National News

The other iPhone contract

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-12 01:00

You may have heard of author Janell Burley Hofmann and her iPhone contract. Last year, on Christmas morning, she gave her then 13-year-old son a smartphone, which he quickly used to snap photos, text his friends and generally disappear into the internet.

Taken aback by his response, Hofmann sat down that night and wrote out a contract outlining rules for her son. He was restricted to using the phone during certain hours, was not allowed to bring it to school, and was required to use proper phone etiquette (among other things).

What followed was a media storm, sparking a conversation on technology and how teenagers and adults use it.

With her experience in writing about technology and how it relates to the modern family, Hofmann has published a book, entitled "iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming and Growing Up." In it, she shares anecdotes about her families' experiences, as well as how restricing her son caused her to reflect on her own use of smart phones and devices.

Hofmann says that now her entire family enjoys limiting their use of technology.

"We have device free day. We’ll go to the beach, and all devices have to stay at home. And that includes the adults."

Though, opening up about her kids' relationship to the internet can be dangerous territory.

Hofmann says that the general agreement in selecting material for the book was that if her kids were old enough to feel the story reflected only on their younger selves, then it was alright to include. Still, it can be difficult to share personal stories, especially those that are embarrassing.

Hofmann points out, though, that her knowledge comes from being honest about her experiences.

"In no way do I think that I have all the answers for everybody else or my own family. I had to make myself look human, which I was happy to do, but you have to share some of those struggles."

 

 

 

Iran's President Gets Tepid Reception In First Year On The Job

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 00:31

The wave of expectations that marked Hassan Rouhani's rise to power has given way to impatience from his supporters and attacks from his critics.

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For Two Ozarks Communities, A Stark Contrast In Culture

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 00:21

The hilly, rural Ozarks have a history of attracting white supremacists, but the area's strong live-and-let-live ethic has taken a modern turn in an Arkansas town where a large gay community thrives.

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Why Take-And-Bake Pizza Is Giving The Tax Guys A Headache

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 00:06

These days more and more foods are straddling the line between prepared and unprepared, taxable and nontaxable. And that leaves policymakers with a strange conundrum: what to do about pizza.

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Sriracha Maker Says Factory Will Remain In California

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 23:46

After months of tussling with the city council over the smells emitted by his factory, Sriracha maker David Tran says he might expand his business, but the main operation will not relocate.

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Medicare Won't Always Pay For Boomers' Pricey Hepatitis C Drugs

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 23:25

As many as 5 million Americans have hepatitis C, and new drugs can cure almost all of them. But patients worry they won't get these expensive treatments in time.

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That Prescription Might Not have Been Tested For Your Ailment

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 23:24

Once a drug is approved by the FDA, doctors can use it as they see fit. That can be brilliant or risky, depending on the medication and the patient.

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How I got smarter this week (in just 105 minutes)

Marketplace - American Public Media - Sun, 2014-05-11 22:55

I am on a diet to make me smarter. A media diet. I'm trying to add at least one moment of depth per week to a movie habit that tends to play in the shallow end of the pool. This week my diet included "The Lunchbox," a film that I thought was going to be about relationships and sumptuous Indian food. Embedded therein was a fascinating lesson in business and logistics.

Yes, I know that to a fellow with a hammer, every problem is a nail. To a fellow with a business show, every movie has a lesson in business. "The Lunchbox" is a bittersweet comedy with a plot that pivots on an amazing delivery system in Mumbai, India that has been studied by Harvard researchers.

First of all, the movie: I promise, you will walk out of a viewing ravenous for South Asian food.

"The Lunchbox" is about a woman (Nimrat Kaur) who is trying to recapture the attentions of her husband by cooking and sending him fabulous lunches. The lunch gets delivered to the wrong man. The man, who starts getting the food by mistake and becomes entranced by the aromas, is played with subtle elegance by Irrfan Khan, the veteran actor who played the lead character as an older man in the Oscar-winning movie "Life of Pi."

