Science and Technology

Science
2:03 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Ancient DNA Ties Native Americans From Two Continents To Clovis

Until recently, finding characteristic stone and bone tools was the only way to trace the fate of the Clovis people, whose culture appeared in North America about 13,000 years ago.
Sarah L. Anzick Nature

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 7:01 pm

The mysterious Clovis culture, which appeared in North America about 13,000 years ago, appears to be the forerunner of Native Americans throughout the Americas, according to a study in Nature. Scientists have read the genetic sequence of a baby from a Clovis burial site in Montana to help fill out the story of the earliest Americans.

Read more
All Tech Considered
2:01 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Through The Internet, Gay Teens Connected To Larger Community

Emily Kitfield, 16, says she's not sure if she would have been able to come out to her parents and community without being able to reach out to others online.
Courtesy of Emily Kitfield

In the past 20 years, the Internet has significantly impacted what it means to grow up as a gay kid in this country.

Before the Web, many gay young people grew up in what seemed to be isolation, particularly those in small towns. But with the advent of online chat rooms and Websites dedicated to gay culture, communities formed, and that demographic began finding new support.

That change can be seen in the experiences of two women who grew up in the same town, two decades apart.

'The Only One'

Read more
All Tech Considered
5:27 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Dating Sites Offer Chance At Love — And A Lesson In Economics

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 7:58 pm

Paul Oyer, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, has been teaching economics for almost two decades. His experience with online dating started much more recently. But when he started looking for love online, Oyer discovered that the principles he teaches in the classroom were surprisingly applicable to this new marketplace.

In a new book, Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned From Online Dating, Oyer explains economic concepts in terms of online profiles and dating decisions.

Read more
Sports
3:29 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Scientist Talks The Formulae For Olympic Success

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 7:00 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Olympic sports are marvels of power and beauty. They're also marvels of physics. Take ski jumping. Skiers launch themselves into flight at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. They fly through the air for the length of a football field or more and land usually gracefully. We asked physics professor John Eric Goff, at Lynchburg College, to explain the physical forces at work in ski jumping. He wrote the book "Gold Medal Physics: The Science of Sports."

Read more
Health
3:29 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

More Findings, More Questions About Value Of Mammograms

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 7:00 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There's new evidence out today that's raising questions about whether women in their 40's and 50's should routinely undergo mammography to detect breast cancer. A new analysis of a big Canadian study found no evidence that regular mammograms save lives. The study even suggests that for many women, regular breast X-rays may do more harm than good.

NPR's Rob Stein joins us now to talk about this report. It appears in the British medical journal BMJ.

Read more
Environment
3:29 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Risky Tech Fixes For Climate Becoming Likelier, Critic Warns

Clive Hamilton's new book Earthmasters.
Courtesy of Yale University Press

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 9:06 pm

Some strategists still see a small window of opportunity to address climate change before the effects become damaging and costly. At least one economist, for example, says we can make a lot of progress if at least half the world agrees to put a price tag on the carbon we dump into the atmosphere.

But some big thinkers also see a grim, potentially dangerous world ahead — one where nations, confronting a climate crisis, will instead reach for a risky technological fix.

Read more
All Tech Considered
1:01 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Niche Online Dating Promises A Different Site For Every Preference

The Sayles family on their farm in Michigan. Julie and Rick Sayles met through the site FarmersOnly.com five years ago.
Courtesy of Iryshe Photography

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 7:45 pm

The numbers show Americans are getting more comfortable with online dating — a recent Pew survey found at least 11 percent of us have tried to find a match on the Internet. And the places to cyberdate are proliferating. No fewer than 1,500 dating sites are available in the U.S. to help singles connect, many for a fee.

But these days, we're not just online dating; we're niche online dating, with specific sites for singles of all stripes.

Read more
Animals
12:50 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

In The World's 'Sixth Extinction,' Are Humans The Asteroid?

Elizabeth Kolbert says the "taxicab yellow" Panamanian golden frog was nearly wiped out by a fungal disease. It's just one of the species affected by what scientists call the Sixth Extinction.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 9:25 am

The dinosaurs were killed during the Fifth Extinction — which scientists suspect was caused by an asteroid. Now, we are living through an epoch that many scientists describe as the Sixth Extinction, and this time, human activity is the culprit. As one scientist put it: We're the asteroid.

Elizabeth Kolbert is the author of the new book The Sixth Extinction. It begins with a history of the "big five" extinctions of the past, and goes on to explain how human behavior is creating a sixth one — including our use of fossil fuels and the effects of climate change.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:33 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Scientists Say Their Giant Laser Has Produced Nuclear Fusion

The National Ignition Facility's 192 laser beams focus onto a tiny target.
LLNL

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 8:00 pm

Researchers at a laboratory in California say they've had a breakthrough in producing fusion reactions with a giant laser. The success comes after years of struggling to get the laser to work and is another step in the decades-long quest for fusion energy.

Omar Hurricane, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, says that for the first time, they've produced significant amounts of fusion by zapping a target with their laser. "We've gotten more energy out of the fusion fuel than we put into the fusion fuel," he says.

Read more
Krulwich Wonders...
11:42 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Parents With Noisy Babies Shouldn't Read This. They'll Be Too Jealous

Stacey Dunn University of Idaho

If only ... if only, instead of that noisy, bawling, crying little person, you could have produced an antelope baby — and oh, the quiet! The blissful, total silence. When pronghorn antelopes have babies, nobody hears anything for weeks and weeks — which is the whole point.

Read more

Pages