Science & Technology

The Salt
2:21 am
Fri June 27, 2014

As Pig Virus Spreads, The Price Of Pork Continues To Rise

Michael Yezzi raises 1,000 pigs a year in Shushan, N.Y. He's worried about how to keep his farm safe from a disease that has no proven cure.
Abbie Fentress Swanson for NPR

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 7:31 am

If you're bringing home the bacon, you may have noticed a price tag inching upward.

Consumers are paying nearly 13 percent more for pork at the supermarket than they were this time last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A deadly pig disease is partially to blame.

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All Tech Considered
3:20 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

The Binge-Watch Before The Purge, Now That Aereo Is Likely Done

Chet Kanojia is the founder and CEO of Aereo, which is fighting big broadcasters over its tiny antenna.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 11:35 am

The Supreme Court gave broadcasters a big win this week in their battle against the startup service Aereo. Subscribers in select cities have been watching and recording live broadcast TV with Aereo, at a cost of $8 to $12 a month. But what happens to consumers now that the service is illegal?

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Shots - Health News
3:20 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

A CRISPR Way To Fix Faulty Genes

The CRISPR enzyme (green and red) binds to a stretch of double-stranded DNA (purple and red), preparing to snip out the faulty part.
Illustration courtesy of Jennifer Doudna/UC Berkeley

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 6:47 am

Scientists from many areas of biology are flocking to a technique that allows them to work inside cells, making changes in specific genes far faster — and for far less money — than ever before.

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NPR Ed
3:03 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Move Over Books: Libraries Let Patrons Check Out The Internet

The New York Public Library found that 55 percent of its patrons reported not having broadband access at home.
Jeffrey Zeldman Flickr

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 6:01 pm

Imagine being able to walk into a public library and check out a Wi-Fi hot spot as if it were just another book. Soon, patrons in two major U.S. cities won't have to imagine it.

The public library systems in New York and Chicago won funding from the Knight Foundation to experiment with the idea of hot-spot lending. Both say they hope the move will help them expand Internet access among low-income families.

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The Salt
2:29 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Did Neanderthals Eat Plants? The Proof May Be In The Poop

A rendering of Neanderthals cooking and eating. The ancient humans inhabited Europe and western Asia between 230,000 and 29,000 years ago.
Mauricio Anton Science Source

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 4:35 pm

Neanderthals clubbed their way to the top of an ancient food chain, slaying caribou and mammoths. But a peek inside their prehistoric poop reveals that the meat-loving early humans may have also enjoyed some salad on the side.

Researchers excavating a site in southern Spain where Neanderthals lived 50,000 years ago were initially looking for remnants of food in fireplaces. Then they stumbled upon tiny bits of poop — which turned out to be the oldest fecal matter from a human relation ever discovered.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:38 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

What Not To Serve Buzzards For Lunch, A Glorious Science Experiment

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 4:07 pm

OK, I'm doing great science experiments. We've done sex (see previous post). On to lunch!

This is the story of a bird, a puzzle, and a painting. The painting, curiously, helped solve the puzzle, which is: How do vultures find food?

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Science
1:03 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

A Shocking Fish Tale Surprises Evolutionary Biologists

A 6-foot-long electric eel is basically a 6-inch fish attached to a 5-1/2-foot cattle prod, researchers say. The long tail is packed with special cells that pump electricity without shocking the fish.
Mark Newman Getty Images/Lonely Planet Image

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 11:39 am

The electric eel's powerful ability to deliver deadly shocks — up to 600 volts — makes it the most famous electric fish, but hundreds of other species produce weaker electric fields. Now, a new genetic study of electric fish has revealed the surprising way they got electrified.

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All Tech Considered
9:57 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Facebook's Diversity Numbers Are Out, And They're What You Expect

Numbers out Wednesday show almost 7 out of 10 Facebook staffers are male.
Photo Illustration: Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 2:42 pm

The summer of tech company demographic data dumps continues apace. Facebook is the latest big firm to share its staff's racial and gender breakdowns, following similar releases from Google and Yahoo. Other tech firms NPR has reached out to say they are having conversations about whether they will do the same.

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Research News
6:36 am
Thu June 26, 2014

How To Sell Green Products To The Self-Regarding Consumer

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 8:40 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

When consumers think about green products, they often face a dilemma - that car that uses less gasoline or a more efficient refrigerator tends to cost more. Buyers have to choose whether money is more important to them than public good. Now new research shows there might be a way to boost interest in these products, at least among a core group of consumers. NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam is here to talk with us about that. Hi Shankar.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi Steve.

INSKEEP: What consumers?

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All Tech Considered
1:38 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

These Bathroom Lights Tell You Where It's OK To Go

Allen Klevens is the co-founder of Tooshlights, a California-based company that wants to ease the wait for a bathroom stall.
Tooshlights

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 10:51 am

The only thing worse than a long line at a public bathroom is not being able to find an open stall once you've finally reached the front of the line.

No one likes to be walked in on. No one likes to be on the doing or receiving end of an under-the-door squat-and-peek; or a creepy, one-eyed glance through a door crack.

Tooshlights helps you "know where to go."

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