Science + Technology

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 — 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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Science + Technology
11:57 am
Wed September 24, 2014

After The NIH Funding 'Euphoria' Comes The 'Hangover'

Originally published on Fri September 26, 2014 11:02 am

When Richard Larson co-wrote a scientific paper about the perils of up-and-down funding for the National Institutes of Health, he noted that the research cycled between states of "euphoria," and a "hangover" far greater than you'd expect.

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Science + Technology
1:37 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Massive Volcanic Eruption Is Making Iceland Grow

A plane flies over the Bardarbunga volcano as it spews lava and smoke in southeast Iceland on Sept. 14. The Bardarbunga volcano system has been rocked by hundreds of tremors a day since mid-August, prompting fears the volcano could explode.
Bernard Meric AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 1:29 pm

The tiny, island nation of Iceland is in the middle of a growth spurt. For the past month, the country's Bardarbunga volcano has been churning out lava at a prodigious rate. And the eruption shows no signs of abating.

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Science + Technology
10:07 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Mars Has A New Visitor From Earth

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 7:15 am

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Science + Technology
10:07 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Pondering 'Deep Time' Could Inspire New Ways To View Climate Change

Scientists who work for nuclear waste disposal projects in Finland, Canada and Sweden study an ice sheet in western Greenland.
Courtesy of Vincent F. Ialenti

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 11:52 am


Last Sunday, I reflected here in 13.7 on my anthropological fieldwork among Biosphere Assessment (BSA) experts involved with Safety Case projects supporting what might, in the early 2020s, become the world's first operationa

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Science + Technology
8:12 am
Mon September 22, 2014

NASA: MAVEN Spacecraft Safely Circling Mars

Artist concept of MAVEN spacecraft in orbit around Mars.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 10:44 am

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft conducted a 33-minute burn of its six main engines to ease into an orbit around Mars after a nearly yearlong, 442 million-mile voyage from Earth. The probe's mission is to study the red planet's atmosphere.

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Science + Technology
3:32 am
Mon September 22, 2014

The Biology Of Altruism: Good Deeds May Be Rooted In The Brain

Rob Donnelly for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 10:55 am

Four years ago, Angela Stimpson agreed to donate a kidney to a complete stranger.

"The only thing I knew about my recipient was that she was a female and she lived in Bakersfield, Calif.," Stimpson says.

It was a true act of altruism — Stimpson risked pain and suffering to help another. So why did she do it? It involved major surgery, her donation was anonymous, and she wasn't paid.

"At that time in my life, I was 42 years old. I was single, I had no children," Stimpson says. "I loved my life, but I would often question what my purpose is."

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Science + Technology
5:02 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Mission To Study Mars' Climate Enters Red Planet's Orbit

In this artist concept provided by NASA, the MAVEN spacecraft approaches Mars on a mission to study its upper atmosphere.
AP

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 10:41 pm

This Sunday night, we headed back to Mars: NASA's MAVEN spacecraft fired its six main engines, slowing down enough so it could be captured by the gravity of the red planet and go into orbit.

MAVEN, which stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, is a distinctly un-sexy name for a project as cool as a sojourn to Mars. But whatever it's called, the probe is on a mission that should be of interest to everyone who likes living on Earth.

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Science + Technology
9:21 pm
Sat September 20, 2014

Mammoth On The Move: Rare, Nearly-Intact Skeleton Heads To Dallas

Mammuthus columbi, the Columbian mammoth, used to be common in America, but went extinct about 10,000 years ago. The specimen found south of Dallas is estimated to be 20,000 - 40,000 years old.
Illustration by Karen Carr Perot Museum of Nature and Science

For tens of thousands of years, the skeleton of a giant mammoth lay in one place: a gravel pit about 50 miles south of Dallas.

A few months ago, the bones were unearthed — and now they're on the move. Paleontologists are carefully packing them up, preparing them to travel to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, in Dallas.

A Gravel Pit Reveals Its Secret

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