Science

4:13pm

Tue June 11, 2013
Animals

To Crack Down On Rhino Poaching, Authorities Turn To Drones

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 6:20 pm

This young female rhinoceros, photographed in Kenya in 2011, was killed by ivory poachers a few months after this photo was taken.
Courtesy of Tom Snitch

A crowd of wildlife rangers gathered on a woody hillside in Nepal last year to try something they'd never done before. A man held what looked like an overgrown toy airplane in his right hand, arm cocked as if to throw it into the sky. As his fellow rangers cheered, he did just that. A propeller took over, sending it skyward.

The craft was an unmanned aerial vehicle, also known as a drone, though not the military kind. Its wingspan was about 7 feet, and it carried only a video camera that filmed the forest below.

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2:41pm

Tue June 11, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

A Brave New World: Big Data's Big Dangers

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 4:12 pm

Big Data may not be much to look at, but it can be powerful stuff. For instance, this is what the new National Security Agency (NSA) data center in Bluffdale, Utah, looks like.
George Frey Getty Images

New technologies are not all equal. Some do nothing more than add a thin extra layer to the top-soil of human behavior (i.e., Teflon and the invention of non-stick frying pans). Some technologies, however, dig deeper, uprooting the norms of human behavior and replacing them with wholly new possibilities. For the last few months I have been arguing that Big Data — the machine-based collection and analysis of astronomical quantities of information — represents such a turn.

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1:10pm

Tue June 11, 2013
The Salt

Za'atar: A Spice Mix With Biblical Roots And Brain Food Reputation

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 11:27 am

Lebanese bread topped with za'atar, a spice mix ubiquitous in the Middle East.
Photostock Israel Getty Images

NPR Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep recently traveled to Damascus for a series of reports on the ongoing war in Syria. He sent this postcard from the road.

Dear Salt:

On my first day in Damascus, I went walking in the ancient bazaar — narrow stone-paved streets surrounding a great stone mosque. The mosque is so old, it used to be a church during the Roman Empire, and before it was a church, it was a pagan temple. The bazaar is surely as old as the mosque, for Damascus is a historic city of trade.

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11:22am

Tue June 11, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

The Most Dangerous Traffic Circle In The World?

Rob Whitworth Vimeo

I've been to New Delhi where traffic is frightening. I've seen pictures of Nairobi and Bangkok, where it's even scarier. But Ho Chi Minh City? The town we used to call Saigon? I don't think I'd put myself in a truck, car, bike or even a Sherman tank in that town. This video opens in the scariest traffic circle I could imagine — actually, it's beyond imagining — where bikes, cars and people seem simultaneously, collectively and individually heading straight at each other (when you look, just count the vehicles and people on collision course; there are at least two or three in every frame).

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4:31pm

Mon June 10, 2013
Shots - Health News

Triple Threat: Middle East Respiratory Virus And 2 Bird Flus

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 8:11 am

Men outside a hospital in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, wear surgical masks as a precaution against infection with a coronavirus.
Stringer Reuters /Landov

The World Health Organization is warning health care workers everywhere to suspect a disease called Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, whenever they see a case of unexplained pneumonia.

Monday's warning comes at the end of a six-day WHO investigation in Saudi Arabia, where 40 of the 55 cases of the respiratory disease have occurred. Sixty percent of those people with known infections died.

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1:06pm

Mon June 10, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Watts For Lunch? (Or Why Humans Are Like Light Bulbs)

Robert Krulwich NPR

There's a new lunch place down the block, so like you do when the menu looks interesting, I walked in and ordered something mysterious, which for me was the "Red Lentil and Edamame Salad," mostly because I can never remember what edamame is, and because that word suggests doing something slightly frightening, like munching accidentally on one's mother.

How Much Energy Am I Eating? Enough To Power A Flashlight?

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12:23pm

Mon June 10, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Would You Accept DNA From A Murderer?

Does it matter where it comes from if it helps you out?
iStockphoto.com

Modern medicine and technology can change the way we define our physical and psychological selves. Is a prosthetic arm "your own arm" in the same sense that its biological predecessor seemed to be? Might taking antipsychotic medication fundamentally change your personality? Could an organ transplant from a pig, or from a violent murderer, somehow change who you are?

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4:30am

Mon June 10, 2013
Animals

City Life Disrupts Daily Rhythm Of Birds

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 7:08 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

You've heard the expression Bright Lights, Big City. For many people, city living can mean long hours at work and play and never enough sleep. Now a new study suggests that cities can have a very similar effect on another group of residents: birds. NPR's Rhitu Chatterjee reports.

RHITU CHATTERJEE, BYLINE: Since the 1930s, scientists have noticed that birds in cities, like robins and starlings, can keep different hours than their relatives in forests. Barbara Helm is a biologist at the University of Glasgow.

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2:55am

Mon June 10, 2013
Shots - Health News

With Epilepsy Treatment, The Goal Is To Keep Kids Seizure-Free

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 8:48 am

Barton Holmes, 2, sits with his father, Kevin Holmes, and his mother, Catherine McEaddy Holmes, during an appointment at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Barton Holmes was 16 months old when he had his first seizure. "He was convulsing and his eyes were rolling in the back of his head," his mother, Catherine McEaddy Holmes, says. "His lips were blue. I thought he was dying."

The seizure ended in less than a minute. And by the time an ambulance arrived, Barton was back to his old self. Even so, doctors at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where the family lives, kept him overnight while they tried, without success, to figure out what had caused the seizure.

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6:03pm

Sat June 8, 2013
Science

Aquarium Sculptors Create Coral For Conservation Awareness

Originally published on Sat June 8, 2013 10:42 pm

Projected image of the complete Blacktip Reef exhibit.
Courtesy of the National Aquarium

Most aquarium visitors are there to see sharks, sea turtles, fish and other marine life. But at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, there's another star attraction: Coral.

The Aquarium's Blacktip Reef exhibit will open later this summer, and give visitors a look at an Indo-Pacific coral reef. But curators can't just carve a chunk out of a wild reef to put in the vast tank, that would destroy the very ecosystem for which they hope to raise conservation awareness. And corals take hundreds of years to develop into a reef, so the aquarium can't grow its own in-house.

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