Technology & Digital Life

All Tech Considered
12:35 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Tech Week: Love In Digital Times, Big Cable, Facebook Genders

Comcast announced a $45 billion offer for Time Warner Cable this week.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Happy Valentine's Day to you and your sweethearts. Since we saw that the holiday was falling on a Friday this year, our tech reporting team spent the week exploring love in the digital age. To go along with the theme week, our weekly innovation pick was Nothing. Emily Siner explains in the post.

What were you talking about this week? Be part of the conversation in our comment section below or tweet at us.

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Digital Life
11:57 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Jay Z Or Jay-Z? Buzzfeed Tells You When To Hyphenate

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 2:27 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. So here's a problem you might have had if you are a journalist or if you edit a neighborhood or a company newsletter or you just like to be correct and up-to-date in your written expressions. If you want to write about the hip-hop mogul who is married to Beyonce - and let's face it, who doesn't - do you write Jay Z with a dash or without? Is fat shaming one word or two?

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The Two-Way
10:56 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Shiny And New: World's Largest Solar Plant Opens In California

NRG celebrates the future of solar energy at the grand opening of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System on Thursday in Nipton, Calif.
Jeff Bottari Invision for NRG

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 2:41 pm

The world's largest solar power plant, made up of thousands of mirrors focusing the sun's energy, has officially started operations in the Mojave Desert, just inside southeastern California near the border with Nevada.

The $2.2 billion, 400-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, which covers 5 square miles and has three 40-story towers where the light is focused, is a joint project by NRG Energy, Google and BrightSource Energy. The project received a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee.

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Business
5:05 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Consumer Advocates Warn Against Comcast-Time Warner Merger

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 7:18 am

The proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable by Comcast is raising concerns, not just for the mega cable provider it would create, but also because of the questions it raises about broadband access at a time of uncertainty around the future of network neutrality. More than half of Americans with broadband access are getting it from their cable provider.

Technology
5:03 am
Fri February 14, 2014

'House Of Cards' Star Wright, Creator Willimon On Love And Power

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 9:09 am

The Netflix original series House of Cards launches its second season Friday. Morning Edition co-host David Greene talks to series creator Beau Willimon and star Robin Wright, who plays the ruthless Claire Underwood and directed part of the new season.

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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