Science, Technology and Environment

Animals
7:10 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

In 'Rise Of Animals,' Sir David Attenborough Tells Story Of Vertebrates

Sir David Attenborough at the Beijing Museum of Natural History with fossil of Juramaia, as featured in the Smithsonian Channel series Rise of Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates.
Courtesy Smithsonian Channel

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 12:23 pm

Famed British broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough has been lending his calming voice to nature documentaries ever since TV was in black and white.

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The Two-Way
4:23 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

At 13 Billion Light-Years Away, Galaxy Is Farthest To Be Measured From Earth

An image of the galaxy EGS-zs8-1, which set a new distance record after researchers determined it was more than 13 billion light-years away.
NASA, ESA, P. Oesch, and I. Momcheva, and the 3D-HST and HUDF09/XDF teams

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 4:57 pm

A new glimpse of what the universe looked like in its youth has been captured, thanks to researchers who determined that light from the galaxy known as EGS-zs8-1 has spent more than 13 billion years traveling to reach us here on Earth.

The blue galaxy, which was named for its coloration after its initial discovery by the Hubble telescope, was studied by a team of astronomers based at Yale University and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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The Two-Way
2:55 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

ABC Brings Muppets Back To Prime Time As News Emerges About Fall Shows

Kermit the Frog speaks to Gonzo the Great in a scene from ABC's The Muppets.
Eric McCandless ABC

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 5:21 pm

The long wait for Muppets fans is over: ABC is bringing back the beloved puppets in a prime-time TV series this fall for the first time in nearly 20 years.

News of the new show, called The Muppets, dropped this week as TV networks begin calling producers, stars and studio executives in advance of next week's "upfronts" — the annual ritual where broadcasters roll out their fall schedules for advertisers to score advance sales.

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All Tech Considered
4:04 am
Fri May 8, 2015

The Unlikely Stars Of Americans' Favorite Video Games

Ellen McLain (standing fourth from left) and John Lowrie (standing in center) are unlikely celebrities in gaming culture. But they are the voices behind some of the video game world's most popular characters.
Courtesy of John Patrick Lowrie and Ellen McLain

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 10:14 am

Ellen McLain had a long career as an opera singer. But now her voice is most famous for something entirely different: video games. McLain is the voice of GLaDOS, the passive-aggressive computer in the games Portal and Portal 2.

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Your Money
2:51 am
Fri May 8, 2015

Being A Loyal Auto Insurance Customer Can Cost You

Some auto insurance companies could be using a tactic called "price optimization" to charge loyal customers a higher premium.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 8:24 pm

Updated 7:38 p.m. May 12, 2015: This story has been updated to include more details and additional comments from the insurance industry.

Many companies reward their most loyal customers with incentives, discounts and freebies. But in car insurance, the opposite can actually happen. A driver can be punished with a higher premium just for being loyal to the company. 

It's called price optimization, and it happens to lots of people all the time. A driver could have no history of accidents but all of a sudden their car insurance goes up.

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Goats and Soda
7:58 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Scientists Crack A 50-Year-Old Mystery About The Measles Vaccine

Worth a little pain? Back in 1990, a school boy got a measles shot in the U.K., and it turns out, he got more than protection against the measles.
Photofusion UIG via Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 17, 2015 7:20 pm

Back in the 1960s, the U.S. started vaccinating kids for measles. As expected, children stopped getting measles.

But something else happened.

Childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted. Even deaths from diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea were cut by half.

Scientists saw the same phenomenon when the vaccine came to England and parts of Europe. And they see it today when developing countries introduce the vaccine.

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The Two-Way
5:35 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

A Fish With Cancer Raises Questions About Health Of Susquehanna River

A smallmouth bass with confirmed malignant tumor was caught by an angler in the Susquehanna River near Duncannon, Pa., on Nov. 3, 2014.
John Arway Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 6:24 pm

Late last year, an angler caught a smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River near Duncannon, Pa. That fish, officials from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission said this week, had a malignant tumor. It's the first time this type of tumor has been found on a smallmouth bass in the river, the agency says.

Cancerous growths and tumors on fish are "very, very infrequent," John Arway, the agency's executive director, said in an interview.

"These cancers can be initiated by contaminants," he said.

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Shots - Health News
4:19 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

DNA 'Printing' A Big Boon To Research, But Some Raise Concerns

Cambrian Genomics says that what it calls a DNA printer is essentially a DNA sorter — it quickly spots and collects the desired, tailored stretch of DNA.
Courtesy of Cambrian Genomics

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 6:21 pm

Here's something that might sound strange: There are companies now that print and sell DNA.

This trend — which uses the term "print" in the sense of making a bunch of copies speedily — is making particular stretches of DNA much cheaper and easier to obtain than ever before. That excites many scientists who are keen to use these tailored strings of genetic instructions to do all sorts of things, ranging from finding new medical treatments to genetically engineering better crops.

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Animals
3:30 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

At Long Last, Taxidermied Hyenas In Chicago Get Their Own Diorama

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 6:13 pm

After years tucked away in the Reptile Hall at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, four striped taxidermied hyenas are finally getting their own diorama.

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

Parallels
3:30 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

'Haqqathon' Takes Anti-ISIS Fight To Cyberspace

Haqqathon-ers from the winning team, which developed the social media site Champions of Islam, at the event in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Courtesy of Rim-Sarah Alouane

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 8:24 am

In Arabic, haqq is the word for truth.

Last week in the United Arab Emirates, group of Muslim scholars held what they called a "haqqathon" – a hackathon meant to create new ways for Islamic scholars to connect with young Muslims and, by doing so, defuse violent extremists like the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

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