Science & Technology

Digital Life
4:02 pm
Sat December 28, 2013

The Internet Hoaxes That Had Us All Clicking For More

Which Internet hoaxes got you this year?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 5:54 pm

From fake tweets to feigned poverty, the Internet was ablaze with hoaxes in 2013. Tess Lynch reported on the "rise of the hoax economy" for Grantland, calling out the biggest dupes of the year.

Lying isn't new, but the nature of the lies is changing, Lynch writes: "Our focus has shifted from the amusing to the emotional."

The emotional stories draw many in, including the media.

Read more
Research News
11:54 am
Sat December 28, 2013

The Hunt For Meteorites Begins In Antarctica

The most abundant meteorites found in Antarctica are called chondrites. They are some of the oldest objects known in the solar system.
Katherine Joy Antarctic Search for Meteorites Program / Case Western Reserve University

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 9:07 am

Antarctica is one of the best places on Earth to spot these fallen stars.

Each winter — which is summer in down south — a team of geologists camps out on an Antarctic glacier in the middle of nowhere, often where no human has ever tread. It's kind of like a space voyage, but a lot cheaper.

And it's the meteorite that's done most of the traveling.

Read more
The Salt
3:43 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Time Is Running Out To Save Florida's Oranges

Ripening fruit in a grove in Plant City, Fla., this month. Florida citrus growers are worried about citrus greening, which causes bacteria to grow on the leaf and fruit, eventually killing the tree.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 6:15 pm

It's not been a good year for Florida's citrus industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that, for the second year running, the orange crop is expected to be almost 10 percent lower than the previous year.

The culprit is citrus greening, a disease that has devastated Florida's oranges and grapefruits, and has now begun to spread in Texas and California.

Read more
Science
3:36 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Stretch Or Splat? How A Black Hole Kills You Matters ... A Lot

Never mind holiday stress. Steer clear of black holes, or risk "spaghettification" — or worse.
Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 6:15 pm

It could rightly be called the most massive debate of the year: Physicists are locked in an argument over what happens if you fall into a black hole.

On one side are those who support the traditional view from Albert Einstein. On the other, backers of a radical new theory that preserves the very core of modern physics by destroying space itself.

Read more
Technology
3:21 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

To Make Intersections Smarter, We Need Cars To Be Smarter, Too

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 6:15 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

Car companies have already begun to design cars that can drive themselves. But to make these smart cars really useful, they'll also need smart roads. As part of his series, "Joe's Big Idea," NPR science correspondent Joe Palca has this story about some computer scientists who were designing a smart traffic intersection. How smart? Well, it can keep traffic flowing at least 10 times faster than old-fashioned intersections.

Read more
Animals
3:21 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

After Major Comeback, Is The Gray Wolf Still Endangered?

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 6:15 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The law that protects endangered species turns 40 tomorrow and perhaps the most controversial thing the government has done under the law is to reintroduce the gray wolf. Ranchers and hunters strongly opposed the move and now the federal government wants to take the gray wolf off the endangered species list. NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports, this time, it is the scientists who are protesting loudly.

ELIZABETH SHOGREN, BYLINE: Ecologist Carlos Carroll is walking through the snow in a wide valley in Northern California.

Read more
The Salt
9:57 am
Fri December 27, 2013

2013 Was The Year Bills To Criminalize Animal Cruelty Videos Failed

A Humane Society investigation of a Wyoming pig breeding facility to the introduction of an ag-gag bill in Wyoming, which eventually failed.
Courtesy of Humane Society of the U.S.

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 2:07 pm

The past year was a busy one for the animal welfare activists who've turned their hidden cameras on confinement facilities where huge numbers of food animals are raised.

Livestock producers — and the policymakers they influence — were just as busy trying to make it illegal for activists to enter these facilities undercover.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:32 am
Fri December 27, 2013

VIDEO: Rescuers Are Drawing Near To Ship Stuck In Antarctic

Stuck in the ice: The MV Akademik Shokalskiy.
Chris Turney Australasian Antarctic Expedition

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 5:24 pm

Update at 6:15 p.m. ET. Chinese Icebreaker Gets Stuck:

The Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon became stuck in the ice itself as it tried to reach the stranded vessel MV Akademik Shokalskiy.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority tweeted:

Read more
Health News
2:22 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Can A Fruit Fly Help Explain Autism?

A newly discovered neural circuit in the brain of the common fruit fly seems to serve as a sort of "volume control," turning up and down the perception of sound and light.
Nicholas Monu iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 9:54 am

For President Obama, 2013 wasn't just the year of Obamacare. It was also the year of the brain.

In April, Obama announced his Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative — an effort to unlock "the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears."

Read more
Science
5:01 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

West Coast's Early Warning System For Quakes Still Spotty

Workers in Oakland, Calif., check the damage to Interstate 880 on Oct. 19, 1989; this portion of the freeway had collapsed during the Loma Prieta earthquake two days earlier.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:09 pm

Earthquake scientists on the West Coast would like to build a system that would give people a bit of warning before they get jolted with strong shaking from a distant quake.

Seismic waves take time to travel from the epicenter, which means such a warning system could issue alerts ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes. A prototype has been developed for the region, seismologists say, but the complete network still lacks funding, and has big gaps outside cities.

Meanwhile, Japan already has something like that up and running.

Read more

Pages