Every six months, one of my next guests ranks the 500 fastest computers in the world, the supercomputers, and back in November 2010, China took number one for the first time with a supercomputer called Milky Way 1. President Obama acknowledged China's feat in his State of the Union address a few months later and said we were facing a Sputnik moment.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. If you have a smartphone, you might take the Internet for granted, right? It's always there. But around the world, some four and a half billion people still are not connected. Google, being in the Internet business, has a plan to expand its reach, bring Internet to all these people, but it's not by spooling out fiber-optic cable or building cell towers. It's using a technology that, well, sort of sounds like it belongs in another century: free-floating balloons. They call it Project Loon.
OK. Maybe E. O. Wilson's comments in his new book, "Letters to a Young Scientist", essentially says you don't want to have to be great at math to have a career in science, but it can't hurt, right? And to be great at math, it pays to start young, and my next guest is a - has a plan for you. Laura Overdeck is the founder of Bedtime Math. Her mission: to make math friendlier in a way by introducing kids to math problems at an early age.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. This week, researchers reported that they think they've spotted the tell-tale signs of a previously undiscovered, subatomic particle. This one was unusual because it appeared to be made of four quarks bound together, an arrangement they have never seen before. And they're not sure exactly how that arrangement might work.
In Oliver Sacks' book The Mind's Eye, the neurologist included an interesting footnote in a chapter about losing vision in one eye because of cancer that said: "In the '60s, during a period of experimenting with large doses of amphetamines, I experienced a different sort of vivid mental imagery."
Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 10:42 am
Whether you like it or not, the day will be bright. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, today is the summer solstice, which marks the longest daylight period of the year and the official start of summer.
This week, All Things Considered host Audie Cornish traveled to Birmingham, Ala., to cover the 50th anniversary of the tumultuous civil rights protests that happened there. It's all part of NPR's series commemorating the monumental summer of 1963.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. When Navy medic Joshua Bisnar was deployed in Afghanistan he rescued some kittens and a baby frog. But when he saved four orphaned baby bunnies at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, he achieved Internet fame. He spotted the bunnies while raking a volleyball court, then fed them with an eyedropper. He shared the experience on Facebook and YouTube and it went viral. The warm and fuzzy comments include several marriage proposals. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
By some estimates, about a million people marched in cities across Brazil on Thursday, airing a wide array of grievances. As O Globo frames it, it was a day marked by violent demonstrations, vandalism and intense clashes with military police.
Lonnie Whitener took his son golfing on Father's Day. The Houston Chronicle says they arrived at the sixth hole of a course in Richmond, Texas, and Whitener hit a hole in one. Zach, 13, teed off and also had a hole in one. The odds of that happening were about one in 17 million.
Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 11:00 am
The death penalty has become a bit like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. It may never fade away entirely, but capital punishment is certainly less visible or actively pursued than it used to be.
In May, Maryland became the sixth state in as many years to abolish the death penalty. Across the nation as a whole, fewer criminals are being put to death. Last year, 43 were executed, down significantly from the peak of 98 back in 1999.
Brushes are pretty simple: a bunch of flexible fibers sticking out of something stiff. Not surprisingly, Chinese manufacturers have grabbed a big share of the U.S. brush market. But several hundred small U.S. brush factories are still hanging on. Here are three strategies they're using to survive.
Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 2:06 pm
If you'd like your summer reading to take you beyond the beaten path, librarian Nancy Pearl is here to help. NPR's go-to books guru joins us regularly to reveal "under the radar" reads — books she thinks deserve more attention than they've been getting. Pearl talks with NPR's Steve Inskeep about some of the titles she picked out for the summer reading season.
This weekend marks 100 days until people can begin signing up for new health insurance coverage under the federal health care law. It also marks another milestone: the launch of an enormous public relations effort to find people eligible for new coverage and urge them to sign up when the time comes.
But like everything else about the health law, even this seemingly innocuous effort has been touched by controversy.
Comey, a registered Republican and longtime federal prosecutor, is best-known for raising alarms inside the Bush White House about a secret electronic surveillance program. That issue has taken on new resonance after disclosures about the Obama administration's dragnet collection of American phone records.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. All this week, I'm in Birmingham, Alabama, where the city is in the midst of commemorating the 50th anniversary of the tumultuous and influential civil rights protests that occurred here. One place that might not come to mind when you think about this period is the golf course.
Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 12:16 pm
The so-called farm bill came to the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday. And it crashed. The defeat shocked many observers, but the vote wasn't even particularly close: 234-195. (You can see how your own representative voted here.)
Gay-rights activists have welcomed a decision by a Christian ministry dedicated to "curing" homosexuals to shut its doors, praising the organization's president for his "integrity and authenticity" in offering an apology for the group's actions.
The Orlando, Fla., based Exodus International, which calls itself the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, announced Thursday that it would cease its operations.