NPR News


Digital Life
6:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Making A Computerized Voice A Little More Human

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 10:31 am


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


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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4:39 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

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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Movie Interviews
4:24 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Hollywood Bug Man Understands How Cockroaches Think

Entomologist Stephen Kutcher has wrangled insects for more than 100 films, commercials and music videos.
Courtesy of Stephen Kutcher

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 12:33 pm

When most people see bugs on the big screen, they squirm, panic or squeal. But not Steven Kutcher. Kutcher is the man responsible for getting those insects on the screen. He's been Hollywood's go-to bug wrangler since the 1970s, handling, herding and otherwise directing insects in over 100 feature films.

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Author Interviews
4:23 am
Sat March 8, 2014

'Night In Shanghai' Dances On The Eve Of Destruction

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 10:31 am

A lot of talented jazz musicians in the 1930's couldn't buy a drink in the places they played. They were the African-American musicians who helped create the era's signature sound — but still had to live under the sting of segregation. Unless they went elsewhere.

Author Nicole Mones' new Night in Shanghai centers on classcially trained Baltimore pianist Thomas Greene, who's recruited to play jazz — a music that's new to him — in a new place: not Harlem, or the south side of Chicago, or even Paris, but Shanghai.

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4:20 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 11:40 am

  • 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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