Science and Technology

Cell phones
FIle Photo / KBIA

Missouri will get more than $280,000 from T-Mobile following claims that the company was unfairly charging customers for third-party text message subscriptions.

NPR has confirmed from U.S. intelligence officials that North Korea was centrally involved with the recent attacks against Sony Pictures. And the company says it is pulling its comedy film The Interview from the box office. It was supposed to debut on Christmas. These are major developments in what we may now call cyberwarfare.

The latest word from scientists studying the Arctic is that the polar region is warming twice as fast as the average rise on the rest of the planet. And researchers say the trend isn't letting up. That's the latest from the 2014 Arctic Report Card — a compilation of recent research from more than 60 scientists in 13 countries. The report was released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NASA's unmanned Orion spacecraft has successfully splashed down about 400 miles west of La Paz, Mexico, in the Pacific Ocean after a liftoff, two orbits and re-entry that lasted just under 4 1/2 hours.

Orion, which could one day take astronauts to Mars, made a "bull's-eye splashdown" at 11:29 a.m. ET, mission control said, after the spacecraft endured a searing 4,000-degree Fahrenheit re-entry and was carried to the ocean surface under four giant red-and-white parachutes.

File Photo / Ameren Missouri

Ameren Corporation's nuclear plant in mid-Missouri has been shut down due to an electrical equipment failure, but the company and federal regulators say there is no risk to the public.

Columbia has a new recycling program

Nov 20, 2014
ACT Recycling Warehouse
KBIA

The City of Columbia is looking for volunteers to help educate residents about recycling practices.

Two bills that would authorize building the controversial Keystone XL pipeline will soon come to a vote in Congress, as their sponsors — Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La. — head toward a runoff election next month to decide who will win the Senate race.

NPR's Debbie Elliott reports:

"On the Senate floor, Landrieu called for action on the Canada-to-Texas pipeline project, saying, 'I believe with a push we could actually get the votes that we need to pass the Keystone pipeline.'

Until about 600 million years ago, seeing colors didn't matter so much to Earth's inhabitants — nobody had eyes.

"Before the eye evolved, you just wouldn't have seen what was there," says Andrew Parker, a biologist at London's Natural History Museum who studies the evolution of color.

Missouri's Department of Transportation has added a page to its website where motorists can check for unscheduled bridge closings. 

videocrab / Flickr

  On this week's Under the Microscope, how watching a movie affects your brain and seeds that have been passed down through generations. 

"My own personal opinion is that time is a human construct," says Tom O'Brian. O'Brian has thought a lot about this over the years. He is America's official timekeeper at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado.

To him, days, hours, minutes and seconds are a way for humanity to "put some order in this very fascinating and complex universe around us."

Jenna Middaugh

    

A partial solar eclipse on Thursday has people looking forward to a total solar eclipse in the coming years.

MU Department of Physics and Astronomy hosted a viewing party Thursday afternoon at Laws Observatory so the community could catch a glimpse of the partial solar eclipse.

Ten-year-old Samuel Kingsley was at the event with his family and said he’s seen a blood moon before, but never a solar eclipse.

“It looked like someone bit the corner off the sun,” he said.

Samuel was just one of over 50 people who came out to watch the eclipse.

Tasting the future of elderberry juice

Oct 20, 2014
David~O / Flickr

  MU researchers should start preparing their taste buds for a new study comparing different kinds of elderberry juices. The researchers received a grant from the US Department of Agriculture to examine the different juices and find “off” flavors in certain varieties of elderberries.

9 Myths about MizzouWireless

Oct 16, 2014
cogdogblog / Flickr

If you’re a student at Mizzou, you were probably hooked to this story just by mentioning MizzouWireless. But if you’re not, then what you may need a little filling in.

Note: We received several requests for a more technical explanation of what may be causing the issues users experience. Please see the bottom of this story for an update.

Once a day, a train carrying crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken oil fields rumbles through Bismarck, N.D., just a stone's throw from a downtown park.

The Bakken fields produce more than 1 million barrels of oil a day, making the state the nation's second-largest oil producer after Texas. But a dearth of pipelines means that most of that oil leaves the state by train — trains that run next to homes and through downtowns.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has unlocked huge reserves of oil and gas in shale formations in many states. The biggest winner, in terms of new jobs, has been Texas.

