Science & Technology

The Two-Way
4:27 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Steam And Groundwater Raise Concern At Japanese Nuclear Plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) workers work on waste water tanks at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in the town of Okuma, Fukushima prefecture in Japan on June 12, 2013.
Noboru Hashimoto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 9:01 am

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Environment
2:38 am
Thu July 25, 2013

La. Flood Board Sues Oil Industry Over Wetlands

Canals created for navigation and oil and gas pipelines cut through the marsh off the coast of Louisiana, seen in 2010.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 10:49 am

Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost roughly as much land as makes up the state of Delaware.

"If you put the state of Delaware between New Orleans and the ocean, we wouldn't need any levees at all," says John Barry, vice president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. "There is this large buffer of land that has disappeared, and that buffer makes New Orleans much more vulnerable to hurricanes."

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Environment
4:52 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

What's Swimming In The River? Just Look For DNA

Biologists normally look for the hellbender slamander, which is known by the nickname "snot otter," under rocks in streams. But now there's a gentler way: They can take water samples and look for traces of the animals' DNA.
Robert J. Erwin Science Source

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 6:34 pm

If you want to protect rare species, first you have to find them. In the past few years, biologists have developed a powerful new tool to do that. They've discovered that they can often find traces of animal DNA in streams, ponds — even oceans.

The idea took root just five years ago, when biologists in France found they could detect invasive American bullfrogs simply by sampling pond water and looking for an exact genetic match to the frogs' DNA.

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Animals
5:16 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Nevada Wildfire Could Snuff Out A Rare Butterfly

The Mount Charleston blue butterfly is a rare species found only in a few small areas high up in Nevada's Spring Mountains.
Corey Kallstrom USFWS

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 6:10 pm

A big wildfire in a mountain range just west of Las Vegas has put at risk the Mount Charleston blue butterfly, a rare species found in the U.S.

The fire is dying down, but it may be weeks before experts can get to the remarkable area where this butterfly lives to see if it made it through.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
3:47 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Can You Trust A Robot? Let's Find Out

While Hollywood has firmly planted the idea in our minds that robots may very well turn out to be evil, academic research into dangerous interactions between humans and robots has only just begun.
The Halcyon Company The Halcyon Company

When they come — and they are coming — will the robots we deploy into human culture be capable of evil? Well, perhaps "evil" is too strong a word. Will they be capable of inflicting harm on human beings in ways that go beyond their programing?

While this may seem like a question for the next installment of The Terminator franchise (or The Matrix or whatever, pick your favorite), it's a serious question in robotics and it's being taken up by researchers now.

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All Tech Considered
3:15 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

See The 10 States With The Fastest Internet Connections

Vermont, New Hampshire and Delaware get a notable benefit of being small: faster Internet connections. In the latest Akamai State of the Internet Report, they top the list of states with the fastest average connection speeds, and make the top 10 states with fastest peak connection speeds, too.

Check out the rankings, which include download speeds measured in megabits per second, and the year-on-year change for those numbers.

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Space
3:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

NASA Uses Photo Of Earth From Saturn To Boost Space Interest

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 10:29 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This week, NASA is trying to do its part to raise science literacy. To give people a better understanding of Earth's position in the solar system, the agency's posted a picture of our planet taken from a billion miles away, give or take 100 million miles or so. And joining me now to talk about the picture, and why NASA took it, is NPR's Joe Palca. Joe, good to see you.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Good to see you.

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The Two-Way
2:54 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

The Big Stink: D.C.'s Corpse Flower Put On A Show

The color of the corpse flower is meant to mimic the color of rotting flesh and raw meat.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 7:50 pm

The line to see the thing that was supposed to smell like rotting flesh wrapped around the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., on Monday night. Most folks who braved the heat and hourlong wait weren't greeted with the overwhelming stench of death, but rather the smell of sweat and intense, intense humidity.

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All Tech Considered
1:58 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Apps Block Social Media Because Users Can't Stop Themselves

Need to focus? Apps are available to block you from distraction.
toolstop Flickr

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 3:48 pm

Social media sites have gotten so difficult to ignore that millions of people are using apps to stop them from wasting time on the Internet. So if you lack self-control, no problem. Just download SelfControl — the app.

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Technology
11:15 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Observing Ramadan, On Your Smartphone?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Switching gears now. We are about halfway through the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. That's where observant Muslims abstain from food, drink and intimacy during daylight hours and take special care to pray and reflect on their spirituality. If you are currently observing Ramadan, you might sometimes forget that it's time to pray or eat until you hear this coming out of your pocket.

(SOUNDBITE OF APP, MUSLIM PRO)

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