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Crumbs may seem harmless here on Earth, but they can be a hazard in microgravity — they could get in an astronaut's eye, or get inhaled, causing someone to choke. Crumbs could even float into an electrical panel, burn up or cause a fire.

That's part of the reason why it was a very big deal in 1965 when John Young pulled a corned beef sandwich out of his pocket as he was orbiting the earth with Gus Grissom.

"Where did that come from?" Grissom asked Young.

"I brought it with me," Young said.

Military Tries To Cut Through The Noise Of War

7 hours ago

U.S. military units have long used technology like night vision goggles to enhance their sense of sight.

Now they're trying to get a battlefield edge with their ears, too.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with quieted-down weapons and electronic hearing enhancements that could reshape the soundscape of warfare. They want to minimize some sounds and amplify others to get more control over what they and their enemies hear.

A prototype of what could be the next generation of space stations is currently in orbit around the Earth.

The prototype is unusual. Instead of arriving in space fully assembled, it was folded up and then expanded to its full size once in orbit.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Photo by Nick Schooler

Scientists on the South Coast who study the biodiversity of California beaches are finding that it’s the management of those beaches – and not necessarily climate change – that’s causing major impacts.

UC Santa Barbara researchers evaluated the biodiversity of 13 beaches across the state and compared their results to those of the 1970s. They found that on some beaches, the biggest decline was in intertidal animals like crustaceans and insects that live in the sand near the high tide line.

The last orca to be born in captivity at SeaWorld died Monday after just three months of life, the company announced. The calf, named Kyara, succumbed to "some very serious and progressive health issues over the last week" at SeaWorld's park in San Antonio.

Updated at 3:26 p.m. ET

Uber's leadership already has a lot on its plate, starting with finding a new CEO after former chief Travis Kalanick resigned abruptly last month. But that's not all the tech giant has to do. For the business to survive, Uber also has to repair its relationship with drivers, which leaders at the company say is "broken."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Even the most commonplace devices in our world had to be invented by someone.

Take the windshield wiper. It may seem hard to imagine a world without windshield wipers, but there was one, and Mary Anderson lived in that world.

In 1902, Anderson was visiting New York City.

The modern Planet of the Apes reboot begins with a research chimpanzee being raised in an American home. It's a pretty plausible premise — that exact scenario has played out in the real world many times.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In Hawaii's Kauai island, the native forest birds are in peril. Once considered a paradise for the colorful songbirds, the island has lost more than half of those native species.

What's happening on Kauai could be an early warning for the other Hawaiian islands.

The moon might be flowing with much more water than we thought, thanks to ancient volcanic deposits, a new study shows.

"It beeped in the envelope. That's how we knew."

Leslie Conrad is the director of Clemson Outdoor Lab in Pendleton, S.C., which runs several different camps during the summer. Clemson bans cellphones and other electronic devices for campers.

That makes sense. We traditionally think of summer camp as a place to swim in the lake and weave friendship bracelets, not text and play video games.

Bikes May Have To Talk To Self-Driving Cars For Safety's Sake

Jul 24, 2017

Proponents of self-driving cars say they'll make the world safer, but autonomous vehicles need to predict what bicyclists are going to do. Now researchers say part of the answer is to have bikes feed information to cars.

A few years ago on Google's campus, Nathaniel Fairfield arranged an unusual lunch break.

He asked a bunch of staff to hop on bikes and ride around and around a self-driving car to collect data. "It was kind of gorgeous," he says.

Fiona the hippo was catapulted into social media stardom from the day she arrived on the planet.

The baby hippopotamus was born at the Cincinnati Zoo earlier this year. At the time, she was six weeks premature and weighed only 29 pounds. While that might sound like a lot, most baby hippos weigh between 55 and 120 pounds at birth.

Two days after his 69th birthday, Snooty the manatee has died in what the South Florida Museum says was "simply a heartbreaking accident." The manatee drowned after being trapped by a hatch door, officials said Sunday.

Snooty was the oldest manatee in captivity — and he was believed to be the oldest on record, according to the South Florida Museum, which houses the Parker Manatee Aquarium in Bradenton, Fla.

"Aquarium staff is heartbroken," said Jeff Rodgers, the museum's provost and chief operating officer.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Out here, in West Pokot County, Kenya, the landscape looks like Mars — red clay, rocks, and in the distance, a mountain so bare it looks like a giant boulder.

Stephen Long'uriareng, 80, has walked two hours to bring her two cows and goats to this watering hole. It's really just a dam carved out the earth, where the rain water mixes with mud and turns into a dark brown color.

This is not the place Long'uriareng remembers from her youth.

"This whole place used to be green with a lot of pasture. There was nothing being experienced like drought," she said.

If you don't have time to call your senator, stage a protest or partake in a rescue mission at a slaughterhouse, you can at least save some chickens on your phone. Thanks to the new animal rights app Paintball Hero, created by 17-year-old game developer Skylar Thomas, animal liberation is now as easy as click, swipe, win.

Photo by UCSB College of Engineering

Robots have been around for a long time. But, now, scientists are finding some amazing ways that they can help us. Imagine a robot that can do things humans can’t. South Coast researchers are developing robots with x-ray vision.

A robot that’s only about two feet tall can do some big things.

Mark Campbell is one of the most prolific and celebrated librettists in contemporary American opera. But, as he recently told an audience at the Guggenheim Museum, not everyone thought his latest project was a good idea.

Some of the best minds of our times, including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, have warned that human beings may invent intelligent machines that could wind up destroying humankind. But a small incident this week might make you wonder: Will intelligent machines become so smart that they'll grow depressed as they learn they're brilliant but lifeless and decide they can't go on?

Will those machines begin to wonder: Is that all there is?

It's an appealing future — powering up your gadgets without all those annoying charging cables.

Xanda, Son Of Cecil The Lion, Also Killed

Jul 21, 2017

It appears that the 6-year-old son of Cecil the lion has met with the same fate as his father, two years after the famed lion's killing at the hands of a trophy hunter sparked a global outcry.

Xanda was killed near Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park on July 7, according to the Oxford scientists who were tracking him with a GPS collar like the one they used to track his father.

On Tuesday, two separate lawsuits were filed against Spotify in Nashville's federal court over a single issue. Both Bluewater Music, an independent publisher and copyright administration company, and Robert Gaudio, a founding member of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – and a songwriter behind the enduring hits "Sherry" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" — accuse the streaming service of improperly licensing song compositions.

This summer, scientists in California are releasing 20 million mosquitoes in an effort to shrink the population of mosquitoes that can carry diseases.

It sounds counterintuitive. But the plan is to release millions of sterile male mosquitoes, which will then mate with wild female mosquitoes. The eggs the females lay won't hatch, researchers say.

Why We Should Be Wary Of Moon Tourism

Jul 21, 2017

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Forty-eight years ago today, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin packed up the moon rocks they had gathered and blasted off of the moon for their trip back to Earth.

(SOUNDBITE OF ROCKET BLASTOFF)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The first international robotics competition for high schoolers made headlines before it even started — and after the event was over as well.

First there was the story of the all-girl Afghanistan team, which was denied visas to attend for unknown reasons.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And it just got a bit more difficult to buy illegal drugs and other contraband online. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made this statement today.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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