Tech & Science

Over the years, scientists have mostly interpreted the world through what they can see. But in the past few decades, a culture of listening has blossomed, especially among biologists who seek to understand how animals communicate. This week Morning Edition embarks on a weekly summer series called Close Listening: Decoding Nature Through Sound. We begin with an innovation that transformed medicine by searching sounds for clues to illness and health.

The dramatic failure of a test flight by Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket last October cost the co-pilot his life and left the pilot severely injured. New data from investigators suggest that the pilot survived in part because the craft essentially came apart around him.

"I have a hard time saying this with a straight face, but I will: You can teleport a single atom from one place to another," says Chris Monroe, a biophysicist at the University of Maryland.

His lab's setup in a university basement looks nothing like the slick transporters that rearrange atoms and send them someplace else on Star Trek. Instead, a couple million dollars' worth of lasers, mirrors and lenses lay sprawled across a 20-foot table.

Flickr Photo/Japanexperterna.se (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The young woman was hiding in her closet upstairs.

She had called 911 because someone had broken into her home. She spoke very quietly.

Most local economic development schemes focus on creating jobs. Many offer incentives to startup companies, or try to lure existing companies to relocate.

But a campaign in Montana is turning that on its head. It's not trying to recruit companies but rather employees to come to the sparsely populated state and telecommute.

David Blackburn works for a financial services firm in Jersey City, N.J. He and his wife both have six-figure incomes, but real estate in the New York City area is so expensive that they have to live kind of far from their jobs.

The smartphone has given us a whole new genre of cultural expression: the selfie.

If you're into selfies, it's safe to say you've probably taken one, and maybe wished you didn't have those dark circles under your eyes.

Now there are plenty of apps out there to fix that.

But whether you think your selfies can be elevated to art may depend on how much effort you are willing to put into them.

A Personal Brand Boost

Marcie Sillman speaks to Todd Bishop about what's new in Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system.

Android is the most popular mobile operating system on Earth: About 80 percent of smartphones run on it. And, according to mobile security experts at the firm Zimperium, there's a gaping hole in the software — one that would let hackers break into someone's phone and take over, just by knowing the phone's number.

Just A Text

At Hack the CD this weekend, the focus was on problems facing Seattle's Central District.
KUOW Photo/Jamala Henderson

Damon Bomar wants to create an app that would help people find local odd jobs.

“For me personally it would work because I have a job, but at the same time I need a little more money on the side,” Bomar said. He presented his idea at the second Hack the CD conference in Seattle.

Michael Fertik at the 2011 World Economic Forum
Flickr Photo/World Economic Forum (CC BY NC SA 2.0)

For centuries great thinkers have tried to make sense of how to judge human character. Socrates, for instance, famously said, “The way to a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” The internet age throws a wicked curve ball at that seemingly simple advice.

Our speaker this week seeks to shed some light on the complex reality of the modern reputation. He compares our society to the early days of primitive humans, when everyone knew everyone else’s stories and secrets, and people lived and died according to their community standing.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says a steel strut is the most likely cause of last month's explosion of an unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

"The preliminary conclusion is that the failure arose from a strut in the second stage liquid oxygen tank," Musk said Monday at a news conference.

He said one of the steel struts that held a helium bottle broke free during flight, likely causing the bottle to shoot to the top of the tank at high speed.

Marcie Sillman talks with Geekwire co-founder Todd Bishop about Amazon and other tech companies about their civic engagement.

A seismogram of an earthquake off California.
U.S. Geological Survey

Ross Reynolds talks with Pacific Northwest Seismic Network director John Vidale about the challenges of creating an early warning system for earthquakes.

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