Science & Technology

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SpaceX launched a resupply rocket to the International Space Station today. The Falcon 9 rocket is carrying thousands of pounds of cargo and an inflatable space module. What happened after the launch got people really excited.

Friday was a landmark day for the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It launched into space a resupply capsule bearing a new inflatable habitat for the International Space Station. Then the rocket's "first stage" returned to Earth for a sea landing — without exploding.

FBI Director James Comey gave a speech this week about encryption and privacy, repeating his argument that "absolute privacy" hampers law enforcement. But it was an offhand remark during the Q&A session at Kenyon College that caught the attention of privacy activists:

The thought of the FBI chief taping over his webcam is an arresting one for many.

Although the FBI says it has successfully unlocked the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, a separate legal standoff between Apple and the government continues — in a drug case in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Virtual reality enthusiasts are drawing ire when they forget about actual reality. On public transit, in cafes and on sidewalks people wearing VR headsets are getting judged, hard.

High schools around the country are increasingly turning to external, for-profit providers for "online credit recovery." These courses, taken on a computer, offer students who have failed a course a second chance to earn credits they need for graduation, whether after school, in the summer or during the school year.

The KQED podcast Love in the Digital Age explores "how technology changes the way we experience love, friendship, intimacy and connection." The most recent episode focuses on two people — a Los Angeles radio host and his wife — who have drawn great strength from their online communities and social media as they face his diagnosis of terminal cancer. You can listen to the podcast here.

Sweden got its own phone number and invited the world to call.

Poaching and destruction of habitat have decimated wild tiger populations around the world, especially in Cambodia.

There are no longer any breeding tigers left in the wild in that country, and the species is considered "functionally extinct" there, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.

A new era for living in space may be about to start.

A prototype habitat is headed to the International Space Station for a two-year trial. What makes the module unique is it's launched folded up, and it's inflated to its full size once in orbit.

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Sardines, herring and other small fish species are the foundation of the marine food web — they're essential food for birds, marine mammals and other fish. But globally, demand for these so-called forage species has exploded, with many going to feed the livestock and fish farming industries.

"Discuss, monitor, and educate."

That's Kortney Peagram's advice to parents and teachers who want to help special needs teens lead an online life. She wrote up some of her experiences as a psychologist working to reduce cyberbullying in Chicago for our friends at NPR's All Tech Considered.

A new Rembrandt painting unveiled in Amsterdam Tuesday has the tech world buzzing more than the art world.

That's because the painting is the creation of a 3-D printer — and not the Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn himself, who has been dead for almost 450 years.

Scientists have discovered a supermassive black hole that may be the biggest ever spotted — and its location in a ho-hum group of galaxies suggests that cosmic monsters like this one might be more common than astronomers previously thought.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In the 1940s, an elite team of mathematicians and scientists started working on a project that would carry the U.S. into space, then on to the moon and Mars. They would eventually become NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (or JPL), but here's what made them so unusual: Many of the people who charted the course to space exploration were women.

Nathalia Holt tells their story in her new book, Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars. Holt tells NPR's Ari Shapiro that the women worked as "computers."

Americans throw away about a third of our available food.

But what some see as trash, others are seeing as a business opportunity. A new facility known as the Heartland Biogas Project is taking wasted food from Colorado's most populous areas and turning it into electricity. Through a technology known as anaerobic digestion, spoiled milk, old pet food and vats of grease combine with helpful bacteria in massive tanks to generate gas.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The NFL has struck a deal with Twitter to live-stream, for free, the 2016 season of Thursday Night Football online through the social media site.

For the NFL, this is a push to reach the growing cohort of people who might not have a cable subscription. For Twitter, it might prove to be a major win in its ongoing challenge to attract and keep new users.

A giraffe born at the Santa Barbara Zoo has died in Ohio.

Santa Barbara Zoo officials said Asha, one of the zoo's Masai giraffes, had to be euthanized Sunday.

Renewable energy like solar and wind is booming across the country as the costs of production have come down. But the sun doesn't always shine, and the wind doesn't blow when we need it to.

This challenge has sparked a technology race to store energy — one that goes beyond your typical battery.

Heat Storage: Molten Salt And A Giant Solar Farm

Batteries are often used to store solar power, but it can be a costly endeavor.

In Chicago, one neighborhood's rat problem is about to get a lot worse.

Crews are preparing to tear down an old hospital and when the wrecking ball starts swinging, the rodents living in and underneath the aging structure will scurry.

The city and the developer are setting poison baits and traps to help control the problem, but some residents are turning to one of the rats' worst enemies instead — cats.

Construction On Old Buildings Worsens Rat Problem

When the FBI tried to force Apple to unlock an iPhone last month, it was a battle of titans. There were high-powered lawyers and dueling public relations strategies. But when police encounter a privacy technology run by volunteers, things can be a little different.

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

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Virtual reality headsets have finally hit the consumer market. We wondered when that phrase - virtual reality - first showed up on NPR. It's the perfect candidate for our series...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

As a bullying counselor, I spend many of my days helping students and teachers handle confrontational behavior — or, as the kids say, drama. But this was a peculiar situation.

It started, as bullying often does, in a school hallway. E says she overhead A talking about her. (Editor's note: Only the girls' first initials are being used to protect their identities, given the sensitivity of the subject.)

This week's most adorabull story begins with a dream:

Gutsy cow bolts from slaughterhouse, goes to college.

That was the headline from Fox News, introducing the inspiring tale of an animal doomed to turn into dinner, but chasing a dream of higher education.

Or, OK, a bovine that just happened to spring from captivity near a college campus in Queens, New York.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

What would you consider "the best selfie ever"?

A shot of yourself alongside the pope, the president, Angela Merkel, Lin Manuel Miranda or Steph Curry?

This week Ben Innes, a health and safety auditor from Leeds, Great Britain, used those words to send out a photo in which he posed with the man who hijacked his plane.

The hijacker has what looks like a suicide vest of explosives strapped to his chest. Ben Innes is grinning.

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