Science + Technology

Science + Technology
1:27 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Former LulzSec Hacker Turned Informant Avoids Further Jail Time

Hector Xavier Monsegur arrives at court in New York for a sentencing hearing on Tuesday.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 2:28 pm

Avoiding further jail time, Hector Xavier Monsegur — a hacktivist legend — walked out of a federal court house in Manhattan on Tuesday.

The AP reports that U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said Monsegur's cooperation helped disrupt hundreds of cyber attacks and helped disrupt the hacker activist group Anonymous and essentially marked the end of LulzSec.

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Science + Technology
6:57 pm
Sun May 25, 2014

Going Dark: The Internet Behind The Internet

The Deep Web is a part of the Internet not accessible by standard Web browsers and search engines.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 3:17 pm

The average computer user with an Internet connection has access to an amazing wealth of information. But there's also an entire world that's invisible to your standard Web browser.

These parts of the Internet are known as the Deep Web. The tools to get to there are just a few clicks away, and more and more people who want to browse the Web anonymously are signing on.

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Science + Technology
4:35 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Organic Cat Litter Chief Suspect In Nuclear Waste Accident

Workers at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant are still investigating what caused a radioactive release at the site, but organic cat litter may be the culprit.
DOE/WIPP

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 3:12 am

In February, a 55-gallon drum of radioactive waste burst open inside America's only nuclear dump, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

Now investigators believe the cause may have been a pet store purchase gone bad.

"It was the wrong kitty litter," says James Conca, a geochemist in Richland, Wash., who has spent decades in the nuclear waste business.

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Science + Technology
7:39 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Book News: NASA Has Free E-Book On Decoding Extraterrestrial Messages

Phone Home? NASA wants us to be ready to understand messages from potentially "a species that is radically Other."
Neilson Barnard Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 3:43 pm

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Science + Technology
1:13 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

UK Government Asks: What's The Greatest Challenge Of Our Time?

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 10:20 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, a prize that's making a return: the Longitude Prize.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It was set up in 1714 by the British government to solve the greatest challenge of that time: Pinpoint a ship's location at sea by knowing its longitude.

CORNISH: Three hundred years later, there's a video announcing its return.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: We're at the dawn of a new world.

SIEGEL: Its committee is led by Lord Martin Rees, a professor at Cambridge University.

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Science + Technology
1:08 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

The Universe Cares About How Fast You — Yes, You — Travel

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 9:36 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

We've been getting occasional light advice from NPR blogger and physicist Adam Frank. His mantra more or less is: Make friends with science and it will transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Today, Adam's thoughts about how your speed affects the way you experience life. Or as he would prefer to say: your velocity.

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Science + Technology
1:07 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Scientists Discover Carbon Cycle Is Out Of Whack

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 9:39 am

Scientists who track carbon say the way it cycles from the atmosphere back to earth and into plants and animals has apparently changed. It could be the whole planetary carbon treadmill is speeding up.

Science + Technology
1:06 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Snake Species That Went Missing For 78 Years Is Found

The Clarion nightsnake's coloration makes it difficult to see in its black lava habitat.
Courtesy of the Smithsonian

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 2:02 pm

A species of snake that was thought to have gone missing for nearly 80 years — or never to have existed in the first place — has been found.

The Clarion nightsnake, named for the island it inhabits off Mexico's Pacific coast, had been identified only once, back in 1936 by naturalist William Beebe.

He brought a specimen back to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, but scientists questioned whether it was a distinct species.

Double-checking wasn't easy. The volcanic island of Clarion is accessible only by military escort.

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Science + Technology
1:00 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

NOAA Forecasts Quiet Atlantic Hurricane Season In 2014

A satellite image provided by NASA shows Superstorm Sandy on Oct. 30, 2012.
NASA Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 12:35 pm

Hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean will be at or below normal levels this year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's annual forecast.

The six-month hurricane season begins June 1.

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Science + Technology
7:03 am
Wed May 21, 2014

So What If It's Ugly? It Just Keeps On Going ...

