Science and Technology

Business
4:11 am
Thu May 1, 2014

50 Years Of BASIC

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 4:00 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's Joe Palca is in our studios and he's brought along a piece of paper. Joe, what's it say?

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: It says, let X equal seven plus eight divided by three.

INSKEEP: It sounds like kind of a mathematical equation there.

PALCA: It's actually a line of computer code and it was part of the first very short program ever run in a language called BASIC.

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Shots - Health News
8:13 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Experimental Technique Coaxes Muscles Destroyed By War To Regrow

A cross-section of skeletal muscle in this light micrograph shows the individual, parallel muscle fibers (red). These fibers work in concert to power movement.
Thomas Deerinck, NCMIR ScienceSource

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 8:35 am

Ron Strang was on patrol in Afghanistan when a primitive land mine exploded.

"When it went off, it came across the front of my body," Strang says. Though he survived the blast, his left leg was never the same. Shrapnel destroyed most of the muscle on his left thigh. He used to run, swim and hike. But even after he recovered, those days of carefree movement were gone.

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It's All Politics
5:06 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Nino's No-No: Justice Scalia Flubs Dissent In Pollution Case

Whether the error in Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's recent dissent was originally his fault or a clerk's doesn't make it less cringeworthy.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 6:28 pm

All of us who write for a living know what it's like to completely forget something you wrote 13 years ago.

But when a Supreme Court justice pointedly cites the facts in a decision he wrote, and gets them exactly wrong, it is more than embarrassing. It makes for headlines among the legal cognoscenti.

I'm not sure I rank as one of the cognoscenti, but here's my headline for Justice Antonin Scalia's booboo: "Nino's No-No."

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All Tech Considered
4:25 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

High-Tech Maker Spaces: Helping Little Startups Make It Big

A member works in the electronics lab at NextFab Studios in Philadelphia. Members pay for access to computers and high-end machines like laser cutters and 3-D printers.
Jon Kalish

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 4:20 pm

Around the country, there are lots of tinkerers working on what they hope will be the next brilliant idea — but who don't have the tools in their garage to build it.

In dozens of cities, those innovators can set up shop in a "maker space" — community workshops where members have access to sophisticated tools and expertise.

Maker spaces have become hotbeds of technological innovation and entrepreneurship. Now, governments, universities and big corporations are taking notice — and beginning to invest in them.

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All Tech Considered
3:53 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Twitter CEO Hopes To Attract Users By Clearing The Clutter

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo says the company has to bridge the gap between the brand's global awareness and user engagement.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 1:48 pm

Twitter is growing and its brand is spreading but Wall Street is unimpressed. On Tuesday, the company announced it had doubled its quarterly revenue from a year ago to $250 million. The social networking site also increased its number of active users to 255 million, up 25 percent from a year earlier.

But despite the gains, Wall Street analysts have called the growth tepid. Twitter went public last November, and its shares have traded as high as $74; on Wednesday, it opened at under $38.

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Science
3:00 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Facing Execution Drug Shortage, States Struggle To Get Cocktail Right

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 5:18 pm

A botched execution in Oklahoma is only the latest issue since states started having trouble obtaining the drugs used to execute inmates. They've been trying new combinations and new drugs, which often had never been used before for that purpose.

Energy
3:00 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Widening Sanctions On Russia Rattle Some In Western Oil Industry

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 5:18 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The new sanctions that the U.S. and the EU imposed on Russia this week have done little to quell the violence in eastern Ukraine, but they have shaken Western oil and gas companies that have ongoing projects in Russia. The sanctions didn't specifically target Russia's energy sector, but as NPR's Jackie Northam reports, they're coming close to a largely state-owned oil giant.

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The Salt
2:07 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Smiting The Mite To Save The Bees (And The Crops They Pollinate)

Wild bees, such as this Andrena bee visiting highbush blueberry flowers, play a key role in boosting crop yields.
Left photo by Rufus Isaac/AAAS; Right photo courtesy of Daniel M.N. Turner

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 4:05 pm

How do you like them apples, apricots, blueberries, almonds and peaches? They all depend on bees for pollination.

But over the last several years, a massive number of bee colonies have died, putting beekeepers, farmers and scientists in a bit of a panic.

They've come up with a lot of reasons why colonies are collapsing and dwindling.

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The Two-Way
1:18 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

A Whale Of A Problem: Town Faces Threat Of Exploding Carcass

A blue whale carcass washed up last week in Trout River, Newfoundland, Canada.
Don Bradshaw Courtesy of Don Bradshaw/NTV News

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 9:04 am

People of the small Canadian town of Trout River, Newfoundland, have a big problem that just might blow up in their faces: what to do with a giant blue whale carcass that washed up on the beach and that some say threatens to spontaneously combust.

The 80-foot-long whale appeared on the beach in the town of about 600 people a week ago. Since then, the mass of rotting blubber has become bloated with combustible methane gas and, to put it delicately, is "emitting a powerful stench."

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Shots - Health News
11:08 am
Wed April 30, 2014

To Get Help From A Little Kid, Ask The Right Way

Need a hand with those dishes?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 6:31 am

Motivating children to stop playing and help out with chores isn't exactly an easy sell, as most parents and teachers will attest. But how you ask can make all the difference, psychologists say.

If you say something like, "Please help me," the kids are more likely to keep playing with their Legos. But ask them, "Please be a helper," and they'll be more responsive, researchers report Wednesday in the journal Child Development.

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