Public Media Science & Technology Posts

Online Content From APM, PRI, and PRX

The latest stories from South Dakota Public Broadcasting's national media partners: American Public Media, Public Radio International, and Public Radio Exchange.

New lab takes students on virtual field trips

Oct 9, 2018

Dateline: Hawley, Minn.
Students in a northwest Minnesota school can now fly an Apollo space mission to the moon for history class, dissect a pig for science or paint a picture for art, just by strapping on a set of high-tech goggles.

Hawley Public Schools is introducing its students — and their teachers — to the district's new virtual reality lab, one of only a few hundred around the country.

• Full coverage: Education

She was 23 and not allowed to work in 2005 when she first came to the United States. Now 36, Archana Vaidyanathan is interviewing with major technology firms in Northern California to see if her expertise is still in demand.

Vaidyanathan holds an H-4 visa, given to family of those who come to the US with H-1B visas, sponsored by employers. The Department of Homeland Security filed an update in federal court on Aug. 20 that a new rule to rescind the right to work for spouses of H-1B visa holders is in its final stages of “clearance review.”

Wisconsin school districts ban cellphones in classroom

Sep 15, 2018

Dateline: Madison, Wis.
School districts across Wisconsin are banning cellphones in the classroom in an effort to reduce distractions during class time.

The Portage Community School District approved adopting such a policy last year, Wisconsin Public Radio reported .

Teachers previously had the ability to shape their classroom's cellphone policy, said Portage High School Principal Robin Kvalo. The new standardized policy has been effective because teachers and administrators are consistent with discipline, she said.

California emerges as a leader at climate summit

Sep 14, 2018

When President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate change agreement last summer, cities, states and business leaders quickly tried to jump into the leadership void.  

Chief among them was California Gov. Jerry Brown, who announced just weeks later he would gather leaders from around the world for a high-level climate summit in San Francisco.

Most summer days, 14-year-old Manal Taragroum says she would be stuck at home, helping with chores around the house.

But not today. That’s because the energetic teenager is one of 20 young girls who has been selected to participate in a tech camp where they are learning the fundamentals of social media, digital photography and even basic coding.

Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns is out with a new documentary about the Mayo Clinic, which he calls Minnesota's "Grand Canyon."

The two-hour film, "Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope, Science" charts the trajectory of the hospital from its start as a small hospital employing Catholic nuns as nurses to its world-class ranking today.

Burns, a Mayo patient himself, offers a glowing portrait of the Rochester-based hospital as the best medical care provider in the world.

Duluth students will no longer have to keep track of a library card — and they won't have to pay late fees — thanks to a new collaboration between the Duluth school district and the Duluth Public Library.

The district's roughly 8,500 students will be able to access live homework help and tutoring, flash cards, e-books and magazines, DVDs, research databases, practice ACT/SAT tests, and other resources at the public library.

If you’ve been on Instagram in the past few days—and, let’s be real, a majority of Instagram users check it at least once a day—you might have gotten notice that you’ll soon be able to know exactly how much time you’re spending on the app. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who already has access to this tool since it started rolling out to users August 1.

The YouTube app will now ping you when you’ve watched videos for too long.

Discovering New (and Old) Worlds Through 3-D Tech

Aug 28, 2018

Most of us will never be able to stand in the interior rooms of an ancient temple, climb on hands and knees through a millennium-old mine or visit a marina lost to time.

Dateline: Maplewood, Minn.
Robotics teams from dozens of local high schools showed off their machines at 3M's Maplewood headquarters Friday. The robots are diverse and the teams are increasingly so, too.

More young women and students of color are getting involved with robotics.

Don Bossi is president of FIRST, an organization that sponsors robotics competitions nationwide and encourages students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Five Things to Know About About Blockchain and Bitcoin

Aug 16, 2018

As innovative as space flight, as paradigm-shifting as the invention of the internet: blockchain technology is quickly becoming a topic that Millennials need to understand in order to make sense of the world. But blockchain technology is so unprecedented that many people don’t quite have the words to describe it.

The idea behind "smart guns" is that only the registered owners of firearms are able to unlock and use them. The idea goes back to the 1970s, to a design that used a magnetic ring system that owners could match to their guns. The idea has evolved to use digital innovations. But even though the concept has been around a long time, smart guns still aren't on the market.

Students take the lead in campus mental health programs

Aug 8, 2018

The demand for mental health treatment on college campuses is skyrocketing across the country, but schools are struggling to keep up. Students seeking out treatment often face obstacles such as stigma, long waiting lists, and a looming generational gap of mental health understanding. How can schools address this problem? Where do students fit into the solution?

A team at Stanford University has started using a genetic editing tool called CRISPR to identify the genes that make corals more heat-tolerant.

As the climate changes, warming oceans pose a huge threat to coral reefs. In 2016, nearly a third of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef died off. A quarter of all the fish species in the sea rely on corals for habitat, so die-offs aren’t just bad news for corals.

It's an obscure ocean current in a remote part of the world. But what happens to it as the planet and the oceans warm up could affect the lives of people everywhere.

