Science + Technology

Science + Technology
7:13 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

In Kansas, Professors Must Now Watch What They Tweet

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 3:17 pm

The Kansas Board of Regents gave final approval Wednesday to a strict new policy on what employees may say on social media. Critics say the policy violates both the First Amendment and academic freedom, but school officials say providing faculty with more specific guidelines will actually bolster academic freedom on campus.

The controversial policy was triggered by an equally controversial tweet posted last September by David Guth, an associate journalism professor. Reacting to a lone gunman who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., he wrote:

Read more
Science + Technology
12:15 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

The Forgotten History Of Climate-Change Science

It has been a full century since the engine driving climate change was first discovered. It's been more than a half-century since the risks entered the realm of public policy.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 10:01 am

It's a fine mess we've gotten ourselves into. Last week the National Climate Assessment report was released detailing the toll climate change is already taking on the United States in terms of droughts, floods, heat waves and changes in agriculture.

Read more
Science + Technology
5:19 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Melting Of Antarctic Ice Sheet Might Be Unstoppable

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 6:31 pm

Scientists have long worried about climate change-induced melting of the huge West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Now they say that not only is the disintegration of the ice already underway, but that it's likely unstoppable.

That means that in the coming centuries, global sea levels will rise by anywhere from 4 to 12 feet. As NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports, that's a larger increase than the United Nations expert panel noted last year. But it would occur over a longer time frame — centuries instead of decades.

Read more
Science + Technology
1:17 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Why Aren't Teens Reading Like They Used To?

British Library of Political and Economic Science Flickr

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 10:21 am

Harry Potter and The Hunger Games haven't been big hits for nothing. Lots of teens and adolescents still read quite a lot.

But a roundup of studies, put together by the nonprofit Common Sense Media, shows a clear decline over time. Nearly half of 17-year-olds say they read for pleasure no more than one or two times a year — if that.

That's way down from a decade ago.

Read more
Science + Technology
10:27 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Joust To The Music: Video Game Evolves Beyond The Screen

Revelers play Johann Sebastian Joust.
Brent Knepper Courtesy of jsjoust.com

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 3:26 pm

On a plaza outside a hotel in Culver City, Calif., four people are stalking each other with PlayStation Move controllers. The devices look a bit like microphones, with glowing orbs on top lit up in pink, yellow and blue.

Video game designer Douglas Wilson is holding a portable speaker, blasting Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concertos.

From afar, this looks like some sort of public performance art. But it is actually a high-tech combination of tag and musical chairs, called Johann Sebastian Joust.

Read more
Science + Technology
3:34 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Former Commando Turns Conservationist To Save Elephants Of Dzanga Bai

Kalron and his team have set up video cameras that transmit real-time images of the bai via satellite.
Courtesy of Maisha Consulting

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 3:26 pm

In the spring of 2013, poachers looking for elephant ivory took advantage of the chaos of a civil war raging in the Central African Republic, and massacred 26 rare forest elephants at a special place called the "Dzanga bai."

Read more
Science + Technology
10:26 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Nation's Report Card Shows Stagnant Scores For Reading, Math

In the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, 26 percent of high school seniors scored at or above grade level in math compared with 38 percent in reading.
Chad McDermott iStockphoto.com

The government released the latest national test scores on Wednesday, and the news isn't good: 12th-graders are headed toward graduation, but many don't have the skills they need to succeed in college or work.

The test is the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often referred to as "the nation's report card."

Read more
Science + Technology
3:37 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Chemist Turns Software Developer After Son's Cancer Diagnosis

Noah Shaw, now 5, shows off his Texas roots at a recent birthday party.
Courtesy of Bryan Shaw

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 1:34 pm

A scientist's ambitious plan to create an early detection system for eye cancer using people's home cameras is coming along.

Read more
Science + Technology
12:03 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Even Penguins Get The Flu

Adelie penguins frolic in Antarctica, unaware of a flu virus that circulates among them.
Peter & J. Clement Science Source

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 4:35 pm

When you think of bird flu, you may conjure up images of chickens being slaughtered to stem an outbreak, or of migrating ducks, which can carry flu viruses from one continent to the next. Well, it's time to add penguins to your list of mental images.

Yes, Adelie penguins, which breed in huge colonies on the rocky Antarctic Peninsula, also harbor a version of the avian influenza virus, according to a study published in the journal, mBio.

Read more
Science + Technology
3:39 am
Mon May 5, 2014

You Had Me At Hello: The Science Behind First Impressions

Humans make split-second judgments about others based on the way they talk.
Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 8:08 am

Remember that famous line in the movie Jerry Maguire where Renee Zellweger says to Tom Cruise, "You had me at 'hello' "? Well it turns out there is some scientific evidence to back this up. People use voices to instantly judge people, researchers say.

Read more
Science + Technology
1:02 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

One Universe, One Life: A Conjecture

An artist's impression of a trio of super-Earths discovered with the ESO's 3.6-m telescope at La Silla, Chile.
Illustration ESO

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:10 pm

Opening Disclaimer 1: Although there may be more than one universe, as per the hypothetical multiverse, we will humbly submit to our own bubble of information, the sphere with a radius equal to the distance light has traveled since the beginning of time some 13.8 billion years ago. Factoring in the expansion of the universe, this radius is about 46 billion light years.

Read more
Science + Technology
5:14 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Mom's Diet Right Before Pregnancy Can Alter Baby's Genes

Even before you were a twinkle in your mom's eye, what she ate — and didn't eat enough of — may have helped shape you.
George Marks Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 9:59 am

Pregnant women have heard it time and time again: What you eat during those nine months can have long-term effects on your child's health.

Heck, one study even found that when pregnant women eat a diverse diet, the resulting babies are less picky in the foods they choose.

So what about mom's eating habits before she even knows she's pregnant?

Read more
Science + Technology
12:07 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Psst! Wearable Devices Could Make Big Tech Leaps, Into Your Ear

Bragi's Dash, a fitness-centered wireless earpiece, has raised over $3 million on Kickstarter, the crowdfunding site.
Bragi

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 5:35 pm

It's early evening on a Thursday and you're at a networking event, balancing a small plate of appetizers in one hand. Someone comes up to you to say hello. She acts like you've met before, but you can't recall where.

"It's Jackie Barnes," she says.

"Jackie Barnes," you repeat like you remember. "It's been a while."

As you say her name, a little device in your ear picks it up. The device does a search, and microseconds later it feeds you the info it's found on the Web: the college she attended, her current company, that she has two kids and is an avid runner.

Read more
Science + Technology
6:44 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Did You See It? If Not, Here's The 'Blood Moon'

The "blood moon" as seen from Koreatown, west of Los Angeles, early Tuesday. The next total eclipse of the moon comes on Oct. 8.
Joe Klamar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 9:34 am

There were "whistles, cheers and howls" early Tuesday on the grounds of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles as the moon turned red during a total lunar eclipse.

Read more
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.

Read more
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:

Read more
Science + Technology
6:54 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

One Word To Rule Them All, And In The Puzzle Bind Them

NPR

On-air challenge: Three words that start with the same letter will be presented in a group. Find a word that shares the same first letter as the three, and that can follow each word within the group to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. Example: "big," "broad," "boy"; the answer would be "band" to get "big band," "broadband" and "boy band."

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more

Pages