But an investigation by Houston Public Media and the Houston Chronicle shows Texas highways have become the nation's deadliest amid a fracking boom.

Truman State University opens a new planetarium

Oct 10, 2014
Truman State University Press

Truman State University will host a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday, October 11, to celebrate the opening of a new Planetarium.

drought farm field soybeans
Camille Phillips / Harvest Public Media

On this week's Under the Microscope, we are looking at The Farm Bill, a lawsuit regarding restrictions on cages for egg-laying hens, and labels on genetically modified foods. 

KBIA file photo

Football fans can expect an enhanced mobile experience while attending future games at Faurot Field. To support the growing demand of wireless devices and services, AT&T expanded its mobile internet coverage in the stadium. AT&T upgraded the Distributed Antenna System, known as DAS, during the off season. Sports fan Kelly Hurrell said she has noticed the improvements.

"I remember last year the first season we were at the stadium you wouldn’t be able to get calls in and out very easily or text messages in and out very easily, but now it's no big deal at all," Hurrell said.

MU School of Social Work

MU School of Social Work researcher Dr. Leigh Tenkku Lepper is receiving funding for her research on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The grant is for more than one million dollars, and is aimed at enhancing prevention efforts towards FASD. Tenkku Lepper knows what needs to be done to increase prevention towards the disease.

"We will train them on the identification of what Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is, and in particular we will be doing discipline specific training," Tenkuu Lepper said.

Amylovesyah / Flickr

On this week's Under the Microscope, we are looking into cancer research and a new hunting technology. 

Mapping sinkholes

Oct 2, 2014

The areas in red on the map below are where the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) has documented as having sinkholes.

App in Missouri helps hunters feel nostalgic

Oct 2, 2014
dishfunctional / Flickr

You may need a camo case for your smart phone now. Last week, the Missouri Department of Conservation released a hunting app. It lets hunters report their yield right from their phone. 

Manhattan's Central Park is surrounded by one of the densest cities on the planet. It's green enough, yet hardly the first place most people would think of as biologically rich.

But a team of scientists got a big surprise when they recently started digging there.

They were 10 soil ecologists — aka dirt doctors. Kelly Ramirez from Colorado State University was among them. "We met on the steps of the natural history museum at 7 a.m. with our collection gear, coolers and sunblock," she recalls.

It actually takes quite a lot of fossil fuel power to reach the tiny Spanish island of El Hierro. You have to catch a commercial jet flight, a propeller plane and then a ferry to reach what was once the end of the known world, before Columbus set sail.

But once you're there, there's no need for fossil fuels at all. The ancient island off the west coast of Africa is now a model for the future, within months of running on 100 percent renewable energy, which consists of a mix of wind and hydro-power.

Earlier this week, two spacecraft arrived at the planet Mars. One came from India, the other from the U.S. Both are now in orbit and collecting data. But the Indian probe is conducting its mission at a tiny fraction of the cost of its NASA counterpart.

"Some of the publicly available numbers are in the $74 million to $75 million range," says Amaresh Kollipara, a managing partner of Earth 2 Orbit, a company that pairs private satellite providers with the Indian space agency.

aranarth / flickr

An award to MU's computer engineering program from the National Science Foundation has resulted in one million dollars in grants. 

Photo courtesy of Doug Gouzie

We put out some questions on social media to see what you wanted to know about sinkholes. First, here’s a clip of CoMo Explained where I explain everything we learned before talking to Missouri State University Associate Professor of Geology and sinkhole expert Doug Gouzie. You can also read about our previous sinkhole reporting here.


Missouri Department of Natural Resources

  On this week's Under the Microscope, Missouri is one of ten states at risk for sinkholes. 

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

What exactly is a sinkhole?

A sinkhole forms when the surface layer of ground collapses into a cavity underneath. Associate Professor of Geology at MU Martin Appold explains these features in more detail:

“They’re holes in the ground that form as a result of caves developing below the ground’s surface that come close enough to the ground’s surface that at some point the rock can’t support its own weight.”

“Ultimately the cause is from ground water that is percolating through the fractures, usually in limestone bedrock,” Appold said. 

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