Science & Technology

Science news

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.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Updated at 2:39 p.m. ET

Since the Columbine school shooting nearly 20 years ago, the conversation after mass shootings has inevitably included media that depict violence — and the effect on children.

Over the past few years, I've spent many hours reading up on — and a morning observing — the smart, sassy behavior of octopuses.

Diners at 167 Applebee's restaurants across 15 states may have had their credit card information exposed to hackers, after malware was discovered on the franchise owner's payment systems.

RMH Franchise Holdings says it discovered malware on "point of sale" systems at Applebees stores it owns and operates across 15 states.

"Certain guests' names, credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates and card verification codes processed during limited time periods could have been affected," the company said in a statement.

Late at night, in the gathered shadows of your bedroom, you may have heard it. Or, perhaps you heard it over breakfast with your family in the kitchen, the sound rising unbidden from over your shoulder in a corner of the room you had thought — and now, desperately wish — to be empty.

Laughter. Quick, inhuman laughter.

At least, that's what Amazon Echo owners say they've been hearing lately. In recent weeks, many of them have hit social media saying their smart speakers have been laughing spontaneously, unprompted by commands.

The U.S. is on track to become the world's biggest oil producer, pumping out more crude than at its peak nearly a half century ago. For decades, few expected such a comeback, and it's all the more remarkable because the price of a barrel of oil is nowhere near what it was during the last, recent boom.

"This is an incredible statement, but we're probably making more money at fifty dollars a barrel than a hundred," says Kirk Edwards, president of Latigo Petroleum in Midland, the de facto oil capitol of West Texas.

The FBI paid Best Buy Geek Squad employees as informants, rewarding them for flagging indecent material when people brought their computers in for repair.

That's according to documents released to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties organization, which filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records that might show warrantless searches of people's devices.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


A researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says he is revising a study he co-authored after admitting that "criticism is valid" of initial findings that Uber and Lyft drivers are making a median pretax profit of $3.37 an hour and a vast majority are making less than minimum wage.

Uber said the working paper had "a major error in the authors' methodology."

"Hauntingly beautiful." "Terrifying and seductive." "A bit too crazy for me."

These are some viewer reactions after watching Alex Garland's Annihilation, a fantasy sci-fi drama that leaves you in a weird state for days.

Twenty-one top tech companies are banding together to try to stop wildlife traffickers from trading endangered species on their platforms.

The Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, organized by Google and the World Wildlife Fund, was announced Wednesday morning. It includes companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, eBay, Facebook, Instagram and Microsoft, and they're pledging to "work together to collectively reduce wildlife trafficking across platforms by 80% by 2020."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


The Trump administration has lifted a ban on importing sport-hunted trophies of elephants from certain African countries, just over three months after President Trump appeared to pause a first attempt to do so amid public uproar. In a memo dated March 1, the U.S.

Is there anything more Floridian than a flamingo?

Flamingo iconography is everywhere in the state: decorating front lawns, swizzling cocktails, lighting up motel signs.

The long-legged pink birds were once common in Florida. But their striking feathers were prized decorations for ladies' hats, and they were hunted out of existence for the plume trade in the 1800s.

At least, scientists thought the flamingos had been wiped out.

Like the human gut, the belly of every bovine contains a microbial engine — engines, really — since cows have four-part stomachs. Those unicellular inhabitants do most of the digestive acrobatics of processing a cow's gnarly, fibrous diet of grains, hay, and grass. They're also responsible for some of the cattle industry's greenhouse gas contributions, since, as it turns out, cows don't make methane. Microbes make methane.

Technology is threatening a lot of jobs — travel agents, truck drivers, factory workers. But here's one you might not expect: actors.

Technology in the entertainment business is on course to create digital actors who compete with live ones.

What qualifies as a dumpster fire depends on who's watching, but you tend know it when you see it.

But if forced to define it for someone not prone to hashtagging, you might quote Merriam-Webster:

Dumpster fire (noun, US informal): "an utterly calamitous or mismanaged situation or occurrence: disaster."

What In The World?

Mar 5, 2018

The Academy Awards ceremony gave many of us a respite from the news. But news was still being made outside of Hollywood – much of it on the opposite coast, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The White House is sending mixed signals on how firm the president is on imposing stiff steel and aluminum tariffs. U.S. trading partners as well as a number of American manufacturers are raising strong concerns about the tariffs, some even warning of a trade war.

After months of practice in the art of fast food preparation, "Flippy," has finally taken up a position as grill cook on the line at Caliburger's Pasadena, Calif., restaurant.

"It's not a fun job — it's hot, it's greasy, it's dirty," acknowledges John Miller, the CEO of Cali Group, which runs the international fast food chain.

Even so, it could be the beginning of a bright career for Flippy in an industry that is otherwise notorious for high employee turnover.

On a recent sunny afternoon at a solar farm outside Philadelphia, Pa., commercial drone pilots Tony Zimlich and Gunner Goldie are preparing for flight.

Dressed in hard hats and matching yellow vests, they run through a series of safety and equipment checks, and survey the surrounding terrain and airspace, before picking up what looks like a pair of oversized video game controllers. Then, with a streak of beeps and whirs, their drone — about the size of a milk crate — rises steadily into the sky above.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


People who are diagnosed with prediabetes can delay or prevent the disease if they change their lifestyle and lose a significant amount of weight. But here's the challenge: How can people be motivated to eat healthier and move more? Increasingly, the answer might include digital medicine.

"Just telling people to do things doesn't work," says Sean Duffy, CEO of Omada Health. If it were easy, there wouldn't be more than 80 million adults in the U.S. with prediabetes.

With sensors that can collect data on body movements, heart rate, blood pressure and other metrics, the list of health trackers that go beyond activity trackers like Fitbits gets longer each year.

"There's definitely an explosion of these things," says Dr. Joseph Kvedar, the vice president for connected health at Partners HealthCare in Boston, and an associate professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School.

Copyright 2018 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.


Copyright 2018 WMMT-FM. To see more, visit WMMT-FM.


Would your dog remember you after 10 years away?

Carly Suierveld thinks so. She just saw her dog Abby for the first time in a decade.

"It's quite a journey, it was so great seeing her again," Suierveld tells NPR's Scott Simon. "She barked at me at first, but now she's cuddling up and kind of seeming to remember who I am."

Abby, a female black Lab mix, was lost from the Suierveld family's home in Apollo, Pa., 10 years ago. Carly was 12 at the time.

The hamlet of Bawa was in uproar. A pretty, 20-year-old villager named Amelia had vanished shortly after heading to wash her dishes in the shallow river that runs through this remote western corner of Mozambique. Crocodiles often lurk just below the surface, and over the last decade this community of about a thousand people had lost almost 50 of their number to attacks. So it seemed clear that Amelia was the latest victim.