Science and Technology

Science news

NASA

Tennessee astronaut Barry "Butch" Wilmore spent more than six hours Wednesday working outside the International Space Station. Wilmore, who’s been aboard for about six months, was helping prepare the station for the arrival of private space taxis. 

NASA

Updated March 12: Butch Wilmore returned to Earth yesterday from the International Space Station, landing in remote Kazakhstan. He has spent a total of 178 days in space.

Meet Barry “Butch” Wilmore, your friendly local astronaut.

Wilmore grew up in Mt. Juliet and went to Tennessee Tech University and the University of Tennessee. Then he enlisted in the Navy, became a pilot and then — an astronaut.

Emily Siner / WPLN

Updated Jan. 28 to include statements from competing internet providers

A few minutes before noon Tuesday at Nashville’s Entrepreneur Center, a wall partition lifted and revealed a sign on stage: “Nashville, Fiber is coming.”

Google Fiber’s long-anticipated announcement brought a flurry of excitement from Nashville entrepreneurs, who hope it could thrust the city’s technology industry into the spotlight.

Google Fiber screenshot

Updated Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.: Citing unnamed sources, the Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Google Fiber will expand to four metro areas — Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham and Nashville. WPLN's Emily Siner will be live tweeting Nashville's press conference at noon. Follow @SinerSays for more.

Brent Whitmore / / Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Inside a lab at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Reyna Gordon is holding up a tangle of elastic wires connected to electrodes.

“For the kids, we call it a spaghetti hat,” she says with a laugh.

Gordon, a music cognition researcher, fits the spaghetti hat over my head like a shower cap. The electrodes touch dozens of points on my skull. This is how she looks at my brain waves, she explains.

Emily Siner / WPLN

    

Todd Oney with the Nashville Electric Service is pointing to a utility pole next to I-40. There’s electricity at the top, then telephone at the bottom, and in the middle, three black cable lines.

“One’s Comcast, one’s our own cable, and … I’m not sure who owns the third one,” he says, as cars zoom by.

Tennessee may once again be home to the world’s fastest supercomputer — and that’s not an easy title to keep. It announced last month it’s building a machine capable of running several times faster than the current leader in China.

The Oak Ridge National Lab supercomputing director talks to reporter Emily Siner about just how powerful that is.

Emily Siner / WPLN

Nashville’s Music City Center has had 750,000 visitors since it opened about a year and a half ago — and a lot of them have probably gotten lost. 

The convention center spans 1.2 million square feet over several floors. To help people find their way, the MCC released a smartphone app, called Music City Center. I tried it out after the official launch event Wednesday morning.

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