technology

All of us are familiar with the sound a smartphone makes when an email or text has arrived. Our somewhat Pavlovian response is to pick up the device, see who the message is from and read it.

In Germany, a growing number of these emails come from the boss contacting employees after work. That's not healthy, say experts on work-related stress, including psychologist Gerdamarie Schmitz in Berlin, who is feeling the technological encroachment herself.

The Internet radio service Pandora made its name by creating personalized stations using tools such as "like" and "dislike" buttons for listeners. But a deal between Pandora and a group of record labels has raised concerns that the company is favoring certain songs over others because it's paying the musicians behind those songs a smaller royalty.

When Pandora emerged a decade ago, its big selling point over traditional radio was that it created a station just for you, as the company's Eric Bieschke told NPR last year.

The popular ride-service company Uber is in damage control mode after a senior vice president expressed interest in unveiling details about the private lives of journalists in retaliation for unflattering coverage of Uber's business practices.

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What if you had the ability to read the emotions, the thoughts, the concerns of your city in real time, at any time? What if you could then use that information to help your community -- to build stronger policies, and foster better relationships with those around you? 

Iryna Yeroshko / Creative Commons

Let's play a game. I'm going to name five things and you tell me what they are - "An Unnecessary Woman," "All the Light We Cannot See," "Redeployment," "Station Eleven," "Lila." They are the five fiction finalists for this year's National Book Award which will be given out this week.  Don't feel bad if you didn't get the answer - I wouldn't have either. My  connection to the nominees begins and ends with having picked up one of the five books from a table at - of all places - Whole Foods.

David Shankbone / Flickr Creative Commons

We live in amazing times. But where did all this stuff come from? And by stuff, I mean computers and the internet, and all the amazing platforms like Wikipedia, that exist on the internet. There are many answers to those questions. A common theme is, people who were very good at math. But that includes a woman, crippled by measles, living in the nineteenth century as the daughter of one of the most famous poets of all time, and a man living a hidden homosexual life in an era when that was a criminal offense, leading a team of code-breakers in England during WW2. Those were two of the most famous innovators investigated by Walter Isaacson.

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We love ideas, innovation, invention. On ICE: Innovation, Creativity, Edge, we ask you to brainstorm with us about ideas, and we talk to innovative types about what's they're doing. 

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One of the biggest American myths is limitlessness. You'd think by now we'd understand our own limitations but the American myth - and you can hear it on Rush Limbaugh every day - is one where the horizon goes on forever and more growth is always possible and any failure from Vietnam to the 2008 crash that we've ever had is just a case of failing to fully exert our exceptional American qualities. 

Open enrollment at the Massachusetts health insurance exchange begins this week. State officials say there is a new – and functioning – website that people can use if they need to purchase insurance.

The Massachusetts Health Connector will launch the new online health insurance marketplace on Nov. 15th.  Thousands of people across the state who have Health Connector coverage now, or were placed in temporary plans over the last year, will have to use the new website to submit an application if they want to remain insured.

Humans have never landed anything on a comet's surface. That may change tomorrow.

The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission is poised to send out a small probe to land on a comet known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta spent 10 years chasing the comet before arriving in August.

Microsoft — a company most associated with Word documents and Excel spreadsheets — is getting a makeover.

Under new leadership, the software developer is analyzing vast troves of data about its users to create social tools for the workplace. They've got the goods — just think of all those Office emails that bind us together — but the question is, will customers want to cozy up socially with Microsoft, on and off the job?

Old Data, New Strategy

The United States Postal Service is the latest victim of a wide-scale online data breach.

A USPS spokesman told NPR today that more than 800,000 employees may have been affected. In a statement, USPS said "names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, beginning and end dates of employment, emergency contact information" may have been compromised.

Some 2,000 Harvard undergraduates, as well as some faculty, were photographed in lecture halls at the school last spring as part of a university study into student attendance. Harmless enough, right? Well, those photographs were taken without those students' knowledge or permission. And that has some people upset.

