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Photo by Joe McFadden

A South Coast scientist was among an international group of researchers who studied the dangers climate change poses on northern cities. 

Most climate change research focuses on southern cities and how the warming of the climate can cause such things as heat waves. So, instead, UC Santa Barbara geography associate professor Joe McFadden collaborated with scientists around the globe to look at northern cities.

Some 130 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed Earth, two dead stars in a far-away galaxy collided violently, after spiraling around each other for millions of years.

The dead stars were neutron stars, exotic objects the size of Mount Everest and with the mass of the sun. Being this small and dense, the gravitational force is fierce. Someone once compared the pull of gravity near the surface of a neutron star to having all the population of Paris tied to your feet.

A year after a computer beat a human world champion in the ancient strategy game of Go, researchers say they have constructed an even stronger version of the program — one that can teach itself without the benefit of human knowledge.

The program, known as AlphaGo Zero, became a Go master in just three days by playing 4.9 million games against itself in quick succession.

For people with diabetes, keeping blood sugar levels in a normal range – not too high or too low – is a lifelong challenge. New technologies to ease the burden are emerging rapidly, but insurance reimbursement challenges, supply shortages, and shifting competition make it tough for patients to access them quickly.

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a wall in Greg LeRoy's office is a frame with a custom-engraved wrench and a photo of workers in front of the Diamond Tool and Horseshoe factory in Duluth, Minn. It's from his days helping unions fight plant closings — when he first started digging into the convoluted financial relationship of corporations and local governments.

These days, LeRoy is the guy to call if you want to know about corporate subsidies. Lately, his phone has been ringing about one company in particular: Amazon.

The toll from the Northern California wildfires continues to mount. More than 40 people have perished. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed. Farms, cars, livelihoods, artifacts of lives lived. In times like these, sometimes the only thing people have to hold onto are the little stories of survival.

This one is about goats and one very loyal dog.

It was 1 o'clock in the morning on Oct. 9 when Claire Mollard's husband called and told her to pack up some valuables and think about evacuating their home in the Santa Rosa hills in Northern California.

In a small, windowless room at Johns Hopkins University, pigtail macaques jump around in cages. The braver ones reach out between the metal bars to accept pieces of apricot with their long fingers.

In one cage, a monkey hangs back in the corner. At first it looks like he's all alone in there, until veterinarian Bob Adams points out, "No, he's got a friend." Another monkey is clinging to his back, almost hidden.

Sixteen years ago, a Seattle-based company said it planned to move its headquarters to the city that would make it the best deal.

The company was Boeing and it ultimately chose Chicago over finalists Dallas and Denver.

Now, another Seattle company, Amazon, wants to open a second headquarters elsewhere in North America. This time, Denver's leaders are determined to avoid a repeat of the experience with Boeing.

Two years ago an American robotics company challenged a Japanese robotics company to a duel.

Their weapons of choice? Giant robots.

This long-awaited match between the monstrous robots — built by MegaBots Inc. of the U.S. and by Suidobashi Heavy Industry of Japan — will be broadcast on Tuesday via the online steaming site, Twitch. It's billed as the "first ever giant robot fight."

As part of NASA's twins study, astronaut Scott Kelly spent a year in space while his twin brother, astronaut Mark Kelly, stayed on Earth. That year on the space station makes Scott Kelly the American record holder for consecutive days in space. To get through that year, he had a routine.

Photo by Las Cumbres Observatory

An astronomical phenomenon that has been a theory for years has finally been proven. Astronomers on the South Coast were part of an international group of researchers that observed this incredible cosmic event.

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

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

This archipelago in the Gulf of Alaska is home to one of the busiest commercial fishing ports in the country. Inside the Ocean Beauty seafood plant in Kodiak, where a maze of conveyer belts carry gutted salmon past workers in hairnets and gloves, manager James Turner ticks off everything that contributes to his monthly electricity bill: canning machines, pressure cookers, freezers lights.

