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2:01pm

Thu October 27, 2011
Opinion

Intelligent Design: McCarthy, Myself And AI

Originally published on Thu November 3, 2011 6:24 pm

German Chancellor Angela Merkel shakes hands with "SpaceJustin," a humanoid space robot, at last year's International Aerospace Exhibition (ILA) at the Schoenefeld airport in Berlin.

Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images

Adam Frank is an astrophysicist at the University of Rochester. He is a regular contributor to the NPR blog 13.7: Cosmos and Culture.

What is going to happen when our machines wake up? What will happen when all these computers that run our lives suddenly become intelligent and self-aware? It's a question that makes sense to ask today, as the world marks the recent passage of John McCarthy.

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1:50pm

Thu October 27, 2011
Living Large: Obesity In America

Workplaces Feel The Impact of Obesity

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 5:03 pm

This office chair was custom-built by a company called ErgoGenesis for a client who exceeded the 600-pound limit of its other chairs. It cost $1,800.

Courtesy of ErgoGenesis

Part of an ongoing series on obesity in America

From cubicle farms to auto factories, accommodating larger and heavier employees has become a fact of life. One in three U.S. adults is obese, and researchers say the impact on business can be boiled down to a number: $1,000 to $6,000 in added cost per year for each obese employee, the figure rising along with a worker's body mass index.

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1:43pm

Thu October 27, 2011
Economy

Consumers Remain Numb Even As Economy Grows

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 7:40 am

Although consumer spending is up, consumer confidence is at its worst since March 2009, at the height of the recession.

David McNew Getty Images

Consumer spending is up, and the economy is growing a bit. Unemployment is high, but at least it looks like it's not going higher. Even Wall Street likes the Greek debt deal.

But to say that the American consumer remains skeptical would be an understatement. Just ask Kim Brown, a 34-year-old kindergarten teacher from Caroline County, Md.

"Everything is going up but our pay," Brown tells NPR. "I'm not confident at all. I think things are going to get worse before they come back."

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1:11pm

Thu October 27, 2011
The Two-Way

NASA Makes Final Preparations For Huge Asteroid Flyby

This radar image of asteroid 2005 YU55 was generated from data taken in April of 2010 by the Arecibo Radar Telescope in Puerto Rico.

NASA/Cornell/Arecibo

An asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier will fly by Earth closer than the moon on Nov. 8. NASA announced, yesterday, that it was making final preparations to study the asteroid as it flies by.

The fly-by presents a unique opportunity, because scientists are able to make observations without sending a spacecraft to it.

NASA reports:

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1:08pm

Thu October 27, 2011
Asia

Bangkok At Risk Of Its Worst Flooding In Decades

Residents wade along a flooded street on the outskirts of Bangkok Thursday. Clambering aboard bamboo rafts and army trucks, residents fled their homes as high waters moved closer to the heart of the city.

Aaron Favila AP

Thailand's capital Bangkok is facing the imminent threat of widespread flooding after three months of unusually heavy rain.

Panic buying has left grocery shelves empty of basics. Many are fleeing the city, and many areas are virtually empty. The government has declared a five-day holiday to encourage people to leave Bangkok for higher ground. Thursday, the government said it was no longer a question of if, but when the floods would come.

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