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Technology

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

One week after Apple's new mobile payment system, Apple Pay, debuted in CVS stores, CVS has backtracked and barred its use. Rite Aid took the same step, leading many observers to note that the two companies are part of a group of retailers that's developing its own payment system, called CurrentC. Partners include Wal-Mart, Best Buy and 7-Eleven.

"If someone you know is sick with sudden fever, diarrhea or vomiting, you should call 117 for advice."

"Healthcare workers who take care of Ebola patients have to wear protective clothes do not be afraid of them."

"People with Ebola who go to the health centre early have a better chance of survival."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Never mind political technology, advances in other technology mean that you, too, can be like Dorothy in "The Wizard Of Oz." That's the movie where she discovers how she can go home to Kansas.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE WIZARD OF OZ")

There are plenty of real trees in Ramat HaNadiv. Oaks, pine and willow line the trails that circle through this nature park near Mount Carmel in northern Israel.

And planted in the gravel at the edge of one clearing is a new species, the solar powered tree.

Biologically speaking, of course, all trees are powered by the sun. But this is different.

It's the weekend, which means it's time to look back on the week in technology that was. As your handy NPR One listening app says, here we go...

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Facebook launched a new app this week. It's called Rooms but really there's nothing new about it.

Today's mobile phones can do almost everything a computer can. But we still need them for their most basic purpose: making phone calls — especially in emergencies.

Yet existing technology can't always pinpoint a caller's location, particularly when a 911 caller is indoors.

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed new regulations for wireless carriers to help address the problem, but so far, wireless providers are resisting the changes.

This story is part of the New Boom series on millennials in America.

We've all heard that automated voice mail lady, telling us what to do after the beep. But fewer people than ever are leaving messages. And the millennials, they won't even listen to them — they'd much rather receive a text or Facebook message.

"I did have at one point in time like 103 unheard messages," says 31-year-old Antonia Kidd.

The map above combines drone images with yellow dots that track the movement of macaques as determined by a GPS collar.

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday spoke with officials in China about data security and privacy. This meeting comes on the heels of a reported attack against users of Apple's iCloud service in China. Hackers allegedly were able to get hold of users' data by intercepting traffic on the Internet. They did not break into Apple servers.

The protractor and the Bunsen burner. Playing the recorder in music class. Drawing arcs and circles with a compass in geometry. These tools of the education trade become part of our lives for a semester or two and then we move on.

Today, NPR Ed begins a new series examining these icons of the classroom. We start off with a device that once was essential to higher-level math, in school and in the workplace, but now has all but disappeared:

The slide rule.

Everyone hates the sheer agony of an umbrella flipping inside out in a windy rainstorm. Even with the best umbrellas, this happens all too often.

As the ongoing, harassment-fueled controversy known as Gamergate rages into its second month with no sign of dying down, the Pew Research Center is out with new numbers on online harassment.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

With the right equipment, people can hijack your cellphone, listen to your calls and read your texts, alarming privacy rights advocates and tech experts alike.

We know the eavesdropping is happening, but we don't know much about who's doing the listening. The police and other law enforcement agencies do it, but they have been restricted by the FBI from telling us about it. Beyond the police, the listeners could be the U.S. government, corporate spies or even foreign intelligence agencies.

The Yarmulke Comes To 3-D Printing

Oct 21, 2014

What do you get when you combine a computer science background with Judaica? A 3-D printed kippah.

Craig Kaplan, an associate professor in the Computer Graphics Lab at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, rarely leaves the house without his Panama hat in warmer weather.

He wanted to design a 3-D printed version of the traditional hat, but he decided to start with an easier shape to reproduce: a yarmulke, or kippah — a plate-shaped head covering worn by observant Jews.

Modern computer science is dominated by men. But it hasn't always been this way.

A lot of computing pioneers — the people who programmed the first digital computers — were women. And for decades, the number of women studying computer science was growing faster than the number of men. But in 1984, something changed. The percentage of women in computer science flattened, and then plunged, even as the share of women in other technical and professional fields kept rising.

What happened?

One night last fall, I was walking through Chinatown in Washington, D.C., with my friend Terryn. We were not far from a dude who was in his mid-20s — slim, with neat, shoulder-length locks, skinny chinos, loafers and a leather briefcase slung across his torso — standing on the corner, his arm raised skyward. He was trying without luck to hail a cab.

This Sunday, Tunisia — the country that gave birth to Arab Spring — will elect a Parliament. Millions of citizens will vote at the polls, and thousands will run for office.

It's a sea change since the days of ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. But behind the political gains, there is a sad fact: The new democracy is at an economic standstill. The technology sector — which many say could deliver jobs to unemployed young people — is victim to political inertia.

Startups In A Closed Economy

On Monday, Apple is rolling out a new way to pay: a digital wallet called Apple Pay. Millions of people with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will be able to tap — rather than swipe — at the register.

The move could be a major change in how we shop. Or it could end up as a blip on the map that fades away, as other "mobile wallets" have in the past.

Here are some questions you might be asking:

I have a leather wallet in my back pocket. Am I going to have it a year from now, given this mobile-wallet revolution?

Chinese characters don't readily work with the English-centric internet. The New Republic's Chris Beam tells NPR's Scott Simon that the Chinese use numbers that when pronounced, sound like words. This story air originally on Weekend Edition Saturday on May 10, 2014.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

When you think about robots, if you do, you might think of famous images from science fiction, some kind of tin can built to vaguely resemble a human being.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "STAR WARS: EPISODE 1 - THE PHANTOM MENACE")

How will technology and gaming need to change to be welcoming for women? We've been exploring the issue for years. This week, the debate rages anew with a development out of Silicon Valley, and a new chapter in the still raging Gamergate controversy.

As a neurosurgeon in Connecticut, Dr. Katrina Firlik saw too many patients make the same mistakes, over and over again.

At her hospital in Greenwich she'd see patients with hemorrhagic strokes that could have been prevented. "They didn't take their hypertension medications for the last couple decades," she says.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

In the Silicon Valley arms race to lure the top talent with the best benefits, Facebook and Apple are adding egg freezing for female employees. The two companies may be the first to pay for the procedure for women who choose it to delay childbearing.

The addition of egg-freezing to the benefits plan comes as tech companies face mounting pressure to hire more women. And it's a perk that some women may find attractive.

In the aftermath of disasters like earthquakes, fires and severe weather events, the rush to both alert and check on family and friends can crash telecommunications networks. During the freak 2011 Virginia earthquake, which rattled the nation's capital and damaged the Washington Monument, panicked phone calls quickly overloaded the phone network.

Facebook's newest tool, known as Safety Check, aims to allow people to quickly alert friends and family that they are safe after a natural disaster.

For borrowers in default, the repo man is no longer the one to fear — it's Big Brother. Growing numbers of lenders are getting tech savvy, remotely disabling debtors' cars and tracking customer data to ensure timely payment of subprime auto loans. The practice has created problems for consumers and raises privacy concerns.

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