PRI: Science, Tech & Environment

by Public Radio International · · · · 10 subscribers

A daily public radio broadcast program and podcast from PRX and WGBH, hosted by Marco Werman

You can think of global warming kind of like popping a bag of popcorn in the microwave. Anthropogenic, or human-caused, warming has been stoked by increasing amounts of heat-trapping pollution since the start of the industrial age more than 200 years ago. But that first hundred years or so was …
In the two years since Russia made headlines for targeting an American political organization — the Democratic National Committee — and undermining Hillary Clinton’s race for the presidency, Russian [information warfare](https://theconversation.com/how-the-russian-government-used- disinformation-and-cyber-warfare-in-2016-election-an-ethical-hacker- explains-99989) tactics have come a long way. That includes [using more subtle means of hiding their traces](https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/07/whoever- is-trying-to-hack-americas-elections-is-getting-smarter). …
US President Donald Trump on Thursday disputed Puerto Rico's official death toll of 3,000 from last year's Hurricane Maria and accused Democrats, without providing evidence, of inflating the figures to make him look bad. "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. ... As time …
Many people will likely decide to stay put despite evacuation orders ahead of Hurricane Florence. And if history is any guide, they may not be fully thinking through the problems they’ll face in the aftermath. I conducted a research survey in Harris County, Texas, which contains much of metro Houston, …
Most summer days, 14-year-old Manal Taragroum says she would be stuck at home, helping with chores around the house. But not today. That’s because the energetic teenager is one of 20 young girls who has been selected to participate in a tech camp where they are learning the fundamentals of …
It was 8:45 a.m. when the Prambanan Express train from Surakarta arrived at Lempuyangan Station, Yogyakarta. My wife and I stepped out from the station and walked hurriedly to a spot under an overpass, 100 meters east of the station, where we could usually order an online taxi. But after …
If Australia's big dry has a silver lining, it'll be worth cellaring, according to vintners, who are scrambling to irrigate vines while preparing for a smaller but sweeter vintage. Spring, when vine buds burst into fruit and flower, has come with much of Australia's east gripped by a drought that …
It’s 5 a.m. and light is just beginning to show behind the brown desert hills that surround the Yakima Valley. Patricia and Javier just arrived to work at Sonrise Orchards. They’re placing their ladders among the thick green leaves of the cherry trees. Patricia and Javier both came from the …
As humanity experiences relentless pressures from disease-carrying mosquitoes in many parts of the world, there is an urgent need for new tools to use against those beasts — because they keep getting scarier. Even though [DEET](https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/deet) remains the most commonly used, and most powerful, mosquito repellent ever developed, scientists are …
It comes as quite a shock when the ground beneath your feet, your house or your field suddenly disappears leaving a hole. This hole may be tens of meters or more deep, and it will eventually lead into a cavity which may extend downwards for hundreds of meters below the …
Russia's space agency said on Wednesday it hopes to announce the origin of a small hole found on a Russian module docked at the International Space Station in the coming weeks, including addressing whether the damage was deliberate. Crew members last week found the hole, roughly 2 millimeters in diameter, …
A new form of misinformation is poised to spread through online communities as the 2018 midterm election campaigns heat up. Called “deepfakes” after the [pseudonymous online account that popularized the technique](https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/cultures/deepfakes) — which may have chosen its name because the process uses a technical method called “deep learning” — these …
Typhoon Jebi was briefly a super typhoon and was the most powerful storm to hit Japan in 25 years. The typhoon killed 11 people, injured hundreds and stranded thousands at a flooded airport It came after months of heavy rain, landslides, floods and record-breaking heat that killed hundreds of people …
Earthquakes in the central and eastern United States have increased dramatically in the last decade [as a result of human activities](https://earthquake.usgs.gov/research/induced/overview.php). Enhanced oil recovery techniques, including [dewatering](https://www.petropedia.com/definition/1132/dewatering) and [hydraulic fracturing](https://www.petropedia.com/definition/55/hydraulic- fracturing), or fracking, have made accessible large quantities of oil and gas previously trapped underground, but often result in a …
The plastic bag ban by the major supermarkets (and Coles’ pivot [away from its ban after backlash](https://theconversation.com/why-coles-plastic-bag- backflip-leaves-us-worse-off-than-before-100891), then pivot [_back_ to the ban after a backlash to the backlash](https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/coles-flips-again-on- plastic-bag-ban-puts-end-date-on-freebies-20180802-p4zv13.html)) has left plenty of people scratching their heads. What are the best replacements for single-use plastic bags? Given that …
The sprawling US health care industry has trouble managing patient information: Every doctor, medical office, hospital, pharmacy, therapist and insurance company needs different pieces of data to properly care for patients. These records are [scattered all over on each business’s computers](https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/E-Health/EHealthRecords/index.html) — and some no doubt in filing cabinets too. …
In their plucky startup days, Facebook and Google oozed adolescent optimism. Facebook offered to stitch the Earth’s scattered societies into one giant community. Google, vowing to “do no evil,” offered a portal to the sum of all knowledge. Supposedly for free. Now that they are among the most powerful non-state …
In recent years, the model for US recycling has been to send it overseas to China. China gets a raw material worth money; the US gets rid of its rubbish. But since the start of this year,[ China has been refusing to take contaminated recycling](https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-01-01/mountains-us- recycling-pile-china-restricts-imports), forcing communities across the …
In a penalty nearly double a previous record, EU regulators hit Google with a record $5 billion antitrust fine on Wednesday for using its Android mobile operating system to squeeze out rivals. Last year the EU fined Google 2.4 billion euros, or $2.8 billion, which the US tech company was …
Partisan unity is a rare sight in Washington, DC, these days. Yet a bipartisan coalition of congressional members has begun to pledge its solidarity to a political effort that could address one of the more hot-button topics on the Hill: climate change. The group calls themselves Americans for Carbon Dividends. …