3D Transistors, Fertilizer Runoff and Frappuccino Straws

BY Jenny Marder  May 5, 2011 at 2:33 PM EDT

How Intel’s 3D Tech Redefines the Transistor (FAQ)

CNET.jpgIntel* announced today it will base all upcoming processors on 3D, or tri-gate transistors. This marks a move toward computers getting cheaper and faster. But we’re waging that not a lot of folks outside computerland understand what it all means. CNET’s provided us a primer here. (Brooke Crothers, CNET)

52 Years and $750 Million Prove Einstein Was Right

New York Times.jpg Here’s a bright, smart, funny article on the Gravity Probe B, a set of orbiting gyroscopes that confirms some of the weirdest aspects of Einstein’s general relativity theory. The article describes the experiment, founded, it says, “on a tour de force of technology and just plain stubbornness,” but also provides some helpful reminders, with metaphors of sagging mattresses and frappuccino straws, on the science behind Einstein’s theories. (Dennis Overbye, The New York Times)

Floods Raise Runoff Concerns

WSJ.jpgThe Wall Street Journal addresses one possible unwanted outcome from this week’s series of flood control breaches along the Mississippi River Valley. Unleashing torrents of water into farmland could result in deangerous amounts of fertilizer runoff washing into the Mississippi. And in turn, “the largest-ever summertime depletion of oxygen in the Gulf of Mexico, posing a substantial risk to marine life.” (Jeffrey Ball, The Wall Street Journal)

Australian Fur Seals are Losing Their Fur

Wired.jpgResearchers are working to find the cause of widespread fur loss among young Australian fur seals. About half of the females studied had the mysterious condition. The animals rely on thick fur coats for maintaining body temperature and regulating energy. (Jane J. Lee, Wired Science)

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*For the record, Intel is an underwriter of the NewsHour.