Science + Technology

Science + Technology
3:23 am
Tue April 15, 2014

A Small Tablet Company Brings High-Tech Hopes To Haiti

Haitian artist Richard Josue uses a Surtab tablet.
Marie Arago Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 10:25 am

Haiti has struggled to rebuild since a devastating earthquake more than four years ago. Most of the population lives on less than $2 a day, and there are few open jobs for the millions of unemployed.

But there's a bright spot: The Western Hemisphere's poorest country is getting into the high-tech race thanks to Surtab, a Port-au-Prince-based company that makes Android tablets.

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Science + Technology
10:27 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Could Playfulness Be Embedded In The Universe?

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 9:10 am

In an essay in The Baffler a couple of weeks ago, David Graeber offers the idea that there is a play principle embedded in all levels of physical reality. His essay, which ranges playfully from Spencer and Darwin to panpsychism and string theory, ponders a deep and serious problem. As he writes:

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Science + Technology
4:45 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Silicon Valley Buying Spree: A Tech Bubble, Or Strategy At Play?

Are we in a tech bubble about to burst? Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion earlier this year. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum speaks during a conference at the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Spain.
David Ramos Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 9:22 am

Over the past few months, the country's biggest technology firms have spent billions buying startups. Are we watching another tech bubble about to burst?

In this year's first quarter, Google and Facebook, alone, announced deals worth more than $24 billion on little companies that have almost no revenue. Those deals seem to have spooked Wall Street; last week, technology stocks plunged and the tech-heavy Nasdaq index fell nearly 1.2 percent Monday.

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Science + Technology
3:55 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Changing The Face Of Astronomy Research

Students from CUNY's AstroCom NYC program meet for a weekly class at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Dennis Robbins, an associate professor of science education at CUNY's Hunter College, teaches Betsy Hernandez (from left), Jaquelin Erazo, Ariel Diaz and Mario Martin.
Beth Fertig WNYC

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 1:04 pm

Shooting for the stars is expensive.

Advanced sciences like astronomy require years of study and graduate degrees. And the soaring cost of college can be a heavy obstacle for low-income and minority students hoping to break into those fields.

A program at the City University of New York hopes to lift that burden by providing scholarships and one-on-one mentoring to underrepresented students.

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Science + Technology
1:37 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Pentagon Reorganizing How It Brings Home America's War Dead

The Central Identification Laboratory of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Pentagon announced that it will overhaul how the organization finds, identifies and returns the remains of thousands of service members lost in past wars.
Elyse Butler for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 8:23 am

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced an overhaul Monday of the agencies responsible for finding, identifying, and returning the remains of servicemen lost in past wars.

The Pentagon spends more than $100 million a year on the effort, but last year only identified 60 of the more than 80,000 missing.

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Science + Technology
7:18 am
Mon March 31, 2014

U.N. Report Raises Climate Change Warning, Points To Opportunities

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report.
ipcc.ch

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 10:07 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Geoff Brumfiel on the U.N. panel's report

"The effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans," and the world is mostly "ill-prepared" for the risks that the sweeping changes present, a new report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes.

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Science + Technology
3:38 pm
Sun March 23, 2014

The Most Powerful Nerd In The Universe Is A Scientific Anomaly

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is remarkable, in part because he's a black astrophysicist — seemingly as elusive a phenomenon as the Higgs boson.
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 1:41 pm

Neil deGrasse Tyson — astrophysicist, irreverent tweeter, vanquisher of Pluto, frequent Stephen Colbert foil — is America's "It" Nerd.

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Science + Technology
10:41 pm
Sat March 22, 2014

Creative Commons’ Cable Green Opens Up about Content

Interview with Cable Green
Credit Creative Commons

Cable Green received his doctorate in educational psychology from Ohio State and started its first online doctoral program.

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Science + Technology
1:44 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Digging Into The Roots Of Gender Differences

Olga Solovei iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 10:36 am

Why do little boys tend to behave differently from little girls? Why do boys and girls play differently, for instance, choosing different toys as their favorites?

Ask these questions and you invite a firestorm — of more questions.

Is the premise behind these queries even accurate? Aren't our sons and daughters really more similar than different, after all? And when behavioral sex differences do occur, aren't parents who inflict sex-stereotypical expectations on their children largely responsible?

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Science + Technology
6:48 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Search For Missing Jet Focuses On Objects Seen Off Australia

This map adds in routes that investigators believe Malaysia Flight 370 might have taken.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 1:14 pm

This post is being updated.

Satellite images showing objects floating in the Indian Ocean have focused the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the 239 people who were on board to an area about 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia.

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Science + Technology
4:44 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Space Thief Or Hero? One Man's Quest To Reawaken An Old Friend

Early days: NASA's International Sun-Earth Explorer C (also known as ISEE-3 and ICE) was undergoing testing and evaluation inside the Goddard Space Flight Center's dynamic test chamber when this photo was snapped in 1976.
NASA

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 7:56 pm

More than 30 years ago, Robert Farquhar stole a spacecraft.

Now he's trying to give it back.

