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All Tech Considered
12:07 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Government Tech Problems: Blame The People Or The Process?

HealthCare.gov's failures are prompting a closer look at the federal government's out-of-date technology.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:37 pm

Thanks to epic problems with HealthCare.gov's rollout, the federal government's out-of-date technology processes have received more attention than most of us could have expected. The main doorway for millions of Americans to get health insurance was unusable for two months, but that screw-up is just one in a long line of government IT failures.

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The Two-Way
12:04 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Watson, IBM's 'Jeopardy!' Champ, Gets Its Own Business Division

Jeopardy! contestant Ken Jennings, who won a record 74 consecutive games, concedes to supercomputer opponent Watson in February 2011.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 3:06 am

Ever wonder what happens to all those Jeopardy! champions once they leave the stage? Watson, an IBM supercomputer, got its own business division.

You might recall that Watson, named after longtime CEO Thomas J. Watson, crushed its human opponents on the popular television game show back in February 2011.

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The Two-Way
12:03 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

NSA Says It Would Welcome Public Advocate At FISA Court

The National Security Agency headquarters building in Fort Meade, Md.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 9:45 am

  • NSA's John Inglis on why you need a haystack
  • NSA's John Inglis compares what Edward Snowden did to arson

The National Security Agency "would welcome" the creation of a public advocate's position at the court that oversees its electronic surveillance programs, said its outgoing deputy director.

John C. "Chris" Inglis, who retires Friday after more than seven years as the NSA's No. 2, told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that "I would only put the caveat on there that it needs to be operationally efficient."

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The Two-Way
10:23 am
Thu January 9, 2014

More Slow-But-Steady News: Fewer Jobless Claims Filed

Looking for work in Florida. At a November career fair in West Palm Beach, this man had a job application in hand.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 9:15 am

There were 330,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, down 15,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

The claims data are the last bits of evidence about how the labor market is doing before Friday's scheduled release of figures on the December unemployment rate and payroll growth.

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The Two-Way
10:22 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Loehmann's To Liquidate; Macy's Cuts Jobs In Reorganization

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 9:21 am

Discount retailer Loehmann's, which has been in business for more than 90 years, will begin liquidating its inventory on Thursday.

A bankruptcy court in Manhattan on Wednesday authorized three outside groups to conduct "going out of business" sales for the retailer.

The company blamed its demise on declining economic conditions, intense competition from other off-price and outlet retailers as well as competition online.

Loehmann's has 93 stores in 11 states.

Macy's To Reorganize

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It's All Politics
10:22 am
Thu January 9, 2014

How Long Is Too Long? Congress Revisits Mandatory Sentences

Inmates walk around a recreation yard at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, Calif., in January 2012.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 10:14 am

Mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug dealers were once viewed as powerful levers in the nation's war against drugs, a way to target traffickers, and punish kingpins and masterminds.

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The Two-Way
10:21 am
Thu January 9, 2014

An 'Embarrassed And Humiliated' Gov. Christie Apologizes

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks Thursday during a news conference Thursday at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 5:54 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': WNYC's Matt Katz talks with Renee Montagne about the New Jersey bridge scandal
  • Gov. Christie: 'I had no knowledge'
This post was updated with the latest news at 8:45 p.m. ET.

Saying he is "embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some people on my team," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday apologized to the people of New Jersey for his aides' role in a scheme to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee by closing lanes that lead to the George Washington Bridge.

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The Two-Way
10:20 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Aurora Watchers 'May Be In Luck' As Solar Flare Reaches Earth

A coronal mass ejection (CME) exploding off the surface of the sun in an image captured Tuesday by the European Space Agency and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 2:32 pm

Update at 3:05 p.m. ET:

NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center now reports:

"The coronal mass ejection (CME), originally expected to arrive around 0800 UTC (3:00 a.m. EST) today, January 9, was observed at the ACE spacecraft just upstream of Earth at 1932 UTC (2:32 p.m. EST)."

The SWPC goes on to say that "the original forecast continues to be for G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm activity on January 9 and 10."

"Aurora watchers may be in luck for tonight."

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The Two-Way
10:20 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Pakistani Teen Dies Stopping Bomber From Striking School

Pakistani security personnel examine the site of a suicide bombing in the Ibrahimzai area of Hangu, Pakistan, on Monday. The bombing killed 15-year-old Aitizaz Hasan, who prevented the bomber from attacking a school.
Basit Shah AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 9:02 am

A teenager who was killed after reportedly stopping a suicide bomber at a school in northwest Pakistan is being hailed as a hero.

Aitizaz Hasan, 15, was late for school on Monday and as a punishment wasn't allowed to attend assembly, the Express Tribune newspaper said.

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The Two-Way
10:19 am
Thu January 9, 2014

French Court Rules Controversial Comedian's Show Can Go Ahead

A French court has ruled that comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, seen here on May 13, 2009, can perform Thursday night in Nantes, France.
Remy de la Mauviniere AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 9:27 am

A French comedian whose performances authorities want to ban because of the act's perceived anti-Semitism has been given the go-ahead to perform in the city of Nantes, France.

A court ruled Thursday that Dieudonne M'bala M'bala's show Thursday night that will open his nationwide tour can go ahead. About 5,000 tickets have been sold for the performance.

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Parallels
10:18 am
Thu January 9, 2014

No Rain On His Parade: Parisian Preserves Art Of Umbrella Repair

An estimated 15 million umbrellas are thrown away in France each year. Thierry Millet is trying to change that, one umbrella repair at a time.
Lejeune Maxppp /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:21 am

When an umbrella breaks, most people just throw it away — and pick up another one, from a street vendor or maybe a drugstore.

But what if you got it repaired instead? Would you even be able to find someone who could do the work?

In Paris, it's still possible, but just barely. What was once a thriving profession has dwindled dramatically. These days, Thierry Millet, 58, says he is the city's last umbrella repairman.

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The Two-Way
10:18 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Book News: Cache Of Letters From 'Frankenstein' Author Found

An image of author Mary Shelley, circa 1830.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 4:40 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:17 am
Thu January 9, 2014

A Rain Forest Begins With Rain, Right? Is This A Trick Question?

MinuteEarth YouTube

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 10:50 am

Think of a rain forest — rich with trees, covered by clouds, wet all the time.

Then ask yourself, how did this rain forest get started?

I ask, because the answer is so going to surprise you. It's not what you think.

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The Two-Way
10:17 am
Thu January 9, 2014

The Case Against Clemency: Expert Says Snowden's Leaks Hurt Security

The National Security Agency headquarters building in Fort Meade, Md.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 8:25 am

A former NSA general counsel tells NPR's Morning Edition that Edward Snowden advertised his theft of government secrets as an act of civil disobedience and should take responsibility.

"He did the crime — he should do the time," says Stewart Baker, also a former assistant secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush.

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Shots - Health News
10:16 am
Thu January 9, 2014

How Medigap Coverage Turns Medicare Into A Health Care Buffet

How about back surgery, a cardiac catheterization and an MRI scan?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:01 pm

Restaurants know customers eat more at fixed-price buffets than when they pay a la carte. Economists have been saying for years that the same kind of behavior goes on in the federal Medicare program for seniors and the disabled.

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