Science & Technology

The Two-Way
11:58 am
Mon August 12, 2013

London Puts Stop To Sidewalk Bins That Track Cellphones

A promotional image from Renew shows one of its recycling/advertising kiosks in London. City officials asked the company to stop recording data about the phones of passing pedestrians.
Renew

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 12:37 pm

The city of London has ordered a company to cease tracking the cellphones of pedestrians who pass its recycling bins, which also double as kiosks showing video advertisements. The bins logged data about any Wi-Fi-enabled device that passed within range.

The company, called Renew, recently added the tracking technology to about a dozen of the 100 bins it had installed before London hosted the 2012 Summer Olympics.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:00 am
Mon August 12, 2013

This Pulsing Earth

John Nelson IDV Solutions

It's breathing, he thought. "All of a sudden I see a thing with a heartbeat."

John Nelson is a designer, well known for tracing complex weather patterns or cultural information on maps, so considering what he usually does, this was easy. NASA's Visible Earth team publishes pictures of our planet every month of the year, so John thought, why not stitch them together, and see what the seasons look like from outer space?

So he stitched, and then looked.

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The Two-Way
10:51 am
Mon August 12, 2013

After Much Hype, Elon Musk Unveils His High-Speed 'Hyperloop'

Elon Musk's "Hyperloop" vehicle.
Elon Musk

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 5:03 pm

Update at 4:45 p.m. ET. Introducing Hyperloop:

Bloomberg scored the big scoop and got Elon Musk — the founder of Tesla, SpaceX and Paypal — to explain his vision for a high-speed mass transit vehicle that could deliver you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in an astonishing 30 minutes. Musk explained that the Hyperloop pods would leave every 30 seconds and would run inside "low pressure" tubes. Bloomberg continues:

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Monkey See
7:31 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Can You Really Dissolve A Guy In A Bathtub? 'Mythbusters' Tackles 'Breaking Bad'

Adam Savage and Aaron Paul trade some information on Monday night's Mythbusters.
Don Feria Discovery

Perhaps you heard that last night, a plucky little drug dealer named Walter White returned to television for his last eight episodes of the award-hoarding Breaking Bad.

But before he began his life of crime, Walter White was a chemistry teacher, and chemistry is what originally made him such a great meth cook. Breaking Bad has always included a lot of science talk, especially in the early days, and the time has come for someone to see whether it holds up.

And by "someone," I mean "Mythbusters."

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The Salt
2:09 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Food Delivery Hits The Web, But Restaurants Pay The Price

A Seamless sticker is displayed next to the menu in the window of a restaurant in New York's Times Square on Saturday. Rivals Seamless and GrubHub said Friday that they have completed their combination, creating an online takeout company covering about 25,000 restaurants in 500 cities.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 7:56 am

Two big restaurant delivery websites — Grubhub and Seamless — have announced a merger. Together, they'll allow diners in 500 cities the convenience of ordering from thousands of restaurants with just a few clicks on their computer. For restaurants, the costs of being on these websites can be hard to swallow.

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Environment
4:23 pm
Sun August 11, 2013

The Algae Is Coming, But Its Impact Is Felt Far From Water

Chinese beachgoers walk by an algae-covered public beach in Qingdao, China, in July. The seas off China have been hit by their largest-ever growth of algae, ocean officials say, with waves of green growth washing onto the shores.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 11, 2013 4:49 pm

Algae blooms are green or red or brown, slimy, smelly and you don't want it coming soon to a waterfront near you.

Most of us don't give a lot of thought to algae until the furry-like monstrosity is spreading over beaches, rivers, lakes and bays, but gigantic algae blooms have become an increasing problem around the world.

The danger algae blooms pose is that they sap the body of water where they are growing of nutrients and oxygen; they then die, decompose and rot.

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The Two-Way
11:44 am
Sun August 11, 2013

Reactor Powered Up On First 'Made in India' Nuclear Sub

A Russian Akula-class sub in Brest harbor, western France, in 2004. The INS Arihant is said to be based on this Cold War design.
Fred Tanneau AFP/Getty Images

India has activated the reactor aboard the INS Arihant, believed to be the first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine designed and built outside the Cold War "nuclear club."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the event a "giant stride in ... our indigenous technological capabilities."

It's the first nuclear-powered submarine built in India and the first such vessel constructed by a country other than the United States, U.K., France, Russia or China.

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Space
6:10 am
Sun August 11, 2013

Sending Poetry To Mars

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 1:09 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now, to a story I'll do entirely in haiku, so bear with me. And just in case you need a primmer: just three lines of verse. Syllables are what counts here - five, seven, then five. For the last few months, scientists have collected haikus meant for Mars. Thousands of poets, pros and amateurs alike, submitted their work. The public then picked their favorite Mars haikus. We are fans of these, by Anonymous.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (Reading) Mars, oh. Do forgive. We never meant to obstruct Your view of Venus.

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Food
6:10 am
Sun August 11, 2013

With Ice Cubes, The Larger The Better

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 1:09 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. It is August. Chances are where you are it's hot. So, maybe you want a drink to cool off. Will it be fruity or fizzy, maybe boozy? Whatever it is, Dan Pashman, host of the Sporkful podcast, thinks you may be overlooking one key ingredient: the ice. He joins us now from our New York studios. Hey Dan.

DAN PASHMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Rachel.

MARTIN: So, ice. This seems like a fairly forgettable part of a beverage experience. You say, no. Why?

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Science
6:10 am
Sun August 11, 2013

An Engineer Beats The Physics Of Traffic

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 1:09 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Ah, the road trip - one of the great American summer rituals. But sharing this great tradition with other road trippers can also be intensely frustrating. Perhaps you've found yourself wondering why traffic jams take so long to clear up or why they seem to last so much longer than a crash. Well, Bill Beaty is a research engineer at the University of Washington. He has a little advice about that.

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