This is Hungerford, a large female snowy owl. Last summer she was just a hatchling — a gray ball of fuzz in the middle of the Arctic tundra. In the fall, newly equipped with adult plumage, she flew thousands of miles south until she reached the coast of Maryland. And this winter, she became an important part of an unprecedented research project.
Every year, Americans send millions of tons of food to the landfill. What if you could use all of those pizza crusts and rotten vegetables to heat your home? That's already happening in one unlikely laboratory: the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn.
Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 6:54 pm
In 2025, the Internet will enhance our awareness of the world and ourselves while diminishing privacy and allowing abusers to "make life miserable for others," according to a new report by the Pew Research Center and Elon University.
But more than anything, experts say, it will become ubiquitous and embedded in our lives — the same way electricity is today.
Seattle's government has given early approval to caps on ride-share companies such as Uber. Here, Peter Faris, whose company's drivers use Uber to find customers, holds a smartphone with the ride-sharing company's app in Washington, D.C.
Uber, Lyft, and similar companies that pair people who pay for a car ride with drivers who operate outside the traditional taxi system are facing new limits in Seattle, where the City Council's Taxi Committee recently voted to cap the number of "ride-share" drivers.
The full council had been scheduled to vote on a limit of 150 drivers per ride-share company today; the vote, which has sparked intense interest in the city, has been postponed until next Monday.
Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 9:56 am
We are rarely lost anymore.
In a foreign city or just a drive out of town, our GPS-enabled smartphones pin our positions on digital maps to within a few meters. We are rarely without facts anymore. Any question that has an objective answer — from the last day of the Civil War to the maximum speed of a Boeing 777 — is as close as Google. For a broad class of experience in modern life we have become very used to "knowing." Events a world away may be subject to our opinions, but rarely anymore are they cloaked in an enveloping darkness.
The task of building your very own toy, or robot, or radio can seem daunting for someone without much background in engineering. But a set of color-coded electronic bits that can be magnetically snapped together called littleBits is aiming to make creating your own electronics easy for everyone. It's like Legos, if only Legos could be connected into circuits that light up, move or make music.
"Circuits in seconds," promises the outside of the box.
MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden addressed a large American audience today. He spoke through a video link from Russia where he was given temporary asylum after he leaked thousands of classified NSA documents. The crowd was a friendly one at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas. Snowden took some questions and he said technology companies can do more to prevent sweeping surveillance by the U.S. government.
As NPR's Steve Henn reports, the event was moderated by Snowden's attorney.