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All Tech Considered
3:32 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

With Google's Robot-Buying Binge, A Hat Tip To The Future

A BigDog robot at Boston Dynamics in 2010. The BigDog is being developed to help soldiers carry heavy equipment in the field. It can follow a human being, walking across wet/sandy/rocky terrain, just like a dog would.
Suzanne Kreiter Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 5:56 pm

In less than a year, Google has bought more than a half-dozen robotics companies, setting the industry abuzz. But when I ask Google what it's up to with all these robots, the company won't say a thing.

"They are very careful — they haven't disclosed what they are doing," says Richard Mahoney, the director of the robotics program at SRI International, a nonprofit technology accelerator in Menlo Park, Calif. Mahoney also served on the board of Redwood Robotics, one of the companies Google bought.

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It's All Politics
3:31 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

One Year After Party 'Autopsy,' GOP Touts Progress

Immigration supporters gather during a rally for citizenship on Capitol Hill last year.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 2:57 pm

One year ago, a frank Republican Party assessment of why it came up short in the 2012 presidential election included a stark recommendation.

Embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform, the post-mortem authors urged, or get used to a party whose appeal "will continue to shrink to its core constituents only."

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The Two-Way
3:31 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Sept. 11 Conspirator: Bin Laden's Son-In-Law Had No Military Role

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 4:03 pm

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, made a submission to federal court in Manhattan on behalf of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, who is on trial there. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is "an eloquent, spellbinding speaker," but he did not have any prior knowledge of al-Qaida operations, Mohammed said.

As we reported earlier this month on the first day of Abu Ghaith's trial:

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The Two-Way
3:31 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Third Person Dies After Being Rammed By Car At SXSW

Bystanders rush to help those who were struck by a vehicle early Thursday on Red River Street in Austin, which was crowded with people headed to South by Southwest events.
Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman MCT/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 5:15 pm

A third person has died after being rammed by a car last week during the SXSW festival in Austin.

The Houston Chronicle reports:

"The Travis County Medical Examiner's Office said Austin resident Sandy Le, who had been in critical condition with head injuries, died at University Medical Center Brackenridge after she was hit by a speeding car on Red River Street outside The Mohawk Club last Thursday.

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The Two-Way
3:27 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Army General Pleads Guilty To Adultery; Other Charges Dropped

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair (L) leaves the Fort Bragg Courthouse with his attorney Ellen Brotman, after sexual assault charges against Sinclair were dropped after he pleaded guilty to lesser charges Monday.
Davis Turner Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 5:17 am

Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, who was accused of sexually assaulting a subordinate, has pleaded guilty to lesser charges in a plea deal reached with government prosecutors. A judge accepted the plea deal Monday; the general's sentencing hearing will continue Tuesday.

NPR's Tom Bowman reports for our Newscast unit that the prosecution's case against Sinclair, 51, fell apart because of missteps by the Army command and credibility problems with his accuser:

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Shots - Health News
3:25 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Big Drop In Colon Cancer Fuels Push To Get More People Screened

Many people think that colon cancer screening is no walk in the park. This giant inflatable colon on display at the University of Miami Health System campus was intended to help them think otherwise.
Suzette Laboy AP

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 12:37 pm

The number of people getting colon cancer has fallen by 30 percent over the past decade in people over 50, and much of that progress is due to screening, a study finds.

But a substantial number of people in that target age group still haven't been screened, and a consortium of organizations say they're pushing to get 80 percent of those people screened at least once by 2018.

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The Two-Way
1:24 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Search For Flight MH370 Reportedly Largest In History

Two satellite maps of the possible location of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 are seen at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Monday.
He Jingjia Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 3:34 pm

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has spawned the largest-ever multinational air-sea search — involving ships, airplanes from at least 14 countries and requests for radar information from as many as 26.

The nature of the search, in which such an enormous stretch of the globe is being scoured, is also equally unprecedented, officials say.

