Technology & Digital Life

5:41 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

SpaceX Rocket Explosion Raises Questions About Private Space Companies

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

The Two-Way
3:13 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Solar-Powered Airplane Begins Long Journey From Japan To Hawaii

Pilot André Borschberg sent this photo of his flight over Japan; he's now over the Pacific Ocean, heading to Hawaii. He's not expected to land until Friday morning, Eastern time.
Solar Impulse

In the longest leg of its planned around-the-world flight, the Solar Impulse took off from Nagoya, Japan, and is now headed to Hawaii. The plane is powered solely by the sun's energy that's stored in batteries; the current trip is expected to last 120 hours — five days and five nights.

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:15 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Can Technology Ease The Burden Of Caring For People With Dementia?

Arturo Martinez watches his wife, Aurora Martinez, put on makeup in their San Rafael, Calif., home. She has Alzheimer's.
Lynne Shallcross for NPR

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 2:34 pm

A doctor I interviewed for this story told me something that stuck with me. He said for every person with dementia he treats, he finds himself caring for two patients. That's how hard it can be to be a caregiver for someone with dementia.

Read more
All Tech Considered
2:36 pm
Sun June 28, 2015

When It Comes To Learning For The Deaf, 'It's A 3-D Language'

Melissa Malzkuhn, director of the Motion Light Lab at Gallaudet University, suits up in motion capture to record a nursery rhyme for deaf children.
Emma Bowman NPR

In a small, sparse makeshift lab, Melissa Malzkuhn practices her range of motion in a black, full-body unitard dotted with light-reflecting nodes. She's strapped on a motion capture, or mocap, suit. Infrared cameras that line the room will capture her movement and translate it into a 3-D character, or avatar, on a computer.

But she's not making a Disney animated film.

Three-dimensional motion capture has developed quickly in the last few years, most notably as a Hollywood production tool for computer animation in films like Planet of the Apes and Avatar.

Read more
5:12 am
Sun June 28, 2015

Wildlife Forensics Lab Uses Tech To Sniff, Identify Illegal Wood

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab Director Ken Goddard holds a wood sample used in the lab's forensic work in Ashland, Ore.
Jes Burns OPB/EarthFix

Before you prosecute thieves, you have to know what they stole. It's the same for crimes against nature.

The world's only wildlife forensic lab is in southern Oregon. The lab usually specializes in endangered animal cases, but armed with a high-tech device, it's now helping track shipments of contraband wood.

There's a small woodshop at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab. But there's no sawdust, or power tools. The shop is more like an archive, containing samples of some of the rarest woods on the planet — African mahogany, Brazilian ebony and more.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:27 pm
Fri June 26, 2015

From Ice Cream To Ian McKellen: Reactions To Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

People celebrate inside the Stonewall Inn, an iconic gay bar recently granted historic landmark status, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states.
Yana Paskova Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 26, 2015 4:53 pm

There was jubilation among supporters of same-sex marriage Friday, after the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is legal in all 50 states. We've rounded up some of the best reactions, below.

Ice cream makers Ben & Jerry's seemed to be poised for this moment, unveiling a new package for its popular Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor — which was renamed "I Dough, I Dough."

Read more
6:57 am
Fri June 26, 2015

Service Jobs, Like Uber Driver, Blur Lines Between Old Job Categories

Uber drivers can chose their own hours, and decide whether or not to pick someone up.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 27, 2015 3:24 pm

Is an Uber driver an employee of the company, or an independent contractor? That question is the focus of a federal class action lawsuit coming up in California, and in smaller cases around the country. But maybe there's a third category — a murky middle not yet defined in the U.S., though there is some precedent abroad.

According to David Plouffe, the senior vice president of policy and strategy at Uber, Uber's drivers are clearly independent contractors.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:27 pm
Thu June 25, 2015

Amy Poehler Asks A Critic Of Women's Sports, 'Really!?!'

Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers took turns responding to a tweet that dismissed women's sports as "not worth watching."

Originally published on Thu June 25, 2015 3:15 pm

Many people took notice when a Sports Illustrated analyst dismissed women's sports as "not worth watching" earlier this week. Unfortunately for SI's Andy Benoit, two of those who noticed were Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:03 am
Thu June 25, 2015

Thousands Of Cabdrivers Clog France's Roads To Protest Uber

An UberPop vehicle was overturned by French taxi drivers, who also clashed with riot police, during Thursday's protest of the app-based ride-hailing company.
Ian Langsdon EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu June 25, 2015 4:29 pm

Taxi drivers in France formed virtual blockades around airports and key train stations Thursday, causing chaos in Paris and other French cities as part of a wide protest against the Uber ride-booking service, known in France as UberPOP.

Government and transportation officials urged travelers to take trains to many airports, as the roads around them were completely blocked.

Read more
All Tech Considered
5:09 am
Thu June 25, 2015

For Online Video Stars, YouTube Is No Longer The Only Stage

Anna Akana, a bespectacled, 25-year-old comedian who writes, directs and stars in skits about everything from personal stories, to friendship and even dealing with anxiety, says she is sort of over YouTube.
Anna Akana/Screenshot via YouTube

Originally published on Thu June 25, 2015 5:04 pm

When it comes to online video, the world is glued to YouTube. People watch billions of videos on it every day. And that huge share of online eyeballs is why other companies are trying to chip away at its dominance and lure some of its biggest stars away from the service.

Read more