Science + Technology

Science + Technology
10:24 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Google Street View Takes A Hike. So?

A view of the Grand Canyon captured by the Google Trekker
Google

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 10:45 am

A few months back, Google released a few of its engineers into the wild with a camera called the Google Trekker.

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Science + Technology
3:27 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

How Owls Spin Their Heads Without Tearing Arteries

How does a great gray owl do that? Now we know.
Martin Meissner AP

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 7:56 am

The human neck is a delicate stem. Torque it a bit too much, and the carotid and vertebral arteries can rip, causing deadly strokes. People have torn their neck arteries riding roller coasters, doing yoga, going to the chiropractor, being rear-ended in the car – even leaning back for a beauty-parlor shampoo.

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Science + Technology
10:02 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Pale Blue Blobs Invade, Freeze, Then Vanish

Courtesy of Emmanuel Coupe Kalomiris

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 2:11 pm

It's a lake, yes. But it's also a bomb. Those pale blue blobs, stacked like floating pancakes down at the bottom of this photograph? They're astonishingly beautiful, yes, but they can be dangerous.

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Science + Technology
10:02 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Big Science Paves The Way Forward

Big science in orbit: the Hubble Space Telescope
NASA

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 4:01 pm

Arguments are often heard against big (read: expensive) scientific projects, especially those without an immediate pay off. "Why spend so much money building this machine or spacecraft, when there are so many pressing social issues we must deal with?"

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Science + Technology
12:34 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

BlackBerry Maker Unveils New Phones, New Corporate Name

A member of the RIM team poses with one of the new touchscreen Z10 Blackberry devices.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

It's no secret that Research In Motion is in trouble. The tablet device it released in 2011 did so poorly the company took a $485 million hit. Android phones and Apple's iPhone have left the company in the technology graveyard.

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Science + Technology
5:35 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Stefan Kudelski, Who Made Sound Recording Portable, Dies

Stefan Kudelski poses with the Ampex-Nagra VPR-5 portable recorder in an undated photograph. The devices were used to record the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico.
Courtesy of the Kudelski Group

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 6:42 am

While few outside the film and radio industries may recognize the name Stefan Kudelski, his Nagra recorder — meaning "will record" in Kudelski's native Polish — transformed the world of sound recording for radio, television and film.

Kudelski, inventor of the first portable professional sound recorder, died Saturday in Switzerland at the age of 84, according to a statement from the Kudelski Group.

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Science + Technology
4:35 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Killer Kitties? Cats Kill Billions Of Creatures Every Year

Out For Lunch? Researchers estimate that billions of birds and small mammals are killed by cats in the U.S. annually.
Vishnevskiy Vasiliy iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 2:29 pm

The battle between cat lovers and bird lovers has been going on for a long time. Cats and birds just don't mix. But trying to get a handle on how many birds and other animals are being killed by cats isn't easy. Just figuring out how many cats there are is tough enough.

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Science + Technology
3:38 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Bird, Plane, Bacteria? Microbes Thrive In Storm Clouds

The eye of Hurricane Earl in the Atlantic Ocean, seen from a NASA research aircraft on Aug. 30, 2010. This flight through the eyewall caught Earl just as it was intensifying from a Category 2 to a Category 4 hurricane. Researchers collected air samples on this flight from about 30,000 feet over both land and sea and close to 100 different species of bacteria.
Jane Peterson NASA

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 8:36 am

Microbes are known to be able to thrive in extreme environments, from inside fiery volcanoes to down on the bottom of the ocean. Now scientists have found a surprising number of them living in storm clouds tens of thousands of feet above the Earth. And those airborne microbes could play a role in global climate.

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Science + Technology
3:25 am
Mon January 28, 2013

No Mercy For Robots: Experiment Tests How Humans Relate To Machines

Could you say "no" to this face? Christoph Bartneck of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand recently tested whether humans could end the life of a robot as it pleaded for survival.
Christoph Bartneck

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 5:15 pm

In 2007, Christoph Bartneck, a robotics professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, decided to stage an experiment loosely based on the famous (and infamous) Milgram obedience study.

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Science + Technology
4:39 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Swinging From 140 Characters To Six-Second Videos, Twitter Launches Vine

Twitter announced its partnership with Vine, a video-sharing app that posts six-second videos onto a tweet, on Thursday, Jan. 24.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 11:02 am

If you thought 140 characters of text was too short, try grabbing your Twitter followers' attention with six-second videos. Six seconds.

Twitter on Thursday launched the video app Vine, which allows users to shoot brief videos and directly tweet them. The social media company acquired the video-sharing startup last fall, according to All Things D.

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Science + Technology
12:52 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

In Order To Live With People, Canines Evolved To Love Carbs

Got spaghetti? Dogs digest starch more efficiently than their wolf ancestors, which may have been an important step during dog domestication.
Lauren Solomon/iStockphoto.com/Nicholas Moore Courtesy of Nature

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 9:42 am

  • Listen To The Story From 'Morning Edition'

These days, a trip down the dog food aisle of your local pet store or supermarket can be a little overwhelming. There are hundreds of brands out there, catering to – let's be honest – every dog owner's taste: everything from generic kibble to organic nuggets.

