Science + Technology

Science + Technology
2:22 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Coming Soon: A Summer Of Ugly Fruits And Vegetables

This romaine lettuce growing in California looks pretty now. But how much of it will be discarded as waste before the unblemished plants go on display at the grocery store?
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 3:02 pm

If you're like me, when you're buying fruits and vegetables to cook or make a salad with, you seek the most aesthetically appealing examples: the unblemished apple, the bright-red tomato, the zesty looking leaves of spinach.

But I'm reforming my ways. This summer, I'll be looking for ugly produce instead.

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Science + Technology
11:46 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Our Brain, The Trickster

Argentina's Facundo Bagnis does his best to integrate space and time as he brings his senses to bear on a tennis ball at the French Open.
Pascal Guyot AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 10:46 am

The "here and now." We say these words with perfect calm and composure, as if they mean something. We think we know what they mean. They serve an obvious purpose in our lives. But come to think of it, even if we have more freedom with the "here" — as we are free to move about in space and can conceive of an object filling up a volume in space — the "now" doesn't really exist. Our minds create a representation of both so we may guide ourselves in space and time.

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Science + Technology
8:15 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Google Is Becoming A Car Manufacturer

Google X is building a few hundred self-driving cars that have no steering wheel, accelerator pedal or brake pedal.
Google

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 4:35 pm

Google is taking a detour into the world of automobiles, by becoming a carmaker.

But not just any car: a car that drives itself. In an effort to create a fully, 100 percent self-driving vehicle — something that needs no human being at the steering wheel — the company is building a car without a steering wheel.

Scientists at the company's research wing, Google X, have been working on this project hush-hush for the past year.

Today's Self-Driving Car

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Science + Technology
4:10 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

What To Do If Your iPhone Is Hacked And Remotely Locked

A hacker targeted people in Australia, sending a message to their iPhones and iPads that their devices were locked — unless they paid a ransom.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 5:52 pm

This week, in the hours before daylight, a hacker sent an unsettling alert to iPhone users in Australia. The husband of a Sydney council member received the message at 4 a.m.; a graphic designer was awakened at 2 a.m.

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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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