Science + Technology

Science + Technology
5:04 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

An Underwater Race To Transplant Miami's Rare Corals

Close-up of a star coral rescued by Coral Morphologic from a reef in Miami's shipping channel.
Courtesy of Coral Morphologic

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 7:18 pm

A lab just off Florida's Miami River has become the base for an unusual lifesaving operation.

A group of scientists there is on an urgent mission to save as many corals as it can before the marine creatures are destroyed as part of an underwater excavation of Miami's shipping channel. The channel — set to be dredged and deepened on Saturday — is home to a thriving coral reef.

Read more
Science + Technology
5:11 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Into The Virtual Reality Lab With Pioneering Researchers

Peter Mason tries the Oculus virtual reality headset at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco earlier this year. Some see Facebook's acquisition of the company as a turning point.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 11:41 pm

When Facebook paid $2 billion to buy Oculus VR, the company that makes the virtual reality goggles, it turned heads. Oculus doesn't even make a profit, but many enthusiasts believe this may be a turning point for a technology that's been around for decades.

Read more
Science + Technology
6:04 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Norovirus: Far More Likely To Come From Restaurant Than Cruise Ship

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 11:49 pm

If you follow the news on nasty, contagious norovirus, you might assume that the place you're most likely to get it is on a cruise ship. For one, there was that outbreak earlier this year when a group of passengers got sick with severe vomiting and diarrhea on a Royal Caribbean boat.

Read more
Science + Technology
3:31 am
Tue June 3, 2014

How Atomic Particles Helped Solve A Wine Fraud Mystery

French physicist Philippe Hubert uses gamma rays to detect radioactivity in wine. "In the wine is the story of the Atomic Age," he says.
C J Walker Courtesy of William Koch

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 10:45 am

In a laboratory, deep under a mile-high stretch of the Alps on the French-Italian border, Philippe Hubert, a physicist at the University of Bordeaux, is testing the authenticity of a bottle of wine.

"We are looking for radioactivity in the wine," says Hubert. "Most of the time the collectors send me bottles of wine because they want to know if it is fake or not."

Read more
Science + Technology
1:43 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Science, Trust And Psychology In Crisis

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 1:20 pm

When I attended my first scientific conference at the tender age of 20, one of my mentors surprised me with the following bit of advice. Transcribed directly from memory:

"You should be sure to attend the talk by so-and-so. You can always trust his results."

This casual remark made a deep impression on me. What did trust have to do with anything? This was supposed to be science! Based on evidence! It shouldn't have mattered who performed the experiment, who delivered the talk or whose name was on the ensuing publication.

Read more
Science + Technology
3:03 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Drone Wars: Who Owns The Air?

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 11:58 am

There are lots of entrepreneurs who would love to fly drones — tiny unmanned aircraft — all over the country. They dream of drones delivering packages and taking photos, but there's a battle in the courts right now standing in their way. The battle is about whether it's legal for drones to take to the sky.

The question at the core of the battle: Who owns the air?

Read more
Science + Technology
2:22 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Coming Soon: A Summer Of Ugly Fruits And Vegetables

This romaine lettuce growing in California looks pretty now. But how much of it will be discarded as waste before the unblemished plants go on display at the grocery store?
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 3:02 pm

If you're like me, when you're buying fruits and vegetables to cook or make a salad with, you seek the most aesthetically appealing examples: the unblemished apple, the bright-red tomato, the zesty looking leaves of spinach.

But I'm reforming my ways. This summer, I'll be looking for ugly produce instead.

Read more
Science + Technology
11:46 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Our Brain, The Trickster

Argentina's Facundo Bagnis does his best to integrate space and time as he brings his senses to bear on a tennis ball at the French Open.
Pascal Guyot AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 10:46 am

The "here and now." We say these words with perfect calm and composure, as if they mean something. We think we know what they mean. They serve an obvious purpose in our lives. But come to think of it, even if we have more freedom with the "here" — as we are free to move about in space and can conceive of an object filling up a volume in space — the "now" doesn't really exist. Our minds create a representation of both so we may guide ourselves in space and time.

Read more
Science + Technology
8:15 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Google Is Becoming A Car Manufacturer

Google X is building a few hundred self-driving cars that have no steering wheel, accelerator pedal or brake pedal.
Google

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 4:35 pm

Google is taking a detour into the world of automobiles, by becoming a carmaker.

But not just any car: a car that drives itself. In an effort to create a fully, 100 percent self-driving vehicle — something that needs no human being at the steering wheel — the company is building a car without a steering wheel.

Scientists at the company's research wing, Google X, have been working on this project hush-hush for the past year.

