Science + Technology

Science + Technology
3:48 pm
Sun May 12, 2013

New Closed-Captioning Glasses Help Deaf Go Out To The Movies

Sony's Entertainment Access Glasses, seen here in a prototype image, display captions for deaf and hard-of-hearing moviegoers.
Sony Entertainment

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 3:30 pm

There will be a special attraction for deaf people in theaters nationwide soon. By the end of this month, Regal Cinemas plans to have distributed closed-captioning glasses to 6,000 screens across the country.

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Science + Technology
1:47 pm
Sun May 12, 2013

For Year-Round Buzz, Beekeepers 'Fast-Forward Darwinism'

The Plymouth County Beekeepers Association distributed more than 500 crates of honeybees this spring.
Katherine Perry for NPR

Originally published on Sun May 12, 2013 6:51 pm

Beekeepers In Massachusetts are taking the mission to save the bees into their own hands.

There has been a dramatic disappearance of honeybees across the U.S. since 2006. A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report blamed a combination of problems, including mites, disease, poor nutrition and pesticides.

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Science + Technology
2:46 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Atop A Hawaiian Mountain, A Constant Sniff For Carbon Dioxide

Researchers use the 120-foot tower atop Mauna Loa in Hawaii to collect air samples and measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Mauna Kea looms in the distance.
Forrest M. Mims III forrestmims.org

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 1:22 pm

Climate scientists have a good reason to want to get away from it all. To get an accurate picture of the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere, you have to find places where the numbers won't be distorted by cities or factories or even lots of vegetation that can have a major local impact on CO2 concentrations.

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Science + Technology
3:16 am
Fri May 10, 2013

College Divestment Campaigns Creating Passionate Environmentalists

Students associated with the group Brown Divest Coal protested in front of the Brown University president's office during a rally May 3. The group is demanding that the university stop investing in certain oil and coal companies.
Courtesy of Brown Divest Coal

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 11:04 am

At about 300 colleges across the country, young activists worried about climate change are borrowing a strategy that students successfully used in decades past. In the 1980s, students enraged about South Africa's racist Apartheid regime got their schools to drop stocks in companies that did business with that government. In the 1990s, students pressured their schools to divest Big Tobacco.

This time, the student activists are targeting a mainstay of the economy: large oil and coal companies.

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Science + Technology
4:34 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Could You Talk To A Caveman? Scientists Say It's Possible

Would Mel Brooks' famous 2,000-Year-Old Man have understood modern language? Researchers say there's a possibility.
ABC/Photofest

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:41 pm

In 1961, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner came up with some basic theories of caveman linguistics in their 2,000-Year-Old Man skit. Most of them had to do with rocks, as in, "What are you doing with that rock there?"

Now, a professor in England has questioned the validity of the famous caveman's rock-centric theories. And Mark Pagel of the University of Reading is reaching even further back, to the time of the 15,000-year-old man.

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Science + Technology
12:54 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Moths That Drive Cars (Really)

YouTube

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 10:07 am

What you are about to see — and I'm not making this up — is a moth driving a car.

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Science + Technology
3:33 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Consumers Facing Subscription Service Overload Will Only Get More Choices

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 4:02 pm

YouTube is expected to announce in the coming days that it will launch paid subscription channels, a first for the online video platform that's been around since 2005. But, with the growing number of subscription services available for entertainment, shopping and news, some consumers say they're reaching digital subscription overload.

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Science + Technology
2:53 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Will Tweaking Windows 8 Be Enough To Revive The PC?

Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system was criticized when it was released last year for features some said didn't mesh with a desktop PC environment. The company has indicated that it will address some of those issues in an upcoming update.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 11:43 am

When Microsoft introduced Windows 8 last year, the software giant billed the new operating system as one of the most critical releases in its history. The system would bridge the gap between personal computers and the fast-growing mobile world of tablets and smartphones.

But this week, the company sent signals that it might soon alter Windows 8 to address some early criticism of the operating system.

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Science + Technology
7:06 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Study: 'Fossil' Words Are Older Than We Thought

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 8:58 pm

The origin of some of the words we use today goes back much further than scientists once thought, suggesting an Ice Age-era proto-language that spawned many of the world's contemporary linguistic groups, according to a new study by a group of U.K.-based scientists.

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Science + Technology
6:12 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Bee Deaths May Have Reached A Crisis Point For Crops

A bee inspector checks on a frame of bees to assess the colony strength near Turlock, Calif., in February. More than 30 percent of America's bee colonies died off over the winter.
Gosia Wozniacka AP

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 10:56 pm

According to a new survey of America's beekeepers, almost a third of the country's honeybee colonies did not make it through the winter.

That's been the case, in fact, almost every year since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began this annual survey, six years ago.

Over the past six years, on average, 30 percent of all the honeybee colonies in the U.S. died off over the winter. The worst year was five years ago. Last year was the best: Just 22 percent of the colonies died.

