KRWG

Steve Henn

This episode first ran in 2015.

Get Out is a comic film. Get Out is a horror movie. Get Out is serious commentary. It's hard to say what exactly Get Out is, but it is definitely a blockbuster. Which is surprising, because it was made by a company which totally rejects the blockbuster model: Blumhouse Productions.

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Now let's report on a sign of prosperity, or maybe a sign of a false prosperity, a possible bubble in the tech industry. Here's Steve Henn of NPR's Planet Money.

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A few years ago, the Defense Department invited researchers from around the world to build robots that could respond to disasters. The machines were supposed to go up stairs, drive a car and clear debris.

The competition to test the robots was last week. For many of the robots, it did not go well.

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Seven years ago, Pieter Abbeel set out on a quest: to teach a robot how to fold laundry. This proved to be a remarkably difficult task — and the difficulty of the task illuminates some key things about the limits of machines.

Abbeel, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, named his robot BRETT — short for the "Berkeley Robot for the Elimination of Tedious Tasks."

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We've been hearing a lot about how hard it is to do banking when the business is selling marijuana.

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Even though in 23 states, medicinal marijuana is legal.

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Every time there is a big new release of some Apple software or operating system, hackers get to work — finding a flaw in Apple's computer code can be very lucrative. Criminals and even governments are willing to pay top dollar for the ability to get inside our iPhones.

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There are global underground markets where anyone can buy and sell all the malicious code for an attack like the one North Korea is accused of unleashing on Sony Pictures.

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Over the weekend, a conservative blogger published what he claims is the real name of the alleged victim in Rolling Stone's discredited gang rape story. It's the latest example of what's become known as doxing — distributing personal information about someone online in an effort to embarrass, frighten or intimidate. Doxing has become increasingly common during highly charged news events by aggressive partisans on the left and right.

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Modern computer science is dominated by men. But it hasn't always been this way.

A lot of computing pioneers — the people who programmed the first digital computers — were women. And for decades, the number of women studying computer science was growing faster than the number of men. But in 1984, something changed. The percentage of women in computer science flattened, and then plunged, even as the share of women in other technical and professional fields kept rising.

What happened?

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