Technology

The luminous glow of light pollution prevents nearly 80 percent of people in North America from seeing the Milky Way in the night sky.

That's according to a new atlas of artificial night sky brightness that found our home galaxy is now hidden from more than one-third of humanity.

Despite Rise Of Superbugs, Syphilis Still Has A Kryptonite

Jun 10, 2016

Lola Stamm fell in love with the bacterium that causes syphilis when she was in grad school.

Other bacteria are rod-shaped or blobby. Treponema pallidum, the syphilis culprit, is a long, skinny corkscrew — and it slithers.

"Under the dark-field microscope they look like little snakes," says Lola Stamm, a microbiologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "It's really rather creepy, but they're just fascinating organisms."

Sharon Belvin's nightmare with cancer began in 2004, when she was just 22.

Belvin was an avid runner but said she suddenly found she couldn't climb the stairs without "a lot of difficulty breathing."

Eventually, after months of fruitless treatments for lung ailments like bronchitis, she was diagnosed with melanoma — a very serious skin cancer. It had already spread to her lungs, and the prognosis was grim. She had about a 50-50 chance of surviving the next six months.

"Yeah, that was the turning point of life, right there," she says.

The idea: a drone taxi that can transport a single passenger for up to 23 minutes.

Editor's note: This longform journalism project chronicles a soldier-scientist's quest to figure out how battlefield explosions injure brains. It was first published on Shots in June. The project includes a second story on how the U.S. military changed its response to traumatic brain injury based on this discovery.

A powerful new technique for changing genes in insects, animals and plants holds great promise, according to a report from an influential panel of scientists released Wednesday. But the group also says it's potentially very dangerous.

So-called "burn pits" were common at U.S. military outposts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Legislation in the Senate would create a center to study the effects of breathing their smoke.

I'm hanging out with my 4-year-old daughter in the early evening, trying to keep her entertained and pull dinner together, when my phone buzzes.

Normally I'd feel guilty for checking it immediately, and distracted even if I didn't. But this time it's not a Twitter mention or an email from my editor. It's a timely suggestion from an app called Muse.

Here's what it says: "Try playing 'Simon Says' with L, using directional words like: behind, around, between. (ex. 'Simon Says stand between the chairs.')"

Amazon cracks down on fake customer reviews

Jun 7, 2016
Todd Bishop and KUOW's Bill Radke geek out over nausea-free virtual reality in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Bill Radke speaks with Geekwire editor Todd Bishop about Amazon suing over fake reviews being posted on the site. The online store is also cracking down on people who pay for fake positive reviews.

When you look up at a starry night sky, it may make you feel small and insignificant — but it's also beautiful and awe inspiring. That's the feeling author Virginia Heffernan thinks we should be getting when we behold the Internet.

"Google organizes all the world's information," Heffernan tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "There's no way that one small person in our small, fathom-long bodies, could imagine containing all that information."

Shortly after Milo Lorentzen was born, nurses whisked him away to the neonatal intensive care unit for low blood sugar and jaundice. An exam then found a cluster of irregularities, including a cleft palate and a hole in his heart.

The staff called in a geneticist, who issued a misdiagnosis — the first frustrating episode in what would become years of testing, as Karen Park and Peter Lorentzen searched for a way to help their son.

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset pictured in 2013.
Flickr Photo/Sergey Galyonkin (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/gwcD7s

Ross Reynolds interviews Sandy Cioffi, curator of the virtual reality festival SIFFX, within the Seattle International Film Festival. Cioffi describes the unique ability of VR productions to evoke empathy and emotion and explains how people who don't attend the festival can experience VR for themselves.

"Women belong in all places where decisions are being made," U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said.

Thanks to scientists from The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, it might be time for an update:

Male orb-weaving spiders get devoured by the females they mate with, but a newly published study shows that at least the poor guys get to choose the lovely lady who will cannibalize them.

What do large tables, large breakfasts and large servers have in common? They all affect how much you eat. This week on Hidden Brain, we look at the hidden forces that drive our diets. First we hear from Adam Brumberg at Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab about how to make healthier choices more easily (hint: good habits, and pack your lunch!). Then, Senior (Svelte) Stopwatch Correspondent Daniel Pink returns for another round of Stopwatch Science to tell you about those tables, breakfasts and servers.

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