They look like fettuccine come to life — little flatworms that glide along riverbeds and perform miracles. Chop off their tails, they grow them back. Split them in half, they grow whole again. But chop off their heads, and not only do they grow new heads, but those new heads contain old memories! Whoa!
On this last day of trading for 2013, a reminder that the stock market is by no means a measure of well-being. Case in point, Europe. Stock markets across the continent are set to climb about 20 percent for 2013. But as the BBC's Andrew Walker explains, that's not necessarily due to an overall economic improvement in the Eurozone.
Icebreakers haven't been able to reach the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which is trapped in ice. As soon as the weather clears, it's hoped that a helicopter will be able to reach the scene and then carry passengers to other ships nearby.
It was a year of change in China -- a new president, new policy roadmaps for the future of the country. But as Marketplace's China Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz reflected on 2013, one detail that's come up again and again is how many regular Chinese people have turned to him and other foreign journalists as their last resort for justice.
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This week we're talking to guests about big tech trends in the coming year. With a growing number of organizations tracking people as they do their shopping, the question comes up of whether consumers have reached a tipping point when it comes to feelings about data privacy.
Chester Wisniewski at the cyber security firm Sophos says we may see companies using sensors to track smartphones in the new year.
"We've seen a real move toward retailers and other etablishments starting to take advantage of these personal beacons that we all carry in our pockets," says Wisniewski, "and kind of using that data to get metrics on how people shop."
But people aren't as trusting that the companies gathering the data will be able to protect their privacy.
"One of the things that we may see really change about people's attitudes toward technology in 2014 is maybe a little bit more suspicion and lack of trust," says Wisniewski, "it has gotten to the point that people are a little bit more suspicious about this data collection that's going on, not just with the NSA, but with every establishment, and whether those establishments truly can keep that data safe and secure."
You may be able to avoid the new smartphone tracking sensors by simply switching off your phone, but that wont prevent stores from watching you alltogether; the cameras are still watching.
"You'd probably be astounded by the number of cameras in every single establishment you go into," Wisniewski says.
And if you're waiting for someone to release a product or app that keeps your data private, don't hold your breath. Wisniewski says short of secluding yourself in a cabin in the mountains, your information is going to get out there.
"Somehow as a society we're going to have to come to terms with this change if we're going to continure to use this technology," he says.
The retired Formula One race car driver suffered a severe head injury Sunday while skiing in France. Doctors say Schumacher suffered bruising throughout his brain. They can't yet predict whether he will recover, but they're more optimistic. He's had a second surgery.
It's New Year's Eve, so of course it's almost time for New York City to do its big ball drop. Technically not a ball as much as a geodesic sphere weighing around 12,000 pounds. And there's plenty of technology in the thing, including LED light bulbs. John Trowbridge, who has been production manager for Times Square New Year's Eve for 18 years, says all the engineering equipment that makes the ball work kind of comes from the Neighborhood. Click the audio player above to hear more.