Science & Technology

Weather
4:43 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

American Red Cross Launches Free Tornado App

2010 tornado in Iredell County, NC
Credit England / Flickr

A new tornado app from the American Red Cross is out this week. Available in both English and Spanish, it gives users instant access to local, real-time information on severe weather alerts and warnings. Barry Porter from Triangle Red Cross says it's linked directly to NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Science & Technology
3:42 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Older Gamers, Play On

Surveys showed older adults who play video games scored higher on well-being tests than those who don't.
Credit Anne McLaughlin / ncsu.edu

Researchers at N.C. State say playing video games might have positive psychological effects later in life.  A report released this week says a study of people who were 63 or older found those who play video or computer games at least occasionally reported more positive emotions in a mental health survey than those who don't.


"There's a whole gaming industry that's focused on the 12-year-old to 21-year-old demographic," says Dr. Jason Allaire, lead author of the study.

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Science & Technology
7:42 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Cary Introduces Virtual Water Meter

Customers of Cary's public water utility can now monitor how many gallons they use on an hourly basis.  The town invested $172,553 in a system that updates water usage online.  Cary Financial Director Karen Mills says the new system is meant to make customers more aware of how much water they're using or wasting.

"They can see what's going on with their usage, understanding, for example, their irrigation usage if they have an automated system; when it's running, how long it's running," Mills says.

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Science & Technology
6:29 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Duke Grows Food Security in South Sudan

South Sudanese Ambassador Akec Khoc speaks at Duke Divinity School on 'Food Security in Africa: The Case for South Sudan.'
Credit Duke University

Duke University has forged a relationship with South Sudan that it hopes will fill the stomach and the soul. 

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The State of Things
12:45 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Empathy's Failings And Surprises

What is this ability to step into someone else’s shoes? To imagine how they feel, to hurt for them or to be happy for them? 

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The State of Things
11:17 am
Mon February 18, 2013

A Philosopher Studies the Brains of Psychopaths

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong


Mental health is a focus of national dialogue in the wake of mass shootings around the country. What makes people kill, seemingly without remorse?

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The State of Things
12:29 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

The Science Behind Paying Attention

Credit cathydavidson.com

  Is a teacher lecturing in front of a classroom effective?  Is it possible that the way we teach our children is outdated?

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Science & Technology
8:05 am
Tue February 12, 2013

400 Acres Of Solar Panels Could Cover Duplin County

A 5-Megawatt farm in Cleveland County. The capacity of Strata`s proposal for Duplin County would be 20 times larger.
Credit Strata Solar

A North Carolina renewable energy company says it plans to build a large solar farm in Duplin County.  Strata Solar announced yesterday it's developing 400 acres of land for solar panels with a capacity of 100 Megawatts.  It's one of the largest solar farms in production on the east coast.  Strata CEO Markus Wilhelm says his company will file its plans with the state Utilities Commission by the end of the month.

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The State of Things
10:12 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think

The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs are Smarter Than You Think
Credit brianhare.net

The last ten years have seen a revolution in our understanding of dogs, and Brian Hare has led the way.

Hare is an Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University and the co-author – with his wife, Vanessa Woods - of “The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think.”

“Everybody who has a dog is excited to tell you how smart they are,” he said on The State of Things. “But what science is able to contribute is that we compare dogs to other species and we’ve found that dogs are really remarkable.”

How remarkable?

Without training, Hare says dogs are able to learn words and make inferences. Some dogs learn words the first time they encounter them.

Dogs self-domesticated about 40,000 years ago, Hare says. “They chose us, so they got friendlier and they got smarter as a way to live with humans.”



Dogs are very good at solving problems on their own, but they may not be the heroic animals they are often made out to be in popular culture. Hare cites the “bookcase test” where a research project was done to test what dogs would do when its master was pinned under a bookcase and calling for help.

“The truth was, the dog didn’t run off and seek help,” Hare said. “In fact, the dogs just sort of stand around doing nothing.”

Hare has started a website, dognition.com, that will allow dog owners to play a series of science-based games that will reveal their dog’s unique abilities and help build a stronger dog/owner relationship.

Science & Technology
11:33 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Cockroaches' Obsessive Grooming Habit

A cockroach cleaning an antenna
Credit Ayako Wada-Katsumata

A new study from researchers at N.C. State finds that cockroaches must clean themselves incessantly in order to function properly. The findings are important not just for scientists studying insect behavior, but also – to the relief of those who suffer from infestations – might provide clues in developing more effective pesticides.

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