"This is just metadata. There is no content involved." That was how Sen. Dianne Feinstein defended the NSA's blanket surveillance of Americans' phone records and Internet activity. Before those revelations, not many people had heard of metadata, the term librarians and programmers use for the data that describes a particular document or record it's linked to.
A co-founder of the file-sharing website Pirate Bay has been sentenced in Sweden to two years in prison for hacking into a bank computer.
Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, 28, was arrested in Cambodia last year after Swedish authorities issued an international warrant. He was convicted and sentenced Thursday for hacking Sweden's Nordea bank and U.K.-based services firm Logica.
"The data intrusion has been very extensive and technically advanced," the court said in its ruling.
The drip-drip of classified information has now moved overseas: Citing more classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden, The Guardian newspaper reports that the British spy agency taps into trans-Atlantic fiber optic cables, sucking up vast amounts of data that includes communication sent by Americans and Britons.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. In his long career studying ants, nature and ecology, E.O. Wilson has been no stranger to controversy. In the 1970s he was doused with water at a science meeting for presenting his theory on sociobiology. Another new evolutionary theory he introduced a few years ago on kin selection continues to be hotly debated.
OK. Maybe E. O. Wilson's comments in his new book, "Letters to a Young Scientist", essentially says you don't want to have to be great at math to have a career in science, but it can't hurt, right? And to be great at math, it pays to start young, and my next guest is a - has a plan for you. Laura Overdeck is the founder of Bedtime Math. Her mission: to make math friendlier in a way by introducing kids to math problems at an early age.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. This week, researchers reported that they think they've spotted the tell-tale signs of a previously undiscovered, subatomic particle. This one was unusual because it appeared to be made of four quarks bound together, an arrangement they have never seen before. And they're not sure exactly how that arrangement might work.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. If you have a smartphone, you might take the Internet for granted, right? It's always there. But around the world, some four and a half billion people still are not connected. Google, being in the Internet business, has a plan to expand its reach, bring Internet to all these people, but it's not by spooling out fiber-optic cable or building cell towers. It's using a technology that, well, sort of sounds like it belongs in another century: free-floating balloons. They call it Project Loon.
Every six months, one of my next guests ranks the 500 fastest computers in the world, the supercomputers, and back in November 2010, China took number one for the first time with a supercomputer called Milky Way 1. President Obama acknowledged China's feat in his State of the Union address a few months later and said we were facing a Sputnik moment.