Science & Technology

Science
2:25 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Is Collecting Animals For Science A Noble Mission Or A Threat?

DNA from these crab plovers, collected in Djibouti, Africa, should help scientists figure out how the unusual species fits into the family tree, says the Smithsonian's Helen James.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:29 am

Behind the scenes at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, there's a vast, warehouse-like room that's filled with metal cabinets painted a drab institutional green. Inside the cabinets are more than a half-million birds — and these birds are not drab. Their colorful feathers make them seem to almost glow.

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All Tech Considered
5:41 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

How Yahoo's Diversity Numbers Compare With Google's

Yahoo is famously led by a woman, CEO Marissa Mayer. But its workforce, like most tech companies, is dominated by men.
Robert Galbraith Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 7:05 pm

Yahoo has responded to the years-long calls for tech companies to disclose their staffs' gender and racial breakdowns. The numbers released Tuesday show its workforce, like much of the tech industry, is dominated by white and Asian males. In its post releasing the data, Yahoo explained its reasoning:

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Environment
5:31 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Plastics Don't Disappear, But They Do End Up In Seabirds' Bellies

Plastic floats ashore in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Bay Ismoyo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 7:33 pm

The vast majority of debris in the ocean — about 75 percent of it — is made of plastic. It can consist of anything from plastic bottles to packaging materials, but whatever form it takes, it doesn't go away easily.

While plastic may break down into smaller and smaller pieces, some as small as grains of sand, these pieces are never truly biodegradable. The plastic bits, some small enough that they're called microplastics, threaten marine life like fish and birds, explains Richard Thompson, a professor of marine biology at Plymouth University in the U.K.

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The Two-Way
3:59 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Hubble To Search For Last Stop On Pluto Probe's Itinerary

Artist concept of New Horizons spacecraft. The Hubble Space Telescope is being pressed into service to help scientists look for a post-Pluto target for the space probe.
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The Hubble Space Telescope is being pressed into service to search for a post-Pluto "icy body" as a last stop for NASA's New Horizons probe.

The Baltimore-based committee that metes out observing time for the HST announced today that it is allotting time to look for a suitable Kuiper Belt object for New Horizons to flyby after it passes close to Pluto in July 2015.

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The Salt
3:33 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

'Pink Slime' Is Making A Comeback. Do You Have A Beef With That?

South Dakota-based meat processor Beef Products Inc. shows a sample of its lean, finely textured beef in September 2012.
AP

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 3:36 pm

A much-maligned beef product that was once frequently added to hamburger is making a comeback. Two years ago, beef processors cut back sharply on producing what they call "lean, finely textured beef" after the nasty nickname for it, "pink slime," caught on in the media. Now, higher beef prices are leading to increased demand for the product.

To prepare, grocery stores and beef processors are getting ready for a new round of questions from consumers.

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Law
3:06 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Settlement Brings An Early End To Apple's Price-Fixing Case

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 7:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Apple has reached an out-of-court settlement with dozens of states and a number of other plaintiffs over e-book price fixing. The company was facing more than $800 million in damages. NPR's Mandalit Del Barco reports.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Apple introduced its entry into the e-book market in 2010 and kept upgrading its features.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Shots - Health News
3:06 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Your Brain's Got Rhythm, And Syncs When You Think

"Dance for PD" classes use music to temporarily ease tremors and get Parkinson's patients moving.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 3:47 pm

Even if you can't keep a beat, your brain can. "The brain absolutely has rhythm," says Nathan Urban, a neuroscientist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

When you concentrate, Urban says, your brain produces rapid, rhythmic electrical impulses called gamma waves. When you relax, it generates much slower alpha waves.

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Digital Life
12:43 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

After Flickr, Startup Guru Smells The Sweet Success Of Failure

After co-founding Flickr, Stewart Butterfield founded Slack, a project management tool.
Kris Krug

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 1:26 pm

Stewart Butterfield has a problem the rest of us can only dream of. His business has turned into a runaway train. Daily users of his product, Slack — aimed at helping corporate teams communicate better — have grown from 10,000 to 90,000 in just five months.

How'd he do it? Not with a marketing or sales team — because he doesn't have one. It's all been word of mouth.

"We're hiring as fast as we can right now. We've got 34 people. A month ago we had 20. And six months ago we had eight," he says.

Not that he's complaining.

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The Salt
12:37 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Red Fish, Blue Fish: Where The Fish Flesh Rainbow Comes From

Yellowfin tuna; Chinook salmon; lingcod; Pacific halibut.
Chang/iStockphoto; Debbi Smirnoff/iStockphoto; via TeachAGirlToFish; Andrea Pokrzywinski/Flickr

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 3:36 pm

From red to white to orange to blue, fish flesh can land almost anywhere on the color spectrum.

What's behind this huge variation? A lot of things — from genetics to bile pigments. And parsing the rainbow can tell us something about where a fish came from, its swimming routine and what it ate.

Red yellowfin tuna: A classic of the sashimi counter, the yellowfin tuna is also the Michael Phelps of the fish world. And its athletic prowess has a lot to do with its ruby red flesh.

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All Tech Considered
11:01 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Democrats Unveil A Bill To Ban Internet Fast Lanes

The bill is sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. and Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 12:52 pm

Net neutrality has become a hot topic this summer, despite its snooze-inducing name. The principle governs that data on the Internet should be served to customers on a level playing field — at the same speeds — without priority for certain companies that might be able to pay for "fast lanes" for content.

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