Let's talk about that delivery service. A messenger known as a dabbawala picks up the lunch box, usually contained in a tiffen, an interlocking column of stainless steel bowls, and is surrounded by an insulating pouch. The 124-year old system for delivering the food that's grown up in Mumbai has long fascinated logistics experts. Messengers move the meals tied to bicycles. They are often stacked onto gurneys for insertion into railway carriages to be picked up by porters at the other end of the line. Many of the porters are semi-literate, yet they do interpret an alphanumeric code.

When the wife complains to the dabbawala at the door that her lunch is going to the wrong man, the deliveryman claims that is impossible because "Harvard says" their system never fails. Real-life studies show the system gets it right, on-time, with an astonishing 99.9 percent success rate. In fact, here is a 2010 case study in the Harvard Business Review.

A great meal like "The Lunchbox" in my media diet deserves a fine dessert. I was able to track down some additional short documentaries on the dabbawala delivery system and I commend one of them to you here:

It is a delivery system with a precision that would make the Post Office, FedEx, UPS and your pizza delivery professional blush with embarrassment.

Washington Monument To Reopen After 3 Years Of Quake Repairs

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 22:09

With more than 150 cracks patched and repaired in its white marble, the Washington Monument is set to reopen for the first time since a 2011 earthquake caused widespread damage.

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Why Aren't Teens Reading Like They Used To?

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 21:17

A survey of data shows a marked drop in teenagers reading for pleasure. Researchers are trying to figure out whether the explosion of e-reading and digital diversions is behind the decline.

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Glenn Greenwald: NSA Believes It Should Be Able To Monitor All Communication

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 20:03

The journalist, who received a cache of highly classified documents, says no one disputes that the security agency should be reading emails from al-Qaida, but the system has become too powerful.

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Veterans' Success At Home: More Than Just Landing Any Job

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 15:09

Reliable data on federal education programs and job placement for veterans are scarce, so it can be hard to know whether service members are getting the support they need to pursue careers they want.

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Despite Objections, Maine Governor Acts On Food Stamp Fraud

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 13:05

Facing a tight re-election battle, Gov. Paul LePage is moving ahead with a plan to require photos on EBT cards, even though the state's Legislature blocked his sweeping proposals earlier this year.

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'Nowhere To Go,' Ugandan LGBT Activist Applies For Asylum In U.S.

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 13:05

The Ugandan government passed a law criminalizing homosexuality in February. John Abdallah Wambere, a prominent gay rights organizer, says he could face jail or even death if he returns home.

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Shelly Sterling Says She'll 'Absolutely' Fight To Keep Her Half Of Clippers

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 12:59

Sterling tells ABC News that she wonders if the NBA would force out a male owner out of league over what a wife might have said. She adds that she intends to divorce Donald Sterling.

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Secretary Of Defense Says Ban On Transgender People Should Be Reviewed

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 11:47

Chuck Hagel said the issue is "complicated" because of its medical component, but he's open to reviewing the military's policy.

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Addicted And Pregnant: 'The Most Heart-Wrenching Experience Of My Life'

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 09:26

After I got pregnant, I did my best to do what a pregnant woman is supposed to do. I was able to refrain from drug use, but I never stayed away from alcohol for long.

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What Three College Pals Say About Their Dreams In China

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 07:50

Beyond the superhighways, gleaming skyscrapers and economic growth, China's young urban adults are often struggling, their dreams unfulfilled, their hopes for a better life elusive.

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As India Votes, Muslims Keep A Wary Eye On The Hindu Frontrunner

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 07:46

Monday is the final day of voting in India's six-week election. One big unknown is whether Muslims will vote for Narendra Modi, who is accused of failing to protect them from slaughter in 2002.

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Portraits Of Mothers (And The Children Who Love Them)

NPR News - Sun, 2014-05-11 07:34

Mother's Day unfolds with a stream of stunning, emotional and beautiful pictures on social media. Here are some of our favorites.

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