Science
11:37 am
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 4:58 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
11:27 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Businesses Scramble To Deliver Valentine's Treats In Snow

Snow falls past a Valentine's Day display inside Lee's Flower & Card Shop in the early morning in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

If those flowers you were expecting fail to show up by Friday, don't be so quick to blame your Valentine. It could just be the weather.

That's not to say that the friendly neighborhood florist isn't planning for the worst — and hoping for the best.

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The Salt
11:22 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Why Some Olympians Load Up On Salad Instead Of Pasta

Peter Frenette of the United States jumps during training for the Men's Normal Hill Individual ahead of the start of the Sochi Games.
Lars Baron Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 8:53 am

When we imagine Olympic athletes at the table before the most important competition of their lives, we might picture a huge plate of pasta, with Gatorade to wash it down and a well-deserved ice cream sundae for dessert.

Turns out, they might be preparing with a salad, a glass of beet juice and some almonds.

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The Two-Way
11:21 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Belgian Lawmakers Extend Euthanasia To Terminally Ill Children

The electronic voting board shows Belgian politicians voted in favor of the bill on child euthanasia at the Belgian federal Parliament in Brussels on Thursday. Belgium, one of the few countries where euthanasia is legal, takes the unprecedented step of extending the right to children.
Yves Logghe AP

We told you Wednesday about a Belgian proposal that would have made the country the first in the world to allow terminally ill children to choose euthanasia. Thursday, lawmakers in the country voted overwhelmingly to allow just that.

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Code Switch
11:13 am
Thu February 13, 2014

National Puerto Rican Day Parade Reorganizes After Misuse Of Funds

Parade onlookers cheer marchers in last year's National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 2:32 pm

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade will be marching down New York City's Fifth Avenue under new leadership this year.

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Television
10:51 am
Thu February 13, 2014

In 'Whole Gritty City,' Marching Bands Vie For Coveted Mardi Gras Spots

Eleven-year-old Jaron "Bear" Williams practices trumpet before marching in his first Mardi Gras season. The Whole Gritty City follows young student marching bands as they prepare for coveted spots in the New Orleans parade.
Courtesy of CBS

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 1:51 pm

There are times when television really does try to put its best foot forward — promoting a new fall season, for example. But it's an almost twisted rule of TV that sometimes, the better a television offering is, the more likely it is to be shown when even the network presenting it doesn't think many people will be watching.

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Politics
10:51 am
Thu February 13, 2014

A Closer Look At How Corporations Influence Congress

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 1:51 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Corporations work hard to influence Congress and public opinion. My guest, Eric Lipton, is an investigative reporter for the New York Times who's been writing about how corporations work in opaque ways to shape debates on issues ranging from whether we should raise the minimum wage to whether high-fructose corn syrup is less healthy than sugar.

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The Two-Way
10:25 am
Thu February 13, 2014

VIDEOS: Rappin' And Rockin' School Closing Announcements

Durham Academy Head of School Michael Ulku-Steiner (in foreground) and Assistant Head of School/Upper School Director Lee Hark channeled their inner Vanilla Ice to let students and parents know school is closed today.
DurhamAcademyComm

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 11:56 am

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The Two-Way
10:02 am
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 11:12 am

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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The Edge
9:27 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Russian Star Plushenko Withdraws From Men's Skating

Evgeni Plushenko of Russia withdrew from the Sochi Olympics on Thursday, reportedly because of a recurring problem with his back.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 11:38 am

Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko, a star who hoped to compete one more time before his adoring home nation fans, pulled himself from the games on Thursday.

There's word that he may be headed into retirement because of a recurring back problem.

USA Today describes what happened at Sochi's Iceberg Palace:

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