Courtesy of Rachel Sussman

Far, far, far away is a great place to be — if you want to stay marvelous. There is a plant, called Welwitschia mirabilis (mirabilis being Latin for marvelous), found only one place on Earth. You can get there, as artist/photographer Rachel Sussman did, by driving through the vast emptiness of the Namibian desert, the Namib Naukluft, in Africa.

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Science + Technology
5:22 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Mating Rituals: Why Certain Risky Behaviors Can Make You Look Hot

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 9:29 am

Social science research suggests risky behavior such as braving heights or swimming in deep waters increases your sex appeal. Driving without a seat belt? Not so much.

Science + Technology
3:21 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Why Those Tiny Microbeads In Soap May Pose Problem For Great Lakes

Researcher Sherri Mason looks for microbeads in a water sample from Lake Michigan. Legislation to phase out products containing the beads is pending in New York and Illinois.
Cheryl Corley

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 3:19 pm

From the shoreline at North Avenue Beach in Chicago, the blue water of Lake Michigan stretches as far as the eye can see. But beneath that pristine image, there's a barely visible threat, says Jennifer Caddick of the Alliance for the Great Lakes: microbeads.

These tiny bits of plastic, small scrubbing components used in hundreds of personal care products like skin exfoliants and soap, can slip through most water treatment systems when they wash down the drain.

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Science + Technology
3:20 am
Wed May 21, 2014

For N.J. Mayor, The Time To Adapt To Rising Sea Levels Is Now

Hoboken, N.J., residents walk through flood water in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Mayor Dawn Zimmer is advocating for better planning and increased funding for flood-prone urban areas.
Charles Sykes AP

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 12:41 pm

Last week, scientists warned that a massive chunk of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet will eventually drift into the sea and melt, raising sea levels at least 10 feet higher than previous predictions.

Even before the announcement, scientists at the nonprofit research organization Climate Central predicted that surging seas could put the homes of nearly 5 million Americans underwater by the end of this century.

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Science + Technology
4:57 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Big Bang's Ripples: Two Scientists Recall Their Big Discovery

The Holmdel Horn Antenna at Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey was built in 1959 to make the first phone call via satellite.
NASA

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 8:27 pm

On May 20, 1964, two astronomers working at a New Jersey laboratory turned a giant microwave antenna toward what they thought would be a quiet part of the Milky Way. They weren't searching for anything; they were trying to make adjustments to their instrument before looking at more interesting things in the sky.

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Science + Technology
3:14 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Global Temperatures Tied Record High Last Month

Worldwide temperatures were once again above normal last month, tying the record for the hottest April set back in 2010.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday said the average global temperature for land and sea was 56.7 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 1.39 degrees warmer than the 20th century average.

"The last below-average April was April 1976, and the last average or below-average temperature for any month was February 1985," according to NOAA.

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Science + Technology
4:04 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

NASA Chief Dismisses Concern Over Russia Quitting Space Station

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speaks during a news conference in Berlin on Monday. Bolden said no single country was indispensable to the International Space Station's success.
Michael Sohn AP

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 6:04 pm

NASA's Administrator Charles Bolden says that Russia's plan to end cooperation on the International Space Station after 2020 will not have an impact on the success of the orbital platform.

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Science + Technology
3:12 pm
Sun May 18, 2014

A Giant Among Dinosaurs, Discovered In Argentina

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 11:28 am

Paleontologists in Argentina say they have unearthed the fossils of the biggest dinosaur ever to walk the planet.

The bones are believed to be from a new species of the aptly named titanosaur, a massive herbivore from the late Cretaceous period, officials from the Museo Paleontologico Egidio Feruglio told BBC News.

The titanosaur was a sauropod, like the apatosaurus or brachiosaurus, that roamed the forests of Patagonia 95 million years ago.

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Science + Technology
3:42 am
Thu May 15, 2014

FCC To Unveil Proposed Rules To Govern Internet Traffic

Proponents of open Internet access protest in front of the FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C. The commission votes Thursday on its proposed rules amid debate about network neutrality.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 2:55 pm

The Federal Communications Commission announced last month that it would propose new rules. In a blog post, Chairman Tom Wheeler insists that the open Internet rules will help maintain what's called network neutrality. That is, making certain that your Internet provider doesn't give a faster connection to a service that can pay more.

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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:

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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.

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