Science & Technology

Environment
8:47 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Ecologist's Airborne Scanners See The Forest And The Trees — All Of Them

A scan produced by Gregory Asner's airborne, laser-and-spectrometer-equipped lab.
Courtesy Gregory Asner

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 9:02 am

In today's world it can be easy to feel like there's nothing left to discover, that all the blank bits of the map have long been filled. Gregory Asner begs to differ, and he's developed a lab in the sky to prove it.

In the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, Asner has designed a one-of-a-kind, ultra high-tech, airborne laboratory — inside a twin-turboprop plane. It offers a faster, more exhaustive way to map how humans have destroyed land, from the deserts of the American southwest to the deepest depth of the Amazon.

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The Two-Way
8:16 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Goosebumps And Gas: New Data From Rosetta Probe Describes Comet

Close-ups of a curious surface texture on Comet 67P nicknamed "goosebumps," all of them at a scale of around 3 meters and spanning areas more than 100 meters.
ESA/Rosetta/MPS

Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, the hurtling hunk of dust and ice that's being tailed by an Earth-made space probe as it hurtles toward the sun,

We're learning more about the comet that a European Space Agency paired up with its Rosetta probe, thanks to a special issue of the journal Science that collects much of the information scientists have been able to glean from about the comet.

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All Tech Considered
7:01 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Police Departments Issuing Body Cameras Discover Drawbacks

A Philadelphia police officer demonstrates a body-worn camera being used as part of a pilot project last December.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 12:03 pm

Wearable video cameras are fast becoming standard-issue gear for American police. The cameras promise a technological answer to complaints about racial bias and excessive force.

But in fact, the beneficial effects of body cameras are not well-established yet. And the police departments that rushed to buy them are now dealing with some unintended consequences.

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The Salt
5:49 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Investment Fund Pours Cash Into Cleaner, Greener Fish Farming

World Resource Institute

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 3:28 pm

Like it or not, our seafood increasingly originates not in the deep ocean but on fish farms hugging the coasts. Aquaculture already supplies about half of the world's seafood, and global production is going to have to more than double by 2050 to meet demand, according to the World Resources Institute.

The business opportunity here is tremendous. Thousands of operations around the world now produce huge numbers of salmon, shrimp, mussels, tilapia and catfish, to name a few fish species that thrive on farms.

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Business
3:24 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Google Could Provide Relief To Sprint, T-Mobile With Wireless Deal

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 7:12 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Science
3:24 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Atomic Scientists' 'Doomsday Clock' Ticks Forward

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 5:28 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Doomsday Clock is not an alarm clock, but it is meant to be alarming.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
3:18 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Finding Crime Clues In What Insects Had For Dinner

A scorpion fly perches on a leaf at the research farm where Lindgren studied the decomposition of human remains. Scorpion flies are among the first insects to visit a corpse.
Courtesy of Natalie Lindgren

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 4:41 pm

As any CSI enthusiast understands, the tiniest details can help forensic scientists figure out how and when people died. These days, investigators are taking advantage of information about microbes that live on human bodies and the insects that come to feed on corpses to crack cases.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
3:01 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Debate: Is Amazon The Reader's Friend?

Franklin Foer recently wrote a cover story for The New Republic titled, "Amazon Must Be Stopped." He argued against Amazon at the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate — and won.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Amazon owns 41 percent of all book sales and 67 percent of all e-book sales mainly because it offers lower prices. But the e-commerce company came under fire in late 2014 when Amazon and the publishing house Hachette faced off over who should set the price for e-books. The debate raises questions about Amazon's growing place in the market, the changing role of publishers and the value of books in our society.

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Shots - Health News
2:45 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Maybe Early Humans Weren't The First To Get A Good Grip

An example of a human precision grip — grasping a first metacarpal from the thumb of a specimen of Australopithecus africanus that's thought to be 2 to 3 million years old.
T.L. Kivell & M. Skinner

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 11:55 am

The special tool-wielding power of human hands may go back farther in evolutionary history than scientists have thought.

That's according to a new study of hand bones from an early relative of humans called Australopithecus africanus. Researchers used a powerful X-ray technique to scan the interior of the bones, and they detected a telltale structure that's associated with a forceful precision grip.

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The Two-Way
2:38 am
Thu January 22, 2015

X-Rays Open Secrets Of Ancient Scrolls

The ancient scrolls look and feel more like blocks of charcoal. A new technique gives a peek inside.
Salvatore Laporta AP

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 11:06 am

Researchers in Europe have managed to read from an ancient scroll buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. The feat is all the more remarkable because the scroll was never opened.

The Vesuvius eruption famously destroyed Pompeii. But it also devastated the nearby town of Herculaneum. A villa there contained a library stacked with papyrus scrolls, and the hot gas and ash preserved them.

Sort of.

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