NPR Diversions

NPR tech news
9:10 am
Sat June 30, 2012

Robot with super powers wins at 'rock, paper scissors' every time


Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 4:06 am

First chess, now this:

Here's a robot from Ishikawa Oku's physics lab at the University of Tokyo that plays rock, paper, scissor and always beats the human, every single time. Because the team that built it gave it a superpower.

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NPR diversions
4:01 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

80 percent of lightning strike victims are male, but why?

Lightning streaks across the sky in Tyler, Texas, as a powerful line of thunderstorms moved across the state in April.
Dr. Scott M. Lieberman AP

Originally published on Mon June 25, 2012 1:42 pm

This tweet from the National Weather Service caught our attention, today:

"More than 80% of lightning victims are male. Be a force of nature by knowing your risk, taking action and being an example"

Eighty percent seemed to us pretty significant, so we turned to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and asked, "Why?"

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NPR diversions
3:02 pm
Sun June 24, 2012

Video: Craving a lazy day? This chimpanzee 'gets' it

Originally published on Mon June 25, 2012 5:58 am

We all have them: Days when we just want to take it down a notch, even as others around us burst with energy.

David, alpha-male chimpanzee at Fongoli in Senegal, had a morning like that recently. While other males vocalized (pant-hooted) with gusto, a perfectly hale and hearty David ... just couldn't be bothered, as this video bit shows.

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NPR diversions
10:39 am
Thu June 21, 2012

In Photos: 'The New Yorker' does science fiction

A photograph by Dan Winters used to illustrate The New Yorker's recent science fiction issue.
Dan Winters

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 4:47 pm

Whether or not you realize it, you see Dan Winters' photos all the time: Brad Pitt on the cover of Wired magazine, Elijah Wood on Esquire, etc.

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NPR Diversions
7:33 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Hairy, scary, biting spiders - and they travel in packs

A spider suspected to be a new species of tarantula is displayed

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 6:37 am

Here's a nightmare come true: a group of Indian villagers were gathered for a festival last month when they were attacked by a swarm of large, biting spiders. They're hairy, have fangs, and apparently latch on when they sink their teeth into their prey.

Calling Peter Parker.

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The Two-Way
7:29 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Ted Kaczynski, what have you been up to? Unabomber, you say?

Unabomber Ted Kaczynski being led into a Montana court in 1996.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 7:08 am

No, the Unabomber won't be attending his 50th class reunion at Harvard this week.

But Ted Kaczynski has updated his former classmates about what he's been up to all these years.

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NPR Science
1:03 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

MIT Engineers Solve An Everyday Problem: A Backed-Up Ketchup Bottle

Pouring ketchup out of a bottle is easy.
Screen Shot Fast Company

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 2:00 pm

We've all been there: Banging the back of a glass ketchup bottle, begging it to give you a dollop of the good stuff or battling with a plastic bottle coercing it into giving up the last of its contents.

Maybe that will be a thing of the past.

Six MIT researchers say they've solved that problem as part of an entrepreneurship competition. The result is a bottle coated with "LiquiGlide," a nontoxic material so slippery that the ketchup or for that matter mayonnaise just glides out when you turn it over.

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NPR diversions
3:03 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Drinking on the job - is 2012 the new 1966? Tech companies in the mix

Actor Jon Hamm in a scene from AMC's Mad Men. The show is set in the 1960s — but today, many companies provide their employees with ready access to alcohol.
Ron Jaffe/AMC AP

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 8:56 am

The TV show Mad Men has won fans for breathing life — and a heavy whiff of bourbon — into the fictional advertising world of 1960s New York. But surely no American company has such a liver-pickling culture in this day and age, right?

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NPR diversions
9:06 am
Sat April 14, 2012

The strange persistence of shoes at sea

Tennis shoes lay on the beach on Terschelling island, Netherlands, Feb. 10, 2006. They were from a shipping container that fell off a ship during a storm.
Marleen Swart AP

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 5:23 am

A ship sinks. A hundred years pass. What remains? Look down, down to your feet while I tell you this tale.

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NPR diversions
1:53 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Wind at sea is strangely Van Goghish, says NASA


Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 8:55 am

Yesterday, we took a look at invisible winds suddenly made visible, streaming across the Earth. This being the blustery season, I've got more wind today, this time streaming across the sea, but looking uncannily like a van Gogh sky.

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The Two-Way
2:12 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Cat Falls 19 Floors, Lands Purrfectly

Sugar, after her fall.
Animal Rescue League of Boston

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 12:45 pm

A woman in Boston saw something white fall past her second floor window Wednesday afternoon "and ran to see what it was," according to the Boston Globe.

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11:51 am
Tue March 13, 2012

NPR diversions: Why praise for an Olive Garden turned Marilyn Hagerty into a star

Her fame has taken Marilyn Hagerty to New York City to be on the TV networks. And her newspaper has created a blog just for following her travels.
Grand Forks Herald

Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 11:10 am

The sudden national fame for 85-year-old North Dakota newspaper columnist Marilyn Hagerty because she wrote last week that the new Olive Garden restaurant in Grand Forks is "impressive ... welcoming ... [and] is the largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating" in the city reinforces two things for this blogger:

1. Almost everyone loves a story about someone who seems to be just so darn nice and who's still going strong at an age when many of us will just be glad to still be around.

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12:32 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

NPR diversions: Time for penguins

Live stream videos at Ustream

By Linda Holmes / NPR

Discovery's series Frozen Planet, the latest BBC co-production in the same series as Planet Earth and Life, premieres on March 18. But they've already found the best promotional tool imaginable.


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The Picture Show
9:17 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Time Travel And Photos Of Earth's 'Oldest' Animals

Colors on the highly toxic bush hopper warn predators to stay away.
Piotr Naskrecki

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:02 am

Photographer Piotr Naskrecki presented a hypothetical: "If someone said, 'We have a dinosaur in Central Africa!' — would you consider that worthy of conservation? If so, why?"

That was his way of putting me in place for asking why anyone would care about a creepy grasshopper in South Africa.

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The Two-Way
2:35 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

VIDEO: A Bunny That Thinks It's A Sheepdog

A rabbit tries to herd a flock of sheep.

Originally published on Tue January 31, 2012 11:01 am

We'll get back to the serious news soon enough. But first, a video that, as The Awl tells us, is blowing up out on the Internet. We're not sure what it says about sheep, herding dogs or rabbits, but there's probably no need to over think this, so just watch:

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