Science + Technology

Science + Technology
7:31 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Crocodile Meets Godzilla — A Swimming Dino Bigger Than T. Rex

Workers at the National Geographic Museum in Washington grind the rough edges off a life-size replica of a spinosaurus skeleton.
Mike Hettwer National Geographic

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 8:54 pm

There once was a place on Earth so overrun with giant, meat-eating predators that even a Tyrannosaurus rex would have been nervous. One predator there was even bigger than T. rex, and scientists now say it's apparently the only aquatic dinosaur ever found.

The swimming monster is called Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. It was 50 feet long — longer than a school bus, and 9 feet longer than the biggest T. rex.

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Science + Technology
3:24 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Is Amazon's Failed Phone A Cautionary Tale?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduces the new Amazon Fire phone June 18 in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 11:05 am

It's been a big week in the world of gadgets. Apple announced its newest iPhones, the 6 and 6 Plus, and they're bigger than any other before. And on the smaller side, there's an Apple Watch — that does a lot of the same things. Meanwhile, Amazon took a nosedive with its foray into the smartphone marketplace. Here are some questions we had:

Amazon slashed the price of the Fire phone from $199 To 99 cents. Why?

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Science + Technology
7:03 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Your Favorite Sites Will 'Slow Down' Today, For A Cause

Slow-loading messages will appear on some of your favorite sites Wednesday as part of a protest for net neutrality. But the sites won't actually be loading slower — the banners will be displayed just to make a point.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 10:41 am

You'll find spinning wheels at the top of Netflix, Etsy, Foursquare and other top sites today, as they take part in Internet Slowdown Day. While sites won't slow down for real, participating Internet companies will be covered with the symbolic loading icons "to remind everyone what an Internet without net neutrality would look like," the organizers write on their website.

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Science + Technology
4:33 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

A $1 Microscope Folds From Paper With A Drop Of Glue

All folded up and ready to magnify: The Foldscope weighs less than two nickels, is small enough to fit in your back pocket and offers more than 2,000-fold magnification.
TED/YouTube

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 12:13 pm

We have pocket watches, pocket cameras and now — with smartphones — pocket computers.

So why shouldn't doctors and scientists around the world have pocket microscopes?

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Science + Technology
9:16 am
Wed September 3, 2014

The Challenge Of Betting On A Scientific Idea

A view of the Large Hadron Collider in its tunnel at CERN in Switzerland.
Martial Trezzini AP

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 10:43 am

Given that science is believed to be about certainty, betting on a scientific idea sounds like an oxymoron.

Yet scientists bet on ideas all the time, even if mostly for jest. Of course, this only makes sense before we have any data pointing toward the correctness of the disputed hypothesis.

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Science + Technology
3:30 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Old Ship Logs Reveal Adventure, Tragedy And Hints About Climate

Logbook for the Jeannette, a ship that became trapped in ice, dated Sept. 5, 1879.
Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 8:36 am

What can yesterday's weather tell us about how the climate is changing today? That's what an army of volunteers looking at old ships' logs is trying to answer through the Old Weather project.

One of those volunteers — or citizen scientists, as the project calls them — is Kathy Wendolkowski of Gaithersburg, Md.

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Science + Technology
1:07 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

What We Really See When We Go See A Movie

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 12:34 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Let's say you're in a movie theater. You're watching an action movie - let's say "Iron Man 2."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "IRON MAN 2")

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Science + Technology
1:06 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

The Universe Is Still Dark After All These Years

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 4:54 pm

Well into the 21st century, it is indisputable that we know more about the universe than ever before.

So that we don't get lulled into a false sense of confidence, today I provide a short list of open questions about the cosmos, focusing only on its composition. These are some of the mysteries that keep many fundamental physicists and astronomers busy and hopeful.

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Science + Technology
9:09 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Volcanoes In Iceland, Papua New Guinea Keep Residents On Edge

Smoke billows from Mount Tavurvur after an eruption in Kokopo, east New Britain, Papua New Guinea, on Friday. The eruption has caused some nearby residents to be evacuated and some flights to be rerouted.
Jason Tassell AP

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 1:05 pm

Two volcanoes half a world apart are causing havoc today: Several flights have been diverted around an eruption in Papua New Guinea, and authorities in Iceland briefly put aviation on highest alert (again) owing to a temperamental Mount Bardarbunga, which has been rumbling for the past week.

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Science + Technology
3:18 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Scientists Study How We Evolved To Stand On Our Own Two Fins

Researchers raised two groups of walking, air-breathing Polypterus senegalus — one on land and one on the water. They discovered that each group was able to adapt to be best suited to its environment.
A. Morin, E.M. Standen, T.Y. Du, H. Larsson McGill University

Scientists examining an unusual African fish that can walk and breathe air think they've learned a thing or two about how our distant ancestors made the leap from the oceans to terra firma some 400 million years ago.

