NPR Blogs

The Torch
2:44 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

How Do You Stack Up Against An Olympic Athlete?

Weightlifter Kazuomi Ota of Japan takes a moment after failing to lift the required weight in the men's +105kg final in London. At 6 feet and 324 pounds, Ota is one of the largest Olympians.
Lars Baron Getty Images

Sure, you might spend a lot of time on your couch, as you watch the Summer Olympics. And hey, maybe you've drifted a couple pounds above your fighting weight. But there's all kinds of athletes competing in London — one of them has to be around the same size as you, right?

Now you can find that out, thanks to the BBC, whose site has an interactive chart that lets you enter your height and weight — and then tells you which two Olympic athletes you most resemble.

Read more
The Salt
2:09 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Here's Where Farms Are Sucking The Planet Dry

Click to see a high-resolution version of this map." href="/post/heres-where-farms-are-sucking-planet-dry" class="noexit lightbox">
Check out some of the world's most important - and threatened - aquifers. Click to see a high-resolution version of this map.
Nature

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 5:49 pm

This map is disturbing, once you understand it. It's a new attempt to visualize an old problem — the shrinking of underground water reserves, in most cases because farmers are pumping out water to irrigate their crops.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:03 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Amazingly Earth-like: Curiosity Beams First Full-Frame Photo Of Mars

A photograph taken by NASA's Curiosity Rover on Mars. The rim of Gale Crater can be seen in the distance beyond the pebbly ground.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 4:20 pm

We can't help but tune into the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's daily news conference about NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission.

For the most part, it's very much inside baseball. The scientists talk about the nitty gritty details of getting the Curiosity Rover going and onto doing some science. They talk about reorienting antennas and about how a higher-than-predicted temperature won't have a significant effect on the mission.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
1:47 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs May Have Dark Side When It Comes To Health

Scientists say energy-saving compact fluorescent (left) or light-emitting diode (right) light bulbs can have unsavory health effects.
PRNewsFoto/OSRAM SYLVANIA

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 10:34 pm

Everybody knows that one good way to prevent a sunburn is to stay inside, where you're safe from the sun's ultraviolet rays. Right?

Well, that may not be true anymore if your house is lit with compact fluorescent light bulbs. Last month, researchers from the State University of New York at Stony Brook showed in a paper that tiny defects in the bulbs can let through UV light that can damage skin cells and lead to cancer.

Read more
The Torch
12:48 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Allyson Felix Wins Gold In Women's 200 Meters

American sprinter Allyson Felix leads the field on her way to winning the women's 200 meters gold medal in London's Olympic Stadium.
Quinn Rooney Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 10:29 am

Allyson Felix has won the women's 200 meter race in London's Olympic Stadium, running a time of 21.88. Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took the silver medal at 22.09, as she wasn't able to track Felix down in the closing stretch.

The four center lanes were stacked with speed, with Jamaica's Fraser-Pryce and defending gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown in lanes 4 and 5, respectively. Just outside of them were Americans Sanya Richards-Ross and Felix, in lanes 6 and 7. And on the outside, in lane 9, was Carmelita Jeter.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:46 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Australia Orders Google To Delete Personal Data Once And For All

The camera mounted on a Google Street View car used to photograph whole streets obscures part of the U.S. Internet giant's logo.
Daniel Mihailescu AFP/Getty Images

Australia's privacy commissioner is asking Google to delete all personal data its Street View vehicles collected from unsecured wi-fi networks. The directive comes a little more than a week after Google said that in error, it had kept a small portion of the 600 gigabytes it collected.

As we reported, the slurped data is known to include passwords, emails, pictures and web searches.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:17 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

How Hot Was It? July Was Warmest Month On Record For U.S.

Only one color was needed to show where July ranks in terms of hottest months on record.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 1:14 pm

Read more
The Torch
12:04 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

The Olympic Art Of Shushing: Who Decides When Fans Can Be Noisy?

Fans make some noise as they watch Olympic women's beach volleyball at Horse Guards Parade in London. There seems to be little consistency in which sports require quiet from spectators.
Julian Finney Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 2:25 pm

There seems to be a vague logic that dictates which Olympic sports are conducted against a backdrop of noise, and which operate in a cone of silence.

