Science & Technology

Science
4:22 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Defining A Hole Presents A Philosophical Quandary

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 10:24 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

I'm Melissa Block. And a radio confession here. We had a hole in our program right here. We didn't have a piece just the right length to fill out this segment. It happens occasionally. Well, all summer, NPR science correspondent Joe Palca has been helping us get rid of these little holes with some short stories about holes.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Today, we're going to examine the question, what is a hole anyway? What's it made of?

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The Two-Way
4:18 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Secret Court: NSA Surveillance Program Was Unconstitutional

An image taken from the FISA court opinion released Wednesday. The document reveals instances in which the court saw the NSA overstepping in its surveillance efforts.
NPR

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 7:53 am

A secret federal court found that the National Security Agency violated the civil rights of Americans when it collected thousands of emails and other digital messages between Americans, according to a 2011 opinion released Wednesday.

The FISA court ruled parts of the program to be unconstitutional and ordered them to be revised. The government made changes and the court signed off on the program in November of 2011.

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Shots - Health News
3:46 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Deadly Middle East Coronavirus Found In An Egyptian Tomb Bat

So cute, but not cuddly. The Egyptian tomb bat, Taphozous perforatus, is a likely carrier of the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus, or MERS.
Courtesy of Jonathan H. Epstein/EcoHealth Alliance

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 6:09 am

For nearly a year, disease detectives around the world have been trying to track down the source of a mysterious new virus in the Middle East that has infected 96 people and killed 47 since September.

Now it looks like they've pinpointed at least one place where the virus is hiding out.

Scientists at Columbia University have detected the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus, or MERS, in a bat near the home of a man who died from the disease. The team found a small fragment of the virus's genes in the animal that matches perfectly with those seen in the patient.

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Animals
2:35 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

On A Rocky Maine Island, Puffins Are Making A Tenuous Comeback

A puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock, off the Maine coast in July. Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 7:12 pm

Rocky, windswept Eastern Egg Rock, about 6 miles off the coast of Maine, was once a haven for a hugely diverse bird population. But in the 1800s, fishermen decimated the birds' ranks — for food and for feathers.

When ornithologist Stephen Kress first visited 40 years ago, the 7-acre island was nearly barren, with only grass and gulls left. Not a puffin in sight. Not even an old puffin bone.

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All Tech Considered
2:25 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Weekly Innovation: Hey, You're Taking Too Long In The Shower

The Uji shower head will be available for sale in early 2014. Its light turns from green to red as the shower progresses.
Courtesy of Brett Andler

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 7:16 am

This week's innovation pick is a shower head that reminds you you're taking too long. The Uji shower head gradually turns from green to red as users linger in the shower.

"It encourages [people] to take shorter and more energy efficient showers," said one of the co-inventors, Brett Andler. "By letting people become aware of how long they're in the shower, we've actually been able to cut shower time by 12 percent."

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Shots - Health News
1:03 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Ebola Treatment Works In Monkeys, Even After Symptoms Appear

The Ebola virus forms threadlike structures under the microscope.
Cynthia Goldsmith CDC

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 7:58 pm

Ebola, your days as one of the world's scariest diseases may be numbered.

A team of U.S. government researchers has shown that deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever can be vanquished in monkeys by an experimental drug given up to five days after infection — even when symptoms have already developed.

An antibody cocktail aimed at Ebola's outer surface rescued three of seven macaques infected with lethal doses of the hemorrhagic virus in the U.S. Army's high-security labs at Fort Detrick, Md.

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:50 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

'Why This Compulsion To Run Long Distances?' A Runner's Beautiful Confession

From Racing the Antelope

Biologist Bernd Heinrich was in Zimbabwe, in the field, eyes down, looking for beetles, when for no particular reason he looked up and saw ... well, at first he wasn't sure what it was, so he stepped closer, leaned in, and there, painted on the underside of large protruding rock, were five human figures "running in one direction, from left to right across the rock face." They weren't very detailed, just "small, sticklike human figures in clear running stride" painted by a Bushman, two, maybe three thousand years ago.

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The Two-Way
9:17 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Tech Giants Launch Internet.org, A Global Plan To Widen Access

A new project announced by Facebook seeks to make it more affordable to access the Internet via cellphones around the world. In Africa, 16 percent of the population currently uses the Internet. Here, a man looks for a network signal in Somalia.
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

Citing the billions of people worldwide who can't access the Internet, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the leaders of other technology firms are launching an ambitious project to narrow the digital divide Wednesday. The plan focuses on widening access via mobile phones.

"There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy," Zuckerberg says. "Internet.org brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making Internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it."

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Shots - Health News
6:05 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Golden Arches: Human Feet More Flexible Than We Thought

The healthy human foot's outer arch may be more flexible than previously thought.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 9:22 am

The notion that sport shoes and inserts should keep the human arch stiffly supported is a decades-old assumption that could use some rethinking, according to a British gait analyst who has closely studied more than 25,000 footsteps of healthy people.

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Science & Technology
4:26 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Tesla Opens Texas Supercharger Stations, But Still Can't Sell Vehicles In State

Tesla Motors model S in San Marcos at the unveiling of the new Tesla supercharger station.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

The Tesla Motors Model S starts as soon as you sit down behind the wheel and press on the brakes -- there's not even a place for a key -- and from that point there is no sound, even when accelerating.

Tesla unveiled its latest string of supercharger stations in Texas this week to help provide its car owners a free charge along several of the state’s major roadways, but the addition of the supercharger station in San Marcos is on the heels of a legislative letdown.

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