There are even dog food cookbooks and specialty gourmet shops for people who want their pets to eat as well – or better – than they do.

How did we get here? The first step happened thousands of years ago, when meat-eating wolves evolved to tolerate people – and their more starchy, plant-based diet.

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Science + Technology
3:37 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Shall I Encode Thee In DNA? Sonnets Stored On Double Helix

William Shakespeare, depicted in this 17th century painting, penned his sonnets on parchment. Now his words have found a new home ... in twisting strands of DNA.
Attributed to John Taylor National Portrait Gallery

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 1:19 pm

English critic Samuel Johnson once said of William Shakespeare "that his drama is the mirror of life." Now the Bard's words have been translated into life's most basic language. British scientists have stored all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets on tiny stretches of DNA.

It all started with two men in a pub. Ewan Birney and Nick Goldman, both scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute, were drinking beer and discussing a problem.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
7:35 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Music, Multivitamins And Other Modern Intelligence Myths

Teacher Denise Severing leads a math lesson at a Head Start school in Woodbourne, New York.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 6:36 pm

Playing Mozart to young children will make them smarter, right?

Probably not. When it comes to media hype and intuitions about intelligence and early childhood, some skepticism is in order. A paper published just this month by John Protzko, Joshua Aronson and Clancy Blair at NYU reviews dozens of studies on a topic likely to be of interest to parents, educators, and policy-makers alike: what, if anything, one can do in the first five years of life to raise a child's intelligence.

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Science + Technology
3:41 am
Tue January 22, 2013

This Defense Contractor Has A Green Side

AeroVironment's Raven drone is used for military surveillance and can be launched by hand.
Courtesy of AeroVironment Inc.

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 10:06 am

Lots of companies make products that don't have much in common, but AeroVironment specializes in two products that are very different — electric vehicle chargers, which keep cars like the Nissan Leaf on the road, and military drones. The Los Angeles-area firm is a leading manufacturer of small unmanned aircraft.

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Science + Technology
12:28 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Miss Piggy's Version Of Global Warming: What About Me?

Click to go to the New Scientist App.
New Scientist

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 12:14 pm

Here's a new, sly (and frankly selfish) way to think about global warming: Instead of worrying about the whole planet and all its oceans, how about asking a more personal question ...

What about me? What about where I live? Or where my grandma lives? Or the North Pole? Or Siberia? What if I could take my cursor, plop it onto any place on Earth and find out what's happened to temperatures right there.

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Science + Technology
5:01 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

Former Anti-GMO Activist Says Science Changed His Mind

Harvest wheat from a field near Wright, Kan. May 10, 2004.
ORLIN WAGNER ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 5:29 pm

For years, British environmental activist Mark Lynas destroyed genetically modified food (GMO) crops in what he calls a successful campaign to force the business of agriculture to be more holistic and ecological in its practices.

His targets were companies like Monsanto and Syngenta — leaders in developing genetically modified crops.

Earlier this month he went in front of the world to reverse his position on GMOs.

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Science + Technology
5:43 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Understanding Climate Change, With Help From Thoreau

Researchers in Massachusetts and Wisconsin are comparing modern flower blooming data with notes made by Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold. The sight of irises blooming during a Boston winter helped spur the research.
Darlyne A. Murawski Getty Images/National Geographic Creative

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 12:35 pm

Modern scientists trying to understand climate change are engaged in an unlikely collaboration — with two beloved but long-dead nature writers: Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold.

The authors of Walden and A Sand County Almanac and last spring's bizarrely warm weather have helped today's scientists understand that the first flowers of spring can continue to bloom earlier, as temperatures rise to unprecedented levels.

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Science + Technology
5:38 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Bump On The Road For Driverless Cars Isn't Technology, It's You

Car companies are picking up automobile concepts such as this Lexus SL 600 Integrated Safety driverless research vehicle, shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January in Las Vegas.
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 1:07 am

When you watch science fiction movies, you notice there are two things that seem like we will get in the future — a silver jumpsuit and driverless cars.

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Science + Technology
11:20 am
Thu January 17, 2013

A Mysterious Patch Of Light Shows Up In The North Dakota Dark

Suomi NPP Satellite/NASA Earth Observatory

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 1:57 pm

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Science + Technology
5:11 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Could Some Midwest Land Support New Biofuel Refineries?

Vegetation like the kind growing here at Michigan State University's Kellogg Biological Station could one day be used to feed small biofuel refineries spread throughout the Midwest.
J.E.Doll Michigan State University

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 7:16 am

Millions of acres of marginal farmland in the Midwest — land that isn't in good enough condition to grow crops — could be used to produce liquid fuels made from plant material, according to a study in Nature. And those biofuels could, in theory, provide about 25 percent of the advanced biofuels required by a 2007 federal law.

But there are many ifs and buts about this study — and, in fact, about the future of advanced biofuels.

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