Science + Technology

Science + Technology
3:00 am
Thu March 7, 2013

The 'Big Data' Revolution: How Number Crunchers Can Predict Our Lives

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 1:52 pm

When the streaming video service Netflix decided to begin producing its own TV content, it chose House of Cards as its first big project. Based on a BBC series, the show stars Kevin Spacey and is directed by David Fincher, and it has quickly become the most watched series ever on Netflix.

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Science + Technology
2:26 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Spring Break For Geeks: SXSW Interactive Starts Friday

At SXSW 2012, the app "Highlight" was touted but failed to break out like Foursquare or Twitter in years prior.
Jack Plunkett AP

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 3:01 pm

Every year, the South By Southwest music, film and interactive festival gets larger, and navigating the blur of panels, parties and shows gets more daunting. The girth of it all is enough to keep many SXSW old-timers away from Austin this year.

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Science + Technology
3:44 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Elephant Poaching Pushes Species To Brink Of Extinction

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 11:18 am

A new study of Central African forest elephants has found their numbers down by 62 percent between 2002 and 2011. The study comes as governments and conservationists meet in Thailand to amend the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

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Science + Technology
3:39 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Wanna Play? Computer Gamers Help Push Frontier Of Brain Research

This image represents a chunk, or "cube," of brain. Each different color represents a different neuron, and the goal of the EyeWire game is to figure out how these tangled neurons connect to each other. Players look at a slice from this cube and try to identify the boundaries of each cell. It isn't easy, and it takes practice. You can try it for yourself at eyewire.org.
EyeWire

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 3:39 pm

People can get pretty addicted to computer games. By some estimates, residents of planet Earth spend 3 billion hours per week playing them. Now some scientists are hoping to make use of all that human capital and harness it for a good cause.

Right now I'm at the novice level of a game called EyeWire, trying to color in a nerve cell in a cartoon drawing of a slice of tissue. EyeWire is designed to solve a real science problem — it aims to chart the billions of nerve connections in the brain.

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Science + Technology
4:20 pm
Sun March 3, 2013

Turning It Down: Cities Combat Light Pollution By Going Dim

This summer Paris will start dimming its streetlights, though major landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, will not be affected.
Mike Hewitt Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 4:35 pm

Bright lights are part of a city's ecosystem. Think of Times Square or the Las Vegas Strip or right outside your bedroom window.

Electric lighting is ubiquitous in most urban and suburban neighborhoods. It's something most people take for granted, but appreciate, since it feels like well-lit streets keep us safer. But what if all this wattage is actually causing harm?

"We're getting brighter and brighter and brighter," warns Paul Bogard, author of the upcoming book, End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light.

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Science + Technology
2:03 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

FCC To Examine Federal Ban On Unlocking Cellphones

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 6:54 pm

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski says his agency will investigate whether a federal ban on unlocking cellphones is "harmful to economic competitiveness."

Genachowski made the comments during a event hosted by the technology site TechCrunch.

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Science + Technology
10:30 am
Fri March 1, 2013

MIT Invents A Machine That Can Look At Batman's Face And See His Heart Beating

The New York Times YouTube

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 11:53 am

My pal Erik Olsen at The New York Times has just described an extraordinary new way to look at people. You point a camera at someone, record the image and then, using an "amplifier," you can discover things you've never seen before.

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Science + Technology
10:20 am
Fri March 1, 2013

The Napoleon Chagnon Wars Flare Up Again In Anthropology

A member of the Ya̧nomamö people at Irotatheri community in Venezuela's Amazonas state, near the Brazilian border, in September 2012.
Leo Ramirez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 9:38 am

The Fierce People. That's what anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon called the indigenous Ya̧nomamö Indians of Venezuela in his 1968 book Ya̧nomamö: The Fierce People. It's one of the best-selling anthropology texts of all time and is still in wide use.

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Science + Technology
2:58 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Wild Bees Are Good For Crops, But Crops Are Bad For Bees

Wild bees, such as this Andrena bee visiting highbush blueberry flowers, play a key role in boosting crop yields.
Left photo by Rufus Isaac/AAAS; Right photo courtesy of Daniel M.N. Turner

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 12:13 pm

Some of the most healthful foods you can think of — blueberries, cranberries, apples, almonds and squash — would never get to your plate without the help of insects. No insects, no pollination. No pollination, no fruit.

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Science + Technology
6:12 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Texas Study Points To A Longer Natural Gas Boom

A natural gas drilling rig just east of downtown Fort Worth, Texas. A new decade-long study finds the region's Barnett Shale formation has sufficient gas reserves to last another 25 years.
David Kent MCT/Landov/Fort Worth Star Telegram

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 6:59 pm

There are few things in life more joyful than discovering a giant oil or natural gas field in Texas. You're suddenly rich beyond your wildest dreams. When the scope and size of the natural gas reservoir in the Barnett Shale in North Texas first became apparent, there were predictions that the find would last 100 years.

