Science

3:59pm

Tue December 25, 2012
The Salt

Computers May Someday Beat Chefs At Creating Flavors We Crave

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 10:06 am

Does bell pepper and black tea sound appetizing? A computer may think so.
Ryan Smith NPR

Mario Batali, watch your back.

Computer scientists at IBM have already built a computer that can beat human contestants on the TV quiz show, "Jeopardy." Now it appears they're sharpening their intellectual knives to make a computer that might someday challenge the competitors on "Iron Chef."

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2:25pm

Tue December 25, 2012
Energy

Texas Man Takes Last Stand Against Keystone XL Pipeline

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 4:20 pm

David Daniel, an east Texas landowner, was so determined to block the Keystone XL pipeline from coming through his forest that he built an elaborate network of treehouses eight stories above the ground.
Maggie Starbard NPR

An east Texas landowner was so determined to block the Keystone XL pipeline from coming through his forest that he took to his trees and built an elaborate network of treehouses eight stories above the ground.

"It popped into my head a long time ago, actually," says 45-year-old David Daniel. "If I had to climb my butt on top of a tree and sit there, I would. It started with that."

It turned out to be Daniel's last stand in a long battle against the Keystone XL, a pipeline project that would bring oil from Canada all the way to refineries in the Texas Gulf Coast.

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7:48am

Tue December 25, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Instant Christmas? A Snowless Snowstorm Turns Downtown Snowy White

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 8:33 am

Kut/Vimeo

This isn't snow.

It looks like snow.

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5:45pm

Mon December 24, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

We're Taking A Holiday Break

With Christmas upon us and the New Year just around the corner, we're taking a two-week break from regular posting on 13.7. You may still see a few "micro posts" over the next two weeks. But we won't be back to our regular schedule until Monday, January 7. We hope to see you again then.

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3:53pm

Mon December 24, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Which Is There More Of: Kindness Or Unkindness? A Christmas Accounting

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 11:57 am

Robert Krulwich NPR

Here's a notion. It comes from Kevin Kelly, author, editor and friend. He was imagining this:

Suppose, he said, that you could count every kindness, every good deed, every smile, every caress, every act of charity, love, tenderness, every generous moment that occurred on the planet this year, and add them all up so you'd have a Total Incidence of Goodness for 2012, a grand sum.

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6:30am

Mon December 24, 2012
Science

The Science Behind Santa's Christmas Eve Journey

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 7:11 am

With billions of children to visit in just one night, how does Santa make it to every house? And how does he fit down the chimney — assuming your house has one. Astrophysicist Neil De Grasse Tyson talks to David Greene about the science of Santa.

4:09pm

Sun December 23, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Wait, Maybe We Are Living In A Simulation.

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:45 pm

A month or so ago, I wrote a post asking if everything we experience is nothing more than the result of a giant simulation run by super-advanced aliens.

"That's crazy!", some folks responded. "What are you smoking?"

Now a team of physicists at the University of Washington have announced research that might just be able to answer the simulation question (well, maybe get a start on answering that question).

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6:48am

Sun December 23, 2012
Energy

Forget Fracking: 2012 Was A Powerful Year For Renewables

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 11:44 am

Wind turbines stand alongside an electrical tower at the National Wind Technology Center, run by the U.S. Department of Energy, outside Boulder, Colo.
Brennan Linsley AP

Natural gas may have reshaped the domestic energy market in 2012, lowering energy prices and marginalizing the coal industry, but America's shale boom hasn't undermined renewables.

In fact, while analysts were paying attention to fracking this year, a record number of solar panels were being slapped on roofs — enough to produce 3.2 gigawatts of electricity.

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5:07am

Sun December 23, 2012
Around the Nation

With Growth Of 'Hacker Scouting,' More Kids Learn To Tinker

Originally published on Sun December 23, 2012 12:41 pm

Kids build robots with Popsicle sticks at an Oakland meeting of Hacker Scouts, a group that encourages young people to create do-it-yourself crafts and electronics.
Jon Kalish for NPR

Countless kids have grown up with the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts or Campfire Girls, but for some families, the uniforms and outdoor focus of traditional Scouting groups don't appeal.

In recent months, Scoutlike groups that concentrate on technology and do-it-yourself projects have been sprouting up around the country. They're coed and, like traditional Scouting organizations, award patches to kids who master skills.

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8:18am

Sat December 22, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

It's December. Brrrr. Is My House Shivering?

YouTube

What if, and I'm just being silly here, but what if houses were warm-blooded, and got cold in December like we do? What if?

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