Science + Technology

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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Science + Technology
9:22 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Scientists Demonstrate Leaner System For Quantum Encryption

Navajo encryption boxes seen at right in 2003 employ principles of quantum physics. The latest research has shown the ability to run larger networks with less such hardware.
Elise Amendola Associated Press

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 8:48 pm

Scientists have demonstrated the ability to scale-up an 'uncrackable' computer encryption system that utilizes quantum physics to ensure security.

The technique is based on information that is carried by photons, the basic particles of light. While it's been demonstrated on a small scale, the team headed by Andrew Shields and publishing in Nature says they've shown that up to 64 users can share a single photon detector, eliminating the need for each one to have such an (expensive) device.

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Science + Technology
10:27 am
Wed September 4, 2013

As We Become Richer, Do We Become Stingier?

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 6:12 pm

Patricia Greenfield has tracked families in Chiapas, Mexico, over four decades. Many were very poor when she started her study. Slowly, over time, they grew wealthier.

Along the way, Greenfield noticed something: As the people she followed grew richer, they became more individualistic. Community ties frayed and weakened.

Greenfield expanded her findings to form a more general theory about the effects that wealth has on people: "We become more individualistic, less family and community oriented."

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Science + Technology
12:37 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Beyond The Shadows: Apple's iOS 7 Is All About The Screen

Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, discusses features of the new iOS 7 during the keynote address of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 10 in San Francisco.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 3:55 pm

At some point in the coming weeks, users of Apple iPhones and iPads will wake up to an alert that there is a new version of the company's mobile operating system, known as iOS, for them to install.

If users follow historical patterns, within a few days of the launch of iOS 7, almost all of them will install the updated software and, just like that, more than 500 million phones and tablets will be made new. Never before has a technology industry launch come close to matching the scale and speed of this switch.

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Science + Technology
12:02 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

U.S. 'Space Fence' Radar System Goes Silent, After 50 Years

A computer image generated by NASA shows objects orbiting Earth, including those in geosynchronous orbit at a high altitude. The objects are not to scale.
NASA

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 12:51 pm

The Space Fence is down. That's the message we get from the SatWatch site, following up on our report last month that the U.S. Air Force was poised to shut down the radar system that tracks thousands of objects orbiting Earth. It had been in operation since 1961.

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Science + Technology
3:03 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Pollution, Not Rising Temperatures, May Have Melted Alpine Glaciers

The Alps' largest glacier, Aletsch Glacier, extends more than 14 miles and covers more than 46 square miles.
Wikimedia.org

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 11:28 am

Glaciers in the Alps of Europe pose a scientific mystery. They started melting rapidly back in the 1860s. In a span of about 50 years, some of the biggest glaciers had retreated more than half a mile.

But nobody could explain the glacier's rapid decline. Now, a new study from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory uncovers a possible clue to why the glaciers melted before temperatures started rising: Soot from the Industrial Revolution could have heated up the ice.

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Science + Technology
11:27 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Radioactive Water Leak At Fukushima Worse Than First Thought

This photo taken Aug. 6 shows local government officials and nuclear experts at Fukushima after contaminated water was discovered.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 10:48 am

Radiation surrounding Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has increased 18-fold following a report last month that radioactive water had leaked into the ground around the plant, which was badly damaged in a 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, reports that radiation around the site is at 1,800 millisieverts per hour, a level that Reuters says is "enough to kill an exposed person in four hours."

Previously, the utility, also known as Tepco, said the leaking water was at around 100 millisieverts per hour.

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