Science & Technology

The Two-Way
5:36 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Facebook Will Buy WhatsApp Message Service For $19 Billion

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 6:01 pm

Seeking new ways to be a player in mobile messaging, Facebook announced today that it will acquire the fast-growing WhatsApp firm for some $16 billion in cash and stock. The deal includes an additional $3 billion in Facebook stock for the employees of WhatsApp, who would see the shares vest over four years.

This is the second headline-grabbing acquisition by Facebook, following the $1 billion deal for Instagram that was announced in the spring of 2012. The new deal calls for Facebook to pay $4 billion in cash, along with around $12 billion in stock.

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Internet
5:13 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

San Antonio Selected As Potential Google Fiber Network Site

Mark Strama, Head of Google Fiber in Austin, stands with city leaders at the initial announcement of Fiber
Joey Palacios Texas Public Radio

Google Fiber has selected San Antonio as one of nine metro areas to potentially receive its super fast internet connection.

With the ability to download 1 gigabyte per second, it’s already 100 times faster than what’s available for most homes in San Antonio. Google and the city announced that plans to bring Google Fiber to the Alamo city are in motion.

“It’ll mean faster internet speeds and also competition that will create lower rates so access is more affordable," said Mayor Julián Castro. "That’s good for business, it’s good for education.”

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The Record
3:21 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Computer Love: Beats Music Wants To Be Your Everything

Beats Music

I have a new streaming music service in my life. Let's call him Beatsy. It's an open relationship — I'm still accessing other music streams, and Beatsy's positively promiscuous, winning the hearts of the music press and thousands of trial subscribers. But I don't mind. When I'm with Beatsy I feel special. Yes, he is a computer program — the world knows him as Beats Music, just one of many services that make it possible for me to listen to music stored in its cloud library via my phone or computer.

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Health
3:19 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

'Bluish' Light May Help Alzheimer's Patients Find Bearings

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:59 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now, health and electrical lighting. Last month, Mariana Figueiro showed me something she has developed to help seniors avoid falls in the night. Figueiro researches health applications at the Lighting Research Center at Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Her project is a nightlight. But it's not just a single bulb. It's a string of yellow lights that border the darkened entrance to, say, a bathroom.

It's a doorway and around the frame of the doorway are the yellow LEDs?

MARIANA FIGUEIRO: That's correct.

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All Tech Considered
3:19 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Here's What Happens When Thousands Play Pokemon Together

A screenshot of the online multiplayer Pokemon game.
Twitch.tv

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:02 pm

Pokemon is the wildly popular Japanese Nintendo video game, first released in 1996. Its goal is to collect wild creatures and battle other trainers to become the Pokemon master. Simple enough, right?

Now imagine trying to play the game with tens of thousands of people looking over your shoulder, telling you which buttons to press. That's the latest social experiment going on in the gaming community. At any given time, thousands of people are controlling a single game of Pokemon Red — the original game of the series — at the same time.

And so far, it's going ... OK.

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Science
3:19 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

As Execution Drugs Run Dry, Attention Turns To Source Of Shortage

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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Science
3:19 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

What Is The Psychological Effect Of Naming Storms?

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Along with plenty of ice, sleet and snow, much of the country has also been blanketed this winter by an avalanche of names. When winter storms assault us, they now come with names like Hercules, Janus and, the most recent storm, Pax.

Here's NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam on why we name winter storms and how those names might affect us.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: We've been naming hurricanes for many years.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS CLIP)

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The Two-Way
2:39 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

If Yellowstone Could Talk, It Might Squeak. Blame The Helium

Sunset on the Firehole River, Yellowstone National Park.
Bill Young Flickr

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:02 pm

A huge amount of ancient helium is rising up from the rocks beneath Yellowstone National Park — about enough to fill up a Goodyear blimp every week.

The gas comes from a vast store of helium that's accumulated in the Earth's crust for hundreds of millions of years, scientists report in the journal Nature this week.

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All Tech Considered
2:30 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

The Allure Of Anonymous Confessional Apps 'Secret' And 'Whisper'

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 10:58 am

"I'm worth 83.7 million dollars and bored out of my mind."

"My friend who is a banker just told me he's working on Dropbox's IPO...oooh."

"The drug use in Silicon Valley is outrageous. So are the inflated egos. It's like LA for smart, ugly people."

Declarations like these — some plaintive, some fueled by professional frustration and some just plain gossipy — tumble forth anonymously on the new app Secret, and because many of them seem to be coming from within the booming tech industry, the app has built early buzz.

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The Two-Way
1:18 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

World's Largest Oyster Is Size Of A Man's Shoe

It's alive: At nearly 14 inches long, this oyster has been certified as the world's largest. It's also around the same size as a man's size 10-1/2 or 11 shoe here in the U.S.
Wadden Sea Centre

The world's largest oyster is nearly 14 inches long and resides in Denmark, according to the folks at Guinness World Records. And it's still alive and growing, according to Christine Ditlefsen, the biologist at the Wadden Sea Centre whose world record was recently certified.

The oyster was found in October in Wadden Sea National Park, a shallow area off of the North Sea on Denmark's southwestern coast. Its size and shape could be said to resemble a huge plaintain. But when they found it, the Wadden staff compared the oyster to a large and sturdy shoe.

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