Science, Technology and Environment

The Two-Way
4:39 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

U.S. Gives Conditional OK To Shell Oil For Drilling Off Alaska's Arctic Shore

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 5:59 pm

The Obama administration has given conditional approval to Shell Oil's plan to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean this summer. The company wants to resume drilling in the Chukchi Sea off northwestern Alaska; it broke off that effort in 2012 because of safety problems.

Monday's news is a new sign that Shell could soon recoup some of the several billion dollars it has spent on federal leases and other preparations in recent years.

From Alaska's Aleutian Islands, KUCB's Annie Ropeik reports:

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All Tech Considered
4:22 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Using Investments And Technology To Rebuild Hawaii's Koa Forests

Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods has created an Internet interface so customers can zoom in and view information about specific koa trees from their computers.
Courtesy of Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 8:00 pm

As with tropical trees around the world, the koa forests of Hawaii have been decimated — cut down to make way for sugar plantations and cattle ranches. One company is using an innovative business model to bring back koa forests. The secret is a digital tag that helps track individual trees.

At upscale Hawaiian shopping malls like Kings' Shops, wood from the native koa tree is in high demand. Its color ranges from light to dark brown. Koa's curving lines make it popular for furniture, or ukuleles.

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Technology
4:21 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

In Midst Of Drought, Why Not Harvest Water From The Air?

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 8:00 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

So that's water conservation. What about water production? Is there some way for us to harvest water?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "STAR WARS: EPISODE IV - A NEW HOPE")

SHELAGH FRASER: (As Aunt Beru) Luke...

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All Tech Considered
3:50 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Why California Farmers Are Conflicted About Using Less Water

Tanimura & Antle workers use tractors to install drip tape into fields that will be used to grow lettuce and other crops in California's Salinas Valley.
Aarti Shahani NPR

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 2:39 pm

The drought across much of the Western U.S. is now in its fourth year. In California — where it's the most intense — farms are not under the same strict orders to conserve as cities are.

And inside the agriculture industry, farmers are quietly debating how best to respond to the drought. Given uncertainty around pending state regulations, some say there may be an incentive to not invest in water-saving technologies right now.

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Parallels
3:22 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Saudi Women Can't Drive To Work; So They're Flocking To The Internet

Nouf al-Mazrou, with the red head scarf in the center, runs a barbeque catering business from her home in the Saudi capital Riyadh. She's shown here at a gathering of Saudi women who have launched businesses on Instagram. The event was held at a private girls school.
Deborah Amos / NPR

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 8:14 am

In a country where women are prohibited from driving themselves to work, technology is opening new avenues to the job market in Saudi Arabia.

Thousands of women use Instagram, the popular photo-sharing site, to launch businesses that sell goods and services, from cupcakes to sushi, in the desert kingdom.

At a recent convention of Instagram businesses, hundreds of women set up booths at a private girls school in the capital Riyadh to share success stories.

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Space
1:08 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

The Great 'Beyond': Contemplating Life, Sex And Elevators In Space

Astronomer Chris Impey examines the possibilities of the universe in his new book Beyond. "I like the idea that the universe — the boundless possibility of 20 billion habitable worlds — has led to things that we can barely imagine," he says. In the 1970s, NASA Ames conducted several space colony studies, commissioning renderings of the giant spacecraft which could house entire cities.
Rick Guidice NASA Ames Research Center

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 3:53 pm

The possibility of humans colonizing outer space may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but British astronomer Chris Impey says that if the U.S. were pumping more money into the space program, the sci-fi fantasy would be well on its way to reality.

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Science
2:25 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Two Guys In Paris Aim To Charm The World Into Climate Action

ADP Co-chairs Daniel Reifsnyder (left) and Ahmed Djoghlaf (center) say their negotiation work is difficult but worth it. "We only have one planet, you know," Reifsnyder says. "We have to protect it."
Courtesy of IISD/ENB

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 5:32 pm

Here's a job that sounds perfect for either a superhero or a glutton for punishment: Get nearly 200 countries to finally agree to take serious action on climate change.

Two men have taken on this challenge. They're leading some international negotiations that will wrap up later this year in Paris at a major United Nations conference on climate change.

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All Tech Considered
9:06 am
Sun May 10, 2015

Coming Soon To A Highway Near You: A Semitruck With A Brain

The Daimler Freightliner Inspiration, a self-driving long-haul truck, is seen during an event at the Hoover Dam, May 5, 2015, near Boulder City, Nev.
John Locher AP

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 5:46 am

Imagine you're on the highway. You glance into the cab of the 18-wheeler next to you — and there's no driver. That day might be getting closer.

Automaker Daimler unveiled a truck last week that drives itself, called the Freightliner Inspiration. But the truck is not yet entirely autonomous.

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Author Interviews
4:15 pm
Sat May 9, 2015

If Science Could 'Clone A Mammoth,' Could It Save An Elephant?

A woolly mammoth skeleton gets auctioned off in Billingshurst, England.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 9, 2015 7:21 pm

It's been more than 20 years since Jurassic Park came out, and scientists have been cloning animals almost as long.

So where are the baby velociraptors already?

In Russia, there is a park all ready for woolly mammoths and scientists there say it's just a matter of time before they can bring back actual mammoths to enjoy it. But why bring back a species that went extinct thousands of years ago?

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The Two-Way
2:47 pm
Sat May 9, 2015

Planetary Society Set To Launch Solar Sail Experiment

Planetary Society's LightSail experiment.
Planetary Society

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 12:52 pm

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