Science + Technology

Science + Technology
3:59 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

What Lurks Beneath The Earth's Surface

Shinichi Kuramoto of the Center for Deep Earth Exploration in Japan displays a replica of earthquake fault rock.
TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 4:02 pm

Recently there has been an eruption of revelations from below the surface of the Earth: Major aquifers beneath Kenya and a vast volcano deep in the Pacific Ocean.

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Science + Technology
11:16 am
Mon September 30, 2013

No Assembly Required: Ikea To Sell Solar Panels In U.K.

Workers assemble solar panels at the now-bankrupt Suntech in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi. Overproduction in the country has helped lower the cost of solar panels.
Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 3:44 pm

Ikea Corp., the Swedish housewares giant, says it will begin selling solar panels to its customers in Britain as it aims to tap into a growing market for renewable energy fueled partly by the U.K.'s solar subsidies.

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Science + Technology
6:36 pm
Sun September 29, 2013

Is Living With Extreme Wildfires The New Normal?

A house destroyed by a wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz. Experts say increasing expansion into wildfire-prone areas has created new challenges for firefighters unequipped to protect houses and structures.
Andy Tobin AP

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 5:02 pm

It has been a deadly year for the people who fight wildfires. In total, 32 people have lost their lives fighting fires in 2013; the highest number in nearly 20 years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Just one incident accounts for most of those deaths, the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona. In June, the blaze blasted through a firefighting crew known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots; 19 of the 20 men died.

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Science + Technology
7:12 am
Fri September 27, 2013

It's Clear Humans Are Changing World's Climate, Panel Says

The Larsen B ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula, which is among the places where such ice has been breaking off.
Mariano Caravaca Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 10:56 am

Declaring that "human influence on the climate system is clear," a U.N.-assembled panel of scientists reported Friday that "it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century."

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Science + Technology
6:07 am
Fri September 27, 2013

BlackBerry: If You Don't Survive, May You Rest In Peace

Steve Henn NPR

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:45 pm

This may be premature, but it is best to think of this post as an obituary for the BlackBerry, a phone struck down seemingly in its prime. Gone so soon.

BB, we'll miss you.

Over the course of its existence, BlackBerry sold smartphones to more than 200 million people. It became ubiquitous in places like Indonesia, but it began with an invasion of Wall Street and Washington.

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Science + Technology
3:06 am
Fri September 27, 2013

How Recycling Bias Affects What You Toss Where

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 6:07 am

During an experiment, marketing professor Remi Trudel noticed a pattern in what his volunteers were recycling versus throwing in the garbage. He then went through his colleagues' trash and recycling bins at Boston University for more data.

He found the same pattern, says NPR's Shankar Vedantam: "Whole sheets of paper typically went in the recycling, but paper fragments went in the trash."

Same type of paper, different shapes, different bins.

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Science + Technology
3:40 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Ancient Fish With Strong Jawline Could Rewrite History Of Faces

A reconstruction of Entelognathus primordialis, with the fossil find highlighted above.
Nature

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 4:18 pm

As faces go, Entelognathus primordialis isn't much to look at, even for a fish.

But consider that the 419 million-year-old, armor-plated fish is the earliest known creature to have what humans might recognize as a face, according to research published Wednesday in Nature. That's mostly due to its bony, modern jaw.

As USA Today reports:

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Science + Technology
10:44 am
Tue September 24, 2013

WCBE's Homepage Has A New Look!

WCBE has been working with NPR Digital Services over the past few months to transition our homepage to a new layout. NPR Digital Services assists affiliated member stations, like WCBE, by providing services like our website, webstream, and playlists for our listeners. 

Science
4:37 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Don't Try To Clean That Messy Desk

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 8:38 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

When you fall in love with science, ordinary, everyday stuff can suddenly seem extraordinary. That's how NPR blog or an astrophysicist Adam Frank sees it. So look around your house: the mail, the kids' toys, the mess on your desk, the constant daily chaos. Adam Frank says it's all just the universe having its way with your life.

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Science + Technology
12:08 am
Fri September 20, 2013

EPA Wants To Limit Greenhouse Gases From New Coal Power Plants

Mississippi Power's Kemper County energy facility near DeKalb, Miss., seen under construction last year. Carbon dioxide will be captured from this plant and used to stimulate production of oil from existing wells.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 8:11 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency's second stab at a proposal to set the first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants would make it impossible for companies to build the kind of coal-fired plants that have been the country's biggest source of electricity for decades.

Under the proposal, released Friday, any new plant that runs on coal would be permitted to emit only about half as much carbon dioxide as an average coal plant puts into the air today.

