Pokemon is the wildly popular Japanese Nintendo video game, first released in 1996. Its goal is to collect wild creatures and battle other trainers to become the Pokemon master. Simple enough, right?
Now imagine trying to play the game with tens of thousands of people looking over your shoulder, telling you which buttons to press. That's the latest social experiment going on in the gaming community. At any given time, thousands of people are controlling a single game of Pokemon Red — the original game of the series — at the same time.
Along with plenty of ice, sleet and snow, much of the country has also been blanketed this winter by an avalanche of names. When winter storms assault us, they now come with names like Hercules, Janus and, the most recent storm, Pax.
Here's NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam on why we name winter storms and how those names might affect us.
SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: We've been naming hurricanes for many years.
Sunset on the Firehole River, Yellowstone National Park.
Credit Bill Young / Flickr
Hot steam and gas emerge from a fumarole where the boiling-temperature vapor is diverted into an evacuated sample bottle. Freshwater cools the outside of the bottle, making it easier to collect a complete sample.
Credit J. Lowenstern / U.S. Geological Survey
Gas passes through a hot spring at the Shoshone Geyser Basin in Yellowstone. A funnel is used to transfer the gas to an evacuated sampling bottle.
Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 10:58 am
"I'm worth 83.7 million dollars and bored out of my mind."
"My friend who is a banker just told me he's working on Dropbox's IPO...oooh."
"The drug use in Silicon Valley is outrageous. So are the inflated egos. It's like LA for smart, ugly people."
Declarations like these — some plaintive, some fueled by professional frustration and some just plain gossipy — tumble forth anonymously on the new app Secret, and because many of them seem to be coming from within the booming tech industry, the app has built early buzz.
The world's largest oyster is nearly 14 inches long and resides in Denmark, according to the folks at Guinness World Records. And it's still alive and growing, according to Christine Ditlefsen, the biologist at the Wadden Sea Centre whose world record was recently certified.
The oyster was found in October in Wadden Sea National Park, a shallow area off of the North Sea on Denmark's southwestern coast. Its size and shape could be said to resemble a huge plaintain. But when they found it, the Wadden staff compared the oyster to a large and sturdy shoe.
Why does thunder rumble? Acoustic professor Trevor Cox explains that it has to do with the way lightning is a jagged line. "Each little kink is actually generating the sound, and the reason thunder rumbles is because the sound takes different time to come from different kinks because they're all slightly different distances from you," he says.
Ever wonder why your voice sounds so much better when you sing in the shower? It has to do with an acoustic "blur" called reverberation. From classical to pop music, reverberation "makes music sound nicer," acoustic engineer Trevor Cox tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. It helps blend the sound, "but you don't want too much," he warns.
Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 1:26 pm
The more you sit, the less physically active you are, which can lead to all sorts of health problems, including an early death.
But too much sitting increasingly looks like a health risk all its own. Researchers at Northwestern University say that for people 60 and older, each additional hour a day spent sitting increases the risk of becoming physically disabled by about 50 percent — no matter how much exercise they get.