Science + Technology

Science + Technology
2:14 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

The Most Dangerous Ideas In Science

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 3:06 pm

There's a battle going on at the edge of the universe, but it's getting fought right here on Earth. With roots stretching back as far as the ancient Greeks, in the eyes of champions on either side, this fight is a contest over nothing less than the future of science. It's a conflict over the biggest cosmic questions humans can ask and the methods we use — or can use — to get answers for those questions.

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Science + Technology
11:27 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Rare And 'Horrific': Frilled Shark Startles Fishermen In Australia

A frilled shark swims in a tank after being found by a fisherman off Japan's coast in 2007. One of the rare creatures was recently caught in Australia, shocking fishermen.
Awashima Marine Park Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 8:23 am

Normally, we wouldn't call something a living fossil. But the name seems tailor-made for the frilled shark, whose roots are traced to 80 million years ago. Its prehistoric origins are obvious in its primitive body; nearly all of the rare animal's closest relatives are long extinct.

In the most recent of those 80 million years, the frilled shark has been scaring the bejeezus out of humans who pull it out of the water to find an animal with rows of needle-like teeth in a gaping mouth at the front of its head.

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Science + Technology
11:25 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Mind Your Moods, Cat Owners

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 1:18 pm

Babies "social reference" by checking out their parents' facial expressions and voice tones when they encounter a new or strange object or event in their environment — then base their own reactions on mom's or dad's. They look to their parents as they wonder: Is it OK to stay calm, or is it time to worry?

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Science + Technology
3:38 am
Thu January 22, 2015

X-Rays Open Secrets Of Ancient Scrolls

The ancient scrolls look and feel more like blocks of charcoal. A new technique gives a peek inside.
Salvatore Laporta AP

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 12:06 pm

Researchers in Europe have managed to read from an ancient scroll buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. The feat is all the more remarkable because the scroll was never opened.

The Vesuvius eruption famously destroyed Pompeii. But it also devastated the nearby town of Herculaneum. A villa there contained a library stacked with papyrus scrolls, and the hot gas and ash preserved them.

Sort of.

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Science + Technology
6:20 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

The Battle Over Open-Internet Rules Shifts To Congress

President Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission to implement a strict policy of net neutrality and to oppose content providers in restricting bandwidth to customers.
Michael Bocchieri Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 8:01 pm

In Tuesday night's State of the Union address, President Obama offered a number of ideas for improving the economy. Among them was a nod to the role the Internet plays in economic development.

"I intend to protect a free and open Internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks," Obama said.

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Science + Technology
5:45 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

This Is True: Facebook Starts Cracking Down On Hoax News Stories

A Facebook worker at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook announced it will start flagging hoax news stories in users' News Feeds.
Paul Sakuma AP

Facebook's on a mission to make your News Feed a little more truthful.

The social media giant has announced it will start doing more to alert users when stories they're seeing in their feeds are fake. And it will allow users to start flagging hoaxes themselves. But Facebook says it won't remove false stories. And the company says it won't start "reviewing content and making a determination on its accuracy."

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Science + Technology
9:37 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Google's Stake In SpaceX Puts It Closer To Goal Of Internet Access For All

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 12:30 pm

Google's massive investment in SpaceX gives the tech giant another avenue for its goal of providing Internet access to remote parts of the Earth, and it gives Elon Musk's company money to continue its research on space transport, re-usability and satellite manufacturing.

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Science + Technology
12:26 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

At 90, She's Designing Tech For Aging Boomers

Barbara Beskind, 90, is a designer at IDEO who works with engineers on products that improve the quality of life for older people.
Nicolas Zurcher Courtesy of IDEO

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 7:32 pm

In Silicon Valley's youth-obsessed culture, 40-year-olds get plastic surgery to fit in. But IDEO, the firm that famously developed the first mouse for Apple, has a 90-year-old designer on staff.

Barbara Beskind says her age is an advantage.

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Science + Technology
11:41 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Traces Of Oil Found In Montana Town's Water Supply After Spill

A warning sign shows the location of a 12-inch oil pipeline owned by Bridger Pipeline Co. that spilled up to 50,000 gallons of crude along the Yellowstone River near Glendive, Mont.
Matthew Brown AP

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 2:13 pm

Officials in Montana say they have detected traces of oil in the water supply of the town of Glendive, days after up to 50,000 gallons of oil spilled from a break in a pipeline along the Yellowstone River.

NPR's Kirk Siegler is reporting on the story for our Newscast unit. He says:

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Science + Technology
9:43 am
Sat January 17, 2015

As Cities Push For Their Own Broadband, Cable Firms Say Not So Fast

Provo, Utah, is one of three cities in which Google is rolling out its Google Fiber gigabit Internet and television service.
George Frey Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 12:07 pm

Americans increasingly see decently fast Internet as more like a functioning sewer line than a luxury.

And a number of cities are trying to get into the Internet provider business, but laws in 19 states hamper those efforts. President Obama announced this week that he wants to lift those restrictions, and supporters of what is known as municipal broadband can't wait.

