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Most research on memory loss in the elderly focuses on dementia, Alzheimer's disease or other brain diseases.

But neuroscientist Emily Rogalski from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine knew there is great variation in how good memory is in older people. Most have memory loss to varying degrees, but some have strong memories, even well into old age.

Same-sex marriage got huge headlines at the Supreme Court last month, but in the world of science and medicine, the case being argued on Monday is far more important. The lawsuit deals with a truly 21st century issue — whether human genes may be patented.

It's widely known that the world's icecaps are melting. While most people are focused on what we're losing, some have considered what might be gained by the disappearance of all that ice.

In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey released a report estimating that 13 percent of the world's remaining undiscovered oil and 30 percent of the remaining undiscovered natural gas could be in the Arctic.

A top executive at News Corp. dropped a bombshell this week when he said the company is considering taking Fox's over-the-air network to cable. The announcement follows a court win for a startup company that streams broadcast channels online.

That startup's CEO, arguably the most feared man in television right now, is soft-spoken and rather techy.

When President Obama released his 2014 budget for the federal government on Wednesday, much of it was spreadsheets and tables. But one corner of NASA's budget looked like something out of a movie script.

The Federal Aviation Administration continues work on its multibillion-dollar upgrade to the nation's air traffic control system, but it may not be enough to stop hackers from taking control of airplanes with a smartphone.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is not the sound of the ALL THINGS CONSIDERED staff morning meeting.

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BLOCK: It's not Justin Timberlake doing his vocal warm-up. And it's not a celebration of hedge fund managers.

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Bitcoin, the digital currency that trades outside the control of central banks and international borders, reached new heights Tuesday, surpassing the $200 mark for the first time. That level comes just five days after bitcoin approached $150, a development that Mt.Gox, the largest exchange service for the currency, deemed to be "epic."

Bitcoin's rise has been sharp. It was only two months ago that exchange rates put a single bitcoin's value at around $20.

In recent months, more than 1,000 starving baby sea lions have been found on Southern California beaches, from Santa Barbara to San Diego. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just declared the crisis an "unusual mortality event."

On a recent early morning, Peter Wallerstein is on the job on a beach near Marina del Rey, Calif. His white truck is a familiar sight along this coastline. Next to him, a small blond dog named Pumpkin rides shotgun.

Yes, April Fools' Day is SO three days ago, but we couldn't resist ...

Think that freezing food kills E. coli and other nasty microbes? Think again.

That's the lesson from the new E. coli outbreak caused by frozen chicken quesadillas and other snacks that has sickened 24 people in 15 states.

Freezing does slow down the microbes that cause food to spoil, but it's pretty much useless for killing dangerous bugs.

While rhythm can often be hard enough to find among humans, finding it in the animal kingdom has been even more rare.

But thanks to a 3-year-old sea lion named Ronan who knows how to keep the beat, previous notions of rhythmic ability among animals are now being challenged.

Could Wind Turbines Be Toxic To The Ear?

Apr 2, 2013

The U.S. is embracing wind energy, with wind turbines making up half of the new electricity added to the power grid last year. But a smattering of people who live near the turbines say they're a nuisance — and making them ill.

By the time today's K-12 students grow up, the challenges posed by climate change are expected to be severe and sweeping. Now, for the first time, new nationwide science standards due out soon will recommend that U.S. public school students learn about the climatic shift taking place.

Mark McCaffrey of the National Center for Science Education says the lessons will fill a big gap.

Environmentalists and beekeepers are calling on the government to ban some of the country's most widely used insect-killing chemicals.

The pesticides, called neonicotinoids, became popular among farmers during the 1990s. They're used to coat the seeds of many agricultural crops, including the biggest crop of all: corn. Neonics, as they're called, protect those crops from insect pests.

By now, you've probably heard people call themselves "slaves" to their phones or their computers. We all know what that means — but why are we allowing ourselves to be slaves to the very instruments of technology we've created?

Douglas Rushkoff, who spends his days thinking, writing and teaching about media culture, says it's time for people to stop chasing every ping and start using technology in a way that makes us feel more free. Rushkoff's latest work is called Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now. He joined NPR's Audie Cornish to talk about the book.

This Week In Science History: March 11th-March 17th

Mar 25, 2013

On This Week In Science History, we have the birthday of the most well-known physicist, Albert Einstein. We'll talk about his contributions to science, as well as the first professional female astronomer, the farthest object in our solar system that we've identified, and when the first two-way phone call was made!

This Week In Science History: March 18th-March 24th

Mar 25, 2013

On This Week in Science History, we've a family that included 3 generations of scientists, an artist in space, an inventor who made the most efficient engine of his time  and later mysteriously disappeared, and more! 

Physics and heavy metal don't seem to have a lot in common, but Matt Bierbaum and Jesse Silverberg have found a connection. Both are graduate students at Cornell University. They're also metal heads who enjoy going to concerts and hurling themselves into mosh pits full of like-minded fans.

Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, who went to North Korea in January, is making a short visit Friday to Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Why is the senior executive of a U.S. technology powerhouse visiting some of the poorest and least wired countries in Asia?

Schmidt will be the first top U.S. executive to travel to the Southeast Asian nation since it began emerging from decades of international isolation under a military dictatorship.

According to the historical record dating back to 1895, 2012 was the hottest year this country has ever seen. But it's not just that the temperature has risen — from deadly tornadoes to the widespread coastal damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy, we seem to be living through a period of intensified and heightened weather extremes.

The universe is a bit older than we thought, according to a group of European scientists who say they've snapped the most detailed image to date of the afterglow of the Big Bang.

NPR Science Correspondent Richard Harris traveled to Australia's Great Barrier Reef to find out how the coral reefs are coping with increased water temperature and increasing ocean acidity, brought about by our burning of fossil fuels. Day 2: The good news is life could get better for seaweed.

Picture a coral reef and the first things likely to come to mind are brilliantly colored fish swimming among stout branches of coral. Let your mind wander a bit more and you might imagine some sea turtles, stingrays and sharks.

Basketball fans have one more day to fill out their March Madness brackets. They'll need to predict not just the champions and their route to victory, but also the paths of all the losers. It's not easy. In fact, no person or computer has yet been able to do it.

It looks kinda like a squirrel, except its ears are too small, its tail is ratty, then bushy, and its mouth? Definitely un-squirrel. More like a shrew, a fox, or a dog. And the teeth? Strange. What is it?

It's an act of edited, elegant imagination.

You can see it on this Google Map — a little spit of land, sitting between Australia (on the left) and French-governed New Caledonia (on the right).

It's called "Sandy Island." In the Times Atlas of the World it's called "Sable Island." On both maps it's a conspicuous land mass, roughly 15 miles long from north to south, three miles across. Altogether, that's about 45 square miles — about one and a half times the size of Manhattan.

Scientists peering into the atmosphere of a giant planet 130 light years away believe their findings bolster one theory of how solar systems form.

The planet, orbiting the star HR 8799, is part of a solar system containing at least three other "super-Jupiters" weighing in at between five and 10 times the mass of our own Jupiter. The nearby system features a brash, young 30-million-year-old star (by contrast, our Sun is in midlife at about 4.5 billion years old).

Sorry to disappoint, but science writer Carl Zimmer says we're not going to bring back dinosaurs. But, he says, "science has developed to the point where we can actually talk seriously about possibly bringing back more recently extinct species."

It's called "de-extinction" — and it's Zimmer's cover story for National Geographic's April issue.

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