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Science + Technology
10:08 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Mama Mia, Mama Mia! A Canadian Bohemian Rhapsodizes About String Theory

YouTube

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 11:42 am

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Science + Technology
5:34 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Calculated To Win: Supercomputers Power America's Cup

Oracle Team USA heads to the waterfront after winning the ninth race of the America's Cup with a 47-second victory over Emirates Team New Zealand.
Eric Risberg AP

The 2013 America's Cup isn't just about using human muscle to race faster than the wind. This year, the international sailing competition is about supercomputing.

Tech teams are working behind the scenes to crunch numbers and model things like how a half-degree change in wing angle could add 5 knots in speed.

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Science + Technology
11:55 am
Tue September 17, 2013

The Bubble At The Edge Of The Solar System

A bubble in space: Abell 39 marks the death of a star like the sun. Wind from the aging central star pushes into the surrounding interstellar gas, building up a dense shell that glows blue in this image. After 36 years of travel, the Voyager spacecraft is just now reaching the edge of the sun's own wind-blown bubble.
WIYN/NOAO/NSF

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 11:34 am

Science at its most fundamental level is not made of experiments or math, copper tubing or silicon chips. Science, at its most fundamental level, is made up of stories because that's how human beings understand themselves and their place in the cosmos.

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Science + Technology
9:08 am
Sun September 15, 2013

Remote Antarctic Trek Reveals A Glacier Melting From Below

The surface tower at a drill site, under construction during blistering Antarctic winds. Data from instruments, deployed through 450 meters of ice, is transmitted from the tower by satellite back to the Naval Postgraduate School.
Image courtesy of Tim Stanton

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:50 am

Scientists watching Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier from space have noticed with some alarm that it has been surging toward the sea.

If it were to melt entirely, global sea levels would rise by several feet.

The glacier is really, really remote. It's 1,800 miles from McMurdo, the U.S. base station in Antarctica, so just getting there is a challenge. Scientists have rarely been able to get out to the glacier to make direct measurements.

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Science + Technology
10:40 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

A Most Delightful Map

Courtesy of Massimo Pietrobon

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 2:07 pm

Think about this: You wake up in New York City, decide to go for a stroll, head east after breakfast, and a short time later, still on foot, you find yourself in Morocco. Three hundred million years ago, you could have done that! There was no civilization back then, no cities, no countries, no people, but the land was there, so take a look at this map.

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Science + Technology
2:45 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

What A Chatty Monkey May Tell Us About Learning To Talk

The gelada monkey, found only in the highlands of Ethiopia, is known as the bleeding heart baboon for the splash of red on its chest. Males of the species have a remarkable vocal agility greater than that of any nonhuman primate.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 2:04 am

The gelada monkey, also known as the bleeding heart baboon, makes a gurgling noise or wobble sound that scientists say is close to human speech — at least in how much facial coordination it requires.

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Science + Technology
10:02 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Humberto Expected To Become First Hurricane Of Atlantic Season

Tropical Storms Humberto and Gabrielle. Humberto is expected to become the first hurricane of the Atlantic season.
National Hurricane Center

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 8:05 pm

Tropical Storm Humberto is poised to get a promotion, becoming the first hurricane of an otherwise lackluster Atlantic season to date.

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Science + Technology
6:07 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Smartwatch Is Next Step In 'Quantified Self' Life-Logging

Samsung's new Galaxy Gear smartwatch marks a new generation of wearable devices.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 5:20 pm

You could call it the phantom menace. Each year, in the midst of winter, a rumor surfaces about a new Apple product that sets tech bloggers buzzing.

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Science + Technology
10:17 am
Sat September 7, 2013

NASA Lunar Orbiter Solves Snag After Successful Launch

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speaks before Friday night's launch of the LADEE moon orbiter. The craft has run into a small technical issue, NASA says, which it will fix before it arrives at the moon next month.
Carla Cioffi NASA

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 1:59 pm

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Science + Technology
3:38 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Coronal Holes: The (Rarely Round) Gaps In The Sun's Atmosphere

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this picture of the sun on June 18. The dark blue area in the upper left quadrant of the sun is a huge coronal hole more than 400,000 miles across. Coronal holes are areas of the sun's outermost atmospheric layer — the corona — where the magnetic field opens up and solar material quickly flows out.
NASA/SDO

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 5:21 pm

There's a hole in the sun's corona. But don't worry — that happens from time to time.

"A coronal hole is just a big, dark blotch that we see on the sun in our images," says Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. "We can only see them from space, because when we look at them [through] a regular telescope, they don't appear."

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