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Russian Trolling Continued After Election

14 hours ago

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He was the computer teacher without a computer.

Then his story went viral — and his life (and classroom) changed.

On March 1, NPR published a story about Owura Kwadwo Hottish, 33, who painstakingly drew a computer screen on a chalkboard to teach his computerless middle school students in Kumasi, Ghana, about Microsoft Word and other computer software.

The use of facial scanning is becoming commonplace — maybe you've heard of the new iPhone? It's also coming to an airport near you.

At Orlando International Airport, Britain-bound passengers — some wearing Mickey Mouse T-shirts and other Disney paraphernalia — lined up at Gate 80 recently for the evening British Airways flight to London's Gatwick Airport. It looks like any other airport departure area, except for the two small gates with what look like small boxes on posts next to them. Those boxes are actually cameras.

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Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Now for a story about an astronaut who is not a space mutant.


DANIEL HUOT: And liftoff.


Genetic mutations are the driving force of evolution, and now scientists have managed to study the effect of mutations in exquisite detail by watching what happens as they pop up in single cells.

Only about one percent of mutations were bad enough to kill off the cell, according to a report published Thursday in Science. Most of the time, these small changes in its DNA appeared to have no effect at all.

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A day after United Airlines faced a backlash over a dog's death in an overhead luggage compartment, the company is dealing with another canine-related mistake after a German shepherd meant for Kansas was instead flown to Japan.

Nothing conveys the excitement of space exploration like pictures from another planet. Now NASA is planning to go one better than pictures. The space agency is aiming to launch a probe carrying a communication system that will let future missions to Mars transmit live, high definition video to Earth.

Google will ban advertisements for certain financial products, including cryptocurrencies, the Internet giant announced Wednesday. The move comes amid increased scrutiny of the fast-growing market for digital currencies like bitcoin.

There aren't very many scientists who achieved rock star status. Stephen Hawking, who has died at the age of 76, family members told British media early Wednesday, was definitely a contender.

Bye, Bye Birdies?

Mar 13, 2018

A century ago, after several bird species were hunted to extinction, the United States outlawed the killing and sale of migratory birds, their feathers and their eggs.

Jimena Canales is a faculty member of the Graduate College at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a research affiliate at MIT. She focuses on 19th and 20th century history of the physical sciences and science in the modern world.

In an unusual step, President Trump has signed an executive order blocking Broadcom's $117 billion bid to buy Qualcomm. The order released Monday cited "credible evidence" that led Trump to believe the Singapore-based Broadcom, in purchasing America's largest mobile chipmaker, "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States."

"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."

Mark Twain said that. Actually, it was Winston Churchill. Oh, wait! He didn't say it either. But you can find fairly credible looking sources that attribute those words to one of those two famous men.

Whoever said it, a study on how news travels on Twitter confirms the basic truth of the quote. But on Twitter, lies spread a lot faster.

Do Backyard Chickens Need More Rules?

Mar 12, 2018

Last September, a cappuccino-colored stray chicken appeared in Katherine Rae Mondo's neighborhood in Oakland, Calif. After it hung around the same intersection for a couple of days, Mondo took it in — her house had a coop, and she was already caring for a housemate's three-chicken flock.

She named the stray chicken Terribad, since, unlike most hens, "she was kind of a wild woman who didn't obey the rules, and she could fly," Mondo says.

While the orcas of Puget Sound are sliding toward extinction, orcas farther north have been expanding their numbers. Their burgeoning hunger for big fish may be causing the killer whales' main prey, chinook salmon, to shrink up and down the West Coast.

Chinook salmon are also known as kings: the biggest of all salmon. They used to grow so enormous that it's hard now to believe the old photos in which fishermen stand next to chinooks almost as tall as they are, sometimes weighing 100 pounds or more.

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A new report raises concerns that when fishing vessels "go dark" by switching off electronic tracking devices, in many cases they are doing so to mask the taking of illegal catches in protected marine parks and restricted national waters.

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Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


One shred of solace that surfaced as hurricanes and tropical storms pummeled Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico last fall was the opportunity to see drones realize some of their life-saving potential.

Sea turtles are threatened with extinction. One of the biggest threats to their survival is illegal poaching of their eggs in Latin America. But, an innovative technological solution created by a wildlife conservation group on the South Coast is fighting illegal poaching of sea turtle eggs.

Emperor penguins are known to be social and curious. But you probably didn't know that they are also reasonably good at framing a video shot.

When an expeditioner with the Australian Antarctic Division left his camera on the ice while visiting a penguin colony, the birds quickly hustled over to investigate.

It's worth noting that the penguins did not actually push the record button – it was already rolling — but did manage to produce a hilarious 38-second video.

Adam Frank is a co-founder of the 13.7 blog, an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester and author of the upcoming book Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth. His scientific studies are funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Education.

Kang Lee: Can Technology Detect Our Hidden Emotions?

Mar 9, 2018

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Decoding Our Emotions.

About Kang Lee's TED Talk

Developmental researcher Kang Lee says scientists can detect emotions by reading subtle physiological signals beneath the surface of our skin.

About Kang Lee

Wildlife should be managed using the best available science.

That is a core tenet of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, an unofficial set of principles that has guided U.S. and Canadian wildlife management policy for more than a century.

A new study, published Wednesday in Science Advances, raises the question of whether the rule is being followed.

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