It used to be that if astronomers wanted to get rid of the blurring effects of the atmosphere, they had to put their telescopes in space. But a technology called adaptive optics has changed all that.
Adaptive optics systems use computers to analyze the light coming from a star, and then compensate for changes wrought by the atmosphere, using mirrors that can change their shapes up to 1,000 times per second. The result: To anyone on Earth peering through the telescope, the star looks like the single point of light it really is.
Tawny crazy ants are invading ecosystems and homes in states including Texas and Florida, wiping out other ant species and overwhelming homeowners. Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon talks to Texas A&M research scientist Robert Puckett, who says the ants are "ecological steamrollers" that reproduce so fast they are nearly impossible to get rid of.
I think we're starting to see some sort of conflict between law and values, on the one hand, and technology, on the other. The conflict is unfolding in connection with the law surrounding privacy and protection from undue government and corporate surveillance.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. In his long career studying ants, nature and ecology, E.O. Wilson has been no stranger to controversy. In the 1970s he was doused with water at a science meeting for presenting his theory on sociobiology. Another new evolutionary theory he introduced a few years ago on kin selection continues to be hotly debated.