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Science
2:41 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Are Iran's Centrifuges Just Few Turns From A Nuclear Bomb?

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inspects the Natanz nuclear plant in central Iran on March 8, 2007. The tall cylinders are centrifuges for enriching uranium.
EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 6:19 pm

Tuesday in Geneva, negotiators from six nations will sit down to talks with Iran over that country's nuclear program. At the heart of the negotiations are Iran's centrifuges: machines that can be used to enrich uranium for use in nuclear power plants, or for use in a bomb. This double role of centrifuges has negotiators in a bind.

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The Salt
2:36 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

This Isn't Your Granny Smith's Harvesting Technology

Ripe Gala apples are ready for picking at an orchard in South Haven, Mich.
spablab Flickr.com

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 6:12 pm

In West Michigan, it's apple harvest time. That may conjure up images of picturesque orchards and old-fashioned fun: growers harvesting apples and then selecting them by hand.

Think again.

Robotic arms, computer vision and high-resolution photography are helping Michigan growers wash, sort and package apples at top speeds in the business — think 2,000 apples per minute.

With this modern technology, farmers are expanding production and getting Galas and Ginger Golds from Michigan orchards to grocery stores faster and more cheaply.

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U.S.
2:21 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

A Night At The Rock: Former Alcatraz Inmate Journeys Back

Bill Baker returned to Alcatraz for the first time since he was an inmate there more than 50 years ago.
Laura Sullivan NPR

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 6:19 pm

For 29 years, Alcatraz — the notorious prison off the coast of San Francisco — housed some of the nation's worst criminals: Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, Birdman Robert Stroud.

Today, 50 years after it closed, it's a museum. And earlier this year, the National Park Service gave Bill Baker, a former inmate, special permission to stay the night in his old cell. He was 24 when he was transferred to The Rock. Today, he's 80.

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Research News
2:16 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Trapped In A Fossil: Remnants Of A 46-Million-Year-Old Meal

A very old squished mosquito found in fossilized rock from Montana. Analysis of the insect's gut revealed telltale chemicals found in blood.
PNAS

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 6:19 pm

Scientists who study why species vanish are increasingly looking for ancient DNA. They find it easily enough in the movies; remember the mosquito blood in Jurassic Park that contained dinosaur DNA from the bug's last bite? But in real life, scientists haven't turned up multi-million-year-old DNA in any useable form.

Fortunately, a team at the Smithsonian Institution has now found something unique in a 46-million-year-old, fossilized mosquito — not DNA, but the chemical remains of the insect's last bloody meal.

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All Tech Considered
2:10 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

'Menstrual Man' Had An Idea To Help Indian Women

Arunachalam Muruganantham installs his machine in a village in Chhattisgarh, India.
Amit Virmani

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 3:02 pm

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