Science + Technology

Science + Technology
5:50 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Under Construction: The World's Largest Thermal Solar Plant

The three solar fields and their respective towers. October 2012.
Jamey Stillings

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 4:48 pm

According to photographer Jamey Stillings, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) will be the "world's largest concentrated solar thermal power plant" when complete at the end of this year. That's if we want to get all technical.

In plain terms: There's a huge solar plant under construction in the middle of the Mojave Desert, and Stillings has been documenting the process since the very beginning. Did you know this was happening? I didn't.

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Science + Technology
3:31 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Elite Colleges Struggle To Recruit Smart, Low-Income Kids

Top schools like Harvard, seen here in 2000, often offer scholarships and other financial incentives, but they are finding it hard to increase the socioeconomic diversity on campus.
Darren McCollester Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 6:26 am

Across the United States, college administrators are poring over student essays, recommendation letters and SAT scores as they select a freshman class for the fall.

If this is like most years, administrators at top schools such as Harvard and Stanford will try hard to find talented high school students from poor families in a push to increase the socioeconomic diversity on campus and to counter the growing concern that highly selective colleges cater mainly to students from privileged backgrounds.

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Science + Technology
2:03 am
Tue January 8, 2013

2 Pi: Rhymes And Radii

Jake Scott (a.k.a. 2 Pi), with student.
Courtesy of Jake Scott

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 5:29 pm

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Science + Technology
5:17 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Are You Eating Too Fast? Ask Your Fork

A electronic HAPIfork, which can monitor users' eating habits, is on display at a press event at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
David Becker Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 6:19 pm

What's the coolest new gadget at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week? It's too soon to tell. But I have an early favorite for the title of oddest new gadget: the HAPIfork and HAPIspoon. They may sound like characters from a nursery rhyme, but this fork and spoon connect to the Internet and can monitor and record how you eat.

The HAPI utensils measure how long your meals last, how long you pause between each bite and how many mouthfuls of food you consume.

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Science + Technology
6:06 am
Sat January 5, 2013

A Very, Very, Very Delicate Balance

Stone balance art by Gravity Glue.
Courtesy of Gravity Glue

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 12:50 pm

These rocks, says the artist, are not glued, not Velcroed. This is not a trick. Go ahead and click through our glossary of photographs. There are big rocks pirouetting on little ones, little ones dangling on top of big ones, pebbles tightly clumped and suspended in air ...

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Science + Technology
1:18 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

As Norovirus Rages, A Robot Named 'Vomiting Larry' Gets His Closeup

Vomiting Larry doing what he does best.
U.K. Health and Safety Laboratory

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 11:06 am

The lab robot affectionately called "Vomiting Larry" has gone viral. His image and videoed vomiting for science are all over the Web.

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Science + Technology
9:01 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Big Hair, No Sitting, Velcroed To Your Pillow: What It's Like To Live Weightlessly

NASAtelevision YouTube

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 1:11 pm

Oh, I wish, wish, wish I could spend a few days totally weightless, floating about high above the planet. And now that I've seen this video, I wish it more than ever, because now I know the down and dirty — details that make it seem so ... different.

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Science + Technology
3:28 am
Fri January 4, 2013

From Canada To Latin America, The Christmas Bird Count Is On

From left, bird-watchers John Williamson, Donna Quinn, Bruce Hill and Frances Raskin try to spot as many different species as possible during this season's bird count in Loudoun County, Va.
Veronique LaCapra NPR

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 8:46 am

Every year at around this time, tens of thousands of people take part in a kind of bird-watching marathon. From Canada to Latin America and throughout the United States, participants will get up in the middle of the night. Some brave frigid winter temperatures, and many do whatever else it takes to count as many birds as they can in 24 hours.

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Science + Technology
6:17 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

You Can't See It, But You'll Be A Different Person In 10 Years

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 11:06 am

No matter how old people are, they seem to believe that who they are today is essentially who they'll be tomorrow.

That's according to fresh research that suggests that people generally fail to appreciate how much their personality and values will change in the years ahead — even though they recognize that they have changed in the past.

Daniel Gilbert, a psychology researcher at Harvard University who did this study with two colleagues, says that he's no exception to this rule.

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Science + Technology
5:31 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Wind Industry Secures Tax Credit, But Damage May Be Done

Wind turbines dwarf a church near Wilson, Kan. Although Congress voted to extend a wind energy tax credit, the temporary uncertainty dealt a blow to the industry.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 6:10 pm

The wind energy industry is dependent on something even more unpredictable than wind: Congress. Hidden in the turmoil over the "fiscal cliff" compromise was a tax credit for wind energy.

Uncertainty over the credit had lingered long before the last-minute political push, causing the industry to put off further long-term planning. So while the now-approved tax credit revives prospects for an industry facing tens of thousands of layoffs, don't expect to see many new turbines coming up soon.

