Coming up Wednesday

Wildfires burn through Colorado causing thousands to evacuate, and protests in Turkey are in 13th day. Tune in at 7am ET.
June 11th, 2013
09:20 AM ET

Monster mosquitoes, ants, munching on gadgets – John Berman reports

If you see a trail of ants in your home, look out. They're not just after crumbs. These little critters may be looking to munch on your electronics. A growing breed of these ants is spreading through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida.

John Berman explains on “Starting Point” this morning.

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Filed under: Science
January 9th, 2013
08:16 AM ET

OCEARCH Founder Chris Fischer tracks great white shark 200 yards off Florida coast; warns police

It's a good thing it's not beach season, because a massive great white shark is vacationing close to the Florida coast.

A group of researchers from "OCEARCH" yanked the 35-hundred-pound, 16-foot-long shark out of the water in September, just off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass. They Nicknamed Her "Mary Lee," and she’s being tracked and monitored via GPS by the research group on their website, where you can see her activity from the last 72 hours.

When OCEARCH saw how close Mary Lee came to Jacksonville Beach yesterday—just 200 yards away—they alerted the Jacksonville Beach police. Chris Fischer is the Founder of OCEARCH. He tagged Mary Lee himself, and called Jacksonville Beach Police all the way from Utah to get the warning out. Police told people to stay away. Fischer joins us live this morning with more. Fischer says he named the shark after his mother, who is eager to know if she will be having any "grand sharks".

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Filed under: Science • Technology
December 20th, 2012
11:32 AM ET

What would it be like to grow up with a chimp? Jenny Lee explains in 'Project Nim'

When Jenny Lee was 13, an unusual guest joined her family: a chimpanzee.

Nim, the 3-year old chimp, became "like a brother" to her, Lee says, while he lived and played with her family in a controversial experiment to teach the chimp sign language.

Lee joins "Starting Point" Thursday to discuss Nim's stay with her family, which is featured in an HBO documentary "Project Nim," debuting Thursday on HBO at 9 p.m.

Filed under: Books • Documentary • Science
December 5th, 2012
09:50 AM ET

“The Human Face of Big Data” author and veteran photographer Rick Smolan says ‘Big Data’ offers ‘a new dimension of understanding’

Rick Smolan is the author of “The Human Face of Big Data” and Co-founder of the "America 24/7" and "Day in the Life" photography series. He comes to the studio to explain his book, which demonstrates how real time sensing and visualization of data—from satellites, smartphones, the Internet, computers—has the potential to change every aspect of life on earth.

The concept of is all about being able to collect data, seeing the patterns within it, and turning it into actions to change and impact lives. In "The Human Face of Big Data", Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt illustrate some of the examples of how big data is already giving us a brand new way to see things.

Smolan says there are patterns in the data people collect from everything from our smart devices to our credit cards that are now overlapping and that we are now beginning to perceive. “You’re not just getting more information, you’re getting a new dimension of understanding,” Smolan says. “This is affecting health, transportation, entertainment.”—“National security,” Soledad O’Brien interjects. “Everything,” Smolan says.

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Filed under: Book • Discoveries • Science • Technology
October 15th, 2012
10:55 AM ET

Nik Wallenda on skydiver Felix Baumgartner’s historic jump from edge of space

High wire artist and veteran stuntman Nik Wallenda takes a closer look at Felix Baumgartner’s historic jump from the edge of space on “Starting Point.”

“You know there is a little bit of winging it,” Wallenda says of Baumgartner’s jump from 24 miles above the Earth. “You can only trust science and technology to take you so far… That's where that adrenaline and all that training really, and experience kicks in. He'd done over 250 jumps leading up to that. His military background helped him a lot, I'm sure. And as you saw, as soon as he hit the right altitude he did regain control and all that comes with experience.”

Filed under: Science • Space
August 8th, 2012
01:12 PM ET

Mars rover begins beaming data and images back to Earth

The Mars rover Curiosity is busy explore the Gale Crater and sending back incredible images from the red planet this morning.

NASA released the first color photo of Mars' surface and video of the landing yesterday, and over the next few days we'll see ever more high-res images of the planet.

Scientists expect it will take months for Curiosity to reach a mountain at the center of the crater. It's the primary target of the two-year science mission because it could give valuable insight into whether Mars can sustain life.

American Museum of National History curator Denton Ebel sits down with Brooke and John on Starting Point this morning to explain what scientific information he's looking forward to coming out of the mission.

Filed under: Science • Space
May 29th, 2012
11:13 AM ET

Getting your 'geek' on with the World Science Festival – physicist Brian Greene on the importance of making science 'cool'

The World Science Festival takes place in New York City this year from May 30th to June 3rd. The festival's goal is to bring together the world’s top scientists and artists to make science more exciting and accessible to the public.

Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and his wife Tracy Day, a former tv producer, co-founded the festival five years ago "to shift the place of science in culture," he tells Soledad on "Starting Point."

"It is now at the outskirts. We want to shift it to the cultural center. We want it to be seen the way we look at music, and art, and film, and dance and theater; as something that is indispensable to a full and rich life," he says.

The festival is made up of 50 events that depict science as an adventure, bringing to life the kind of material "that can make your heart pound." This year, John Lithgow narrates the story of "Icharus at the Edge of Time." The event is about a boy that goes to the edge of a black hole. Through an intricate orchestral score by Philip Glass and an animated film, kids and adults learn about the general theory of relativity.

The first four festivals attracted over half a million visitors, and millions more have viewed the programs online. The excitement surrounding the event lines up with Greene's expectations. "We get emails and responses from people that come to the festival that say, 'you have given science back to me,'" Greene says. "When I was in school the teacher made it so boring that I didn't want to have anything to do with it. Now 20, 30 years later, adults are saying 'wow this is what science is!'"

Find out more: World Science Festival homepage

Filed under: Science