Science & Technology

All Tech Considered
3:36 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

App, Secret Sites Create The Immersive World Of 'Night Film'

Marisha Pessl's previous novel was Special Topics in Calamity Physics.
David Schulze

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 5:58 pm

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Food
2:47 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Incredibly Shrinking Avocados: Why This Year's Fruit Are So Tiny

We found lots of avocados being sold six or 10 to a $1 bag in the San Francisco area. Some weighed less than 3 ounces.
Alastair Bland for NPR

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 11:40 am

What's thick-skinned and leathery, about the size of an egg, essential for guacamole and sold eight for a dollar?

No, not limes. Hass avocados. This year, anyway. These pear-sized fruits usually weigh half a pound or more. In the summer of 2013, though, hundreds of thousands of trees in Southern California are sagging with the tiniest Hass avocados in local memory — some just the size of a golf ball.

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All Tech Considered
1:46 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

The End Of Buttons: The New Gesture-Control Era

BlackBerry smartphones on a table during a "BlackBerry Brunch" in June in Berlin.
Timur Emek Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 5:58 pm

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Digital Life
11:31 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Can Twitter Boost Literacy?

Despite complaints that Twitter kills language, there's evidence that social media can be used to enhance reading and writing. Guest host Celeste Headlee learns more from Rey Junco, of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

Krulwich Wonders...
9:00 am
Mon August 19, 2013

How One Plus One Became Everything: A Puzzle of Life

Courtesy of Paolo Ceric

It's one of life's great mysteries ...

Four billion years ago, or thereabouts, organic chemicals in the sea somehow spun themselves into little homes, with insides and outsides. We call them cells.

They did this in different ways, but always keeping their insides in, protected from the outside world ...

... surrounded by walls or skins of different types ...

... but letting in essentials, nutrients. Some even learned to eat sunshine, capturing energy ...

... which gave them a pulse of their own ...

... so they could move ...

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The Two-Way
8:58 am
Mon August 19, 2013

University Pages: LinkedIn Launches New College Profiles

The new University Pages on LinkedIn show which businesses employ a college's graduates, and the sectors of the economy in which they work.
LinkedIn

The professional connections site LinkedIn is launching a new section of its social network Monday: University Pages targets younger users who want to connect with colleges. More than 200 schools now have profile pages, according to LinkedIn. As part of the new effort, the company also dropped its minimum age to 14 in the U.S.

The new college profiles allow prospective students to see how many of a school's graduates are on LinkedIn, as well as a breakdown of the main fields in which they work. The pages also list the top employers of alumni.

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All Tech Considered
2:28 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Hitting The Road Without A Driver

Carnegie Mellon's autonomous car, developed with General Motors, is by all appearances a normal Cadillac SRX crossover — except for the big red button in the middle of the dashboard. In an emergency, the button allows the car to be switched immediately back to standard driving mode.
GM-Carnegie Mellon Autonomous Driving Collaborative Research Lab

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 1:19 pm

The cars we drive have gotten ever more sophisticated. They can just about park themselves; they tell us if we're drifting out of our lane; they can prevent skids. Some even automatically apply the brakes if they sense that a collision is imminent.

Engineers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh are developing a car that can do all of those things and more — it can actually drive itself. Imagine that commute to work.

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The Two-Way
1:40 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Has Voyager 1 Left The Solar System?

This artist rendering provided by NASA shows Voyager 1 at the edge of the solar system.
AP

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 1:52 pm

The Voyager 1 spacecraft launched in 1977 on a mission to Jupiter and Saturn. It kept on going. Today it's billions of miles from Earth, and scientists have been predicting it will soon leave the solar system.

NPR has been on Voyager watch since at least 2003, when longtime science correspondent Richard Harris provided this warning of Voyager's impending departure.

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Shots - Health News
1:47 pm
Sun August 18, 2013

What's My Real Cancer Risk? When Online Calculators Don't Compute

Whether or not you'll someday get cancer or any disease can feel like a roll of hundreds of dice. Calculating the odds --€” and knowing what they mean --€” is tricky.
Katie Harbath Flickr

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 10:31 am

Online risk calculators are all the rage these days among public health groups trying to get us to change our unhealthful ways. The World Health Organization developed an online tool that lets you estimate your personal risk of cracking a hip in the next 10 years, for example. You just plug in data about yourself, your lifestyle, and your family medical history.

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Digital Life
5:41 am
Sun August 18, 2013

Kitchens Of The Future Will Really Know How To Cook

A woman checks out a smart refrigerator at a consumer electronics show in 2012.
Samsung USA

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 5:35 pm

Kitchens are getting smarter.

Some refrigerators can let you know when the door is open, or if the milk is past its sell-by date. They make ice at night during less expensive, off-peak energy hours. There are dishwashers that can contact a repairman.

It probably won't be long before you can become Facebook friends with your microwave.

The first microwave oven — the Radarange — weighed 750 pounds and was bought by a Cleveland restaurant in 1947 for $3,000. Later home models had a pull-out box for recipe cards. Paper recipe cards. So quaint.

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