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Education
1:21 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Efforts To Close The Achievement Gap In Kids Start At Home

Stephanie Taveras (left) visits Julia Alfaro and her 3-year-old daughter, Ayleen, to read and discuss her vocabulary progress.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 7:34 am

When Andrea Riquetti taught kindergarten in Providence, R.I., the disparity between more affluent students and those from poor families was painfully clear.

"We would read The Very Hungry Caterpillar," she says, "and I would ask them, 'What is this fruit?' And they would call all the fruits just 'fruits,' because they didn't have the specific name."

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Movie Interviews
12:44 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Jason Bateman, Taking A Turn As The Big Bad

Jason Bateman took cues from Arrested Development in portraying the profoundly unsympathetic character Guy Trilby.
Sam Urdank Courtesy of Focus Features

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 3:33 pm

When you see actor Jason Bateman on screen, he's usually playing the nice guy — or at least the nicest guy in the room. On the TV cult favorite Arrested Development, Bateman is easily the heart of the show.

But given the chance to direct a movie, he cast himself as a vulgar sociopath with a gift for coming up with the perfect put-down. The film is Bad Words, and it tells the story of a 40-year-old elbowing his way onto the middle-school spelling-bee circuit, to the frustration of kids, parents and teachers alike.

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All Tech Considered
12:33 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Computers That Know What You Need, Before You Ask

Expect Labs' MindMeld app uses predictive computing to push information to us, instead of us having to ask.
Courtesy of Expect Labs

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 9:14 am

We're already giving voice instructions to virtual personal assistants, like Apple's Siri. But artificial intelligence is getting even smarter. The next wave of behavior-changing computing is a technology called anticipatory computing — systems that learn to predict what you need, even before you ask.

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Shots - Health News
12:32 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Scientists Search For Toxins In Cigarette Smoke Residue

Long after the smoke is gone, carcinogenic chemicals remain.
Victoria Alexandrova iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 12:34 pm

Everybody knows smoking is hazardous. Being around someone who smokes isn't such a good idea either. "There's no safe amount of secondhand smoke," the surgeon general has said.

Now thirdhand smoke is getting scrutiny. What's thirdhand smoke? It's the residue from smoke that settles onto clothes, hair, furniture or anything else in a smoker's vicinity.

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Shots - Health News
11:38 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Even If You Don't Have Symptoms, You May Still Have The Flu

Just the sniffles? Could be the flu.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 4:33 pm

Fever, muscle aches, nausea — these are what we usually associate with having the flu.

But just because you don't exhibit these symptoms, it doesn't mean you don't have the flu, researchers say. And you could be just as contagious. In fact, their study found that roughly three-quarters of people with seasonal or pandemic flu show either no symptoms or mild ones that aren't usually linked to flu.

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The Two-Way
11:31 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Attorneys General Ask Big Retailers To Pull Tobacco From Stores

CVS announced last month that it would no longer sell cigarettes and tobacco products in its stores beginning Oct. 1.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 10:53 am

Attorneys general from 28 states are urging drugstores and large retailers to stop selling tobacco products. In letters sent to Kroger, Wal-Mart, and other store chains, the officials ask companies to follow the example of pharmacy chain CVS, which announced last month that it's going to stop selling tobacco products.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
11:30 am
Mon March 17, 2014

A New Window On The Big Bang Has Been Opened

The BICEP2 telescope at twilight, which occurs only twice a year at the South Pole.
Steffen Richter Harvard University

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 8:49 am

It's not every day that a new window on the birth of the universe is thrown open. It's not every day that human beings get the chance to leap into the void and have their conceptions of space and time stretched to the limits. It's not every day that we see the wildest dreams of scientists realized, written into the fabric of space and time and light.

Today appears to be one of those days.

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The Salt
11:07 am
Mon March 17, 2014

The Dark History Of Green Food On St. Patrick's Day

Green cupcakes may mean party time in America, but in Ireland, emerald-tinged edibles harken back to a desperate past.
Ro Jo Images iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 6:03 am

Green food may mean party time in America, where St. Patrick's Day has long been an excuse to break out the food dye. But in Ireland, where the Irish celebrate their patron saint on March 17, green food has bitter connotations that recall the nation's darkest chapter, says historian Christine Kinealy.

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