Science & Technology

The Two-Way
3:10 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

NOAA Predicts Above-Average Hurricane Season

Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy in October of last year.
NOAA

With memories of last year's Superstorm Sandy still fresh, NOAA is warning East Coasters and those farther inland to brace for another active Atlantic season, predicting that as many as six major storms will develop between the beginning of June and the end of November.

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Shots - Health News
2:52 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Researchers Find Bird Flu Is Contagious Among Ferrets

Of ferrets, men and bird flu.
iStockphoto.com

Scientists have completed the first assessments of how readily the H7N9 flu virus in China can pass among ferrets and pigs. The mammals provide the best inkling of how dangerous these bugs may become for humans.

The news is both bad and good. They've found the new bird virus is easily passed between ferrets sharing the same cage.

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Shots - Health News
1:09 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Seeing Double: Errors In Stem-Cell Cloning Paper Raise Doubts

Biologist Shoukhrat Mitalipov stands outside the monkey enclosure at his lab in Oregon. He says the mistakes in his recent paper were caused by the rush to publish quickly.
Richard Clement Reuters /Landov

This feels a bit like deja vu.

Scientists report a major breakthrough in human stem-cell research. And then just a week later, the findings come under fire.

Biologists at Oregon Health & Science University said May 15 that they had cloned human embryos from a person's skin cell.

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The Two-Way
12:53 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

3-D Printer Makes Life-Saving Splint For Baby Boy's Airway

Kaiba Gionfriddo, who breathes with help from a splint created by a 3-D printer, plays with his family dog, Bandit, at his Youngstown, Ohio, home.
Mark Stahl AP

A 3-D printer is being credited with helping to save an Ohio baby's life, after doctors "printed" a tube to support a weak airway that caused him to stop breathing. The innovative procedure has allowed Kaiba Gionfriddo, of Youngstown, Ohio, to stay off a ventilator for more than a year.

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Shots - Health News
6:47 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Scientific Tooth Fairies Investigate Neanderthal Breast-Feeding

This model of a molar shows color-coded barium banding patterns that reveal weaning age.
Ian Harrowell, Christine Austin, Manish Arora Harvard School of Public Health

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 11:54 am

When it comes to weaning, humans are weird.

Our closest relatives, chimpanzees and gorillas, breast-feed their offspring for several years. Some baby orangutans nurse until they are 7 years old.

But modern humans wean much earlier. In preindustrial societies, babies stop nursing after about two years. Which raises the question: How did we get that way? When did we make the evolutionary shift from apelike parenting to the short breast-feeding period of humans?

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Shots - Health News
12:18 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Research Reveals Yeasty Beasts Living On Our Skin

Fungi (cyan) surround a human hair within the skin. A study in the journal Nature shows the population of fungi on human skin is more diverse that previously thought.
Alex Valm, Ph.D.

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 10:20 am

Scientists have completed an unusual survey: a census of the fungi that inhabit different places on our skin. It's part of a big scientific push to better understand the microbes that live in and on our bodies.

"This is the first study of our fungi, which are yeast and other molds that live on the human body," says Julie Segre, of the National Human Genome Research Institute, who led the survey.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:03 am
Wed May 22, 2013

What Would Ben Franklin Do With A Bunch Of Balloons? Everything

Robert Krulwich and Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 4:40 pm

Ask a great inventor to invent, and that's exactly what he'll do. Sometimes the ideas pop out like cannon bursts: "consider this ... " or "maybe this?" or "Wait! How about THIS!"

Ben Franklin did that with balloons.

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The Salt
9:52 am
Wed May 22, 2013

How Genomics Solved The Mystery Of Ireland's Great Famine

This illustration from 1846 shows a starving boy and girl raking the ground for potatoes during the Irish Potato Famine, which began in the 1840s.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

An international group of plant pathologists has solved a historical mystery behind Ireland's Great Famine.

Sure, scientists have known for a while that a funguslike organism called Phytophthora infestans was responsible for the potato blight that plagued Ireland starting in the 1840s. But there are many different strains of the pathogen that cause the disease, and scientists have finally discovered the one that triggered the Great Famine.

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Business
5:47 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Microsoft Unveils Its new Xbox One

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 10:04 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The wait is over for many Xbox fans. Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled its next generation Xbox gaming console. It's called Xbox One. It's the first major revamp of the gaming system since 2005. In our business bottom line, NPR's Laura Sydell reports the new Xbox is designed to be an all-in-one system, an entertainment hub for movies, TV and games that should appeal as much to grandparents as it does to children.

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Research News
2:03 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Quantum Or Not, New Supercomputer Is Certainly Something Else

Google and NASA are betting that quantum forces are at work inside D-Wave's 512-bit chip.
Courtesy of D-Wave

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 10:33 am

It's exactly the sort of futuristic thinking you'd expect from Google and NASA: Late last week, the organizations announced a partnership to build a Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab at NASA's Ames Research Center.

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