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As the coronavirus spreads and disrupts life across the country, Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans are facing a secondary threat: racism.

The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, and some now blame the country for its global spread. In recent weeks, blame has escalated into reports of harassment and even assault in places with large communities of Asian Americans.

With very few people booking Airbnbs or taking Uber rides right now, millions of people in the gig economy are seeing their livelihoods abruptly upended.

Take Ed Bell, in San Francisco, who rents out his in-law suite on Airbnb. That is his main source of income — he calls it his "gig" — supplemented by "side hustles" doing consulting work.

As a global pandemic takes hold, more people are turning to Facebook in search of news about the coronavirus.

But the traffic load on the social media platform is also testing its ability to crack down on a spike in virus-related misinformation. Users are being confronted with phony cures and conspiracy theories around the virus' origin. (Note: Facebook is a financial supporter of NPR.)

For 6-year-old Sadie Hernandez, the first day of online school started at her round, wooden kitchen table in Jacksonville, Fla. She turned on an iPad and started talking to her first grade teacher, Robin Nelson.

"Are you ready to do this online stuff?" her teacher asks, in a video sent to NPR by Hernandez's mother, Audrey.

"Yeah," Sadie responds.
"It's kind of scary isn't it?"
"Kind of."

The coronavirus has infected more than 450,000 people worldwide, and now cybersecurity experts are warning the pandemic could take a toll on computer systems, as well.

Many companies that usually handle sensitive information in their offices are now telling employees to work from home. And that can make them more vulnerable to hackers — especially if workers browse certain websites they wouldn't visit when the boss is watching.

In other words, porn.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

All right. There has been lots to adjust to during this whole coronavirus pandemic, wouldn't you say, Ari?

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Absolutely. For those of us working from home, we've had to learn how to video conference, for example.

Joe Biden is a classic retail politician — a man who loves to shake hands, give hugs, take selfies and look voters directly in the eye, one-on-one. But now he can't do any of those things.

Instead, because of the coronavirus outbreak, his campaign is grounded: no rallies, no travel. It's all virtual fundraisers, live-streamed speeches, remote TV interviews, Facebook videos and volunteer Slack channels.

The federal government is now adding supercomputers to its tool set in the hunt for ways to stop COVID-19.

Like a fast-moving echo of the pandemic itself, music that confronts coronavirus is multiplying rapidly. A playlist created by Spotify "data alchemist" Glenn McDonald has been tracking songs about the ongoing pandemic, and the resulting daily chart is astounding. More than 400 songs have made the list since McDonald created it two weeks ago.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode IRL Online.

About Margrethe Vestager's TED Talk

When we shop in a store, we're used to having options. But in a digital economy controlled by tech monopolies, choice isn't built in. Margrethe Vestager is on a mission to change that.

About Margrethe Vestager

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode IRL Online.

About Claire Wardle's TED Talk

How does a set of misleading videos online turn into a dangerous health crisis... all in the span of three days? Claire Wardle discusses the real life consequences of misinformation online.

About Claire Wardle

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode IRL Online

About Zeynep Tufekci's TED Talk

With so much data collected on our online behavior, it's bound to be misused. Sociologist Zeynep Tufekci says to rebuild trust in the internet, we need to entirely restructure how it operates.

About Zeynep Tufekci

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode IRL Online.

About Adam Alter's TED Talk

Within the last decade, we've opted to replace time spent on hobbies, exercise, and conversation with screen time. Social psychologist Adam Alter describes ways we can reclaim our attention.

About Adam Alter

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode IRL Online.

About Edward Snowden's TED Talk

Edward Snowden revealed government programs that collected our private data. Today, he says private corporations have become just as intrusive—but without the restraints placed on government.

About Edward Snowden

Hundreds of Israelis were startled Wednesday by an unsolicited text message.