"We use a lot of power here," he says.

For the first time, scientists have caught two neutron stars in the act of colliding, revealing that these strange smashups are the source of heavy elements such as gold and platinum.

This week in the Russia investigations: Facebook hits Washington with a P.R. blitz, the imbroglio sucks in more tech giants and the White House weighs how nicely — or rudely — to treat Robert Mueller.

Sandberg leans in to damage control mode

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is a billionaire titan of Big Tech who looks down on the world from the peak of empire — but she tried to sound as contrite as she could this week in Washington.

Ventura County students interested in computer science took part in a workshop over the weekend to learn how to code to create their own apps.

The event called “Hack-A-Thon” was hosted by Congresswoman Julia Brownley’s office and was held on Saturday at Pacifica High School in Oxnard.

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Jeremy, the rare snail with the left-curling shell whose search for a mate kicked off an international quest, has slithered off this mortal coil.

The bond between humans and dogs isn't just psychological or the common love of bacon.

It's also genetic.

For about 15,000 years, dogs have migrated in lockstep with humans around the globe. They have followed us from Asia into Europe, North America and back to Africa — all the while hunting, protecting and snuggling us.

Now it looks as though dog DNA has evolved in lockstep with our DNA.

Scientists in China have found evidence that dogs developed protection against malaria in the same way that people in West Africa have.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Manipulation.

About Ali Velshi's TED Talk

Journalist Ali Velshi began his career to "speak truth to power." Now he worries that fake news has subverted the meaning of truth.

About Ali Velshi

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Manipulation.

About Tristan Harris's TED Talk

When Tristan Harris worked in Silicon Valley, his job was to direct users online to a particular website or service. Now, he speaks out against tech companies who manipulate their users' attention.

About Tristan Harris

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Manipulation.

About Steve Ramirez's TED Talk

Neuroscientist Steve Ramirez used lasers to enter the brains of mice and edit their memories. He imagines a future where this technology might be possible in humans as well.

About Steve Ramirez

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The embattled company Equifax is having even more trouble with hackers. Now the company has had to take down one of its web pages after it was reported to be prompting people to download malicious software. NPR's Chris Arnold has more.

Visitors to the Equifax website might have encountered something a little odd Thursday afternoon. For some consumers seeking a credit report from the agency, the page that loaded was likely to disappoint them.

When Hahna Alexander set out to create a shoe that could charge a battery, she had no idea what challenges lay ahead of her.

The inventing part went smoothly enough. Like many first-time inventors, she had a good idea and a passion for her work. She successfully invented a shoe that harnesses energy from each step the wearer takes. That energy can be used to charge a battery.

In director Wes Anderson's film "The Grand Budapest Hotel," the ever-fussy, high-class hotel concierge Gustave H. takes viewers on a rollicking journey around the world. To real-life concierge Jack Nargil of the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C., the film was important for rekindling interest in an old-timey profession that is increasingly under threat by automation and apps. Many millennial hotel guests, he says, still need reminders about what exactly a concierge does, and the film served as a romantic representation of what they can provide.

Shortly before Election Day last year, some helpful-looking posts began popping up on Twitter: No need to stand in line or even leave home, they said — just vote by text!

The messages, some of which appeared to come from Hillary Clinton's campaign, had versions in Spanish, with gay pride flags and other permutations. They were also 100 percent false.

Where did they come from?

Abstinence may have found its most impressive poster child yet: Diploscapter pachys. The tiny worm is transparent, smaller than a poppy seed and hasn't had sex in 18 million years.

It has basically just been cloning itself this whole time. Usually, that is a solid strategy for going extinct, fast. What is its secret?

Supposedly solitary pumas actually hang out with their fellow big cats quite often, frequently coming together and hissing and snarling before settling down to share a delicious elk carcass.

That's the startling discovery made by scientists who recently tracked 13 pumas — also called mountain lions or cougars — and set up cameras at kill sites. They recorded dozens of peaceful social interactions between these elusive felines.

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