Science + Technology

Science + Technology
9:12 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Ocean Waves As You Have Never Seen Them Before

A large wave on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, sucks sand off of the seafloor and into the wave itself. This photo is the cover image of Clark Little's latest coffee table book, Shorebreak.
Clark Little

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 10:33 am

Clark Little photographs ocean waves.

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Science + Technology
3:34 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Physicists Crush Diamonds With Giant Laser

Physicists put diamonds at the center of this massive laser, to see what would happen.
Matt Swisher Matt Swisher/LLNL

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 11:09 am

Physicists have used the world's most powerful laser to zap diamonds. The results, they say, could tell us more about the cores of giant planets.

"Diamonds have very special properties, besides being very expensive and used for jewelrey etc.," says Raymond Smith, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. "It's the hardest substance known to man."

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Science + Technology
11:51 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Neil Whosis? What You Don't Know About The 1969 Moon Landing

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 1:29 am

Forty-five years ago, this week, 123 million of us watched Neil and Buzz step onto the moon. In 1969, we numbered about 200 million, so more than half of America was in the audience that day. Neil Armstrong instantly became a household name, an icon, a hero. And then — and this, I bet, you didn't know — just as quickly, he faded away.

"Whatever Happened to Neil Whosis?" asked the Chicago Tribune in 1974.

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Science + Technology
7:40 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

FCC Extending Net Neutrality Commenting Time After Site Buckles

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Thomas Wheeler.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:32 am

A flood of comments about net neutrality crashed the Federal Communications Commission's commenting site on Tuesday, the original deadline for public comments on the controversial Internet proposal. But the tech problems are buying those who want to weigh in some extra time — the deadline for public commenting is now Friday at midnight.

Of the 780,000 comments submitted to the FCC, 100,000 came on Tuesday alone, which the FCC's outdated electronic comment filing system was not capable of handling.

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Science + Technology
5:30 am
Sun July 13, 2014

The Most Astonishing Wave-Tracking Experiment Ever

Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 9:58 am

I'm standing on a beach and I see, a few hundred yards out, a mound of water heading right at me. It's not a wave, not yet, but a swollen patch of ocean, like the top of a moving beach ball, what sailors call a "swell." As it gets closer, its bottom hits the rising shore below, forcing the water up, then over, sending it tumbling onto the beach, a tongue of foam coming right up to my toes — and that's when I look down, as the wave melts into the sand and I say,

"Hi, I'm from New York. But what about you? Where are you from?"

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Science + Technology
4:22 am
Wed July 9, 2014

In Google Newsroom, Brazil Defeat Is Not A Headline

After the Brazil-Germany semifinal, Google's experimental newsroom focused on search trends that don't rub salt in Brazil's wounds.
Google

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 10:41 am

If you do a Google search on the World Cup game in which Germany slaughtered Brazil 7-1, the top results will say things like "destroy," "defeat," and "humiliate."

But Google itself is choosing to steer clear of negative terms. The company has created an experimental newsroom in San Francisco to monitor the World Cup, and turn popular search results into viral content. And they've got a clear editorial bias.

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Science + Technology
11:41 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Google Glass Faces A Ban In British Movie Theaters

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 2:03 pm

Just one week after Google Glass went on sale in the U.K., fears of piracy have led to calls to ban the eyewear from being worn in movie theaters.

Criticism of the Google device, which can allow those wearing it to record what they see, has come from the powerful Cinema Exhibitors' Association, which as the BBC reports "has no power to enforce a ban, but instead makes recommendations to most of the country's cinema industry."

From London, Ari Shapiro reports:

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Science + Technology
9:06 am
Wed July 2, 2014

The Game Of The Gods Keeps Us Watching

If you didn't know the rules, could you figure them out just by watching the game?
Michael Steele Getty Images

The famous American physicist Richard Feynman once made an interesting comparison between games and the laws of nature (here adapted to soccer to keep up with the spirit of the Word Cup):

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Science + Technology
9:04 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Facebook Manipulates Our Moods For Science And Commerce: A Roundup

Facebook researchers manipulated newsfeeds of nearly 700,000 users to study "emotional contagion."
iStockPhoto

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 2:28 pm

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Science + Technology
3:16 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Rainstorms Pummel Upper Midwest, Drowning Resources

Flooding across the Upper Midwest, including Iowa, over the last couple weeks has soaked homes and fields and left local governments scrambling.
Dirk Lammers AP

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 2:28 pm

Heavy rains over the past couple of weeks have rivers rising all across the Upper Midwest, flooding homes, swamping fields and washing out roads.

Fans hum 24/7 as Laura Westra tries to dry out her sopping-wet basement in the small town of Rock Valley, Iowa.

The nearby Rock River, in the northwest corner of the state, swelled last week wider and deeper than anyone can remember.

"We've lived here 45 years, and this is the first time we had water in the basement," Westra says.

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Science + Technology
10:31 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Blame Your Brain: The Fault Lies Somewhere Within

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 3:33 pm

Science doesn't just further technology and help us predict and control our environment. It also changes the way we understand ourselves and our place in the natural world. This understanding can inspire awe and a sense of grandeur.

