Science & Technology

The Two-Way
5:49 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Fossil Shows Triassic-Era Sea Creature Gave Birth On Land

Fossil of Chaohusaurus reveals a baby inside its mother (orange) and another stuck in her pelvis (yellow).
Ryosuke Motani UC-Davis

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 5:05 pm

An extraordinary find of a fossil of 250-million-year-old air-breathing sea creature shows that it must have given birth on land, not in the sea as long assumed.

The fossil is of a mother chaohusaurus, which is believed to be a genus of ichthyosaur, who died giving birth. It shows the baby birthing headfirst.

Read more
Remembrances
3:22 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Tech Innovator And Master Of Maps Dies At 80

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 6:58 pm

Roger Tomlinson, the man widely regarded as the father of GIS — Geographic Information Systems — has died at age 80. Tomlinson's 1960s innovation, using computer software to overlay different types of maps on top of one another, revolutionized industry and government.

All Tech Considered
3:18 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Facebook Gives Users New Options To Identify Gender

Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison demonstrates the website's expanded options for gender identification at her company's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters. Harrison, who helped engineer the project, plans to switch her identifier to "Trans Woman."
Noah Berger AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 10:21 am

Gender identity online is evolving.

Facebook is rolling out changes to its 159 million members in the U.S. that will allow people to have a wider choice than simply male or female when selecting a gender description on the site.

A third option now appears in the gender field: custom. Users who select that option can then choose from roughly 50 options including Trans Male or Female, Cisgender or Androgynous.

Read more
All Tech Considered
2:24 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

How The Big Cable Deal Could Actually Boost Open-Internet Rules

Comcast is the largest cable company and home Internet service provider in the United States.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 6:59 am

An announced $45 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable — the largest and second-largest cable companies in the U.S., respectively — is under scrutiny not just for its massive size but also for its potential impact on Internet use.

Read more
Science
1:06 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Robot Construction Workers Take Their Cues From Termites

Climbing robots, modeled after termites, can be programmed to work together to build tailor-made structures.
[Image courtesy of Eliza Grinnell, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 6:58 pm

Termites can build huge, elaborate mounds that rise up from the ground like insect skyscrapers; scientists have now created little robots that act like termites to build a made-to-order structure.

"Termites are the real masters of construction in the insect world," says Justin Werfel of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. "The largest termite mound on record was 42 feet tall."

Read more
Krulwich Wonders...
12:03 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

'I Will Fight Gravity For You,' Said Superman To Lois Lane

Keone and Mari YouTube

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 1:41 pm

Read more
The Two-Way
12:02 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Apple Steps Up The Pressure On 'Conflict Minerals'

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the iPad Air in October 2013. The company says it is publicizing the names of suppliers that are still sourcing minerals from conflict regions.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 1:12 pm

Apple has announced that its suppliers are no longer using the mineral tantalum sourced from conflict regions.

Tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold are among the minerals used to make electronics, and questions about their origins have become a controversial issue because, as The Wall Street Journal reports, "minerals from some of the mines in and around the Democratic Republic of the Congo are blamed for paying for the fighting in the region."

Read more
Technology
11:17 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Are Tech Execs Uncomfortable Around Young Black Men?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. You may remember that last week we spoke with organizers of a hackathon in Oakland, California. It was a gathering of developers who were asked to consider ideas for, say, a smartphone app that could've saved Trayvon Martin or perhaps solve other social problems.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:09 am
Thu February 13, 2014

China's Moon Rover Wakes Up, But Isn't Out Of The Woods Yet

China's first lunar rover separates from the Chang'e-3 moon lander on Dec. 15. This picture was taken from the screen of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.
Li Xin Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 2:56 pm

China's troubled Jade Rabbit rover has woken from its hibernation on the moon, sending a message back to its handlers. But its problems aren't over yet.

"Hi, anyone there?" was the post on Jade Rabbit's unofficial Weibo account on Thursday, which got thousands of responses from enthusiastic followers.

Read more
Science
2:03 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Ancient DNA Ties Native Americans From Two Continents To Clovis

Until recently, finding characteristic stone and bone tools was the only way to trace the fate of the Clovis people, whose culture appeared in North America about 13,000 years ago.
Sarah L. Anzick Nature

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 7:01 pm

The mysterious Clovis culture, which appeared in North America about 13,000 years ago, appears to be the forerunner of Native Americans throughout the Americas, according to a study in Nature. Scientists have read the genetic sequence of a baby from a Clovis burial site in Montana to help fill out the story of the earliest Americans.

Read more

Pages