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Digital Life
7:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Making A Computerized Voice A Little More Human

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 11:31 am

Transcript

STEPEHN HAWKING: Here did we come from? Are we alone in the universe?

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You may recognize this as the voice of Stephen Hawking, the physicist. It's actually the generic voice of men and women who use computers to speak for them. Synthetic speech though can be cold and impersonal, but a scientist in Boston wants to change that. Guy Raz of the TED RADIO HOUR has more.

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Parallels
5:22 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Russia's Goal In Ukraine: Three Scenarios

A Ukrainian protester stands at a memorial for the people killed in clashes at Kiev's Independence Square, on March 1. The focus of Ukraine's crisis is now in Crimea, where Russian forces are effectively in control.
Emilio Morenatti AP

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 5:39 am

Russia has effectively taken control of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula without a shot fired in anger. Now a larger question looms: What is Russian President Vladimir Putin's ultimate goal in Ukraine?

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Business
5:20 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Don't Run Out For Caviar Yet, But Wages Are Heading Higher

Construction companies added 15,000 jobs even though the weather was horrible in much of the country in February.
Sarah Glenn Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 12:40 pm

  • Freezing Weather Put A Chill On Economy, Housing Market?

Friday's monthly employment report was encouraging — but not just for job seekers. People who already have work could find something to celebrate too: Hourly wages rose at a decent pace.

That's a welcome change for employees who have seen only very, very modest raises in this economic recovery.

The Labor Department said average hourly wages rose by 9 cents an hour in February, up to $24.31. With that bump, workers are now making 2.2 percent more per hour than they were a year ago.

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All Tech Considered
5:19 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Tech Week That Was: Women In Tech, Bitcoin's Man And SXSW Begins

A Bitcoin sign at a shop in Hong Kong.
Philippe Lopez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 10:15 am

Another hectic week in the technology space wraps up just as the massive festival for interactive geeks and the marketers who love them — South By Southwest — gets under way in Austin, Texas.

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It's All Politics
6:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

CPAC's Conservative-Libertarian Split Could Be Hard To Bridge

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, Md., on Friday.
Susan Walsh AP

If any two issues illustrate how difficult it could be for the part of the Republican Party represented by the social and national security conservatives to bridge their differences with libertarians, same-sex marriage and National Security Agency intelligence are good candidates

Discussions at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference got testy Friday, when libertarians defended positions out of synch with the more traditional stances that have defined the Republican Party for decades.

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The Two-Way
5:59 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Judge Throws Out Fine Against User Of Small Drone

The kind of model aircraft Raphael Pirker was flying.
Ritewing RC

A federal judge has dismissed a Federal Aviation Administration fine against a man who flew a drone near the University of Virginia to film a commercial video in 2011.

The Associated Press reports that the FAA fined the man $10,000 because commercial operators of "Unmanned Aircraft Systems" are required to obtain a permit from the agency before taking flight.

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The Two-Way
5:46 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Brief Standoff Over Ukrainian Base In Crimea Ends Peacefully

Unidentified armed men in military uniforms block a Ukrainian military base in the village of Perevalnoye, outside Simferopol, Ukraine, on Thursday. Similar pro-Russian forces forced a brief standoff at the missile defense base in Sevastopol on Friday.
Arthur Shvarts EPA/Landov

A tense standoff Friday between pro-Russian troops and Ukrainian forces at a missile-defense base in Crimea is reportedly over without a shot being fired.

Russia's Interfax news agency reported that a Russian military truck had smashed through the gate of the Ukrainian base in Sevastopol, the port city that is home to Russia's Black Sea fleet.

Interfax, quoted by The Associated Press, says about 100 Ukrainian troops are stationed at the base and about 20 "attackers" entered, some throwing stun grenades, the report said.

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The Edge
5:06 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Military Training Gives U.S. Paralympic Biathletes An Edge

Andy Soule, a U.S. Army veteran, lost both his legs to a bomb in Afghanistan in 2005. Four years ago, he won America's first medal — Olympic or Paralympic — in the biathlon event.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:39 pm

Biathlon may be the toughest endurance sport in the Olympics. After grueling circuits of Nordic skiing, athletes have to calm their breathing, steady their tired legs and shoot tiny targets with a rifle.

Andy Soule does it all with only his arms.

"It's a steep learning curve, learning to sit-ski," says Soule, a member of the U.S. Paralympic team. He's strapped into a seat attached to two fixed cross-country skis. He speeds along the course by hauling himself with ski poles.

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The Two-Way
4:17 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Border Patrol To Limit Use Of Deadly Force Against Rock Throwers

A Border Patrol agent looks to the north near where the border wall ends as it separates Tijuana, Mexico, left, and San Diego.
Gregory Bull AP

U.S. Border Patrol announced on Friday that it is changing its policy on using deadly force against moving vehicles and people who throw rocks.

The agency's chief, Michael J. Fisher, sent a memorandum to employees in which he said the policy is designed to help agents avoid dangerous situations.

This is an about-face for the agency.

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News
4:09 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Border Patrol Revises Its Rulebook For Use Of Deadly Force

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The chief of the U.S. Border Patrol wants agents to limit their use of deadly force. The Border Patrol says agents have killed 10 people since 2010, while the ACLU says that number is 27. NPR's Ted Robbins reports on a directive issued today that outlines new guidance for the use of force against rock throwers and vehicles.

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Economy
4:09 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

February Jobs Numbers Give Some Economists Reason To Smile

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. There was some positive economic news today. Job growth in February was stronger than expected. The government monthly employment report showed 175,000 jobs were added to the economy last month. There were also upward revisions for December and January. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, that improvement comes despite evidence that stormy winter weather may have restrained job growth.

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Fine Art
4:09 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Too Many Artists, Too Little Time: The Problems And Promise Of The Whitney

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The art show everyone loves to hate opens today in New York City. Every two years, the Whitney Museum of American Art hosts a show that's billed as an overview of art in America. The Whitney Biennial inevitably gets trashed by art critics, museum visitors and artists alike. As Karen Michel reports, this is the last biennial before the museum moves to a new building.

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Sports
4:09 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

76ers' Epic Losing Streak Makes Some Reconsider NBA Draft

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

The Philadelphia '76ers have lost their last 15 games and no one would be surprised if they didn't win again this season. But the big question now is whether all that losing is intentional and whether the league needs to do something about it. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis joins us now. Hey there, Stefan.

STEFAN FATSIS, BYLINE: Hey, Audie.

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Movie Reviews
4:09 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Review: 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Filmmaker Wes Anderson makes movies that are eccentric, pointedly artificial and, to his fans, very funny. From his early comedies "Rushmore" and "The Royal Tannenbaums," to last year's Oscar-nominated "Moonrise Kingdom," Anderson's movies have looked and sounded different from everyone else's in Hollywood. And critic Bob Mondello says that streak continues with his spoof of extravagant 1930s melodramas. It's called "The Grand Budapest Hotel."

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Remembrances
4:02 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Fresh Air Remembers Surgeon And 'How We Die' Author Sherwin Nuland

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 4:46 pm

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Because he was a doctor, Sherwin Nuland witnessed many deaths, including those in his own family. Dr. Nuland - who was a surgeon - was the author of "How We Die," an influential book about dying, which won a National Book Award. It was published in 1994. Twenty years after his book was published, Dr. Nuland himself died on Monday at his home in Connecticut from prostate cancer. He was 83.

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