Science

NPR science
7:59 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Sky sighting: Is that a thread of dark matter I spy?

A tenuous thread of dark matter is seen connecting the galaxy clusters Abell 222 and 223.
Courtesy Jörg Dietrich/Universitäts-Sternwarte München

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:33 am

When astronomers survey the universe, the landmarks are galaxies, those gigantic agglomerates of stars and interstellar gas spread across the immensity of space. A typical spiral galaxy, like our own Milky Way, boasts hundreds of billions of stars grouped along hundreds of thousands of light-years. That means that it takes a beam of light all that time to go from one extreme of the galaxy to the other, traveling, as light does in a vacuum, at 186,282 miles per second.

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Climate change
3:00 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Dash of salt in clouds may fight global warming, UW scientist says

John McNeill, via UW News

By Todd Bishop of Geekwire

A group of scientists, including a University of Washington atmospheric physicist, wants to test the theory that pumping sea salt into the sky over the ocean would combat global warming by creating clouds that reflect more sunlight back into space.

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NPR Science
7:03 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Why can some people recall every day of their lives?

Researchers are using MRI scans to learn more about the brains of people with extraordinary memory.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 10:50 am

Six years ago, we told you about a woman, identified as A.J., who could remember the details of nearly every day of her life. At the time, researchers thought she was unique. But since then, a handful of such individuals have been identified. And now, researchers are trying to understand how their extraordinary memories work.

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Health Research
5:01 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Understanding infertility in cows could shed light on humans' too

One of the herd at Washington State University's Beef Center. Is understanding its fertility the key to knowing ours?
Courtesy of Washington State University

It turns out humans and cattle have some of the same fertility issues.

Researchers at Washington State University have received more than a million dollars from the National Institutes of Health to look into what causes lost pregnancies in beef cattle - and also what that can teach us about miscarriages in humans.

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Health
12:37 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

Dallas Deploys Old Weapon In New Mosquito Fight

Mike Stuart of Dynamic Aviation speaks to the media this week about the type of plane used for aerial spraying in Dallas. The city and county are conducting aerial spraying to combat the nation's worst outbreak of West Nile virus, which has killed at least 10 people and sickened about 200.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 11:01 am

The recent outbreak of West Nile virus in the Dallas area has led to a new round of large-scale spraying for mosquitoes — a method of treating outbreaks that has generations of success, and even nostalgia, behind it.

Although the overall mosquito-killing strategy has changed little since the days when it was pioneered during construction of the Panama Canal a century ago, the chemicals used have become much safer for everything and everyone involved, save the mosquitoes, experts say.

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The Two-Way
9:23 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Hypersonic 'WaveRider' Failed

An artist's rendition of an X-51A WaveRider (in white) attached to the wing of a B-52.
Pratt & Whitney

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 11:58 am

An experimental aircraft that designers hoped would hit 3,600 mph in a test flight over the Pacific on Tuesday "suffered a control failure" and failed in its attempt to go hypersonic, The Associated Press writes.

Its report follows earlier word from Wired magazine's Danger Room blog that it had been told by an "insider familiar with the test" that:

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NPR science
6:08 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

From Curiosity, another Martian landscape

This image of the crater wall is north of the landing site, or behind the rover. Here, a network of valleys believed to have formed by water erosion enters Gale Crater from the outside. This is the first view scientists have had of a fluvial system - one relating to a river or stream — from the surface of Mars.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 2:26 pm

NASA has released two more pictures from the Curiosity Mars rover.

One is a color image that shows that wall of the Gale Crater and the other is a close up shot of the area excavated by the rover's descent stage rocket engines.

We've posted the white-balanced version of the photos. In theory those should appear more like what Mars would look like if you were using your eyes.

