Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 9:01 am
A Chinese spacecraft made a soft landing on the surface of the moon on Saturday, China's state television is reporting.
Televised images showed the control room at the Aerospace Control Center in Beijing erupted into applause at about 8:10 a.m. ET. Almost immediately, the lander started to deploy its solar panels and began running a systems check.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 7:03 am
All this month, our friends at Tell Me More are digging into the role of blacks in technology. You can join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #NPRBlacksInTech.
Software development is a huge and growing industry, and there are likely to be far more jobs in the future than there are folks to do them. But today, there's a paucity of blacks and Latinos in software development positions.
In an image taken of a test flight, an Amazon Prime Air drone carries a package. The online retailer could begin 30-minute deliveries within four to five years, CEO Jeff Bezos told <em><em>60 Minutes</em></em> Sunday.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 12:21 pm
Amazon is looking at drastically reducing its delivery times — to 30 minutes or less — as it plans a new service called Prime Air that it says could debut in a few years. In an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes, CEO Jeff Bezos said the giant online retailer plans to use semi-autonomous drones to carry purchases to customers.
That's got tech experts buzzing about whether the idea will fly.
Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 11:07 am
White House officials say the government's health insurance website, which has been plagued with problems ever since it launched in October, is now working smoothly for most users.
"The site is now stable and operating at its intended capacity with greatly improved performance," Jeffrey Zients, the president's appointee to fix the site, said during a telephone conference with reporters on Sunday. The bottom line, said Zients, is that Healthcare.gov is "night and day" from what it was at launch.
As I write this, snowstorms are swirling over the East Coast, threatening Thanksgiving holiday travel plans for millions of travelers. How much time in the purgatory of airports will this mean for you? Check out FlightAware's MiseryMap, which combines weather and flight data into a live map that lists which airports are being struck by storms, the number of delays and cancellations, and graphs that show flight destinations and the chances they'll actually make it on time.
Why should sex feel bad? It shouldn't, and Bill Gates is offering $100,000 to the inventor of a condom that puts the pleasure back in sex. And, it isn't just about pleasure. Scientists at the University of Manchester's National Graphene Institute say a "redesigned condom that overcomes inconvenience, fumbling, or perceived loss of pleasure would be a powerful weapon in the fight against poverty."
Technology giant Pitney Bowes has announced it will remain in Stamford, ending a months-long search for a new location. The company will also add 200 new jobs in Connecticut, after striking a deal with the state for a low-cost loan.
United Technologies is to donate $10 million to UConn to found a new engineering initiative. The UTC Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering, as the new partnership will be known, is expected to be accepting students by next spring.
When we think of jobs in Connecticut, the call center industry isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But according to the Communication Workers of America, there are more than 49,000 call center jobs in the state: people answering phones for companies like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon Wireless, and Cablevision.
A Cambodian gambler talks on 18 cellphones at once at a boxing match in Phnom Penh in 2010. There are nearly 132 cellphones for every 100 Cambodians, but the country has also seen a surge in the number of landlines.
Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 7:03 am
On All Things Considered, NPR's Martin Kaste reported Monday on U.S. landline infrastructure. One fact stood out: 96 percent of homes had landlines in 1998, and that number is down to 71 percent today.
Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 1:19 pm
Oxford Dictionaries has decided that 2013's word of the year is selfie — and if you don't know what the word means, you may not be a somewhat self-absorbed type who likes to share photos you take of yourself. (Just kidding, selfie fans!)
According to a union count, Connecticut has nearly 50,000 call center workers, mostly in the telecom industry. A growing sector for this industry is health care, especially after the Obamacare rollout.
In the late 90s, before Dave Eggers wrote a bestselling memoir (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), before he penned the screenplay for Where the Wild Things Are, before any of his novels, he was a young guy sitting in his kitchen tearing open envelopes filled with literary submissions.
Ever wonder what an algorithm sounds like when it's being sorted? Wonder no more. A demo program called "The Sound of Sorting" visualizes algorithms and provides interesting sound effects, too -- low notes for smaller values, and high notes for higher values.
Todd Park, U.S. chief technology officer, answers questions in a House Oversight Committee hearing about problems with the federal HealthCare.gov site. One Democrat on the committee called the hearing "a kangaroo court."
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 6:46 pm
A House oversight hearing examining the troubled start of HealthCare.gov was contentious from the start Wednesday, as Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sought to cut short the opening remarks of one of the first officials to speak, Frank Baitman, the deputy assistant secretary for Information Technology in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, asked Baitman to conclude his statement, noting that the panel's time was short. The interruption came as Baitman discussed the work of his agency to save taxpayers money.
Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 12:43 pm
In Dave Eggers' terrific new novel, The Circle, set at a California computer company, a cult of connection is slowly taking over the United States and spreading around the globe. An evolving cultural preference for constant sharing by way of computer and camera is turning any citizen's wish for privacy into a scorned, misanthropic secrecy.
Most of us have gone through the process of buying an automobile. It can be both exciting and excruciating. And sales are up to almost pre-recession levels. A boom caused by “more widely available credit, an increasingly aged fleet, and a host of new models.”