The Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has incubated many important technologies over the decades in computer networking and other areas. The Energy Department wants to make similar strides with an agency called ARPA-E. Over three years now in operation, ARPA-E has spent nearly $800 million on 285 experimental projects.
We invited the agency's deputy director, Cheryl Martin, into our studio so we can find out more about these projects. Good morning.
Mention the recent surge in oil and natural gas production in the U.S. and one word comes to mind for a lot of people: "fracking." Hydraulic fracturing is a controversial technique that uses water, sand and potentially hazardous chemicals to break up rock deep underground to release oil and natural gas.
But there's another technology that is just as responsible for drilling booms happening across the country: horizontal drilling.
Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 8:59 am
By now, you probably know that the National Institutes of Health last week announced its plans to retire to sanctuaries hundreds of chimpanzees used for research, including invasive biomedical research. The story was big news nationally, including here at NPR, and resulted also in posts by animal advocacy groups such as PETA.
Maybe you already know about this, maybe I'm in love, maybe this is just me and my particular craziness, but I want you to click on the image below. It's Mathew Inman's (who calls himself "The Oatmeal") story, handwritten, hand drawn, about his cat, Domino.
There are, we all know, wonderful sites all over the web, but every so often somebody comes along and rejuggles words, pictures and plays with space, remixing elements to very quietly find new beats, new ways to tell a story. That is what Mathew did here. At least I think so.
We go now to Arizona, a magnet for retirees, and for some the answer to the question how should I spend my spare time is this: How about swinging a pick axe in the desert? NPR's Ted Robbins sent this postcard from Ironwood Forest National Monument.
TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: This must be Gary Borax's idea of a good time because he keeps coming back.
GARY BORAX: I've probably been out here 30, 40 times over the years and nearly half of those buffel grass-related.
It's that time again, the SCIENCE FRIDAY Book Club. Regulars are gathered here. With me are Flora Lichtman, correspondent and managing editor of video for SCIENCE FRIDAY, Annette Heist, our senior producer. And this month, we had a page-turner, "The Andromeda Strain."
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Yes.
FLATOW: It goes very quickly, that book, doesn't it? Poof.
LICHTMAN: It did. I was thinking of 300 and something-odd pages, but I, you know, in one sitting, was halfway through. I couldn't put it down.
Researchers at Rice University in Houston have discovered a cheap source of the wonder material graphene: baked goods. Marc Abrahams, editor and co-founder of The Annals of Improbable Research, talks about how to transform a box of Girl Scout cookies into $15 billion worth of graphene--in theory, at least.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. We all know the phrase a dog is a man's best friend. But how did they become such loyal companions? Scientists agree that dogs descended from wolves, eventually evolving into the first domesticated animals, but that's where the consensus ends.
Researchers have been using archaeological records and genetic studies to tease out clues about how dogs and humans came to live together, but they seem to tell different stories of how it happened.
Unusual activity in the atmosphere over the Arctic Circle is triggering snow and frigid temperatures across Canada, the U.S. and parts of Europe. Climatologist Jeff Weber, of the University Corporation of Atmospheric Research, explains why this winter could pack a punch.