All Tech Considered
12:06 am
Fri February 17, 2012

When The Car Is The Driver

Chris Urmson (right) and Anthony Levandowski, one of the leaders of Google's self-driving car project, get into the driverless car.
Steve Henn NPR

This week the state of Nevada finalized new rules that will make it possible for robotic self-driving cars to receive their own special driving permits. It's not quite driver's licenses for robots — but it's close.

The other day I went for a spin in a robotic car. This car has an $80,000 cone-shaped laser mounted on its roof. There are radars on the front, back and sides. Detailed maps help it navigate.

Do people notice it's a self-driving car and gawk?

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Shots - Health Blog
12:05 am
Fri February 17, 2012

Questions About Bird Flu Research Swirl Around Private WHO Meeting

H5N1 avian flu viruses (seen in gold) grow inside canine kidney cells (seen in green).
Cynthia Goldsmith CDC

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 7:37 am

A closed-door meeting to discuss controversial bird flu research is drawing to a close at the World Health Organization in Geneva, and the WHO plans to publicly report on what happened once it's officially over.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:59 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Weight-Loss Drugs Face High Hurdles At FDA

The FDA hasn't approved a new weight-loss drug since 1999. In the meantime, Americans' waistlines have continued to grow.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 2:52 pm

Tammy Wade knew she had to try something else to lose weight when she stepped on the scale and saw the number: 203 pounds.

Wade, 50, of McCalla, Ala., is only 5 feet 3 inches tall. She had tried everything. Nothing worked.

"I had problems with my feet and ankles, and they were saying I was borderline diabetic," Wade says. "I'm like, well, I gotta do something, you know. So, I needed, really did need to lose the weight."

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Money & Politics
9:01 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

White House And SuperPAC: How Close Is Too Close?

Bill Burton, shown during a news briefing at the White House in January, is now with pro-Obama superPAC Priorities USA Action. He says the superPAC is "careful to make sure that we are in compliance with the rules."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 6:34 am

President Obama's decision to have White House officials and Cabinet secretaries help raise money for a pro-Obama superPAC is raising questions.

The superPAC, Priorities USA Action — which is supposed to be independent of the president's re-election campaign — is launching a new effort to bring in six- and seven-figure contributions.

By law, it cannot coordinate its messaging with Obama's re-election campaign committee. But coordinating other things? That's possible.

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Planet Money
9:01 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

What It Feels Like In China When Europe Comes Asking For Help

Help.
ED JONES AFP/Getty Images

Jiang Shixue is describing to me one of the most exciting moments of his life: The moment earlier this month when one of the most important people in Europe — German Chancellor Angela Merkel — came to visit his workplace.

"She said that the EU would be happy to see if China can offer a kind of helping hand," says Jiang, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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Business
9:01 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Big Bucks Attract High School Grads To Mining

The Lucky Friday Mine in Idaho's Silver Valley, shown in 2007, was temporarily shut down in January while it complies with safety regulations, according to the mine's operator, Hecla Mining.
Nick Geranios AP

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 12:25 pm

This spring, some high school grads in Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Nevada may see some good job prospects.

The recent spike in metal prices, combined with a shortage of miners, means mining companies are hiring. So some teens are opting not to go to college, and instead are heading underground.

But these high-paying jobs also come at a high cost.

An Educator Questions His Own Path

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StoryCorps
7:00 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Professor Hits A Wall And Falls In Love

Gwendolyn Diaz and her husband, Henry Flores, at StoryCorps in San Antonio.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 6:34 am

Henry Flores was walking down the hallway at St. Mary's University in San Antonio when he noticed that the last office in the hallway's door was open.

"I just kind of looked inside to see who was in there, and I saw a flash of ankle, and I saw this blond hair, and I went smack-dab into the wall," says Flores, who is now a professor of political science and dean of the graduate school at St. Mary's.

It was the mid-1980s and Gwendolyn Diaz, who had just joined the university faculty, was sitting in the office.

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Marriage Equality Law
6:08 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

'Who Signed' Posts R-71 Petition Signers Online

Who Signed is one of the organizations that posted names of signers of petition R-71.
Photo courtesy of Whosigned.org

MarriAs promised, gay rights activists have posted the names and addresses of more than 100,000 Washington voters in an online searchable database. These voters signed petitions in 2009 to repeal Washington’s “everything but marriage” domestic partnership law.

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Hanford Clean Up
5:17 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Energy Secretary Says Hanford Cleanup May Be Delayed

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu appears before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Image courtesy of C-SPAN

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant has been scheduled to begin operations in 2019. But U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Thursday that the southeast Washington facility might not start on time.

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JBLM Troops Deploy
4:56 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

2nd Stryker Brigade Deploys to Afghanistan

Loading personnel at Joint Base Lewis McChord.
Photo credit:United States Air Force USGOV

The Pentagon says troops with Joint Base Lewis McChord’s 2nd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division will deploy to Afghanistan in late spring.

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