Science + Technology

Science + Technology
3:23 am
Thu November 6, 2014

America's T. Rex Gets A Makeover

The Smithsonian's Jon Blundell scans the fossilized foot bone β€” the metatarsal β€” of the Wankel T. rex to help create a digital 3-D image of the long-dead dinosaur.
Nikki Kahn The Washington Post

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 11:15 am

The Wankel T. rex, named for the Montana rancher who found its bones, is destined to be the giant centerpiece for the new dinosaur hall at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. β€” the first nearly complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex the Smithsonian Institution has ever had. But when it arrived at the museum last April, the skeleton was in pieces β€” in a couple of dozen packing crates.

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Science + Technology
7:54 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Alvin: The Little Submarine That Could

Alvin returns to research ship Lulu after a dive in the Atlantic Ocean over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, southwest of the Azores, in 2001.
Emory Kristof National Geographic/Getty Images

As the world races to outer space, a submarine about the size of a delivery truck has explored what some consider the real final frontier: the deep blue sea.

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Science + Technology
6:23 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Incorrect Command May Have Doomed Virgin Spaceship

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

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Science + Technology
1:07 pm
Sat November 1, 2014

In Texas, The World's Biggest Bat Colony Is Saved From City Sprawl

The Bracken Bat Cave outside San Antonio is home to millions of bats. Here, a few of them emerge from the colony in 2011.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 3:39 pm

Down a narrow gravel drive and a short walk past cactus and scrub cedars outside San Antonio is a gaping, dark cave mouth, 60 feet wide, nestled at the bottom of a steep hill.

This is the Bracken Bat Cave. Each night at 7:30, millions of bats spiral out of the deep cave and streak off toward the darkening Southern sky.

Thanks to a $20 million deal signed Friday by San Antonio, conservation groups and a local developer, the night sky around the cave will stay dark, and the mother and baby bats inside will have a buffer between them and the hazards of city sprawl.

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Science + Technology
7:41 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Virgin Galactic 'Spaceship Two' Crashes In Calif.

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

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Science + Technology
7:49 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Lava Flow In Hawaii Spares Homes, But Threatens To Cut Off Community

Lava near the leading edge of the flow oozes over a concrete slab and toward a tangerine tree before solidifying near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii earlier this week.
U.S. Geological Survey AP

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 11:30 am

Officials in Hawaii are sending National Guard troops to the town of Pahoa on the Big Island, where a lava flow is creeping toward a main road, threatening to cut off the community.

Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira said 83 troops have been sent to the town of fewer than 1,000 to help provide security. They are to aid in a road block and with other safety issues, The Associated Press says.

"These are local troops, people from the community. They'll be here working to take care of their family and friends," Oliveira said.

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Science + Technology
11:23 am
Thu October 30, 2014

No End In Sight? No Problem!

All of our scientific tools have limits. These limits ensure that we will never see the whole picture. We can never have complete knowledge of the universe. Above, the ESO's APEX radio telescope probes the heavens from its lonely perch on Chile's Chajnantor plateau.
Gordon Gillet ESO

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 7:44 am

Last week, I came across George Johnson's piece for The New York Times, "Beyond Energy, Matter, Time and Space," where he writes, in his usually engaging style, about two recent books with opposite viewpoints concerning what we can and cannot know of the world.

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Science + Technology
6:33 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Can Scientific Belief Go Too Far?

iStockphoto

Last week, our own Tania Lombrozo ignited an intense discussion of the differences between factual and religious belief. I want to take off from there and examine a no less controversial issue, one that has been in the limelight of cutting-edge physics for the past few years: Do some scientists hold on to a belief longer than they should? Or, more provocatively phrased, when does a scientific belief become an article of faith?

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Science + Technology
6:07 pm
Sun October 26, 2014

From Brain To Computer: Helping 'Locked-In' Patient Get His Thoughts Out

Patients with certain kinds of brain damage can wind up with locked-in syndrome: they may be able to think just fine, but are unable to communicate their thoughts to others. A recently published case study shows that a non-invasive brain-computer interface can help.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 10:08 am

In 2009, a man named Barry Beck suffered a series of strokes, which caused extensive damage to his right occipital lobe and to the brain stem. The geologist and author of several books was left completely unable to communicate, in a state known as locked-in syndrome.

The condition was famously described by Jean-Dominique Bauby in his memoir The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, which he dictated by blinking.

But thanks to a team of researchers and some technological advances, Beck had another option.

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Science + Technology
9:11 am
Wed October 15, 2014

The Never-Ending Climb Of Mount Science

Alexandru Sava iStockphoto

The other day, I was giving a public lecture when someone asked me a question that I wish people would ask me more often: "Professor: Why are you a scientist?"

