Melissa Block speaks with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Apple chairman Art Levinson about the multimillion-dollar prize they've created with other Silicon Valley illuminati to award advancements in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life. Eleven scientists have been named winners of the Breakthrough Prize this year.
Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:41 pm
Sometimes behind what appears to be a mere grammatical issue hides a much deeper question of meaning.
The reader can easily check, after glancing at a handful of books and articles, including here at 13.7, that the word "universe" sometimes is capitalized and sometimes not. How is that decided, exactly? And who decides it? A choice is being made every time an author (or, more realistically, an editor) refers to the cosmos as "Universe" or as "universe." Let's ponder the reasoning behind this choice.
As many as 30 million people living from Oklahoma to the Ohio Valley are in the path of a storm moving east out of California that could dump several inches of snow in some areas and freezing rain and sleet elsewhere in the next few days.
According to the Weather Channel, the storm is caused by an "upper-level dip in the jet stream," on Wednesday.
Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 1:04 pm
By Andrew Prince
Satellites are powerful tools. They beam our TV signals, phone calls and data around the planet. They help us spy, they track storms, they power the GPS signals in our cars and on our phones. But they also send back striking, totally disarming images of planet Earth.
This set of images is all about showing off the "beauty of the Earth," says Lawrence Friedl, the director of NASA's Applied Sciences Program and the editor of a project called Earth as Art. "We want people to look at these images and say, 'How did nature do that?' "
Two reports on troubles with lithium ion batteries aboard Boeing's 787 Dreamliner:
In Japan, where a battery on an All Nippon Airlines 787 overheated and began smoking on Jan. 16, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing, the Transport Ministry released a report Wednesday saying it found that the battery in question had been improperly wired.
What if, before your children were born, you could make sure they had the genes to be taller or smarter? Would that tempt you, or would you find it unnerving?
What if that genetic engineering would save a child from a rare disease?
As advancements in science bring these ideas closer to reality, a group of experts faced off two against two in an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on the proposition: "Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies."
For years, I've been hearing stories about the changing agricultural landscape of the northern plains. Grasslands are disappearing, farmers told me. They're being replaced by fields of corn and soybeans.
Bees are democrats. They vote. When a community of bees has to make a choice, like where to build a new hive, they meet, debate and decide. But here's what they don't do: they don't filibuster. No single bee (or small band of bees) will stand against the majority, insisting and insisting for hours. They can't.
There's been a debate raging in academic circles for years. Does having children really make one happier? Most parents say their kids absolutely make them happy, but some researchers have come to question that.
NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam sat down with MORNING EDITION's Steve Inskeep to take on this question.