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.
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.
A lettuce thinner created by an agricultural tech startup uses cameras and sensors to thin lettuce rows. Salinas, Calif., has hired a venture capital fund to help it attract other high-tech agricultural companies to the area.
Salinas is just one hour south of California's Silicon Valley, but generations behind when it comes to technology. Many of its sprawling lettuce farms are stuck in the era of rakes and hoes.
City officials are hoping to change that — and also spur some job growth — by investing in high-tech agriculture.
At Taylor Farms in Salinas, Andrew Fernandez, the company's vice president of product, is stepping on heads of crunchy romaine lettuce, making his way over to a very big tractor. It's a water jet knife machine, and it's on the cutting edge of lettuce farming technology.
Right in the middle of holiday shopping season, some 40 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen in a major breach of Target customer data. The thefts occurred in stores, not online. Target says it's working with a forensics company to investigate and prevent similar data thefts from occurring in the future. Security experts say one way to limit them is to switch from magnetic stripes on cards to embedded chips.
The human love affair with cats has a long history. But just how long has always been a mystery. That's because little was known about how and when cats were domesticated. Now, scientists say they've uncovered new clues in a trail of evidence going back some 5,300 years in a small village in China. Joining us is Fiona Marshall, an archaeologist at Washington University in St. Louis, and co-author of a study on cat domestication. Welcome to the program.
FIONA MARSHALL: Thank you very much. Delighted to talk about cats.