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Science + Technology
11:46 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Our Very Normal Solar System Isn't Normal Anymore

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 8:53 am

Some things you just count on. Like if we ever meet a space alien, it should have eyes (and maybe a head). Like somewhere out there, there are planets like ours. Like we have an ordinary solar system — "ordinary" because you know what it looks like ...

It's got a sun in the middle, little planets on the inside, bigger ones farther out. That's what most of them should look like, no?

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Science + Technology
3:03 am
Tue May 7, 2013

U.S. Turns Up Heat On Costly Commercial Cybertheft In China

Chinese cyber-espionage is threatening U.S. economic competitiveness.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 1:04 pm

American companies that do business with China make good money. They also lose a lot of money there to cyberthieves, who routinely hack into the computers of the U.S. firms and steal their trade and technology secrets.

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Science + Technology
2:59 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Envisioning The Future With Cori Lathan

AnthroTronix Founder and CEO Corinna Lathan, at the company's offices in Silver Spring, Md.
Courtesy of AnthroTronix, Inc.

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 11:04 am

Computers were created to be useful tools, but all too often it's still a chore to get technology to do our bidding.

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Science + Technology
3:45 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Chicago's Famed Field Museum Struggles To Dig Out Of A Hole

"Sue," the Tyranosaurus rex skeleton, is one of the most famous exhibits at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History
John Zich AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 8:25 pm

The economy may be on the rebound, but many cultural institutions are still struggling to regain their financial footing. That's especially true for one of the country's most recognized museums — the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Known internationally for its research as well as its exhibits, the Field Museum must pay off millions in bond debt — and toe an ethical line as it does.

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Science + Technology
2:28 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

NASA: Warming Climate Likely Means More Floods, Droughts

Flash floods followed heavy rains in northern India in September.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 12:53 pm

The Earth's wettest regions are likely to get wetter while the most arid will get drier due to warming of the atmosphere caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, according to a new NASA analysis of more than a dozen climate models.

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Science + Technology
4:22 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Of Flybots And Bug Eyes: Insects Inspire Inventors

These robotic flies, which were built in a Harvard lab, can flap their wings independently of each other and fly around while tethered to a power and control wire.
Kevin Ma, Pakpong Chirarattananon AAAS/Science

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:49 pm

A smartphone can tell you where to get a cup of coffee, but it can't go get the coffee for you. Engineers would like to build little machines that can do stuff. They would be useful for a lot more than coffee, if we could figure out how to make them work.

But the rules of mechanics change at small scales. Friction becomes dominant; turbulence can upend a small airplane.

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Science + Technology
10:42 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Send Your Haiku To Mars! NASA Seeks Poets

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope took this close-up of the red planet Mars in 2007, when it was just 55 million miles away.
NASA UPI/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 1:33 pm

Galactic poet?

Here's how to become famous.

Send your work to Mars!

NASA is raising awareness for its upcoming launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft with its Going to Mars project. The MAVEN spacecraft is scheduled for launch this November, to study the Red Planet's upper atmosphere; the craft will examine why Mars lost its atmosphere, and how that catastrophe affected the history of water there.

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Science + Technology
3:04 am
Tue April 30, 2013

He Helped Discover Evolution, And Then Became Extinct

Poacher-turned-conservationist Karamoy Maramis, who works at Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park in Sulawesi, holds a maleo, a bird that exists in nature only on the Indonesian island.
Rebecca Davis NPR

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 3:27 pm

Ask most folks who came up with the theory of evolution, and they'll tell you it was Charles Darwin.

In fact, Alfred Russel Wallace, another British naturalist, was a co-discoverer of the theory — though Darwin has gotten most of the credit. Wallace died 100 years ago this year.

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Science + Technology
7:17 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Saturn Shows Off A Massive Spinning Vortex: 'The Rose'

A mammoth spinning vortex is seen on Saturn, in this "false-color" photograph released by NASA Monday. The image was captured by the Cassini spacecraft. A related image, presenting what a human eye would see, is farther down this page.
NASA

NASA is calling it "The Rose." By any other name, it's a mammoth storm on Saturn's north pole. Its eye spans an estimated 1,250 miles — 20 times the size of an average hurricane's eye on Earth. Winds in the Saturn storm's eye wall are believed to be four times as fast.

The stunning image of the spinning vortex was given "false colors" to emphasize low clouds (in red) versus high clouds (in green). NASA estimates that the clouds at the outer edge are moving at up to 330 miles per hour.

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Science + Technology
4:56 pm
Sun April 28, 2013

First He Invented The Phone. Then, Bell Left A Voice Message

Though the quality of the sound recordings is poor, we know what Alexander Graham Bell was saying because he left transcripts.
Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 4:28 pm

As the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell is credited with bringing countless voices to our ears. And now, for the first time, here he is imploring us to hear his own voice:

The sound is scratchy. You have to strain to decipher it, but the words are clear. They're from Bell's lips, recorded in 1885 but unveiled just last week by the Smithsonian.

"It lets us know what the past was really like. It fills in a gap for people," says Shari Stout, collections manager at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

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