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Science + Technology
4:43 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Some Call For More Sharing In Ridesharing

Lyft driver Danielle Kerley showcases the company's iconic mustache, which is displayed on cars used in the service.
Aarti Shahani NPR

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 10:43 am

Taxicabs are fighting tooth and nail against Uber, the company that enables car owners to drive part time or full time for pay, like cabbies.

But behind this battle, there's another one brewing inside the world of ridesharing. Uber and its competitors in San Francisco are sparring over cash, over drivers, and over some basic values, too.

But a researcher says branding the startups Uber and Lyft as ridesharing services isn't quite accurate. Now, an emerging set of services promises to be more about sharing.

Chauffeur Vs. Your Friend With A Car

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Science + Technology
1:23 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

New Camouflage Material Is A Color-Change Artist

Originally published on Sat August 23, 2014 11:48 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Science + Technology
1:10 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Playlist: Explore The Cosmos

Journey to the stars with these TED Radio Hour stories.
Roman Krochuk iStock

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 10:49 am

We made playlists of TED Radio Hour stories that will keep you curious about big ideas throughout the summer.

Transport yourself to a galaxy far, far away with this TED Radio Hour playlist. It includes stories about the wonder and awe of journeying to space, and defending our own planet from asteroids.

Science + Technology
8:28 am
Mon August 25, 2014

California Quake Means Big Damage For Napa Valley Wineries

Winemaker Tom Montgomery stands in wine and reacts to seeing damage following an earthquake at the B.R. Cohn Winery barrel storage facility on Sunday in Napa Valley.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 1:18 pm

Luckily, a historic magnitude-6.0 earthquake in California over the weekend has not resulted in the loss of any human life.

The wine country, however, was deeply affected. While it's still too early to tell just how much the quake will cost Napa Valley, what's clear is that some wineries lost some of their most cherished reserves, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Science + Technology
12:16 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Scientists Searching For Alien Air Pollution

In this artist's conception, the atmosphere of an Earthlike planet displays a brownish haze — the result of widespread pollution.
Christine Pulliam Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 3:18 pm

Air pollution is clogging the skies of our planet. Now one scientist thinks Earth may be just one of many polluted worlds — and that searching for extraterrestrial smog may actually be a good way to search for alien intelligence.

"People refer to 'little green men,' but ETs that are detected by this method should not be labeled as green," says Avi Loeb, an astronomer at Harvard University.

The idea of finding alien polluters may be a bit of a long shot, but Loeb says it's possible.

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Science + Technology
12:11 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Coming Soon To A Pole Near You: A Bike That Locks Itself

On a bike made by Yerka, parts of the frame hinge open to form a locking bracket. Its designers say the bike can't be ridden if it's stolen.
Yerka

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 12:52 pm

Cyclists may soon have a convenient way to discourage bike thieves, thanks to new designs that use parts of the bikes themselves as locks. Two projects — one based in Chile, another in Seattle — are promising to provide peace of mind without the fuss of carrying a separate lock.

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Science + Technology
5:21 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

How Long Do CDs Last? It Depends, But Definitely Not Forever

Many institutions have their archives stored on CDs — but the discs aren't as stable as once thought. There is no average life span for a CD, says preservationist Michele Youket, "because there is no average disc."
Sarah Tilotta NPR

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 8:27 am

Back in the 1990s, historical societies, museums and symphonies across the country began transferring all kinds of information onto what was thought to be a very durable medium: the compact disc.

Now, preservationists are worried that a lot of key information stored on CDs — from sound recordings to public records — is going to disappear. Some of those little silver discs are degrading, and researchers at the Library of Congress are trying to figure out why.

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Science + Technology
5:15 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Scientists Test The World's Seas On Ocean Sampling Day

Originally published on Sat August 16, 2014 1:55 pm

Copyright 2014 Georgia Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit http://www.gpb.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Science + Technology
5:14 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Making Scripts And Science Match

Originally published on Sat August 16, 2014 1:55 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Science + Technology
5:05 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

For City Dwellers, Stargazing Can Make For A Stellar Vacation

Dan Duriscoe works at a special computer-controlled camera used to photograph the night sky at Dantes View in Death Valley National Park in California.
John Locher AP

Originally published on Sat August 16, 2014 5:49 pm

When was the last time you looked at the Milky Way? Or saw the shape of Cassiopeia? If you live in a city, you might not even remember. In the world's most populated areas, air and light pollution obscure the sight of thousands of stars once visible to the naked eye.

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