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Flock Safety

Camera systems sold by the Atlanta-based company Flock Safety promise homeowners greater security. Flock cameras capture license plate numbers as vehicles come in and out of neighborhoods.

Mikkey Girl / Disney

2.5 billion people around the world play video games. From Words With Friends to League of Legends, games are revolutionizing how we relate to one another. In many ways, gaming has become its own culture. But it might not be exactly what you'd expect. Most gamers play on their cellphones and nearly half are women. Most people playing video games are doing it with other people. And in response to hate-speech online and IRL, marginalized gamers are creating sanctuaries. On this edition of our Embodied series, host Anita Rao explores what gamers can teach us about socializing. 

Fingers on a keyboard, computer,
Wikimedia Commons

Employment in North Carolina's tech industry grew by nearly 21% between 2013 and 2018, the third highest growth rate in the sector nationwide.

Book cover reads: The Future of Feeling: Building Empathy in a Tech-Obsessed World.
Little A Publishing

Do you say please and thank you to your smart speaker? With each update, technology inches closer towards a greater understanding of the human condition. Empathy remains a trait exclusive to people, but that could change.

A military member in distress
Alex Pena / U.S. Air Force

A clinical trial of active-duty military members showed for the first time that a known pain treatment can also be effectively used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

Charlotte Jarvis

Semen is a potent substance, both literally and symbolically. It was described by Chinese proverb as “equal to ten drops of blood”; by Sumerians as “a divine substance,” given to humanity by the god of water; and by Aristotle as “the most perfect component of our food.”

Courtesy of UN FCCC

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP 25) ends this week in Madrid. One of the primary goals was to iron out details of the Paris Agreement. Leaders from around the world came together, but for the most part, the United States was notably absent. 

A photo of a computer screen showing political ads on Facebook.
Richard Drew / AP

Earlier this fall Twitter banned political advertising on its platform. This includes ads that reference a political candidate, party, election or legislation. Should other social media platforms follow suit?

Embodied: Deconstructing Forgiveness

Nov 27, 2019
Adhiti Bandlamudi

 

‘Tis the season for good food, celebration, and gratitude. But between carving the turkey and passing the cranberry sauce, some families are still harboring hurt, anger and resentment from events past. In hopes of salvaging this year’s festivities, host Anita Rao is joined by a team of experts who deconstruct forgiveness: how to do it, and how the act may impact your health. 

Cardman in her NASA gear.
Robert Markowitz / NASA

Zena Cardman knew she might not have another opportunity to pursue poetry. She was about to dive into graduate research on microbiology in extreme environments when she put that plan on ice, and opted to write a poetry collection for her undergraduate thesis at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

A baboon and Tung look at each other.
Susan Alberts

When the MacArthur Foundation notified Jenny Tung that she is a 2019 “genius grant” recipient, she was honored and humbled. The new mom has spent much of her career studying primates and how their early life impacts their overall health, life expectancy and even affects their offspring.

Hinman setting up the bee hive.
Courtesy of Alice Hinman.

Last year, Alice Hinman knew there was something wrong with her bee hives. And her honeybee colonies were not the only ones struggling to survive — across the country, colony collapse disorder was wreaking havoc on commercial honey production and agriculture that depends on pollinators.

Drone in flight
Don McCullough / Flickr Creative Commons

The Research Triangle has been chosen to host test sites where researchers will develop drone technology in rural and suburban settings.

Erik Chapman, town of Cary's Information Technology security manager
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Server rooms are boring. Stacks of computers with blinking lights. Cords in red, yellow, black and blue held together with zip ties. They're chilly from the extra air conditioning that keeps them cool.

In Cary's town hall, the server room is deep inside a building under constant lock. Town Information Technology Security Manager Erik Chapman had to swipe his badge and enter a number code to get in. The whirring sound of dozens of computers running at the same time rushed out of the door as it opened.

