Science & Technology

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Updated at 8:40 p.m. ET

SpaceX has launched NASA's planet-hunting satellite TESS into outer space Wednesday evening from Cape Canaveral.

Tess — short for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite — will spend two years searching for planets near bright, nearby stars. The satellite was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The launch window was narrow — just 30 seconds — and TESS was to be deployed into orbit about 48 minutes after launch.

The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia has seen two massive bleaching events over the span of two years. And that's led to a widespread die-off of the corals, according to a new study.

Each night, all over the ocean, swarms of animals wriggle and kick their way from deep below the waves to feed at the surface. Each creature is tiny — less than a centimeter long, and sometimes much smaller — and there are trillions of them.

New research suggests this nightly migration might be helping mix the ocean on a grand scale, sending columns of water down as the animals swim up. It's a radical idea, and one that is just starting to take hold among scientists who study the oceans and who have long assumed that wind and waves, not animals, are the drivers of ocean-mixing.

Netflix blew past Wall Street expectations this week and added 7.4 million new subscribers between January and March — giving it a total of 125 million paying subscribers worldwide. Its popularity is leaving rivals Amazon and Hulu in the dust as it continues to add new content.

But can the service that made binge watching popular keep it up as a big rival gears up to take it on?

Updated at 8:05 p.m. ET

Tax filers have little longer to get their paperwork in to the Internal Revenue Service.

In a statement, the IRS announced it is giving taxpayers an additional day to file and pay their taxes after technical issues on the agency's website made it impossible for people to view their tax record or make payments for much of the day on Tuesday.

This was years in the making: An adorable, critically endangered male lowland gorilla has been born at Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Zoo staff have named him Moke [Mo-KEY], a name that means "little one."

Your body needs oxygen to function — and that was true even before you were born. As you grew inside your mother's womb, even before you had working lungs, your cells were crying out for oxygen. And your mother kindly answered that call. Oxygen and nutrients from her blood made their way down your umbilical cord, through your belly button, and fueled your body.

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Updated at 6:55 a.m. ET

The Trump administration's cybersecurity coordinator, Rob Joyce, said Monday that he will leave his post — an announcement that comes just a week after the exit of his boss, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert.

The European Union is preparing to implement sweeping privacy rules next month, but these new protections of individuals' information may set a new standard around the world — including in the U.S.

Beginning May 25, under the new General Data Protection Regulation, companies that collect or mine personal data must ask users for consent. No longer will firms be able to bury disclosures about pervasive tracking in hard-to-read legal disclaimers.

Activists Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms have noticed that as the world changes, the idea of power is shifting. They argue that the forces behind this shift are either “wildly romanticized or dangerously underestimated.”

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

Where might you find a city that uses only renewable energy?

Try Georgetown, Texas — a red town in a red state that’s going green.

Georgetown’s power company is owned by the city. And that allowed Mayor Dale Ross, who is described as “something of a libertarian at heart,” to make the move away from fossil fuels.

As Smithsonian Magazine reports:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Lawmakers who want to protect online privacy are looking overseas for models. Here are some of the comments that came out of last week's hearings with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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Chinese social media giant Sina Weibo has reversed its ban on publishing homosexual content, days after announcing the policy. The service, which has nearly 400 million users, drew outrage for lumping gay-themed content in with violent and pornographic material.

"There followed a storm of online criticism of the site," NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Shanghai.

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