Wed January 15, 2014
All Tech Considered

Innovation: A Charger That Keeps Your Phone Germ-Free

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:10 pm

PhoneSoap uses UV-C light to clean your phone while it charges.
Courtesy of PhoneSoap


Wed January 15, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Choice Is Yours: The Fate Of Free Will

BASE jumping: Could there be any other explanation for this than free will?" href="/post/choice-yours-fate-free-will" class="noexit lightbox">
BASE jumping: Could there be any other explanation for this than free will?

Everyone wants to be free; or at least have some choice in life. We all have our professional, family and social commitments. On the other hand, most people believe that they are free to choose what to do, from the simplest to the more complex: should I drink coffee with sugar or sweetener? Do I put some money in the savings or do I spend it all? Who should I vote for in the next elections? Should I marry Carmen or not?

The question of free will is essentially a question of agency, of who is in charge as we go through our lives making all sorts of choices.

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Wed January 15, 2014

Peter Stone Can't Get Enough Of Robots Playing Soccer

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:21 pm



And later this year, billions of people around the world will become obsessed by sounds like this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

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Tue January 14, 2014
The Two-Way

First Land-Walking Fish Looks Like It Had 'All-Wheel Drive'

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 7:15 pm

An updated rendering of Tiktaalik based on new research published in PNAS.
Kalliopi Monoyios

A creature that lived 375 million years ago and is thought to have been the first fish to have made the transition to land sported large pelvic bones in addition to its leg-like front fins, new research shows, suggesting that it was a more efficient walker than previously thought.

Tiktaalik roseae, discovered in 2004 on Ellesmere Island in Nunavit, Canada, is a key transitional fossil that links lobe-finned fishes and tetrapods, the first four-limbed vertebrates at the end of the Devonian period.

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Tue January 14, 2014
The Salt

Spinach Dinosaurs To Sugar Diamonds: 3-D Printers Hit The Kitchen

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:52 pm

A mathematician's sweet dream: For about $10,000, you can print out rainbow sugar dodecahedrons and interlocking cubes.
3D Systems

From cool casts for a broken arm to impressive replicas of Michelangelo's David, 3-D printing has come a long way in the past few years.

In fact, the technology is moving so fast that 3-D printers might be coming to your kitchen this year — or at least, to a bakery or bistro down the street.

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Tue January 14, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Ghosts Of Physics

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 1:36 pm

IceCube observatory at the South Pole looks for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources, like exploding stars." href="/post/ghosts-physics" class="noexit lightbox">
The IceCube observatory at the South Pole looks for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources, like exploding stars.
NSF Xinhua/Landov

Right now, as you are reading these very words, trillions of particles called neutrinos are streaming through your body. Hardly a single atom in your body feels their passage. Hardly one of the trillion neutrinos feels your presence. They are ghosts to you as you are to them. But that doesn't mean these tiny flecks of matter don't matter.

Neutrinos, it turns out, have shaped the universe and their remarkable story has now been expertly told in a new book by astrophysicist Ray Jayawardhana. It's called Neutrino Hunters.

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Tue January 14, 2014
Krulwich Wonders...

Who's Got A Pregnant Brain?

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 11:36 am

Robert Krulwich NPR

Imagine a couple of million years ago, a curious young alien from the planet Zantar — let's call him a grad student — lands on Earth, looks around and asks, "Who's the brainiest critter on this planet? Relative to body size, who's got the biggest brain?"

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Mon January 13, 2014
Around the Nation

The Big Impact Of A Little-Known Chemical In W.Va. Spill

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 10:06 am

The chemical that was found last week to be contaminating the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of West Virginians is used to clean coal. But very little is known about how toxic it is to people or to the environment when it spills.

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Mon January 13, 2014

We Have A Science Tumblr, And Its Name Is 'Skunk Bear'

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Haoxiang Luo Vanderbilt University

This week, we're launching Skunk Bear, our new science tumblr.

What will I find on this tumblr?

Cool things! Cool science things!! Stuff we make or discover on the Internet that makes us laugh, or think, or turn to each other and say, "Hey, look at this cool thing!"

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Mon January 13, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Why We Need Compassionate Conservation

A black rhino and a giraffe stop for a drink in Namibia's Etosha National Park. Only about 5,000 black rhinos remain in the world.
Frans Lanting DPA/Landov

Over the weekend someone at an auction in the United States paid $350,000 for a permit to kill a black rhino in Namibia. Black rhinos are endangered: only about 5,000 are still alive in the entire world.

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