Smart electric meters are being installed in homes across the country. The wireless devices replace old meters and transmit electricity usage data wirelessly to utilities. But there are concerns about accuracy and safety. Guy Raz talks to David Baker, energy reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, for more.
A presidential pledge to reduce emissions two years ago went nowhere in Congress. Today, the U.S. is spewing more carbon dioxide than ever into the atmosphere. Without meaningful U.S. action on emissions, a global pact seems unlikely to emerge from U.N. climate talks under way in Durban, South Africa.
A 71-year-old amnesiac in Germany has become well known in medical circles there. Even though the patient has lost nearly all memory of his past and has difficulty planning anything in the present or for the future, new research shows the former concert cellist is still able to learn new music. Audie Cornish speaks with Dr. Carsten Finke, a neurologist at The Charite university hospital in Berlin, about the unique patient.
NASA launched the Mars Science Laboratory from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Saturday. The MSL is five times heavier than the rovers currently on Mars and has twice as many scientific instruments. It will take nine months for the spacecraft to reach the Red Planet, and there's plenty of things for it to do before then.
Launched Saturday morning, the six-wheeled Mars Science Laboratory boasts a suite of high-tech instruments to study the planet's geology. It will land on the planet in August 2012, lowered gently to the surface on a cable by a rocket-powered helicopter.
This year's 21st First Annual IgNobel Prize Ceremony featured the science of sighs, inquiries into the yawning habits of the red-footed tortoise, and songs about the chemistry of coffee. Ira Flatow and Ig master of ceremonies Marc Abrahams present some of the highlights from this year's festivities.
New findings in the science of charity reveals some counter-intuitive results. For instance, people will give more money to a single suffering person than to a population of suffering people, and also give more when some type of physical discomfort — for example, running a marathon — is involved.
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