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Science + Technology
9:18 am
Wed June 18, 2014

U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Area Would Nearly Double Under New Plan

The Department of the Interior is proposing a large expansion of U.S. efforts to make energy from offshore winds, with a plan centered off the Massachusetts coast. Here, a 2010 photo shows a sunrise over Nantucket Sound.
Julia Cumes AP

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 11:55 am

A large swath of the Atlantic Ocean could soon be used to generate electricity, as a U.S. agency proposes opening more than 1,000 square miles of ocean to wind energy projects. The area is off the coast of Massachusetts, which has been working on the proposal with federal officials.

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Science + Technology
3:25 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Is Collecting Animals For Science A Noble Mission Or A Threat?

DNA from these crab plovers, collected in Djibouti, Africa, should help scientists figure out how the unusual species fits into the family tree, says the Smithsonian's Helen James.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 8:29 am

Behind the scenes at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, there's a vast, warehouse-like room that's filled with metal cabinets painted a drab institutional green. Inside the cabinets are more than a half-million birds — and these birds are not drab. Their colorful feathers make them seem to almost glow.

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Science + Technology
6:49 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

How Yahoo's Diversity Numbers Compare With Google's

Yahoo is famously led by a woman, CEO Marissa Mayer. But its workforce, like most tech companies, is dominated by men.
Robert Galbraith Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 8:05 pm

Yahoo has responded to the years-long calls for tech companies to disclose their staffs' gender and racial breakdowns. The numbers released Tuesday show its workforce, like much of the tech industry, is dominated by white and Asian males. In its post releasing the data, Yahoo explained its reasoning:

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Science + Technology
6:31 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Plastics Don't Disappear, But They Do End Up In Seabirds' Bellies

Plastic floats ashore in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Bay Ismoyo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 8:33 pm

The vast majority of debris in the ocean — about 75 percent of it — is made of plastic. It can consist of anything from plastic bottles to packaging materials, but whatever form it takes, it doesn't go away easily.

While plastic may break down into smaller and smaller pieces, some as small as grains of sand, these pieces are never truly biodegradable. The plastic bits, some small enough that they're called microplastics, threaten marine life like fish and birds, explains Richard Thompson, a professor of marine biology at Plymouth University in the U.K.

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Science + Technology
4:59 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Hubble To Search For Last Stop On Pluto Probe's Itinerary

Artist concept of New Horizons spacecraft. The Hubble Space Telescope is being pressed into service to help scientists look for a post-Pluto target for the space probe.
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The Hubble Space Telescope is being pressed into service to search for a post-Pluto "icy body" as a last stop for NASA's New Horizons probe.

The Baltimore-based committee that metes out observing time for the HST announced today that it is allotting time to look for a suitable Kuiper Belt object for New Horizons to flyby after it passes close to Pluto in July 2015.

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Science + Technology
10:57 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Obama Proposes Creation Of World's Largest Ocean Sanctuary

This photo released by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows pink corals on the Palmyra Atoll in the Pacific. Parts of three remote and uninhabited Pacific island chains were set aside by President George W. Bush as national monuments to protect them from oil and gas extraction and commercial fishing.
Jim Maragos AP

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 2:53 pm

President Obama unveiled a proposal on Tuesday that would create the world's largest ocean sanctuary south and west of Hawaii, The Washington Post and The Associated Press are reporting.

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Science + Technology
1:26 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Microwave Helmet Could Diagnose Strokes As Patients Ride To Hospital

Andreas Fhager, a biomedical engineer at the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, adjusts the Strokefinder device on a test subject's head.
Gunilla Brocker

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 4:21 pm

When a stroke hits, brain cells perish at an alarming rate. The faster a patient gets treatment, the less likely it is that he or she will suffer permanent damage.

But to pick the right treatment, doctors must find the underlying cause of the stroke fast.

Most strokes occur when a clot blocks blood flow in the brain. For the best results, treatment of those strokes with clotbusting drugs should start less than 90 minutes after onset.

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Science + Technology
7:30 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Lights, Lights, Lights, Action! A Crazy New Light Projector

A dandypunk Vimeo

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 12:25 pm

What can you do with a spotlight?

You can light a spot.

But what if you give yourself more options and invent a tool that lets light spill, splash or tighten into a beam as thin as a pencil line — a beam of light that can draw!

Draw what? Oh my God, so many things: a galloping unicorn, a friendly girl, a guy who kicks you in the face, a wormhole, a ball that splashes into a fluid, a cube, a spiral, a rabbit, a squid, a scribble.

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Science + Technology
3:50 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Father Devises A 'Bionic Pancreas' To Help Son With Diabetes

Ed Damiano and his son David, 15, play basketball at home in Acton, Mass. Ed has invented a device he hopes will make David's diabetes easier to manage.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 8:00 am

An alarm sounds on Ed Damiano's night stand in the middle of the night. He jumps out of bed and rushes into his son's room next door.

His son, David, has Type 1 diabetes. The 15-year-old sleeps hooked up to a monitor that sounds an alarm when his blood sugar gets too low. If it drops sharply, David could die in his sleep.

"The fear is that there's going to be this little cold limb, and I screwed up. It's all on me," Damiano says.

But when he touches David's hand, he's warm. He's OK. Damiano says, "That's the moment of relief."

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