Science & Technology

The Two-Way
2:21 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

U.S. One Step Closer To Future Where Cars Talk To Each Other

An illustration showing how a vehicle-to-vehicle communication system would work.
U.S. Department Of Transportation

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 2:50 pm

The United States is one step closer to a future where cars will communicate with each other to avoid accidents.

The Department of Transportation announced on Monday it was moving forward with the steps necessary to one day mandate vehicle-to-vehicle — V2V — communication technology on light automobiles.

The big deal here is that research — including a 3,000-vehicle test of the system in Ann Arbor, Mich. — finds that V2V technology has the potential to "help drivers avoid or mitigate 70 to 80 percent of vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers."

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:46 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Can It Be? Pigeons, Geese And White-Tailed Deer Were Once Rare

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 3:47 pm

Go back 150 years and ask yourself, what was there a lot of?

We all know the answer ...

There were lots of buffalo, lots of passenger pigeons, lots of oysters. And then, poof! Hardly any. Or none ...

OK, let's flip the question: What were there precious few of 150 years ago, in a couple of cases almost to the point of extinction? The answer — believe it or not — is white-tailed deer, Canada geese and, arguably, ordinary pigeons.

I'm not kidding.

White Tailed Deer

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The Two-Way
10:24 am
Sun February 2, 2014

WATCH: Breathtaking New Video Of Felix Baumgartner's Record Jump

Felix Baumgartner taking the plunge from 24 miles up in his record-breaking 2012 jump.
Felix Baumgartner

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 11:21 am

You might recall Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner's 2012 jump from a 24-mile-high balloon capsule, a height of 127,852 feet. He broke not only an altitude record, formerly set by a U.S. Air Force pilot, Col. Joe Kittinger, in 1960, but also a record for speed of descent, breaking the sound barrier on his plummet to the New Mexico desert.

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The Salt
9:56 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Sap Discovery Could Turn Syrup-Making Upside Down

Buckets collect sap on maple trees in Vermont. A new discovery means that sap doesn't have to be collected from mature trees out in the wild.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 11:51 am

Last year researchers at the University of Vermont announced something that could change the way we think about Vermont — or at least how it produces its famous maple syrup.

The time-honored method calls for inserting a tap near the bottom of a tall, mature maple tree. At the end of February, the tree thaws, and voila: Sap starts flowing out the spigot at the bottom.

But in 2010, these researchers were testing ways to gather sap from mature trees when they noticed something unusual.

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All Tech Considered
8:57 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Should Uber Be Responsible For Driver Recklessness?

The transportation app Uber matches ride-seekers with drivers. Drivers must keep checking their phones to catch customers, and critics say that may have dangerous consequences on the road. Is Uber responsible for the risk?
Lucy Nicholson Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 10:04 am

A man named Syed Muzaffar drove for Uber, the San Francisco-based company that makes money selling car rides. He lives in a suburb of San Francisco and on New Year's Eve, he says, he was in the city for the sole purpose of picking up partygoers who needed a ride.

His night ended early and tragically, around 8 p.m., when he turned a corner and hit a family in a crosswalk.

"The mother sustained facial fractures," says Police Sgt. Eric Mahoney, who is investigating the case. "The 4-year-old boy suffered abrasions on his face, and the 6-year-old girl was fatally injured."

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The Two-Way
6:42 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Shadow Seen! Groundhog Predicts 6 More Weeks Of Cold

Punxsutawney Phil is held by handler John Griffiths after emerging from his burrow to see his shadow and forecast six more weeks of winter weather.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 7:36 am

Punxsutawney Phil, the "prognosticator of prognosticators" saw his shadow after being roused from hibernation just long enough to make his annual prediction.

That means ... six more weeks of winter.

The famous groundhog's handler, Bill Deely, made the pronouncement atop Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, at about 7:25 a.m. ET.

As The Associated Press reports:

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All Tech Considered
4:30 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Beirut Bombing Spawns An App To Tell Loved Ones 'I Am Alive'

Sandra Hassan put her app online in late January as yet more explosions struck Lebanon. She hopes it will help people in conflict zones, and areas hit by natural disasters.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 8:33 am

"I am alive."

Those words can mean a lot when you are a resident of Lebanon, where bombings are a frequent reality. So Sandra Hassan, a Lebanese-born graduate student studying public health in Paris, developed an app that lets users get the message out quickly. With one click, they can instantly tweet the message: "I am still alive! #Lebanon #LatestBombing."

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The New And The Next
4:17 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

How A Halftime Show Wardrobe Malfunction Changed The Internet

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performing at Super Bowl XXXVIII, the infamous wardrobe malfunction mere moments away.
John Zich John Zich/Corbis

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 5:45 pm

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest feature stories.

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All Tech Considered
4:17 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Wheels On The Bike Go Round And Round (To Make Music)

Sound designer and composer Steven Baber used state-of-the-art recording equipment to get gorgeous sounds from his bikes.
Devin Whetstone

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 5:45 pm

Steven Baber knows sound. And chances are, you know his work.

The sound designer and composer, who works under the name Johnnyrandom, produces advertisements for companies from Google to Adidas. In fact, he's the mastermind behind the larger-than-life "crunch" sound that caps off the Doritos commercials (How did he do it? Ate two bags of chips into a microphone and layered the audio).

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The Two-Way
3:09 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

At Least 14 Dead In Eruption Of Indonesian Volcano

Indonesian villagers flee as Mt. Sinabung spews volcanic materials in Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia, on Saturday.
Chairaly EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 5:34 pm

An Indonesian volcano that had been rumbling for months finally unleashed a deadly cloud of poisonous gas and gray ash, killing at least 14 people only a day after authorities had allowed thousands of evacuated villagers to return to their homes.

A series of huge blasts came from Mount Sinabung, a 8,530-foot-high volcano in western Sumatra, on Saturday, sending lava and pyroclastic flows down its slope into nearby settlements.

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