Youth Strike Against Climate Change

Sep 17, 2019
Mary Ellis Stevens

Ninth-grader Greta Thunberg sat outside the Swedish legislature in 2018 and declared her commitment to strike each Friday to demand that her government undertake a radical response to climate change. At that moment she became the face and voice of a generation of youth anxious and motivated to do something about climate change.

Matt Bertone

The work of dung beetles is not sexy, but it has a monumental impact on our ecosystem. They break down feces, recycle nutrients and help control the spread of disease.

Christina Koch is in between two astronauts in space suits.
NASA

A North Carolinian is slated to set a new record on the International Space Station.

Courtesy of Kamal Bell

Sankofa Farms was originally supposed to be a school garden in which middle school students could get away from the pressures of the classroom and get their hands dirty in the soil. After the proposal was rejected by the school’s principal, middle-school science teacher Kamal Bell made a much bigger investment in the idea.

A bus, a car, and four lime green scooters at an intersection in downtown Durham.
Elizabeth Friend / WUNC

Electric scooters are touted by companies as a greener way to get around, but new research from North Carolina State University suggests they have a larger carbon footprint than many users might realize.

The Problems Plaguing Election Polls

Aug 2, 2019
Diagram of a pet-related ethical dilemma.
Photo used with permission of Azim Sharif / MIT Media Lab

A self-driving car hurtles toward an individual and their dog. The car’s brake-lines are cut and the machine must decide — kill the person or the pet. What would you do? What if the dog were yours and the person were a stranger?

Book cover of "What The Dog Knows."
Courtesy of Cat Warren

Humans have associated dogs with death for millennia. Ancient Persians believed a dog’s stare drove the demon Nasu out of a corpse. Some Mayan traditions say a black dog carries the newly deceased to the land of the dead.

Fort Bragg provides an ideal environment for the St. Francis Satry, a critically endangered species of butterfly.
Courtesy of Nick Haddad

Of all federal agencies, the Department of Defense manages the highest density of threatened and endangered species, more than even the National Park Service. The special relationship between the Pentagon and environmentalist organizations originates at Fort Bragg.

picture of Katie Mack staring up immersed in stars
courtesy of Katie Mack

Many kids take things apart to figure out how they work. They stare up at the stars and wonder how the universe functions. As a young child, Katie Mack did that too. But she eventually took that curiosity to the next level, and her childhood fascination led to a career in astrophysics.

A photo showing a bird's eye view of the student dig
Charles Ewen/ECU

Brunswick Town was once a thriving British port before the Revolutionary War. It was one of the first successful European settlements in the Cape Fear region until the British burned it down in 1776. Archeologists have been exploring the ruins for decades with the help of a map created in 1769, but recent findings are raising new questions about the town’s history.

UNCG Chemistry

Nadja Cech grew up in a hippy community in Oregon, spending her days building fairy houses in the woods and drawing and collecting plants. So after she became a scientist— and an associate professor of chemistry at just 23 years old — it made sense to her to look to nature for some of our most pressing medical needs. 

Courtesy John McCord / Coastal Studies Institute, East Carolina University

Sand tiger sharks don’t look like the friendliest bunch. They’ve got “big gnarly teeth and really thick, stout bodies,” as Hap Fatzinger of the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher describes. But despite their menacing look, the sand tiger shark is a docile, migratory species, and they often share the waters off the North Carolina coast with scuba divers.

Agatha Christie: From Pharmacist's Apprentice to Poison Expert

Apr 19, 2019

The following is an excerpt from A is for Arsenic by Kathryn Harkup. Listen to SciFri on September 24, 2015 to hear Harkup talk more about the influence of Agatha Christie and her novels.

A photo of a black hole.
Event Horizon Telescope / Creative Commons http://bit.ly/2V1EgIv

The rallying cry of fake news has seeped into the world of science. Some politicians and pundits — like Donald Trump — call climate change a hoax, and a number of individuals loudly oppose the evidence behind vaccines.

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