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The Torch
9:13 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Michael Phelps Exits The Olympics, And Enters Retirement At 27

Phelps dives into the pool for his last Olympic race. He says that his plans for post-Olympic life include finally seeing the cities he's competed in.
Al Bello Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 7:36 am

When Michael Phelps came to London for the 2012 Summer Games, he had 14 Olympic gold medals. He's leaving with 18 and a record 22 overall. And now he's retiring at 27, leaving the sport in which he always said he wanted to do things that had never been done before.

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The Torch
9:12 am
Mon August 13, 2012

At Olympics' End, USA Finishes First In Medal Race

In an iconic moment, Gabrielle Douglas performs on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women's individual all-around competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Gregory Bull AP

Originally published on Sun August 12, 2012 7:43 pm

The last medals of the London Games were just presented at the end of the women's modern pentathlon.

Like it did in the last three Olympics, the United States dominated. Last time around in Beijing, China outdid the States in total gold medals but this year, the U.S. climbed back proving itself in pretty much every category.

Here's a look at the final medal tally:

USA: 46 gold; 29 silver; 29 bronze; 104 total.

China: 38 gold; 27 silver; 22 bronze; 87 total.

Russia: 24 gold; 25 silver; 33 bronze; 82 total

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NPR tech news
8:31 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Key Test Tuesday For Hypersonic Flight

An artist's rendition of an X-51A WaveRider (in white) attached to the wing of a B-52.
Pratt & Whitney

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 8:04 am

Imagine being able to fly from Los Angeles to New York City in less time than it takes to commute from most of Long Island into Manhattan.

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Food
5:30 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Trial 'mini-grocery' brings fresh food to poor neighborhoods

Stockbox Grocery plans to greet you with a produce display like this one.
Stockbox

You might have trouble finding any attractive vegetables or fruits if you shop in the wrong stores. It’s especially challenging in poor neighborhoods, where mini-marts packed with beer, cigarettes and junk food may be all you can find.

One solution to be tested in Seattle this month will be in the form of a healthy corner store. Call it a mini-grocery.

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Mars landing
11:21 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Solved: Mars rover snapped pic of rocket stage crash

These views taken by the Hazard-Avoidance cameras on NASA's Curiosity rover show evidence for an impact plume created when the rover's sky crane fell to the Martian surface.
NASA

PASADENA, Calif. — The mysterious Mars photo has been solved.

A NASA engineer said Friday he's pretty sure a Curiosity rover camera caught the rocket stage crashing in the distance after it landed in Gale Crater Sunday night.

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NPR tech news
8:57 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Yes, There's Probably A Medical App For That

With thousands of medical apps available for download, patients and physicians can instantly keep visual records of wounds and look up symptoms.
Benjamin Morris NPR

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 6:46 am

How many calories have I consumed this week? How well did I sleep last night?

What about this thing on my leg — is it infected? What does an ECG for ventricular tachycardia look like again?

Yes, you guessed it. There is an app for that.

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Twitter diversions
11:19 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Following the lighter side of life on Mars with @SarcasticRover on Twitter

This Picasso-like self portrait of NASA's Curiosity rover was taken by its Navigation cameras, located on the now-upright mast. The camera snapped pictures 360-degrees around the rover, while pointing down at the rover deck, up and straight ahead.
NASA

The Mars rover Curiosity has landed ... on Mars! And it's having a pretty lonely but humorous time of it, according to the rover's mock Twitter feed

SarcasticRover: "HEY EVERYONE! Hope you kids have fun writing shitty memes on my HI-RES PICS! After all, THAT'S WHAT I'M HERE FOR!"

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NPR Science
7:54 am
Wed August 8, 2012

A Clear And Present Danger: How Glass Kills Birds

Experts say glass buildings kill millions of birds every year. Scientists at Powdermill Avian Research Center are studying ways to help prevent this. Here, a volunteer tags a black hooded warbler in Rector, Pa., in May.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 9:05 am

First of a two-part series. Read Part 2.

Modern architecture loves glass. Glass makes interiors brighter and adds sparkle to cityscapes. But glass also kills millions of birds every year when they collide with windows. Biologists say as more glass buildings go up, more birds are dying.

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