Science

Technology
3:24 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Google's Privacy Shift Powers New Customized Maps

The new Google Maps features tailor-made results based on users' habits and search histories.
Google

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 10:15 am

This week, Google, already a leader in mapping, created more space between itself and its competitors by more deeply mining the data users provide the company when using its various services.

At the Google developers' conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Daniel Graf, director of Google Maps, crowed about the company's mapping app for the iPhone — and couldn't quite stop himself from taking a dig at Apple.

"People called it sleek, simple, beautiful, and let's not forget, accurate," he said.

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Technology
4:57 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Interview: U.T. Law Student Fires First 3D-Printed Gun

Cody Wilson succesfully test fired a mostly plastic gun created with a 3D printer.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

 A University of Texas law student has become the first person to fire a bullet from a gun made with a 3D printer. Forbes reporter Andy Greenberg recorded a video of the test shooting, then wrote about it. 

Wilson says he did it partly to make a political point about gun control.

“Especially at a time when all these actors on the Hill are pretending that we can control firearms and we can better regulate them. I’m seeing a future, a vision of the future where that’s not really possible," he told KUT News. 

Listen to our interview with Wilson by clicking the player above. 

Technology
1:14 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Gun Made With 3-D Printer Is Successfully Fired

The Liberator — a plastic handgun made with a 3-D printer.
Defense Distributed

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 12:22 pm

The Texas-based company Defense Distributed is getting quite a bit of attention this week for its Liberator — a handgun made almost entirely by a 3-D printer.

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Science
5:08 pm
Sun May 5, 2013

Solar-Powered Airplane Completes First Leg Of U.S. Flight

The Solar Impulse takes off from Moffett Field NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., Friday, as a team member rides an electric bike alongside the plane.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 4:04 pm

The Solar Impulse, an airplane traveling across the United States using only solar power, is in Phoenix today, after reaching Arizona from California Saturday. It took the plane about 20 hours to travel from Mountain View, Calif., near San Francisco.

The aircraft is capable of flying at night as well as in daytime; the plane had about 75 percent of its battery power remaining when it landed in Arizona.

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Technology
5:00 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Computerized Rifle Makes Anyone an Expert Marksman - Should It?

Digital optics and tracking technologies enhance this long range rifle.
Photo courtesy of TrackingPoint, Inc.

An Austin-based company, TrackingPoint, has developed a high-powered, long-range computerized rifle that can turn anyone into an expert marksman. But some wonder whether putting that technology in the hands of everyday people is a wise idea. 

At shooting range just outside of Austin, I’m holding one of TrackingPoint’s top-of-the-line, $22,000 rifles. I have some shooting experience. But I’ve never shot a big rifle before. Three company representatives walk me through it.

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Science
9:29 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Supreme Court Asks: Can Human Genes Be Patented?

Artist's representation of DNA.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 7:45 am

Same-sex marriage got huge headlines at the Supreme Court last month, but in the world of science and medicine, the case being argued on Monday is far more important. The lawsuit deals with a truly 21st century issue — whether human genes may be patented.

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technology
7:32 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Elon Musk: The TT Interview

Entrepreneur Elon Musk talks to the Capitol press corps about his frustration in selling Tesla electric cars in Texas on April 10, 2013.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Elon Musk, the CEO of Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors, came to the Texas Capitol this week to lobby legislators to allow his company to sell electric cars directly to customers, a battle that has become increasingly pitched in the face of opposition from car dealers. But his electric car enterprise is not the only legislative push he’s involved in this session: As head of SpaceX, he’s also hoping to open acommercial spaceport in South Texas.

On Wednesday, Musk talked with the Tribune about his effort to get an exemption from state antitrust laws, Texas’ reputation as a business-friendly state and why he wants to launch rockets from Brownsville.

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Science
10:37 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Obama Says $100 Million Will Be Invested In Brain-Mapping Initiative

Mauricio Lima AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 12:11 pm

Adding some details to an initiative he announced during his latest State of the Union address, President Obama on Tuesday said that federal agencies plan to spend $100 million to jump start an effort to map the human brain. It's research that could lead to breakthroughs in the treatment and prevention of brain disorders.

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Science
10:47 am
Sat March 30, 2013

Austin Student Scientists Get Major Recognition for Diabetes Research

A diabetes patient prepares to check her blood glucose level. A pair of Austin siblings are developing a program to mitigate diabetes.
CDC/ Amanda Mills

A brother and sister team of young scientists from Westwood High School are finalists in a national science competition.

Priya and Naveen Arunachalam are both finalists in the Exploravision contest. The contest attracted nearly 16,000 students nationwide in a competition to design future technologies that could change the world.

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Science
5:26 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

UT Scientists Look to Create an Invisibility Cloak (Update)

Researchers at UT tested the new 'invisibility cloak' on this thin metal cylinder.
Dr. Andrea Alu, UT

Update: Harry Potter fans and Muggles alike may be one step closer to getting their own invisibility cloaks, if researchers at the University of Texas can help it.