Today's Self-Driving Car

Read more
Science + Technology
4:10 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

What To Do If Your iPhone Is Hacked And Remotely Locked

A hacker targeted people in Australia, sending a message to their iPhones and iPads that their devices were locked — unless they paid a ransom.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 5:52 pm

This week, in the hours before daylight, a hacker sent an unsettling alert to iPhone users in Australia. The husband of a Sydney council member received the message at 4 a.m.; a graphic designer was awakened at 2 a.m.

Read more
Science + Technology
1:27 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Former LulzSec Hacker Turned Informant Avoids Further Jail Time

Hector Xavier Monsegur arrives at court in New York for a sentencing hearing on Tuesday.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 2:28 pm

Avoiding further jail time, Hector Xavier Monsegur — a hacktivist legend — walked out of a federal court house in Manhattan on Tuesday.

The AP reports that U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said Monsegur's cooperation helped disrupt hundreds of cyber attacks and helped disrupt the hacker activist group Anonymous and essentially marked the end of LulzSec.

Read more
Science + Technology
6:57 pm
Sun May 25, 2014

Going Dark: The Internet Behind The Internet

The Deep Web is a part of the Internet not accessible by standard Web browsers and search engines.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 3:17 pm

The average computer user with an Internet connection has access to an amazing wealth of information. But there's also an entire world that's invisible to your standard Web browser.

These parts of the Internet are known as the Deep Web. The tools to get to there are just a few clicks away, and more and more people who want to browse the Web anonymously are signing on.

Read more
Science + Technology
4:35 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Organic Cat Litter Chief Suspect In Nuclear Waste Accident

Workers at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant are still investigating what caused a radioactive release at the site, but organic cat litter may be the culprit.
DOE/WIPP

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 3:12 am

In February, a 55-gallon drum of radioactive waste burst open inside America's only nuclear dump, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

Now investigators believe the cause may have been a pet store purchase gone bad.

"It was the wrong kitty litter," says James Conca, a geochemist in Richland, Wash., who has spent decades in the nuclear waste business.

Read more
Science + Technology
7:39 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Book News: NASA Has Free E-Book On Decoding Extraterrestrial Messages

Phone Home? NASA wants us to be ready to understand messages from potentially "a species that is radically Other."
Neilson Barnard Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 3:43 pm

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Read more
Science + Technology
1:13 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

UK Government Asks: What's The Greatest Challenge Of Our Time?

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 10:20 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, a prize that's making a return: the Longitude Prize.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It was set up in 1714 by the British government to solve the greatest challenge of that time: Pinpoint a ship's location at sea by knowing its longitude.

CORNISH: Three hundred years later, there's a video announcing its return.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: We're at the dawn of a new world.

SIEGEL: Its committee is led by Lord Martin Rees, a professor at Cambridge University.

Read more
Science + Technology
1:08 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

The Universe Cares About How Fast You — Yes, You — Travel

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 9:36 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

We've been getting occasional light advice from NPR blogger and physicist Adam Frank. His mantra more or less is: Make friends with science and it will transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Today, Adam's thoughts about how your speed affects the way you experience life. Or as he would prefer to say: your velocity.

Read more
Science + Technology
1:07 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Scientists Discover Carbon Cycle Is Out Of Whack

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 9:39 am

Scientists who track carbon say the way it cycles from the atmosphere back to earth and into plants and animals has apparently changed. It could be the whole planetary carbon treadmill is speeding up.

Science + Technology
1:06 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Snake Species That Went Missing For 78 Years Is Found

The Clarion nightsnake's coloration makes it difficult to see in its black lava habitat.
Courtesy of the Smithsonian

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 2:02 pm

A species of snake that was thought to have gone missing for nearly 80 years — or never to have existed in the first place — has been found.

The Clarion nightsnake, named for the island it inhabits off Mexico's Pacific coast, had been identified only once, back in 1936 by naturalist William Beebe.

He brought a specimen back to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, but scientists questioned whether it was a distinct species.

Double-checking wasn't easy. The volcanic island of Clarion is accessible only by military escort.

Read more
Science + Technology
1:00 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

NOAA Forecasts Quiet Atlantic Hurricane Season In 2014

A satellite image provided by NASA shows Superstorm Sandy on Oct. 30, 2012.
NASA Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 12:35 pm

Hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean will be at or below normal levels this year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's annual forecast.

The six-month hurricane season begins June 1.

Read more
Science + Technology
7:03 am
Wed May 21, 2014

So What If It's Ugly? It Just Keeps On Going ...

Courtesy of Rachel Sussman

Far, far, far away is a great place to be — if you want to stay marvelous. There is a plant, called Welwitschia mirabilis (mirabilis being Latin for marvelous), found only one place on Earth. You can get there, as artist/photographer Rachel Sussman did, by driving through the vast emptiness of the Namibian desert, the Namib Naukluft, in Africa.

Read more

Pages