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Science + Technology
2:16 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Broadband A 'Necessity,' Obama Says, As He Pushes FCC To Expand Access

President Obama speaks at Cedar Falls Utilities in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Wednesday. He encouraged the Federal Communications Commission to pre-empt state laws that stifle competition for high-speed Internet service.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:58 pm

Updated at 4:48 p.m. ET

President Obama is expected to lay out plans today intended to make it easier for cities, towns and rural communities to offer their citizens fast and cheap broadband Internet.

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Science + Technology
10:54 am
Wed January 7, 2015

As 2015 Begins, Some Ruminations On Science And Life

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 8:40 am

Over the years, I've been collecting thought fragments and sentences that come to me during the day or in the course of my writing books and essays.

Since this is a time of introspection and self-analysis, I wanted to share some of them with the 13.7 readers — along with my wishes for a creative and healthy 2015. I hope these may be useful to you in one way or another. Here it goes:

Limits are not obstacles but triggers that expand your boundaries.

Boundaries can be jails or invitations — it all depends on how you see them.

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Science + Technology
1:23 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Researchers Enlist Internet Users To Help Monitor Penguins

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 1:15 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

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Science + Technology
12:21 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

My Resolution For 2015: Be Smart About My Smartphone

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 7:00 pm

Sometime in 2014, I read Brigid Schulte's Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time and was struck by this passage comparing the culture of work in America with that in Denmark:

"Most Danes don't feel obligated to check their smartphones and e-mail after hours. In fact, they say, people who put in long hours and constantly check e-mail after hours are seen not as ideal worker warriors, as in America, but as inefficient."

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Science + Technology
3:34 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Lacking Internet, Cubans Rely On 'The Package' For Entertainment

Young Cubans prepare their sticks to charge the latest internet "package" with films, television series, software and other similar stuff from foreign origin downloaded from the web.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 9:37 am

Cuba has promised its citizens better Internet access in this New Year. The few Cubans who now manage to get online find it expensive and slow.

Warming ties with the U.S. have stirred hope for improved telecommunications. But until then, many residents have devised an ingenious work-around, or should we say walk-around.

On Havana's Malecon, roaming guitarists play for the crowds resting against the iconic sea wall. In this nightly gathering spot, it's old fashioned interacting. No one is on a cell, no eyes glued to smart phones.

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Science + Technology
8:54 pm
Sun January 4, 2015

A Shadow Economy Lurks In An Electronics Graveyard

Kwesi Bido, 14, (right) stops to fix 13-year-old Inusa Mohammed's flip flop. Both spend evenings and weekends searching for scrap at Agbogbloshie, an electronic waste dump in Accra, Ghana.
Courtesy of Yepoka Yeebo

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 3:51 pm

The average American produces an estimated 66 pounds of electronic waste every year. You can't compost it; it's gotta go somewhere.

Often, in violation of the law, that means a dump in the developing world — like the region of Agbogbloshie in the West African nation Ghana.

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Science + Technology
4:38 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

These Froggies Went A Courtin' And Gave Birth To Live Tadpoles

The newly described L. larvaepartus (male, left, and female) from Indonesia's island of Sulawesi. Odd, sure, but at least they don't use their stomachs as breeding chambers, as some other frogs do.
Jim McGuire UC Berkeley

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 10:34 pm

When Jim McGuire and some colleagues recently cut open a frog that they'd collected and euthanized on an Indonesian island, they got quite a shock.

"Out came the tadpoles, and they were alive!" recalls McGuire, a herpetologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

The researchers had just found the first frog known to give birth to live tadpoles.

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Science + Technology
1:27 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

An Aspiring Martian Continues To Pursue The Red Planet

Beemer, shown at the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station in Utah in 2011, is a candidate for both Mars One and the Mars Arctic 365 program.
Max Fagin

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 6:54 pm

Lt. Heidi Beemer has dreamed of going to Mars since she was 8 years old. She's carefully planned her life, from her education to her career, with a goal of getting to the red planet.

In January she got a step closer to that goal by making first cut of applicants for Mars One — a Netherlands-based nonprofit that has a goal of establishing a permanent, sustainable human settlement on Mars by 2025.

Now, she's preparing to interview for the next round.

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Science + Technology
11:29 am
Tue December 30, 2014

From One Man's Damaged Brain, A Treasure Trove Of Research On Memory

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 6:02 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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Science + Technology
11:22 am
Tue December 30, 2014

In Search Of A Science Of Consciousness

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 1:43 pm

Any color you choose can be matched by a mixture of short, medium and long wavelength light (i.e., blue, green and red light). This perceptual observation led to the formulation, early in the 19th century, of a neurophysiological hypothesis: The eye contains three kinds of distinct color-sensitive receptors (cones); just as colors themselves can be composed of lights of different spectral character, so we can see the vast range of visible color thanks to the joint operation of only three distinct kinds of receptors.

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