Science & Medicine

It's All Politics
5:01 am
Thu May 7, 2015

A Long Way From Wax Cylinders, Library Of Congress Slowly Joins The Digital Age

Gene DeAnna is curator of the National Jukebox project, which is an online collection of some 10,000 pre-1925 recordings.
Brian Naylor NPR

Gene DeAnna sits at a computer next to a vintage victrola, appropriate for his job as curator of the National Jukebox project.

It's an online collection of some 10,000 pre-1925 recordings, made acoustically, without any electrical amplification. DeAnna points to a photo on the jukebox's webpage.

"You can see in this picture here that they gathered the orchestra around a great big recording horn and behind the curtain there is a cutter that is cutting the recording into a wax master," he said.

Read more
3:57 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Afghan Army Makes Progress; Will Government Services Follow?

Brig. Gen. Akram Samme coordinates his men at Camp Eagle in the Shah Joy district of Zabul province in southern Afghanistan. He is a commander in the major operation against the Taliban that's currently under way.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 5:12 am

Fuel trucks, cargo trucks and buses zip north along Highway One toward Kabul, just like any other morning. They seem not to notice what's above them on a vast desert plateau that overlooks the highway in Zabul province in southern Afghanistan.

Dozens of soldiers and police mill about, awaiting orders. There are armored vehicles, towed artillery, an ambulance and a long line of Humvees. Each one has a massive Afghan flag snapping in the breeze, like banners from some ancient army.

Read more
All Tech Considered
3:54 am
Thu May 7, 2015

A Startup Scene That's Not So Hot: Japan's Entrepreneur Shortage

Slush Asia, a new tech festival held in Tokyo in late April, the scene and the energy resembled a small-scale South by Southwest Interactive.
Elise Hu NPR

Toshiba. Sony. Sharp. You know those brand names because they dominated the Japanese economy's global rise in the eighties. But that was 30 years ago. As the Japanese economy stagnates, it's unclear which new companies will replace them.

Doga Makiura is Japanese, and a startup founder. But he's not a startup founder in Japan. He created businesses in other Asian countries instead.

Why not be an entrepreneur in his native country?

Read more
3:52 am
Thu May 7, 2015

On Patrol With The Greek Coast Guard, On The Lookout For Migrants

Afghan migrants arrive in the courtyard of the Greek Coast Guard offices on the Aegean island of Leros. The coast guard and local police fingerprint and register new migrants, most of whom can only stay in Greece legally for a month.
Joanna Kakissis for NPR

Just past 9 p.m. every night, six crew members from the Leros division of the Greek Coast Guard board a bright orange search-and-rescue vessel and depart from the tiny Aegean island of Leros.

They patrol until dawn, looking out for boats in distress, packed with migrants trying to reach Europe.

"We see people almost every day, at least 40 people at a time, just in our area," says Captain Leonidas Papadakis. "Most say they're from Syria. Others say Afghanistan, Iraq." There are also Ghanians, Ugandans, even the occasional Dominican.

Read more
3:50 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Power Problems: Puerto Rico's Electric Utility Faces Crippling Debt

PREPA's Central Palo Seco power station in San Juan. The utility's bondholders want to raise rates. That's a challenge in a territory where the median income is about half that of Mississippi, yet Puerto Rico's energy costs are among the highest in the nation.
Alvin Baez-Hernandez Reuters/Landov

As a U.S. territory with tropical weather and beautiful beaches, Puerto Rico has a lot going for it. But there are downsides to living on an island. A big one is the cost of energy.

All the electricity on the island is distributed by the government-owned Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, also known as PREPA. Power on the island costs more than in any U.S. state, except Hawaii.

And that's not the biggest problem.

Read more