Science & Technology

The Salt
9:38 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Farm Families Pick Massive Corn Harvest As Prices Shrink

Curt Friesen is a fourth-generation farmer in central Nebraska.
Grant Gerlock for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 1:39 pm

Corn prices are down and the farm bill is stalled in Congress. So there's a lot of uncertainly in the air as harvest season gets into full swing across the Midwest. But this is a time of year when farm families like the Friesens in Henderson, Neb., come together to focus on the big task at hand: the corn harvest.

Everyone in the family has a job to do.

"Like my dad — he drives auger wagon," Curt Friesen says. "He drives auger wagon only. That's all he's done since 1976, I think. ... My wife, Nancy, she drives the combine; that's her job."

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All Tech Considered
1:37 am
Tue October 15, 2013

A Company's Tweets Can Help Make It Creditworthy

Courtesy of Kabbage

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 12:25 pm

For many online and other small businesses, getting a loan or a big cash advance is tough. Banks and other traditional lenders are often leery of those without years of financial statements and solid credit scores.

But some lenders and other financial services companies are beginning to assess credit risk differently — using criteria you might not expect.

Jeffrey Grossman is an acupuncturist in Bellingham, Wash. He's also a small businessman. He creates media marketing materials for other acupuncturists hoping to expand their practice.

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The Two-Way
4:45 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Millions Of Miles From Shutdown, Mars Rovers Keep Working

A photo composed of nearly 900 images taken by the rover Curiosity shows a section of Gale Crater near the equator of Mars. The rovers are continuing to work through the U.S. government shutdown.
NASA AP

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 12:55 pm

The budget negotiations in Washington are not front-page news on Mars. There, millions of miles away, NASA's rovers continue to operate, taking photographs and collecting data as they prepare for the coming Martian winter.

NPR's Joe Palca has this report for our Newscast unit:

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Technology
3:51 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

HealthCare.gov Glitches Lead Many To Rely On Pen And Paper

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 5:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. It's time now for All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

BLOCK: Forget technology for the moment, good old pen and paper is the way many Americans are now signing up for the new health insurance exchanges. That's because of problems that continue to plague the healthcare.gov website that was supposed to be a one-stop shop for health coverage.

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Science
3:51 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Why Is Cheating In Science Research On The Rise?

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 5:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Cheating in science is not new, but the way it happens and the way it's detected are changing. There's a lot at stake in science research, everything from public health to valuable federal dollars.

And as Gigi Douban reports from Birmingham, Alabama, there are more people watching to keep researchers honest.

GIGI DOUBAN, BYLINE: About 60 science graduate students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are working in small groups on a quiz.

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All Tech Considered
1:46 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Hey, Why Did You Floor It? Tracking Junior Behind The Wheel

Alyson Illich used technologies that tracked her son Colter's location while he was driving. "I think it made him more thoughtful," she said.
Family photo

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 5:19 pm

Nowhere is the temptation to use technology to monitor a child greater than when that child is learning to drive.

Auto accidents are still the leading cause of death among teens in the U.S. And while fatalities are dropping, giving a teen the keys to a car is still one of the most terrifying things most parents ever do.

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Science
1:41 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Are Iran's Centrifuges Just Few Turns From A Nuclear Bomb?

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inspects the Natanz nuclear plant in central Iran on March 8, 2007. The tall cylinders are centrifuges for enriching uranium.
EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 5:19 pm

Tuesday in Geneva, negotiators from six nations will sit down to talks with Iran over that country's nuclear program. At the heart of the negotiations are Iran's centrifuges: machines that can be used to enrich uranium for use in nuclear power plants, or for use in a bomb. This double role of centrifuges has negotiators in a bind.

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The Salt
1:36 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

This Isn't Your Granny Smith's Harvesting Technology

Ripe Gala apples are ready for picking at an orchard in South Haven, Mich.
spablab Flickr.com

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 5:12 pm

In West Michigan, it's apple harvest time. That may conjure up images of picturesque orchards and old-fashioned fun: growers harvesting apples and then selecting them by hand.

Think again.

Robotic arms, computer vision and high-resolution photography are helping Michigan growers wash, sort and package apples at top speeds in the business — think 2,000 apples per minute.

With this modern technology, farmers are expanding production and getting Galas and Ginger Golds from Michigan orchards to grocery stores faster and more cheaply.

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Research News
1:16 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Trapped In A Fossil: Remnants Of A 46-Million-Year-Old Meal

A very old squished mosquito found in fossilized rock from Montana. Analysis of the insect's gut revealed telltale chemicals found in blood.
PNAS

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 5:19 pm

Scientists who study why species vanish are increasingly looking for ancient DNA. They find it easily enough in the movies; remember the mosquito blood in Jurassic Park that contained dinosaur DNA from the bug's last bite? But in real life, scientists haven't turned up multi-million-year-old DNA in any useable form.

Fortunately, a team at the Smithsonian Institution has now found something unique in a 46-million-year-old, fossilized mosquito — not DNA, but the chemical remains of the insect's last bloody meal.

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Krulwich Wonders...
6:43 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Watch Daniela. She's Up To Something Big

YouTube

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 10:03 am

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