For the most part, the more a sport depends on a fine motor skill, the quieter the spectators are meant to be. Shooters squeeze triggers before mostly hushed crowds. But in many shooting disciplines, the competitors line up in a group and can shoot at any point during their time allotment. So not only is gunfire ringing in their ears, crowds often become noisy, depending on the results.

Read more
Krulwich Wonders...
11:22 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Discussing The Mars Landing With My 137-Year-Old Grandfather

Percival Lowell's drawings of "canals" on Mars.
Universal History Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 12:23 pm

Yes, it was an amazing landing, an engineering triumph, a 150-million-mile slam dunk, spectacular in every way, except ... I think my grandpa would be disappointed. I'm not sure of this, since he died 50 years ago, but I have a hunch.

It starts with a handwritten letter he wrote back in 1907. He was a travelling salesman. He sold men's hats, and his job was to visit retailers all over the country. "One evening," he wrote, "train riding between Chicago and Kansas City or St. Louis, sitting the club car, I read a magazine, The Century..."

Read more
The Two-Way
11:16 am
Wed August 8, 2012

After Being Shot By Police, Sikh Temple Gunman Killed Himself, FBI Says

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 12:23 pm

Wade Michael Page, the man authorities say killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on Sunday, appears to have "died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head," FBI Special Agent in Charge Teresa Carlson told reporters in Milwaukee this morning.

After a Oak Creek, Wis., police officer shot Page in the stomach, she said, video from the scene appears to show Page taking his own life.

Read more
Monkey See
11:09 am
Wed August 8, 2012

'Go On,' Matthew Perry, And Being Patient With Comedy Pilots

Sarah Baker as Sonia, Matthew Perry as Ryan King, and Brett Gelman as Mr. K in the new comedy Go On.
Jordin Althaus NBC

Tonight, after NBC wraps up its Olympic coverage — at a time currently listed as 11:04 p.m. — they'll be previewing Matthew Perry's new sitcom, Go On, which will then go away until its regular premiere on September 10.

Read more
The Torch
10:53 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Rogue Condoms Appear In Olympic Village; Organizers Take Action

London Mayor Boris Johnson picks up a packet of Olympic branded condoms during a visit to the Olympic Village last month. Durex, the official Olympic supplier, has sent 150,000 condoms to the village. A bucket of rogue condoms has created a small controversy.
Scott Heavey Getty Images

It should come as no surprise that Olympics organizers take brand endorsements and official suppliers very seriously. That extends beyond logos on shorts and shoes — up to, and including, condoms. That's right, the Olympics has an "official" condom — and organizers want to get to the bottom of how a bucket of rogue condoms reached the Olympic Village.

As has happened before at the London Games, it started with a tweet.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:38 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Wisconsin Teen Looks To Repeat As Texting Champ, FAWC

A closeup from the 2007 competition.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 7:02 pm

Update at 5:11 p.m. ET. Back-ToBack:

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:13 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Science Is Sometimes Wrong, For All The Right Reasons

A copy of Philosphiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica by Sir Isaac Newton at the Science Museum Library and Archives in Swindon, England.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Can we make sense of the world without belief? This is the central question behind the faith and science dichotomy, and one that informs how an individual chooses to relate to the world. Contrasting mythic and scientific explanations of reality, we could say that at the extreme, religious myths attempt to explain the unknown with the unknowable, while science attempts to explain the unknown with the knowable. Much of the tension springs from the belief that there are two mutually inconsistent realities, one within this world (and thus knowable) and one without (and thus unknowable).

Read more
The Torch
9:47 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Let's Catch Up: London Abuzz Over Women's Soccer; Alternate Medal Count

Chinese trampoline gold medalist Dong Dong competes in London. An analysis by Yahoo finds that China's Olympians outpace their U.S. counterparts in judged competitions, such as trampoline and diving.
Cameron Spencer Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 9:48 am

Good morning. Only five days remain in the Summer Games, and China leads the United States in the medal count, with a total of 73 (34 gold) to America's 71 (30 gold). Here's other news that caught our eye this morning:

Read more

Pages