The green satellite, covered with solar panels, is hurtling back toward the general vicinity of Earth, after nearly three decades of traveling in a large, looping orbit around the sun.

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Science + Technology
5:28 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Trapping And Tracking The Mysterious Snowy Owl

Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 7:04 pm

This is Hungerford, a large female snowy owl. Last summer she was just a hatchling — a gray ball of fuzz in the middle of the Arctic tundra. In the fall, newly equipped with adult plumage, she flew thousands of miles south until she reached the coast of Maryland. And this winter, she became an important part of an unprecedented research project.

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Science + Technology
12:03 am
Tue March 11, 2014

The Internet Will Be Everywhere In 2025, For Better Or Worse

Experts predict that people worldwide will be constantly connected by the Internet in 2025 — leading to a greater exchange of ideas but making people more susceptible to cyberattacks and manipulation.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 7:54 pm

In 2025, the Internet will enhance our awareness of the world and ourselves while diminishing privacy and allowing abusers to "make life miserable for others," according to a new report by the Pew Research Center and Elon University.

But more than anything, experts say, it will become ubiquitous and embedded in our lives — the same way electricity is today.

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Science + Technology
3:29 am
Mon March 10, 2014

SXSW: Snowden Speech Has Conference Buzzing, Congressman Stewing

SXSW Interactive Festival attendees crowd the Austin Convention Center at the 2013 event. The festival's typically sprawling range of topics this year took a turn toward online privacy and surveillance implications.
Jack Plunkett AP

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 9:59 am

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden will speak via videoconference to the attendees of South by Southwest Interactive later this morning, and you can bet a much wider audience than just those here in Austin will be watching.

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Science + Technology
6:32 pm
Sun March 9, 2014

The '60s Are Gone, But Psychedelic Research Trip Continues

A volunteer participates in LSD research in Viejas, Calif., in 1966. Researchers are continuing work with psychedelics today, despite barriers, saying there are potential medical benefits.
AP

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 10:00 am

In 1966, psychedelic drug advocate and former Harvard professor Timothy Leary appeared on the Merv Griffin Show.

"I'm in the unfortunate situation of being about 20 years ahead of my time," Leary said. When asked how many times he'd taken LSD, he answered 311. The audience gasped.

Leary was fired for experimenting with psychedelics on undergraduates, and before long, LSD was classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it had "no known medical use." Research on the medical uses of LSD and other psychedelics came to a halt.

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Science + Technology
9:47 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Don't Worry, They Say, 100-Foot Asteroid Will Miss Us Today

A NASA artist's illustration depicts an asteroid belt around a star that the space agency says is "the same age and size as our Sun."
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 11:56 am

Don't say you weren't warned.

But also don't worry, the experts say.

As we wrote last month when an asteroid measuring about 900 feet long passed near enough to Earth to generate headlines about a "close encounter," more rocks are always headed our way.

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Science + Technology
1:53 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

For More Organ Donors, Just Head To The Local DMV

SOEREN STACHE DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 7:53 pm

When Kim Zaza became the volunteer coordinator for a non profit called Gift of Life Michigan only 11 percent of Michigan's population was on the organ donor registry. Her job was to increase that number.

Zasa is energetic and really likes people. So she was naturally optimistic about her ability to sell the idea of donating organs to the people of Michigan just by talking to them. "We just went out and signed up for every art fair, church event, every little podunk little thing we could possibly think of just to try to get our information out there," she says.

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Science + Technology
2:15 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

If You Think You're Anonymous Online, Think Again

Sure, you can try doing your Internet browsing this way, but we can't promise that it will help you protect your personal data online.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 11:00 am

Investigative reporter Julia Angwin was curious what Google knew about her, so she asked the company for her search data. "It turns out I had been doing about 26,000 Google searches a month ... and I was amazed at how revealing they were," she tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies.

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Science + Technology
3:28 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Industry Challenges EPA's Greenhouse Gas Rules In High Court

Not all energy producers find fault with the EPA's rules. Calpine, which helped build the Delta Energy Center in Pittsburg, Calif., says the permitting regulations aren't overly cumbersome.
JAKUB MOSUR AP

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 10:35 am

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday about the Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever greenhouse gas regulations for the biggest polluting facilities.

The case focuses on a 3-year-old requirement that companies get permits anytime they construct new plants or modify existing ones that will emit a lot of greenhouse gases.

EPA's supporters and most of its challengers agree this case is narrow in scope; the court's ruling is not expected to threaten EPA's broader strategy to fight global warming.

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Science + Technology
3:27 am
Mon February 24, 2014

At 4.4 Billion Years Old, Oz Crystals Confirmed As World's Oldest

The colors of the zircon crystals range from transparent to deep red.
Courtesy of University of Wisconsin

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 2:06 pm

Scientists have used a powerful new technique to prove that some tiny crystals found in Western Australia are indeed the oldest known materials formed on Earth.

Back in 2001, scientists reported that one of the zircon crystals was about 4.4 billion years old — so old that not everyone believed it.

"There have been challenges, because nothing in science goes without being questioned. It always has to be proven," says John Valley, a geochemist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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