According to the New Journal of Physics, they’ve created a thin material called a “mantle cloak.” Right now the cloak can only make things invisible in a certain range of light waves. It also doesn’t look like a cloak you would wear. It’s a thin tubing made from polycarbonate film, wrapped with copper tape.

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Science
5:10 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

UT Scientists Trace Genetic Origins of Longhorn Cattle

KUT News

New research out of the University of Texas at Austin finds Bevo, the school’s mascot, and other Texas Longhorn cattle are direct descendants of the first cattle to arrive in North America.

The study of the Longhorn genome finds the cattle’s lineage can be traced back 10,000 years to India and the Middle East. Researchers looked at 50,000 genetic markers of different cattle breeds. They used that information to track the Longhorns’ ancestors from the Middle East and India, to Europe and eventually to North America. 

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Science
11:24 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Mosh Pit Math: Physicists Analyze Rowdy Crowd

Fans in the mosh pit during the performance of Liturgy at the 2012 Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park, Chicago, on July 14, 2012.
Roger Kisby Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 9:55 am

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Science
4:43 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Pan-STARRs Comet Streaks Across Texas Sky Tonight

The Pan-STARRs comet will be visible for the next few days over Central Texas skies
flickr.com/chrissamuel

Tonight is one of a few chances Austinites will have to see a passing comet.

The PAN-STARRS comet, or C/2011 L-4 as it’s known by stargazers, will make its way across the Austin skies around 30 to 40 minutes after sunset tonight – which is at 7:37 p.m, according to the National Weather Service.

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Technology
1:24 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Google Paying $7 Million to Settle Street View Data Capturing Case

The camera mounted on a Google Street View car used to photograph whole streets obscures part of the U.S. Internet giant's logo.
Daniel Mihailescu AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 1:37 pm

Google has agreed to pay a $7 million fine to settle claims from 37 states and the District of Columbia that the search giant improperly collected data from unsecured wireless networks across the United States using its "Street View" vehicles.

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Science
5:51 am
Fri March 8, 2013

What This Ten Pound Satellite Can Accomplish Will Surprise You

The Armadillo satellite from UT's Satellite Design Lab will examine space dust in Earth orbit.
Luke Quinton/KUT News

How big is a satellite? Well, that depends. The University of Texas’s Satellite Design Lab just won a competition for its “cube satellite.” So just how small is a cube?

“The dimensions of the spacecraft are essentially the size of a loaf of bread,” said Katharine Brumbaugh, a Ph.D. student at the satellite lab. Her team’s cube satellite, Armadillo, just won a competition run by the Air Force, beating out nine other universities in the “cubesat” category.

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Technology
1:21 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Facebook Unveils Big Changes to Your News Feed

The new look of Facebook's news feed.
Facebook

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 12:49 pm

Update at 1:31 p.m. ET. Larger Images, Mobile Oriented:

Facebook announced today that it was overhauling its "news feed." This is significant on two fronts: First, this is truly the first big makeover for the feature since its inception. Second, its users — some 1 billion worldwide — are known to be very touchy about changes.

Reuters said the new news feed is "visually richer" and "mobile device-oriented." It means the feed will look the same on your computer as it does on your mobile device.

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Science
10:24 am
Fri March 1, 2013

SpaceX Reports Problem With Dragon Capsule

The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Friday.
John Raoux Associated Press

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 7:24 pm

Update at 8:10 p.m. ET: Problem Fixed, Arrival Delayed

SpaceX says the problem with its unmanned craft carrying supplies for the International Space Station has been fixed.

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Science
10:23 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Scientists Trace Origin Of Destructive Russia Meteor

A circular hole in the ice of Chebarkul Lake, where the Chelyabinsk meteor reportedly struck on Feb. 15.
Uncredited Associated Press

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:52 am

Scientists from Colombia believe they have pinpointed the origin of the giant meteor that smashed into a remote region of Russia earlier this month, injuring more than 1,000 people.

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Science
8:19 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Attack By Chondrite: Scientists ID Russian Meteor

Researchers who studied pieces of the meteor collected near Lake Cherbarkul say it was a common chondrite meteor. The largest of the 53 fragments was one centimeter in diameter. Photo provided by the Urals Federal University Press Service.
Alexander Khlopotov AP

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:41 pm

The meteor that caused at least 1,000 injuries in Russia after a startling and powerful daytime explosion one week ago has been identified as a chondrite. Russian scientists who analyzed fragments of the meteor, whose large size and well-documented impact made it a rarity, say that its composition makes it the most common type of meteor we encounter here on Earth.

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Technology
1:52 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

What Google’s Driverless Car is Doing in Austin

Google's driverless car, parked outside of the Hilton Austin.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

A Texas Department of Transportation conference wouldn’t normally attract much attention. But invite a robot car to your meeting, and everything changes.

Google and its self-driving car were on hand at the Texas Transportation Forum today. The car – which relies on technology like radar and cameras to pilot itself – was the star of a panel on transportation and technology this morning.

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