I answered that I couldn't do anything else, that I considered it a privilege to dedicate my life to teaching and research. But what's really special in this profession, to me at least, is that it allows us the space to create something new, something that will make us matter. It gives us an opportunity to engage with the "mystery," as Albert Einstein called our attraction to the unknown:

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Science + Technology
3:20 am
Mon October 13, 2014

In Hopes Of Fixing Faulty Genes, One Scientist Starts With The Basics

Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues found an enzyme in bacteria that makes editing DNA in animal cells much easier.
Cailey Cotner/UC Berkeley

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 9:46 am

Whether they admit it or not, many (if not most) scientists secretly hope to get a call in October informing them they've won a Nobel Prize.

But I've talked to a lot of Nobel laureates, and they are unanimous on one point: None of them pursued a research topic with the intention of winning the prize.

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Science + Technology
12:46 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Weekly Innovation: This Drone Fits In Your Pocket

The AeriCam Anura pocket-sized drone has foldable propellers so you can take it on the go. The company plans to put the drone on Kickstarter by mid-October.
aericam.com

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 3:11 pm

The narrative around drones is that they are killing machines. Unmanned tools of war that the government uses to avoid putting boots on the ground in conflict zones around the world.

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Science + Technology
10:03 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Typhoon Vongfong Bears Down On Japan

Typhoon Vongfong in a photograph taken by NASA's Terra satellite.
NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 2:58 pm

The most powerful typhoon so far this year is barreling toward southern Japan for a landfall in Okinawa on Saturday.

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Science + Technology
1:28 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Stephen Hawking Has A Guest Vocal On Pink Floyd's New Album

British cosmologist Stephen Hawking gives a talk to workers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, in April 2013.
Eric Reed AP

Originally published on Sat February 14, 2015 4:54 pm

Stephen Hawking will bring his iconic synthesized voice to Pink Floyd's new album, The Endless River, set for release in November. It's the famed physicist's second collaboration with the British band, having appeared on the 1994 track "Keep Talkin' " from The Division Bell.

Rolling Stone says the new song, "Talkin' Hawkin,'" will not be a sequel to the earlier track.

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Science + Technology
5:02 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Love Pine Nuts? Then Protect Pine Forests

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 8:15 pm

A colleague accosted me at the coffee machine the other day with an urgent question. "Why are pine nuts so expensive?"

I promised to find out. And I did. But along the way, I discovered something remarkable about pine nuts.

They connect us to a world of remote villages and vast forests, ancient foraging traditions that are facing modern threats.

Pine nuts don't generally come from orchards, or fields, or plantations. They come from pine forests. (And pine nuts are expensive because most of these areas are so remote.)

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Science + Technology
11:13 am
Tue October 7, 2014

'Blood Moon' Eclipse To Be Visible Throughout U.S.

A "blood moon" captured on the night of Jan. 20, 2000.
Fred Espenak NASA

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 12:59 pm

If you missed the total eclipse of the moon in April, you might have another chance: On Wednesday morning, the second of four lunar eclipses this year and next will occur.

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Science + Technology
6:38 am
Tue October 7, 2014

3 Scientists Win Nobel In Physics For Development Of Blue LED

A screen shows the laureates of the Nobel Prize in physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on Tuesday.
Bertil Ericson EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 12:49 pm

A trio of scientists, two from Japan and one from the U.S., will share the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which led to a new, environmentally friendly light source.

Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and U.S. scientist Shuji Nakamura were selected by the committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to share the 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million) prize.

Nobelprize.org says:

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Science + Technology
9:17 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Why 4.4 Billion People Still Don't Have Internet Access

A man uses a mobile phone in front of a Telenor ad for cheap sim cards in Yangon, Myanmar. Cheap mobile technology has ignited an Internet revolution in the once-isolated nation.
Ye Aung Thu AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 4:56 pm

To everyone reading this story: This is not about you. This is about the 4.4 billion other people on this planet who have never been online.

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Science + Technology
1:24 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

When Science Gets Ahead Of Itself

Cosmic microwave background seen by Planck.
ESA/Planck

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 4:11 am

Ah, I remember it like it was just last spring. The flurry of rumors, the initial shock, the charge of surprise, the sheer delight before a major scientific discovery. Yes, I remember it like it was last spring because β€” it was.

And now it's all dust.

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Science + Technology
11:35 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Embracing 'Deep Time' Thinking

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun September 28, 2014 7:58 am

The past two Sundays I reflected, here and here in 13.7, on my anthropological fieldwork among experts developing a Safety Case supporting what might, in Finland in the early 2020s, become the world's first working

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