"Someone described my office as an eight-year-old's daydream," says astronomer Jill Tarter, who has been collecting E.T.-themed office ornaments for 30 years. Tarter was the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute's first employee, and the inspiration for the character in Carl Sagan's Contact.
A group of British academic researchers has announced plans to band together in a search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Alan Penney, the coordinator of the newly-formed UK SETI Research Network, describes the group's strategy for looking for signals from the stars.
With the NSA conducting surveillance on our data and Google scanning our email, how can we protect our personal information? Jon Xavier, digital producer at Silicon Valley Business Journal, discusses the services that you can use to make your information more secure and private.
Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 8:53 am
What motivates dozens, thousands, even millions of people to come together on the Internet and commit their time to a project for free? In this hour, TED speakers unravel ideas behind the mystery of mass collaborations that build a better world.
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Founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales recalls how he assembled "a ragtag band of volunteers," gave them tools for collaborating to create a self-organizing, self-correcting, never-finished online encyclopedia.
Social media guru Clay Shirky looks at "cognitive surplus" — the shared, online work we do with our spare brain cycles. While we're busy contributing to the web in our small ways, we're building a better, more cooperative world.
Computer programmer Luis von Ahn wondered how else to use small contributions done by millions on the Internet for greater good. He put CAPTCHAs, those online puzzles to verify you're not a robot, to work by digitizing books and teaching foreign languages.
The area of ocean set aside as a nature preserve could double or triple in the coming days, depending on the outcome of a meeting in Germany. Representatives from 24 countries and the European Union are considering setting aside large portions of ocean around Antarctica as a protected area. And the deal may hinge on preserving some fishing rights.
There are two proposals on the table: One would set aside huge parts of the Southern Ocean around East Antarctica; the other would focus on the Ross Sea, south of New Zealand.
The PSA test has been dissed a lot lately. The nation's preventive medicine task force, for one, says the test is so unreliable in figuring out who's at risk for deadly prostate cancer that most men shouldn't bother getting one.
The continental U.S. experiences small earthquakes every day. But over the past few years, their numbers have been increasing. Geoscientists say the new epidemic of quakes is related to industrial wastewater being pumped into underground storage wells.
Now there's new research that reveals two trigger mechanisms that may be setting off these wastewater quakes — other, larger earthquakes (some as far away as Indonesia), and the activity at geothermal power plants.
Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 11:44 am
Google Glass isn't even available to the public yet. But the wearable technology that packs a tiny computer into a lightweight frame has already faced mockery, condemnation, fear and threats of regulation. As NPR's Steve Henn reported in May:
Racial disparities exist, but what causes them can be complicated. Harvard anthropology student Jason Silverstein says it has to do with a lack of empathy. Host Michel Michel Martin talks with Silverstein about a Slate article he wrote titled, 'I Don't Feel Your Pain.'
To keep America's wilderness anything like it used to be when the country was truly wild takes the help of biologists. They have to balance the needs of wildlife with those of cattle-ranching and tourism, and even weigh the value of one species against another. Ultimately, they have to pick and choose who makes it onto the ark. And, as scientists in Montana's Centennial Valley have discovered, all that choosing can be tricky.