Science

12:27pm

Fri November 2, 2012
NPR Story

How Secure are Electronic Voting Machines?

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 1:40 pm

Election Day 2012 is just around the corner, and many Americans will be casting their ballots on electronic voting machines. But how reliable are these devices? Michael Alvarez, professor of political science at Caltech, discusses the technologies at your polling station.

12:27pm

Fri November 2, 2012
NPR Story

Past is Present in 'An Enemy Of The People'

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 1:40 pm

Although it was written in 1882, Henrik Ibsen's play An Enemy of the People still resonates today. Richard Thomas and Boyd Gaines, the stars of a new production of the play, join Ira Flatow to talk about the play's themes of power and truth, and the role of whistle-blowers.

5:04am

Fri November 2, 2012
Energy

Fixing NYC's Underground Power Grid Is No Easy Task

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 11:43 am

Consolidated Edison workers try to repair damage near the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

The fury of the great storm Sandy shocked a lot of people, like John Miksad, vice president of the New York electric utility Consolidated Edison. "We hit 14-foot tides — that was the biggest surprise," he told a press conference this week. "The water just kept rising and rising and rising."

That rising water flooded streets, buildings and parts of the city's underground electricity grid. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers lost power. But it might have been worse if the power lines had not been underground.

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8:00pm

Thu November 1, 2012
Animals

Move Over, Parrot: Elephant Mimics Trainer At Zoo

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 11:43 am

Koshi, an elephant, makes sounds that imitate Korean words.
Stoeger, et. al. Current Biology

Scientists say an Asian elephant at a South Korean zoo can imitate human speech, saying five Korean words that are readily understood by people who speak the language.

The male elephant, named Koshik, invented an unusual method of sound production that involves putting his trunk in his mouth and manipulating his vocal tract.

"This is not the kind of sound that Asian elephants normally make, and it's a dead-on match of the speech of his trainers," says Tecumseh Fitch of the University of Vienna in Austria.

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4:39pm

Thu November 1, 2012
Around the Nation

In Flooded New Jersey, No Oversight For Levees

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 6:42 pm

An emergency responder helps residents of Little Ferry, N.J., after their neighborhood was flooded due to Superstorm Sandy.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Residents of Moonachie and Little Ferry, N.J., are beginning to clear the damage after their communities were inundated by floodwaters. The flooding occurred when a system of levees and berms was unable to control the storm surge pushed ashore by Superstorm Sandy.

Geologist Jeffrey Mount of the University of California, Davis, isn't surprised. "There really are only two kinds of levees," he says, "those that have failed, and those that will fail."

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2:28pm

Thu November 1, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

After Sandy: The Most Highly Evolved Compassion Of All

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 5:48 pm

Blaine Badick walks through floodwaters with her dogs in Hoboken, N.J., on Wednesday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Like millions of others, I've been heartsick this week at the loss of life and destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy, especially along the Jersey Shore near where I grew up. Among the few bright spots have been the selfless acts of rescuers.

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11:55am

Thu November 1, 2012
Shots - Health News

How An Antibody Found In Monkeys Could Help Make An Ebola Vaccine

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 2:34 pm

A microbiologist runs an experiment to count hemorrhagic fever viruses at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
Scott Smith CDC

Just the word Ebola can send shivers down the spine.

And no wonder.

Ebola is one of the deadliest viruses around, and there aren't any approved treatments or vaccines for it.

Scientists have been experimenting with an Ebola vaccine in animals for the past few years, but they've been stymied. There's no easy way to test its effectiveness in people.

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10:36am

Thu November 1, 2012
Science

Sandy's Two-Fisted Attack: Water From Air And Sea

Adam Cole NPR

On Monday, Sandy brought heavy rain, winds and storm surges to the Northeast, causing widespread flooding and extensive damage to hundreds of communities, particularly in New Jersey and New York.

But the drenching from all that water varied greatly by region.

In areas south of Atlantic City, N.J., where the storm made landfall Monday night, the wind was pushing out toward the ocean. This prevented high storm tides along the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware coasts and in Chesapeake Bay. But the same arm of the storm that held the ocean at bay carried a lot of rain.

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6:32pm

Wed October 31, 2012
Shots - Health News

Cancer, Heart Research Threatened By Power Outage At NYU Hospital

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 7:29 pm

Researchers at New York University Hospital worry the mice they use to study human disease may have perished in the flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy.
iStockphoto.com

ABC News and the New York Daily News are reporting that cells, tissues, mice and rats used for medical research may have been lost as New York University Hospital approaches its third day without power. The losses could set researchers back years.

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5:34pm

Wed October 31, 2012
Science

High-Def Storm Models Yielded Accurate Predictions

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 6:53 pm

These computer models from Oct. 26 of then-Hurricane Sandy show different predictions for the storm's path.
NOAA

Better satellites, smarter computer models and faster computers helped government forecasters correctly predict the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, scientists say.

It's unlikely the forecast would have been nearly as accurate just a couple of decades ago, they say.

"The National Hurricane Center did a fantastic job, particularly with the track forecast and the intensity forecast as it was moving toward the Northeast," says Sharan Majumdar, an associate professor of meteorology and physical oceanography at the University of Miami.

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