why the change in attitudes? Maybe it comes on the back of the recent Buzzfeed.com report that climate change could have a massive impact on fine wine. NO! We invited that reporter, Sandra Allen, to talk to us about these horrific findings.

    Birds are beautiful, I’m sure we can all agree on that. The parasites that live on and in birds? Not so much…But don’t tell an ornithologist that. In our regular segment “So What Do You Do?” writer Chris Norwood sits down with bird expert Jason Weckstein to learn more about something you never thought you’d want to know.

    Did you know operating room gloves, used by every member of a surgical team, are actually the product of a budding romance? Reporter Taunya English takes us back to the turn of the twentieth century, when the operating room was not the place you wanted to be.

    Also on this week’s show, the peculiar nesting habits of the hornbill, and #healthpolicyvalentines tweets. For example: “Baby, your love is addictive. But not as addictive as the added sugar that permeates almost our entire food supply.” We’ll ready the funniest.

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