Technology & Digital Life

All Tech Considered
3:43 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Mobile Match Apps Are 'Dating On Steroids'

Matchmaking apps like Tinder can help people find potential dates quickly.
Tinder

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 12:15 pm

It's Valentine's Day, and if you aren't giving roses to someone special — or getting them — you might be thinking ahead to next year.

But OkCupid and Match.com may be considered old-school ways to find a mate. These days, whether you're gay or straight, the online dating scene is all about apps. Like a lot of technological change, apps bring efficiency to the process. But that isn't always a good thing.

Kristy Vannatter used to use the online dating service eHarmony, but she says it was a lot of work.

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All Tech Considered
4:18 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Facebook Gives Users New Options To Identify Gender

Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison demonstrates the website's expanded options for gender identification at her company's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters. Harrison, who helped engineer the project, plans to switch her identifier to "Trans Woman."
Noah Berger AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 11:21 am

Gender identity online is evolving.

Facebook is rolling out changes to its 159 million members in the U.S. that will allow people to have a wider choice than simply male or female when selecting a gender description on the site.

A third option now appears in the gender field: custom. Users who select that option can then choose from roughly 50 options including Trans Male or Female, Cisgender or Androgynous.

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All Tech Considered
3:24 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

How The Big Cable Deal Could Actually Boost Open-Internet Rules

Comcast is the largest cable company and home Internet service provider in the United States.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 7:59 am

An announced $45 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable — the largest and second-largest cable companies in the U.S., respectively — is under scrutiny not just for its massive size but also for its potential impact on Internet use.

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Science
2:37 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Robot Construction Workers Take Their Cues From Termites

Climbing robots, modeled after termites, can be programmed to work together to build tailor-made structures.
[Image courtesy of Eliza Grinnell, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 7:58 pm

Termites can build huge, elaborate mounds that rise up from the ground like insect skyscrapers; scientists have now created little robots that act like termites to build a made-to-order structure.

"Termites are the real masters of construction in the insect world," says Justin Werfel of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. "The largest termite mound on record was 42 feet tall."

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The Two-Way
1:02 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Apple Steps Up The Pressure On 'Conflict Minerals'

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the iPad Air in October 2013. The company says it is publicizing the names of suppliers that are still sourcing minerals from conflict regions.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 2:12 pm

Apple has announced that its suppliers are no longer using the mineral tantalum sourced from conflict regions.

Tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold are among the minerals used to make electronics, and questions about their origins have become a controversial issue because, as The Wall Street Journal reports, "minerals from some of the mines in and around the Democratic Republic of the Congo are blamed for paying for the fighting in the region."

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Technology
11:48 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Are Tech Execs Uncomfortable Around Young Black Men?

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. You may remember that last week we spoke with organizers of a hackathon in Oakland, California. It was a gathering of developers who were asked to consider ideas for, say, a smartphone app that could've saved Trayvon Martin or perhaps solve other social problems.

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All Tech Considered
3:01 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Through The Internet, Gay Teens Connected To Larger Community

Emily Kitfield, 16, says she's not sure if she would have been able to come out to her parents and community without being able to reach out to others online.
Courtesy of Emily Kitfield

In the past 20 years, the Internet has significantly impacted what it means to grow up as a gay kid in this country.

Before the Web, many gay young people grew up in what seemed to be isolation, particularly those in small towns. But with the advent of online chat rooms and Websites dedicated to gay culture, communities formed, and that demographic began finding new support.

That change can be seen in the experiences of two women who grew up in the same town, two decades apart.

'The Only One'

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All Tech Considered
6:52 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Dating Sites Offer Chance At Love — And A Lesson In Economics

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 8:58 pm

Paul Oyer, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, has been teaching economics for almost two decades. His experience with online dating started much more recently. But when he started looking for love online, Oyer discovered that the principles he teaches in the classroom were surprisingly applicable to this new marketplace.

In a new book, Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned From Online Dating, Oyer explains economic concepts in terms of online profiles and dating decisions.

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All Tech Considered
2:01 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Niche Online Dating Promises A Different Site For Every Preference

The Sayles family on their farm in Michigan. Julie and Rick Sayles met through the site FarmersOnly.com five years ago.
Courtesy of Iryshe Photography

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 8:45 pm

The numbers show Americans are getting more comfortable with online dating — a recent Pew survey found at least 11 percent of us have tried to find a match on the Internet. And the places to cyberdate are proliferating. No fewer than 1,500 dating sites are available in the U.S. to help singles connect, many for a fee.

But these days, we're not just online dating; we're niche online dating, with specific sites for singles of all stripes.

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The Two-Way
1:01 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Scientists Say Their Giant Laser Has Produced Nuclear Fusion

The National Ignition Facility's 192 laser beams focus onto a tiny target.
LLNL

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 9:00 pm

Researchers at a laboratory in California say they've had a breakthrough in producing fusion reactions with a giant laser. The success comes after years of struggling to get the laser to work and is another step in the decades-long quest for fusion energy.

Omar Hurricane, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, says that for the first time, they've produced significant amounts of fusion by zapping a target with their laser. "We've gotten more energy out of the fusion fuel than we put into the fusion fuel," he says.

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