Code Switch
1:13 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

National Puerto Rican Day Parade Reorganizes After Misuse Of Funds

Parade onlookers cheer marchers in last year's National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 4:32 pm

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade will be marching down New York City's Fifth Avenue under new leadership this year.

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Science
1:06 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Robot Construction Workers Take Their Cues From Termites

Climbing robots, modeled after termites, can be programmed to work together to build tailor-made structures.
[Image courtesy of Eliza Grinnell, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 6:58 pm

Termites can build huge, elaborate mounds that rise up from the ground like insect skyscrapers; scientists have now created little robots that act like termites to build a made-to-order structure.

"Termites are the real masters of construction in the insect world," says Justin Werfel of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. "The largest termite mound on record was 42 feet tall."

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Television
12:51 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

In 'Whole Gritty City,' Marching Bands Vie For Coveted Mardi Gras Spots

The Whole Gritty City follows young student marching bands as they prepare for coveted spots in the New Orleans parade." href="/post/whole-gritty-city-marching-bands-vie-coveted-mardi-gras-spots" class="noexit lightbox">
Eleven-year-old Jaron "Bear" Williams practices trumpet before marching in his first Mardi Gras season. The Whole Gritty City follows young student marching bands as they prepare for coveted spots in the New Orleans parade.
Courtesy of CBS

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 3:51 pm

There are times when television really does try to put its best foot forward — promoting a new fall season, for example. But it's an almost twisted rule of TV that sometimes, the better a television offering is, the more likely it is to be shown when even the network presenting it doesn't think many people will be watching.

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Politics
12:51 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

A Closer Look At How Corporations Influence Congress

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 3:51 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Corporations work hard to influence Congress and public opinion. My guest, Eric Lipton, is an investigative reporter for the New York Times who's been writing about how corporations work in opaque ways to shape debates on issues ranging from whether we should raise the minimum wage to whether high-fructose corn syrup is less healthy than sugar.

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Texas Voter ID
12:47 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Voter ID Trial Remains On Track Despite Federal Attempt To Postpone

State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, is a plaintiff in the voter ID lawsuit.
Trey Martinez Fischer

Plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Texas voter ID law applauded a Corpus Christi federal judge’s vigilance to retain a September trial date -- the U.S. Department of Justice is now hoping to postpone the case because of logistics issues.

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The Two-Way
12:25 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

VIDEOS: Rappin' And Rockin' School Closing Announcements

Durham Academy Head of School Michael Ulku-Steiner (in foreground) and Assistant Head of School/Upper School Director Lee Hark channeled their inner Vanilla Ice to let students and parents know school is closed today.
DurhamAcademyComm

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 1:56 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:03 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

'I Will Fight Gravity For You,' Said Superman To Lois Lane

Keone and Mari YouTube

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 1:41 pm

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The Two-Way
12:02 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Apple Steps Up The Pressure On 'Conflict Minerals'

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the iPad Air in October 2013. The company says it is publicizing the names of suppliers that are still sourcing minerals from conflict regions.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 1:12 pm

Apple has announced that its suppliers are no longer using the mineral tantalum sourced from conflict regions.

Tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold are among the minerals used to make electronics, and questions about their origins have become a controversial issue because, as The Wall Street Journal reports, "minerals from some of the mines in and around the Democratic Republic of the Congo are blamed for paying for the fighting in the region."

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Code Switch
11:45 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Redefining Hollywood: 'Diversity Makes More Money'

NBCUniversal's The Voice judges Adam Levine (from left), Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green and Blake Shelton at the Season 3 Red Carpet Event at The House of Blues Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, Calif., in 2012.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 6:00 pm

If you spend much time talking about diversity in Hollywood, it's an argument you'll hear often: that ethnic and gender diversity is nice, but it doesn't make a movie profitable or bring ratings to a TV show.

But researchers at the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA have produced a study that just might stick a pin in that defense, sorting through over 1,200 films and TV shows to reach a provocative conclusion:

Diversity makes more money and brings bigger audiences.

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Water Resources
11:35 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Dozens Testify At TCEQ Hearing For LCRA Highland Lakes Water Request

LDuring a November hearing, the LCRA voted to raise the lake level threshold for the Highland Lakes.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

Commissioners with the Texas Commissioner on Environmental Quality spent nearly six hours hearing testimony from those that would be affected by a request from the Lower Colorado River Authority to stop the flow of water coming from the Highland Lakes.

A crowd of about 250 farmers, water planners and state and local officials shared their thoughts with TCEQ about a request from the LCRA to stop the flow of water from the Highland Lakes unless the lakes had a combined storage of 1.1 million acre feet -- more than half full. 

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