With the fall season come littered leaves, new television lineups and the sport that can't stop stirring up controversy: football.

Rough tackles and concussions worry many parents. And no wonder. Research cited by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons suggests that more than a third of college football players have had one concussion and 20 percent have had more than one.

If we asked you to name a few technology companies, Google or Microsoft might come to mind. But one tech company that isn't so obvious is Michigan-based but globally present Domino's Pizza.

In recent years, the company has gotten noticeably good at something that wasn't always its focus — developing technology products to get pizzas to people more easily.

Tom Jervis / Creative Commons

First up on the Scramble today, writer and thinker Nicholas Carr, whose new book, "The Glass Cage" is about our blind surrender to automation. Most tellingly about the way we surrender (unthinkingly) control to sophisticated computer tools. 

You'll hear for instance, the story of a luxury cruise ship that ran aground on a sand bar because the GPS was spitting out wrong information and the entire crew ignored visual evidence that should have been a dead giveaway.

More than a dozen investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are on the ground in California's Mojave Desert to find out why a manned spaceship crashed on Friday.

In what could be a major setback for commercial space tourism, a manned spaceship has crashed in California's Mojave Desert.

The Virgin Galactic Spaceship Two was on a test flight this morning, with two pilots aboard. Minutes after its rocket fired, the company announced on Twitter that spacecraft experienced an "anomaly."

Capt. Tom Ellison of Kern County Fire Department said that Spaceship Two had a malfunction shortly after it separated from White Knight Two, the rocket that gives Spaceship Two a lift up to 45,000 feet.

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Frontier Communications said it will offer refunds to customers who have been affected by outages in service. The Stamford-based company just switched over all of AT&T'’s landline, Internet and streaming video customers.

Chion Wolf

The dream to live forever has captivated mankind since the beginning. We see this in religion, literature, art, and present day pop-culture in a myriad of ways. But all along, the possibility that we'd actually achieve such a thing never quite seemed real. Now science, through a variety of medical and technological advances the likes of which seem as far fetched as immortality itself, is close to turning that dream into a reality.

This hour we talk with experts who are on the cutting edge of this research about the science and implications of ending aging.

Holly Kuchera/flickr creative commons

We love ideas, innovation, invention. On ICE we ask you to brainstorm with us about ideas, and we talk to innovative types about what's they're doing. On this edition of The Faith Middleton Show's On ICE, Dr. Eileen Cooper, a Fullbright Scholar, has written Holographic Mind, a book about training the brain to think in four dimensions.

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.

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.

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?

HBO has built a robust and popular online presence over the past couple of years with its app, HBO GO. But to get it — as is the case with many streaming services that offer television over the Internet — you've needed a cable subscription. In other words, HBO GO was an add-on for people who already had HBO, not an alternative way of getting shows for people who didn't.

A group of hackers, allegedly from Russia, found a fundamental flaw in Microsoft Windows and exploited it to spy on Western governments, NATO, European energy companies and an academic organization in the United States.

That's according to new research from iSight Partners, a Dallas-based cybersecurity firm.

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

They are a class of self-centered, self-absorbed, selfie-snapping 20-somethings. This is how many critics have come to define the millennial generation.

But hold on, isn't this what was said about every generation when it was young? Minus the selfies of course.

Some scholars argue that millennials aren't entitled — they just have more time to be themselves.

Markers Of Adulthood

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's comments on women asking for raises triggered an instant backlash, but they also raise more questions about the tech industry's male-dominated culture and spotlight the challenges women in tech face.

Jackson Laboratory

Charles Lee, director of science at the Jackson Laboratory, said he's been pretty tired lately. Between the grand opening of Jackson's Farmington facility and working on this week's first-ever science conference, he's had a lot on his plate.

iStock / Thinkstock

State officials say Connecticut will receive $268,252 as part of $20 million in penalties in national settlement with telecom giant AT&T. 

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