Growing Uncertainty

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Science + Technology
10:59 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Apes Have Food, Will Share For A Social Payoff

Bonobos sharing food and friendship.
JingZhi Tan Duke University

People have been sharing food with strangers since ancient days, offering up the household's finest fare to mysterious travelers. Think Abraham and the three men of Mamre in the Bible and the folks who take in strangers after natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy. That deep tradition of generous hospitality has long been thought uniquely human.

If so, then bonobos, those gregarious African apes, may be more like us than we thought.

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Science + Technology
3:00 am
Tue January 1, 2013

The Year Of The Higgs, And Other Tiny Advances In Science

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider announced the discovery of the Higgs boson on July 4, the long-sought building block of the universe. This image shows a computer-simulation of data from the collider.
Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 9:44 am

It's a year-end tradition to cobble together a list of the most important advances in science. But, truth be told, many ideas that change the world don't tend to spring from these flashy moments of discovery. Our view of nature — and our technology — often evolve from a sequence of more subtle advances.

Even so, chances are good that this year's list-makers will choose the discovery of the Higgs boson as the most important discovery of 2012.

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Science + Technology
4:12 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

From 3-D Printers To Wired Glasses, The Tech Year Ahead

Google Glass will be part of a trend in 2013 of computing and connectivity in devices we don't generally think of as computers.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 8:17 pm

It's unlikely 2013 will be the year that jet packs make it big, but the coming year could bring us a host of other new technology trends and products, such as 3-D printers for consumers, smarter smartphones and more connected devices like glasses and cars.

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Science + Technology
12:26 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Another Year And I'm Still Here: A New Year's Meditation

Rogier Wieland Vimeo

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 12:17 pm

Updated Jan. 1, 2013: I've added a postscript to this post. You can find it at the bottom of this page.

Look at yourself. Right now.

You are muscle,skin, bone, brain, blood, warmed by energy, and all of you, every cell, even the subsets of those cells, all trillions and trillions of them, are going to tire, waste and depart. In 10 years almost every bit of you will have been replaced by new bits.

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Science + Technology
5:32 pm
Sun December 30, 2012

2013: A Tipping Year For Climate Change?

Cracks form in the bed of a dried lake in Waterloo, Neb. The drought withered crops and dried out lakes across the nation's midsection in 2012.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 5:55 pm

This year's extreme weather was one for the record books; 2012 is slated to be the hottest summer on record.

The worst drought in 50 years struck the South and Midwest, devastating the U.S. agriculture industry. Deadly floods and superstorms paralyzed the northeast and other parts of the country.

While the public is in shock by extreme weather events that have taken place, environmentalist Bill McKibben and other members of the science community say it is a result of climate change.

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Science + Technology
11:14 am
Fri December 28, 2012

TV Broadcasters Amp Up The 'Second Screen' Experience

Broadcasters and other companies spent a lot of time and money this year bringing television to a second screen.
Slobodan VasicFotostorm iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 12:12 pm

Once upon a time, there was one screen that TV broadcasters needed to fill. These days, it's all about the two-screen experience.

People have been watching television with their laptops, smartphones and tablets in hand for a while now. But this year, big business tried harder than ever to bring television to a second screen.

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Science + Technology
10:37 am
Fri December 28, 2012

The Mars Rover Takes A Selfie

Curiosity's self-portrait, captured on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
NASA/JPL/Caltech

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 4:45 pm

Who hasn't turned a camera around at arm's length to snap a picture to send to friends or family? It always seems like it takes a few tries to frame the shot just right to capture both you and that awesome mountain summit behind you.

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Science + Technology
4:20 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Birds Hang Around Mistletoe For More Than A Kiss

Researchers in Australia found that when they removed mistletoe from large sections of forests, vast numbers of birds left.
BSIP UIG via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 9:40 pm

For the Druids, mistletoe was sacred. For us, it's a cute ornament and maybe an excuse to steal a kiss. And of course it's a Christmas tradition.

But for a forest, mistletoe might be much more important. It's a parasite, shows up on tree branches and looks like an out-of-place evergreen bush hanging in the air.

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Science + Technology
3:31 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

An Abundance Of Extreme Weather Has Many On Edge

A parking lot full of yellow taxis is flooded as a result of Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 30 in Hoboken, N.J.
Charles Sykes AP

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 9:40 pm

Opinion polls show 2012's extreme weather — producing wildfires, floods and drought — has more people making a connection with climate change. For Marti Andrews in southern New Jersey, a turning point was the summer's hurricane-like derecho.

"I don't want to say I freaked out about it, but holy crap, it scared me," she says. It packed winds up to 90 miles per hour and nonstop lightning, which Andrews says looked like some wild disco display in the sky.

"I've never seen anything like that," she says. "I sat there on the couch thinking, 'Oh my God, we're all gonna die!' "

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Science + Technology
7:51 am
Wed December 26, 2012

An (Amazing) Interactive Tour Of Everest

David Breashears GlacierWorks

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 2:02 pm

Wow. Photographer David Breashears and his team at GlacierWorks are working on an interactive tour of Mount Everest. Basically, you start with a wide view, then click any of the hot spots — or little green boxes — and off you go.

That's all I'll say. Just go look at it and you'll see what I mean.

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