Roughly one in four cellphone towers in the path of Hurricane Sandy went out of service. It was a frustrating and potentially dangerous experience for customers without a landline to fall back on. Now, local officials and communications experts are pushing providers to improve their performance during natural disasters.
Lori McCaskill lives in Brooklyn, and when Sandy hit last October, her Verizon cell service went out. She couldn't work. She couldn't check in with family and friends. Her sister was due to have a baby any day.
Sarah Allen works with interns Lori Hsu (left) and Fito von Zastrow at the Blazing Cloud offices in San Francisco.
Credit Ramin Rahimian for NPR
Ester Gerston and <a href="http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2009-07-26/news/36783349_1_programmers-first-general-purpose-electronic-computer-daughters">Gloria Ruth Gordon</a>, early programmers working on the ENIAC computer in 1946.
Credit U.S. Army
Sarah Allen, CEO of Blazing Cloud, works with user experience designer Anton Zadorozhnyy in the company's offices in San Francisco.
Sarah Allen has been the only woman on a team of computer programmers a few times in the more than two decades she has worked in the field. Most notably, she led the team — as the lone female programmer — that created Flash video, the dominant technology for streaming video on the Web.
A team of physicists at Grenoble University in France discovered that trees make different sounds when they are starved for water versus when they are simply thirsty. We hear from Dr. Alexandre Ponomarenko, the lead researcher, and hear a bit of the thirsty tree sounds.
Originally published on Sat April 27, 2013 2:21 pm
The bidding hasn't closed yet, but a charity auction of a cup of coffee shared with Apple CEO Tim Cook has already attracted offers of more than $600,000 — more than 10 times its estimated value of $50,000. Cook is one of several celebrities taking part in the auction, which benefits the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.
The coffee klatch, currently valued at $605,000, will take place at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. And the price may rise even higher — the auction closes on Tues., May 14.
The U.S. Navy is planning to ramp up training activities off California and Hawaii. But that has rekindled a battle over Navy sonar, which is known to harm marine mammals. From member station KQED, Lauren Sommer reports.
LAUREN SOMMER, BYLINE: We humans are visual creatures and for good reason. If someone is far away, you can usually see them before you hear them. Underwater, it's the opposite.
BRANDON SOUTHALL: The physical environment of the ocean really favors the use of sound, and the animals have evolved accordingly.
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 9:54 am
When we first heard about researchers using tiny freely floating tools to grab tissue samples deep inside the body, we were scared.
But our fears quickly turned to fascination.
Johns Hopkins engineers are testing out what they call "untethered microgrippers" as a better way to investigate hard-to-reach places. They have launched hundreds of these things, which look like miniature ninja throwing stars, inside the body of animal to retrieve tiny pieces of tissue for biopsies.