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Millennials Keen On Tech, But Want It To Be More Personal – On Science

October 18, 2013

Show engineers the money!

Who’s calling air pollution bad names?

The top terrestrial destination spots for rovers.

And it’s all in the family. Coming up today…On Science!

Hello and welcome to On Science. I’m Emerald Robinson.

Here’s a surprising start to today’s show. A new survey reveals that millennials, people ages 18-24, are the least enthusiastic about technology today and say it makes us less human – even though they grew up tech savvy. It’s because they don’t know what life was like without it! This young generation says that they want technology that is more personal. Guess they want their phone to be their friend. Ninety percent of millennials polled admitted technological innovations make life easier but 60% say that it is dehumanizing. Who is most enthusiastic? Again it’s a little surprising…older women and those living in emerging markets. Researchers say women like when technology solves a problem and helps with organization and time management. I like when my technology actually works. I seem to have a slight problem with that.

And if you’re thinking about a career in innovative technology as a software engineer, then we’ve got the top employers with whom you’ll make bank! Glassdoor ranked the tech companies that pay the best salaries to their software engineers…and topping the list isn’t Google or any of the social media giants; it’s a company known as Juniper. The company makes networking gear and pays an average of nearly 160K a year for their engineers. Linkedin came in second at $136K. Rounding out the top six are Yahoo, Google, Twitter and Apple. But experts say the numbers don’t tell all. For example, Facebook, which comes in 9th, gives employees larger bonuses and more stock options than other tech companies on the list. So who’s hiring?

When NASA or ESA want to test out a new rover, how do they decide where to do it? Why, by referring to their handy-dandy alien world on Earth guide. If you’ve ever wondered what areas of Earth resemble other planets, look no further than The Catalogue of Planetary Analogues, which lists sites on Earth that resemble locations on other celestial bodies. At these sites NASA and ESA can test out new rovers or equipment in otherworldly conditions right here at home. Where are some cool places they test? How about an island located north of Norway or the Atacama Desert, which is a good place to see what kinds of surfaces a rover can cross. Some of the more hostile sites that contain extremophiles can help astrobiologists prepare for how to scour other planets for life. They say the catalogue is a work in progress. It’s kind of like “A Scientists’ Guide to the Hottest Space Testing Destinations.” Can’t you just see that one on the Travel Channel?

So apparently somebody has finally classified air pollution as a carcinogen. But who? (OC “WHO?”) That’s what I asked “who?” (OC- It’s WHO). Haha Gotcha’ I know who. The World Health Organization has officially released a statement that there is “sufficient evidence” to believe that exposure to air pollution causes lung cancer and increases the risk of bladder cancer. Scary! Therefore they have decided to classify outdoor air pollution as “carcinogenic to humans” – that’s the same given to particulate matter. It also shares a category with cigarette smoke, ultraviolet radiation and plutonium. The World Health Organization hopes the classification gets the attention of governments and environmental agencies so something can be done. Or we’re all going to be like this [ holding breath ]. Yeah, I can’t last very long like that.

And here’s something that’s lasted a long time – a really, really old human skull. Scientists uncovered a 1.8 million-year-old skull that suggests that the earliest members of the Homo genus – Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, Homo erectus and the rest of the gang – actually belonged to the same species…but just looked different. The skull, found in the country Georgia, has a small brain cavity with a big face and teeth. It was found next to remains of four other early human ancestors, some animal fossils, and bone tools from the same place and time, which means they lived together at the same time and geological space. These new findings suggest that these diverse fossils actually “represent variation among members of a single, evolving lineage.”

Thanks for being with us today On Science. And if you’re out and about tonight, don’t forget to look up at the moon around 7:50 Eastern Time to see a penumbral eclipse. Have a great night!