Science

Krulwich Wonders...
11:03 am
Wed May 22, 2013

What Would Ben Franklin Do With A Bunch Of Balloons? Everything

Robert Krulwich and Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 4:40 pm

Ask a great inventor to invent, and that's exactly what he'll do. Sometimes the ideas pop out like cannon bursts: "consider this ... " or "maybe this?" or "Wait! How about THIS!"

Ben Franklin did that with balloons.

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The Salt
9:00 am
Wed May 22, 2013

How Genomics Solved The Mystery Of Ireland's Great Famine

This illustration from 1846 shows a starving boy and girl raking the ground for potatoes during the Irish Potato Famine, which began in the 1840s.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 9:52 am

An international group of plant pathologists has solved a historical mystery behind Ireland's Great Famine.

Sure, scientists have known for a while that a funguslike organism called Phytophthora infestans was responsible for the potato blight that plagued Ireland starting in the 1840s. But there are many different strains of the pathogen that cause the disease, and scientists have finally discovered the one that triggered the Great Famine.

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Research News
2:03 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Quantum Or Not, New Supercomputer Is Certainly Something Else

Google and NASA are betting that quantum forces are at work inside D-Wave's 512-bit chip.
Courtesy of D-Wave

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 10:33 am

It's exactly the sort of futuristic thinking you'd expect from Google and NASA: Late last week, the organizations announced a partnership to build a Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab at NASA's Ames Research Center.

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The Two-Way
4:43 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Storm Chasers Seek Thrills, But Also Chance To Warn Others

A tornado moves past homes in Moore, Okla. on Monday.
Alonzo Adams AP

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 5:33 pm

When disaster strikes, our natural instinct is to take cover and seek shelter. But in severe weather, especially the type that breeds tornadoes like we saw in Oklahoma and parts of the Midwest this week, there are those who ride toward the storm.

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The Salt
2:57 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Vertical 'Pinkhouses:' The Future Of Urban Farming?

This "pinkhouse" at Caliber Biotherapeutics in Bryan, Texas, grows 2.2 million plants under the glow of blue and red LEDs.
Courtesy of Caliber Therapeutics

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 4:58 pm

The idea of vertical farming is all the rage right now. Architects and engineers have come up with spectacular concepts for lofty buildings that could function as urban food centers of the future.

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