Science & Technology

All Tech Considered
5:18 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Robot 'Olympics' Test Machines On Human Skills

Atlas, a humanoid robot, is competing against 16 other robots in a Pentagon-sponsored contest this weekend.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 5:46 pm

Under throbbing loudspeakers at a NASCAR track south of Miami, vaguely humanoid robots with two legs, four legs and tank treads take up garages that normally house race cars.

The robots, along with researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lockheed Martin, NASA and 13 other teams from around the world, are in Homestead, Fla., for the robot Olympics on Friday and Saturday.

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The Two-Way
4:47 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Astronauts Ready For Marathon Spacewalks

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy performs a spacewalk in May to inspect and replace a pump controller box on the International Space Station. On Saturday, two astronauts will perform the first in a series of similar spacewalks to fix a broken cooling line on the ISS.
AP

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 5:46 pm

NASA astronauts will be heading out to conduct critical repairs on the International Space Station early Saturday morning. The 6 1/2-hour spacewalk, the first in a series, will replace a faulty piece of cooling equipment.

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Planet Money
4:01 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Will A Computer Decide Whether You Get Your Next Job?

In an effort to hire better job candidates, some companies are replacing paper resumes with tests designed to collect big data from job applicants.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 5:46 pm

Xerox runs 175 call centers around the world. In all, the centers employ more than 50,000 customer service agents who deal with questions about everything from cellphone bills to health insurance.

Teri Morse, who is in charge of recruiting all those people, says the company had a problem: It was hiring people who just weren't a good fit.

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All Tech Considered
2:05 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

The 'Blacks In Tech' Series Wraps, But Let's Keep Talking

Omar Wasow founded BlackPlanet, one of the earliest social networks, but isn't as widely recognized as the founders of Facebook or Myspace.
Willi Wong

Editor's Note: As part of Tell Me More's three-week-long Twitter exploration of black innovators in the tech sector, digital lifestyle expert Mario Armstrong analyzed the tweets and the conversations going on under the hashtag #NPRBlacksinTech. The series wraps today. Below, he looks back on what we've learned.

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All Tech Considered
1:42 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Week That Was: Bay Area Economy, NSA Ruling, Tech Execs In D.C.

President Obama and Vice President Biden met with tech executives at the White House on Wednesday.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Before we slow things down for the final two weeks of 2013 — you'll still get fresh stories and posts here, but at a slower clip — let's look back at tech in one of the last weeks of the year.

ICYMI

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Shots - Health News
11:11 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Angelina Didn't Help Educate People About Breast Cancer Risk

A celebrity's efforts to educate the public about health risk may have very limited effects.
Evan Agostini AP

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:47 pm

Remember when Angelina Jolie decided to have a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer? The Hollywood star revealed her experience in The New York Times in May.

Her story got a lot of people talking about preventive mastectomies. But it didn't do much to increase people's understanding of breast cancer risk, a study found.

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Technology
11:07 am
Fri December 20, 2013

#NPRBlacksInTech: Creating Technology 'Comes From Passion'

Tell Me More has sparked Twitter discussions around diversity in tech at #NPRBlacksinTech. For more on why there's a racial disparity in tech, host Michel Martin talks with physicist Reginald Farrow, entrepreneur Deena Pierott and middle school student Miles Peterson.

The Salt
10:04 am
Fri December 20, 2013

They're Back! Chesapeake Oysters Return To Menus After Rebound

A plate of Sweet Jesus oysters grown in Chesapeake Bay by Hollywood Oyster Co. in Hollywood, Md.
Katy Adams Courtesy Clyde's Restaurant Group

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 11:44 am

The history of the Chesapeake Bay oyster hasn't always been a pure one. So you could forgive a chef for being skeptical about the big bivalve comeback being staged in D.C. and the surrounding area this winter as oyster season gets underway.

But many mid-Atlantic chefs are actually cheering. That's because a major public-private effort to re-establish the oyster as a quality local food product — as well as a weapon against water pollution — seems to be working.

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Krulwich Wonders...
5:27 am
Fri December 20, 2013

One Man. One Cat. Multiplied

Courtesy of Mike Holmes

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 10:08 am

We start with a man called Mike and a cat called Ella. Two creatures.

Nothing odd about them, except that Mike has a beard and Ella is a touch chunky. Otherwise, they could be any cat and guy. Except ...

When you think about it, no one is ordinary. You could put a totally bland cat-and-guy couple in front of a hundred people, ask them to look, and each one would see a very different pair, different in a thousand subtle ways, because everybody looks at everything with different eyes.

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Brain Candy
4:10 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Do Crossword Puzzles Really Stave Off Dementia?

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:13 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. Play along here: The subject of our next story is nine letters long. It's a type of word puzzle. Answers go horizontally and vertically in this grid of squares. I've probably given it away, haven't I? Yes, it's a crossword. And tomorrow, the venerable crossword puzzle turns 100 years old. In its first century, the game has gained legions of fans around the world and a reputation for staving off dementia. NPR's Adam Cole takes a look at the history and the hype.

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