"Hello. According to an epidemiological investigation," it began, addressing each recipient by name. "You were near someone sick with the coronavirus. You must immediately isolate at home [14 days] to protect your relatives and the public. ... This information will be used only for this purpose and will be erased when no longer needed. Sincerely, public health services."

Some people look at the weeks ahead and wonder how they will keep themselves from going stir crazy.

Across the U.S., new restrictions have limited in-person gatherings in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus infection, as concern grows from watching its effects on the hard-hit populations of China and Italy, where thousands have died.

Bowing to increasing pressure to do so, President Trump announced Wednesday he would use a law dating back to the early years of the Cold War to address serious shortages of supplies needed for responding to the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

Like so many other parents around the country, I was transitioning to full-time remote work last week while preparing to support my family through a crisis.

That's when my 10-year-old son, Kenzo, came home with a large, Ziploc bag full of school supplies.

It included an iPad with various apps to enable him to attend class virtually, where his teacher will take attendance at 8 a.m. Tiny icons representing his teacher and classmates will appear in the corner of the screen. She can address the class, hear students respond and track their assignments.

Updated at 5:49 p.m. ET

More people are shifting to the digital world as life outside the home is put on hold. That's putting a lot of pressure on companies to keep connections up when all their employees are trying to telework at the same time. It's also posing challenges for Internet video conferencing services.

In South Korea and Italy in recent weeks, people stuck in their homes are using the Internet a lot more.

Uber is pausing its pool service, and Lyft is suspending its shared rides feature in the United States and Canada in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Those services let passengers headed in the same direction carpool in exchange for cheaper fares.

But as cities tell people to avoid nonessential travel and stay at least 6 feet away from one another, Uber and Lyft say they are supporting public health guidance.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, the emergency we face is a medical crisis, an economic crisis and a crisis of information. That is how the World Health Organization's Director-General Tedros Adhanom put it recently.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

To limit exposure to the coronavirus, many companies across the U.S. are urging, and some are mandating, that employees work from home.

Plenty of employees are embracing the new rules, happy to avoid their daily commute and to work in their pajamas. But when a company's employees are suddenly no longer under one roof, it can be a nightmare for managers.

But it doesn't have to be.

When the U.S. government took its first satellite photos in 1960, it wasn't easy getting those pictures back to Earth.

After the satellite took the pictures, the film was dropped from space in a capsule attached to a parachute. A military plane with a large hook flew by to collect the capsule in midair over the Pacific Ocean.

The Ford Bronco Nears A Return

Mar 10, 2020

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Bronco - back in the Old West, a bronco was an unbroken or imperfectly broken range horse.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

In modern Denver, it's the name of a football team trying to regain past glory.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The city of Austin, Texas, has canceled South by Southwest, after a disaster was declared in response to the expanding coronavirus.

The annual event is a staple for the technology, music and film worlds; last year's edition drew more than 400,000 visitors to the city. The 2020 edition was slated to take place March 13 to 22.

In a statement Friday afternoon, SXSW said: "The city of Austin has canceled the March dates for SXSW and SXSW EDU. SXSW will faithfully follow the city's directions."

It's 2016 all over again — at least from Russia's perspective.

Russia's state-sponsored messaging about Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign was more neutral in the fall.

But over the past six weeks, this coverage has shifted to mirror pro-Sanders talking points first used in the last presidential campaign, said Clint Watts of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, who has been monitoring Russian interference continuously.

"What's really come on strong just in the last 30 to 45 days are very similar narratives that we saw in 2016 about Sanders," Watts told NPR.

Russia's trolling specialists have evolved their disinformation and agitation techniques to become subtler and tougher to track, according to new research unveiled on Thursday.

A cache of Instagram posts captured by researchers showed that the Russians were "better at impersonating candidates" and that influence-mongers "have moved away from creating their own fake advocacy groups to mimicking and appropriating the names of actual American groups," wrote Young Mie Kim, a University of Wisconsin professor who analyzed the material with her team.

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