Science

NPR Story
9:00 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Do We Need Humans?

Can we improve technology and preserve human dignity?
Thinkstock

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 1:46 pm

We've been promised a future where robots will be our friends. But are we ready for how those innovations will change us as humans? In this episode, TED speakers consider the promises and perils of our relationship with technology.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Energy
4:12 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Could Tapping Undersea Methane Lead To A New Gas Boom?

This photo from a Kyodo News helicopter shows a flame of natural gas from a Japanese deep-sea drilling ship on Tuesday. This successful extraction of methane from the seafloor was a world first.
Kyodo Landov

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 9:38 am

The new boom in natural gas from shale has changed the energy economy of the United States. But there's another giant reservoir of natural gas that lies under the ocean floor that, theoretically, could dwarf the shale boom.

No one had tapped this gas from the seabed until this week, when Japanese engineers pulled some up through a well from under the Pacific. The gas at issue here is called methane hydrate. Methane is natural gas; hydrate means there's water in it. In this case, the molecules of gas are trapped inside a sort of cage of water molecules.

Read more
Science
4:27 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

'God Particle' Discovery Disappoints Some Physicists

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 5:49 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Scientists in Switzerland have reinforced a huge discovery they announced last summer. They said today that they've almost certainly found the Higgs particle, the long-sought missing link that helps explain the basic nature of our universe. This firms up similar results they unveiled with great fanfare in July.

But NPR's Richard Harris reports, it's actually disappointing news for some scientists.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:33 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Monarch Butterfy Population Falls To Record Low, Mexican Scientists Say

Monarch butterflies in December 2008 at the Sierra del Chincua sanctuary in Angangueo, in the Mexican state of Michoacan.
Mario Vazquez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 1:47 pm

Monarch butterflies that once covered 50 square acres of forest during their summer layover in central Mexico now occupy fewer than 3 acres, according to the latest census.

The numbers of the orange-and-black butterflies have crashed in the two decades since scientists began making a rough count of them, according to Mexico's National Commission of Natural Protected Areas.

At a news conference Wednesday, the commission said the count was down 59 percent from December 2011 levels, when the insects filled 7.14 acres of fir trees in central Mexico.

Read more
Krulwich Wonders...
10:39 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Let's Get Literal: Calculating Pi With Pies. Actual Pies

YouTube

Today is March 14, or "3/14," the first three digits of Pi. It's a day celebrated around the (geek) world as "Pi Day." Pi, of course, is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. It was first recorded by Archimedes, but you can replicate his discovery in all kinds of ways.

Read more

Pages