Well, that was over the top. But University of Texas geology professor Scott Tinker, who designed and authored a new study of the Barnett Shale, says there's still a lot of gas down there, even after a decade of drilling.

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Science + Technology
10:15 am
Thu February 28, 2013

First Space Tourist Sets Sights On A Mars Mission

Space tourist Dennis Tito celebrates after his landing near the Kazakh town of Arkalyk on May 6, 2001.
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 6:23 pm

The world's first space tourist is financing a project that aims to launch an American man and woman on a mission to fly by Mars in 2018.

Back in 2001, businessman Dennis Tito shelled out about $20 million to ride a Russian spaceship up to the International Space Station. Now he's unveiled a new nonprofit group called the Inspiration Mars Foundation.

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Science + Technology
12:37 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Highest Bidder Will Get DNA Pioneer's Nobel Medal

Francis Crick in 2003, the year before his death, at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego.
Denis Poroy AP

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 6:43 pm

This is no ordinary family heirloom.

The granddaughter of English scientist Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA who passed away in 2004, is putting his Nobel Prize medal up on the auction block.

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Science + Technology
9:01 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Scientists Trace Origin Of Destructive Russia Meteor

A circular hole in the ice of Chebarkul Lake, where the Chelyabinsk meteor reportedly struck on Feb. 15.
Uncredited Associated Press

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 10:52 am

Scientists from Colombia believe they have pinpointed the origin of the giant meteor that smashed into a remote region of Russia earlier this month, injuring more than 1,000 people.

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Science + Technology
5:41 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Attack By Chondrite: Scientists ID Russian Meteor

Researchers who studied pieces of the meteor collected near Lake Cherbarkul say it was a common chondrite meteor. The largest of the 53 fragments was one centimeter in diameter. Photo provided by the Urals Federal University Press Service.
Alexander Khlopotov AP

The meteor that caused at least 1,000 injuries in Russia after a startling and powerful daytime explosion one week ago has been identified as a chondrite. Russian scientists who analyzed fragments of the meteor, whose large size and well-documented impact made it a rarity, say that its composition makes it the most common type of meteor we encounter here on Earth.

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Science + Technology
1:29 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Earth As Art: 'How Did Nature Do That?'

Carnegie Lake, Australia, 1999 Carnegie Lake in Western Australia fills with water only during periods of significant rainfall. In dry years, it is reduced to a muddy marsh. Flooded areas appear dark blue or black, vegetation appears in shades of dark and light green, and sands, soils and minerals appear in a variety of colors.
NASA

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 1:04 pm

Satellites are powerful tools. They beam our TV signals, phone calls and data around the planet. They help us spy, they track storms, they power the GPS signals in our cars and on our phones. But they also send back striking, totally disarming images of planet Earth.

This set of images is all about showing off the "beauty of the Earth," says Lawrence Friedl, the director of NASA's Applied Sciences Program and the editor of a project called Earth as Art. "We want people to look at these images and say, 'How did nature do that?' "

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Science + Technology
3:27 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Honey, It's Electric: Bees Sense Charge On Flowers

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 7:47 am

Flowers are nature's ad men. They'll do anything to attract the attention of the pollinators that help them reproduce. That means spending precious energy on bright pigments, enticing fragrances and dazzling patterns.

Now, scientists have found another element that contributes to flowers' brand: their distinct electric field.

Anne Leonard, who studies bees at the University of Nevada, says our understanding of pollinator-flower communication has been expanding for decades.

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Science + Technology
11:42 am
Wed February 20, 2013

The Filibuster Solution, Or 'What If Honeybees Ran The U.S. Senate?'

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 10:08 am

Bees are democrats. They vote. When a community of bees has to make a choice, like where to build a new hive, they meet, debate and decide. But here's what they don't do: they don't filibuster. No single bee (or small band of bees) will stand against the majority, insisting and insisting for hours. They can't.

Bee biology prevents it.

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Science + Technology
4:34 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

If Higgs Boson Calculations Are Right, A Catastrophic 'Bubble' Could End Universe

An undated handout graphic distributed on July 4, 2012 by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva shows a representation of traces of traces of a proton-proton collision measured in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experience in the search for the Higgs boson.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 7:00 pm

For a universe so old and so illustrious, the end may be boring and lightning quick: According to one Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory theoretician, if what we know about the Higgs boson subatomic particle is true, the universe may come to an end when another universe slurps us up at light speed.

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Science + Technology
10:09 am
Mon February 18, 2013

'Immortal' Cells Of Henrietta Lacks Live On In Labs

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 1:03 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Dec. 13, 2010.

The HeLa cell line — one of the most revolutionary tools of biomedical research — has played a part in some of the world's most important medical advances, from the polio vaccine to in vitro fertilization.

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Science + Technology
3:28 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Growing Resistance, Oregon Hazelnuts Battle Blight

Oregon State University has been growing a variety of hazelnut trees over the years to develop blight-resistant breeds.
Rebecca McCluskey

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 6:42 am

Although Oregon is known for many exports — from timber to hipster irony — few people are aware that it's actually the country's leading source of hazelnuts.

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