Science + Technology

Science + Technology
3:35 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Close Shave: Asteroid To Buzz Earth Next Week

This computer image from a NASA video shows the small asteroid 2012 DA14 on its path as it passes by Earth on Feb. 15.
NASA

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 4:36 pm

An asteroid the size of an office building will zoom close by Earth next week, but it's not on a collision course, NASA says.

Still, some people think this near-miss should serve as a wake-up call.

"It's a warning shot across our bow that we are flying around the solar system in a shooting gallery," says Ed Lu, a former astronaut and head of the B612 Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting humanity from asteroids.

The asteroid known as 2012 DA14 was first spotted last year by astronomers in Spain. It's thought to be about 150 feet across and made of rock.

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Science + Technology
4:19 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Fresh Clues In Dinosaur Whodunit Point To Asteroid

Scientists have confirmed that the impact of a giant asteroid and the mass extinction of the dinosaurs happened at the same time.
Courtesy of Don Dixon/cosmographica.com

Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 7:53 pm

Some 66 million years ago, about 75 percent of species on Earth disappeared. It wasn't just dinosaurs but most large mammals, fish, birds and plankton. Scientists have known this for a long time just from looking at the fossil record. If you dig deep enough, you find lots of dinosaur bones. And then a few layers up, they're gone.

But scientists couldn't figure out exactly what had caused this phenomenon. Of course, there were lots of theories.

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Science + Technology
8:42 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Minnesota's Moose Mystery: What's Killing Them?

On an April 2010 canoe trip to Knife Lake, Minn., Steve Piragis of Ely, Minn. was greeted by this bull moose. (Indentations on the moose's head indicated that he had shed his antlers.)
Sam Cook Courtesy of Duluth News Tribune

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 5:22 pm

In northeastern Minnesota, moose are dying at an alarming rate and state officials are having difficulty determining why.

And though hunters are not part of the problem, the state announced Wednesday that there will be no moose hunting season this coming fall.

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Science + Technology
3:21 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Mothra? No, It's Just A Robot Exoskeleton Controlled By A Moth

That's a moth controlling that robot. But don't worry.
Institute of Physics

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 9:24 pm

What could go wrong?

"Researchers at the University of Tokyo have strapped a moth into a robotic exoskeleton, with the moth successfully controlling the robot to reach a specific location inside a wind tunnel," writes ExtremeTech.

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Science + Technology
1:06 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Stone Age Stew? Soup Making May Be Older Than We'd Thought

The tradition of making soup is probably at least 25,000 years old, says one archaeologist.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 4:36 pm

Soup comes in many variations — chicken noodle, creamy tomato, potato and leek, to name a few. But through much of human history, soup was much simpler, requiring nothing more than boiling a haunch of meat or other chunk of food in water to create a warm, nourishing broth.

So who concocted that first bowl of soup?

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Science + Technology
8:15 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Dinosaurs With Attitude

Courtesy of Julius T. Csotonyi

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 2:13 pm

Come on, this isn't serious, is it? There was an animal that looked like this?

It's a dinosaur — scaly, fuzzy, with an oversized zebra-striped head, leopard-spotted legs, tiger stripes on the tail and two unfoldable wings permanently erect and attached to its feet. Really?

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Science + Technology
3:05 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Using 3-D Printers To Make Gun Parts Raises Alarms

This AR-15 rifle's lower receiver (in soft green color) was produced with a 3-D printer. The 3-D printing industry has criticized the use of the technology for gun part making.
Courtesy of Defense Distributed Dev Blog

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 2:48 pm

You may have heard about 3-D printing, a technological phenomenon that uses a robotic arm to build objects one layer at a time. As people get imaginative and create items in a one-stop-shop fashion, one more creation has been added to the printing line: gun parts.

On the West Side of Manhattan, behind large glass windows, a dozen 3-D printers build plastic toys and jewelry. Hilary Brosnihan, a manager at 3DEA, an events company that sponsored a print pop-up store, says things are moving rapidly.

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Science + Technology
6:19 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

How One Company Reinvented The Hand Dryer

Craig McCarl dips Xlerator covers two at a time into a chrome bath. He has worked for Excel Dryer in East Longmeadow, Mass., for 31 years.
Andrea Hsu NPR

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 4:52 pm

There's a lot of talk in politics about the desirability of American manufacturing and "green" jobs. President Obama talks about both often, especially wind turbines and long-lasting batteries that are made on U.S. soil.

Robert Siegel, host of All Things Considered, recently visited a Massachusetts factory that makes a product that hits those same parameters. It's arguably a force for sustainability, nearly 40 Americans assemble it, and it's an interesting case study in innovation: the high-speed hand dryer.

'We Had A Product People Hated To Use'

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Science + Technology
9:31 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Royal Recovery: Remains ID'd As Those Of King Richard III

An enlarged image of the skull identified as that of King Richard III. Jo Appleby, a lecturer in human bioarchaeology at the University of Leicester, is pointing to a detail.
Rui Vieira PA Photos /Landov

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 6:10 pm

Remains found under what's now a parking lot in the English city of Leicester have been confirmed to be those of King Richard III, researchers at the University of Leicester announced Monday.

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Science + Technology
3:34 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Tsunami Debris On Alaska's Shores Like 'Standing In Landfill'

Trash, much of it believed to be debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami, litters the beach on Montague Island, Alaska, on Jan. 26.
Annie Feidt for NPR

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 10:51 am

Refrigerators, foam buoys and even ketchup bottles are piling up on Alaska's beaches. Almost two years after the devastating Japanese tsunami, its debris and rubbish are fouling the coastlines of many states — especially in Alaska.

At the state's Montague Island beach, the nearly 80 miles of rugged wilderness looks pristine from a helicopter a few thousand feet up. But when you descend, globs of foam come into view.

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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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