That’s why Bob Pickart, a physical oceanographer from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, traveled to Ísafjörður, Iceland, in the middle of the harsh North Atlantic winter, planning to head into the teeth of some of the worst weather imaginable.

Muslim group welcomes probe of Minnesota student's suicide

Jul 31, 2018

Dateline: Chisago Lakes, Minn.
A Muslim advocacy group says it welcomes the Minnesota Department of Education's decision to investigate a school district's anti-bullying policy after a student's suicide earlier this year.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations requested the investigation after 15-year-old Jacob LeTourneau-Elsharkawy killed himself.

Three young people whose lives have been forever changed by gun violence spoke out at this summer's Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. Kayla Schaefer and Olivia Wesch are high school students at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Ke'Shon Newman is a high school student in Chicago whose brother was shot and killed a few years ago. He's a youth leader of Bold Resistance Against Violence Everywhere (B.R.A.V.E.)

Something was not making sense.

The Montreal Protocol had been in effect for more than 30 years to rid the planet of products that emit chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons — or CFCs, as most people know them.

FBI director Christopher Wray speaks at the Aspen Security Forum about Russian interference in US elections, and also says the Mueller investigation is not a "witch hunt."

He spoke in Aspen, Colorado on July 18th with moderator Lester Holt of NBC

Instructor Jaya Gantt, a recent graduate of USC, teaches 6th-grader Kenney Williams and other students at Girls Go for I.T. camp.
Laura Hunsberger

During the last two weeks of June, the University of South Carolina's School of Earth, Ocean and Environment was home to Girls Go for I.T., a camp for middle school-age girls who are interested in learning about computer science and programming. South Carolina Public Radio's Laura Hunsberger and Clayton Sears went to USC's campus to see what the girls are creating and to talk with the professors who started the program, Dr.

Dr. Jack Shonkoff from Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child joined The World’s Rupa Shenoy at The Forum, at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, for a Facebook Live on June 28, 2018.

Changing Rural Narratives: a Ground Level Conversation in Grand Rapids

By Tom Weber.

While #mprraccoon was grabbing the attention of the world for scaling a building in an urban center, a conversation in Grand Rapids, Minn. last week focused on foxes playing in the yard, loons calling in the evening, and other interactions with nature. The Great Outdoors, as we heard in an event at the Blandin Foundation, is a key reason why people choose to live in Grand Rapids.

Hands-on experience gives teachers leg up on bike safety

Jun 12, 2018

Quick — how do you signal a turn on a bicycle? Teachers and school staff brushed up on that and much more Monday at a hands-on training meant to help more Minnesota students walk and bike to school.

The training, run by the organization Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, gave the educators lessons and tips for teaching students the rules of the road when it comes to walking and biking.

Sherry Ott has been all over the world. Borneo, Mongolia, Nepal — she writes about travel for a living.

But Antarctica was different.

It’s “the closest you can get to leaving this planet," Ott says. “This was the first place ever that I had been where clearly people were not in charge.”

Dateline: St. Paul
St. Paul families are making plans for new school start times after the district published school-by-school information this week.

The change will shift most middle and high schools to a later start beginning in the fall of 2019 in an effort to accommodate teenagers' sleep patterns.

Under the plan, most elementary schools will either remain at their current 9:30 a.m. start time or move to an earlier 7:30 a.m. start.

Chocolate, Caffeine, Alcohol: What's OK on a Plant-Based Diet?

Jun 5, 2018

This spring, the documentary “Eating You Alive” played in select theaters for a special one-night showing. Like documentaries “Forks Over Knives” and “What the Health,” the film focuses on the benefits of a low-fat, plant-based diet, featuring folks who were able to radically improve their health by adopting certain eating habits.

Which Top New Species of 2018 Are You?

May 30, 2018

Did you know that about 18,000 new species are named every year? While that statistic might make it sound like a lot of new animals and plants are being discovered—and hopefully protected—all the time, about 20,000 species are also going extinct every year, International Institute for Species Exploration founding director Quentin Wheeler said in a news release.

A strange thing happened here in Boston over the weekend: The temperature got above freezing.

The massive dumps of snow here this winter have been bad enough, but it's the cold that's really done us in, an unbroken stretch of frigid weather that’s made Massachusetts feel more like Montreal — or Anchorage.

In a city bursting with 20th century history and 21st century glitz, the scrap of Berlin I’ve found myself in on a grey winter’s morning is the definition of ordinary, an American-style mini-mart /gas station where my companions and I are ordering bad coffee to a soundtrack of generic schmaltzy pop.

No one knows for sure what started the West Africa Ebola outbreak, which has killed 10,000 people. But some scientists think it might have begun with a 2-year-old Guinean boy, a hollowed out tree he liked to play in, and a colony of free tailed bats that lived in it.

So the idea of standing in a grove of trees in central Tanzania below hundreds of roosting fruit bats isn’t exactly comforting. But it’s the kind of place the researchers I’m with need to be.