Science & Technology

All Tech Considered
5:07 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Net Giants Try To Quell Users' Jitters About Their Data

Google, like Facebook, Microsoft and other Internet companies, is concerned that data requests from U.S. surveillance agencies could ultimately damage its reputation in the U.S. and overseas.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 6:00 pm

Companies like Google and Facebook are very much caught in the middle of the current debate about national security and privacy. Press reports have said the companies are required to turn over huge amounts of customer data to government agencies like the National Security Agency, but the companies are often barred from saying anything publicly about the requests they receive.

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Research News
3:20 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

AAA Study Finds Hands-Free Tech Dangerously Distracting

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 5:20 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The connected car promises voice-activated systems that let drivers dictate emails and texts, make a dinner reservation or update their Facebook page, all while behind the wheel. Some cars already have these options. Many more are on the way. Carmakers say it's safer than fiddling around with a smartphone.

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Movies
3:20 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

20 Years Later, Science In 'Jurassic Park' Shows Its Age

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 5:56 pm

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the classic film, Jurassic Park. Michael Dhar, a science writer and contributor to the website Live Science, tells Melissa Block and Audie Cornish about how the science featured in the movie holds up to what we know about dinosaurs today.

Shots - Health News
12:14 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Chopped: How Amputated Fingertips Sometimes Grow Back

A little bit of nail can help a fingertip regrow.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 2:38 pm

When a kid lops off a fingertip with a cleaver or car door, there's a chance the end of the digit will grow back. The fingerprint will be gone, and the tip may look a bit strange. But the flesh, bone and nail could return.

Now biologists at New York University have figured out just how this lizard-like regeneration happens in mice. There's some secret sauce at the nail cuticle that makes it possible, scientists report Wednesday in the journal Nature.

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All Tech Considered
9:51 am
Wed June 12, 2013

A Guide To Tech Terms In The NSA Story

Peter Hoffman for NPR

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 2:06 pm

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Parallels
9:31 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Tallinn: The Former Soviet City That Gave Birth To Skype

Residents of the Estonian capital of Tallinn can use public transportation for free after purchasing a special card for 2 euros.
Raigo Pajula AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 5:20 pm

The Baltic city of Tallinn hardly looks modern with its blend of medieval towers and Soviet-era architecture. Smoke-spewing buses and noisy streetcars look as if they have been plucked from the past.

Even so, the Estonian capital is one of the world's most technologically advanced cities. The birthplace of Skype has repeatedly been cited for its digital accomplishments. Last week, Tallinn once again made the short list of the world's most intelligent cities as selected by the Intelligent Community Forum.

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Shots - Health News
8:48 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Hands-Free Gadgets Don't Mean Risk-Free Driving

A University of Utah volunteer drives through Salt Lake City's Avenues neighborhood as a camera tracks her eye and head movement. Another device records driver reaction time, and a cap fitted with sensors charts brain activity.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 10:49 am

If you've felt smug and safe using built-in, voice-controlled technology for text messages, email and phone calls while driving, forget it. There are some sobering findings about the risk of distraction from the American Automobile Association and the University of Utah.

The proliferation of hands-free technology "is a looming public safety crisis," AAA CEO Robert Darbelnet says. "It's time to consider limiting new and potentially dangerous mental distractions built into cars."

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Business
3:41 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Google Acquires Israeli Mapping Service Waze

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:53 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And Google has announced it is buying Waze, a community-based traffic and navigation app, for a reported price of just over a billion dollars.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports it may change the way we travel.

WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: Google hopes its latest acquisition will make your morning commute easier, faster and more social.

While other traffic apps are somewhat passive, Waze tracks mobile devices as they travel, and uses that information to help analyze traffic speeds and flow.

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National Security
3:41 am
Wed June 12, 2013

NSA Leaker's Claims Doubted By Tech, Intelligence Analysts

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:53 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer. The Guardian newspaper is promising more revelations about the NSA's secret, worldwide surveillance programs. The revelations so far have been based on documents and interviews with just one man - Edward Snowden, a former IT contractor at the NSA hired by the firm Booz Allen Hamilton.

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Around the Nation
4:16 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Massive Bat Cave Stirs Texas-Size Debate Over Development

Millions of bats live in Bracken Cave, in a rural area near San Antonio. Conservationists are worried that plans for a multithousand-unit housing development will disrupt the bat colony.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 5:28 pm

The Bracken Bat Cave, just north of San Antonio, is as rural as it gets. You have to drive down a long, 2-mile rocky road to reach it. There's nothing nearby — no lights, no running water. The only thing you hear are the katydids.

The cave houses a massive bat colony, as it has for an estimated 10,000 years. Bat Conservation International, the group that oversees the Bracken Cave Reserve, wants it to stay secluded, but the area's rural nature could change if a local developer's plan moves forward.

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