At the American Physical Society's fluid dynamics conference this winter, there was a healthy infusion of biology. In between talks on propellers and plane wings, there were presentations about flying snakes, fire ants, humpback whales and hummingbirds. Physicists from all over the world are turning to the natural world to help them solve engineering problems.
Rain is so important in Malawi's agriculture-based economy that there are names for different kinds of it, from the brief bursts of early fall to heavier downpours called mvula yodzalira, literally "planting rain." For generations, rainfall patterns here in the southeast part of Africa have been predictable, reliable. But not now.
In the village of Jasi, in the hot, flat valley of Malawi's Lower Shire, farmer Pensulo Melo says 2010 was a disaster.
Millions of American property owners get flood insurance from the federal government, and a lot of them get a hefty discount. But over the past decade, the government has paid out huge amounts of money after floods, and the flood insurance program is deeply in the red.
Congress tried to fix that in 2012 by passing a law to raise insurance premiums. Now that move has created such uproar among property owners that Congress is trying to make the law it passed disappear.
There's a drive-thru ATM in Charlotte, N.C., that looks pretty standard, but it has an extra function: a button that says "speak with teller."
The face of a woman wearing a headset sitting in front of a plain blue background flashes onto the ATM screen. "Good afternoon," she says. "Welcome to Bank of America. My name is Carolina. How are you today?"
She's one of a cadre of Bank of America employees in Florida and Delaware call centers, where they remotely control ATMs across the country. I ask for $26.
Alzheimer's is a disease without a cure, and the available treatments only slow its progression for a bit. Now there's evidence vitamin E may help hold it at bay, at least for people in the early stages of the disease.
Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 5:07 pm
Utah's attorney general has filed a request with the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay that would allow the state to enforce its limit of marriage to a union between a man and a woman.
Similar requests have already been rejected by district and circuit courts. Earlier this month, a federal district court invalidated Utah's ban on gay marriage that was endorsed by voters in 2004, saying it is not constitutional.
One year ago, many were pointing to the growth of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, as the most important trend in higher education. Many saw the rapid expansion of MOOCs as a higher education revolution that would help address two long-vexing problems: access for underserved students and cost.
In theory, students saddled by rising debt and unable to tap into the best schools would be able to take free classes from rock star professors at elite schools via Udacity, edX, Coursera and other MOOC platforms.
The Detroit Red Wings are kind of playing a home game on New Year's Day — even if it'll be played about 40 miles west of their home ice in downtown Detroit.
Mike Babcock, the Red Wings head coach, told the NHL Network that might not be such a good thing, because home teams haven't fared so well in prior Winter Classics.
"The reason the home team doesn't have much success is there's probably a New Year's Eve party going on in everybody's house," he said. "So you gotta decide whether that's more important, or the game's more important."
A federal judge has largely upheld New York's tough gun control law passed in the weeks after the Sandy Hook school shooting.
Judge William Skretny in Buffalo rejected arguments from opponents that its ban on large-capacity magazines and the sale of semi-automatic rifles infringed on Second Amendment rights.
He ruled that the provisions were constitutional because the state has an "important governmental interest" in public safety in a suit brought by the New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association.
If you use up all your rum on New Year's Eve and buy a replacement bottle in 2014, your purchase is going to be a little less rewarding for Puerto Rico.
A rum tax rebate program that sent nearly $200 million to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in 2013 will expire at midnight on Dec. 31. It's just one among 55 tax breaks set to expire at the end of the year.
On the very first Monday of 2013, Boeing got some bad news: There was a catastrophic battery fire on a 787 parked at Boston's Logan International Airport. Less than two weeks later, a second battery meltdown on another 787 prompted an emergency landing in Japan.
Government regulators responded quickly. The Federal Aviation Administration ordered the entire fleet of 787s grounded indefinitely.