National News

Egypt Sentences 683 To Death In Mass Trial

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-28 00:25

The cases are linked to deadly riots that erupted in Egypt after security forces violently disbanded sit-ins held by Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Cairo last August.

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How A Public Corruption Scandal Became A Fight Over Free Speech

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 23:37

Monday the Supreme Court hears about a man who was fired after testifying against a state lawmaker. The case on public employees' right to speak out could impact future corruption investigations.

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Test First Before Going For Those Testosterone Supplements

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 23:36

It sounds so simple; slap on a testosterone patch and you're feeling young again. But for many men, the problem may really be obesity or diabetes. Here's how to know.

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Testosterone, The Biggest Men's Health Craze Since Viagra, May Be Risky

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 23:35

Clinics touting prescription testosterone as the answer to low energy and decreased sex drive are proliferating across the country. But these "low T" clinics may be putting men's health at risk.

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Fire-Setting Ranchers Have Burning Desire To Save Tallgrass Prairie

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 23:33

In eastern Kansas, ranchers burn the prairie every spring to bring back grass for grazing cattle. Environmentalists celebrate those fires because without them the delicate ecosystem would disappear.

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Missing Plane's Search Area To Be Expanded

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 21:29

The underwater hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet will be expanded to include a massive swath of ocean floor that may take up to eight months to search, Australia's prime minister said Monday.

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Bad Weather Hinders Search For Ferry Dead

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 21:24

Divers renewed their search for more than 100 bodies still trapped in a sunken ferry. Officials said they've narrowed down the likely locations in the ship of most of the remaining missing passengers.

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Deadly Storms Strike Central, Southern U.S.

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 19:13

A powerful storm created tornadoes through several states Sunday evening. Hard hit areas included Little Rock and parts of Oklahoma.

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The difference between coders, programmers and engineers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Sun, 2014-04-27 15:32
Monday, April 28, 2014 - 05:31

HBO's "Silicon Valley" airs Sundays at 10 PM 

There's a line in the new HBO show "Silicon Valley" that's making people ask a really basic question: What's the difference between a coder, a programmer and an engineer?

In the show, our hero is Richard Hendricks, a college dropout who works at the software company "Hooli" (which may or may not parody Google) and who has written a valuable algorithm on the side.

In an early scene, Richard is approached by two male co-workers. And under his breath, Richard seems to say "programmers, oh no, no."

The scene puzzled a lot of viewers, including Sid Gidwany, head of engineering at August, a startup in San Francisco.

"I thought that scene was kind of weird because he, himself, is a programmer," Gidwany says.

Hendricks, after all has written his own algorithm, so isn't he a programmer, too? Or maybe he's a coder, or maybe an engineer. Or maybe, because he wrote the program on his off hours, does that make him a hacker?

If you're confused, you're not alone.

Most Americans don't work at software companies, which means most of us have no idea about the distinction between these terms. If there even is one.

"There's not too much of a distinction," says Gidwany. "He can call himself a coder or engineer or whatever."

It turns out that you can indeed self identify as pretty much anything you like if you work in the software business these days.

Coder? You're a shut-in who spends most of his (yes, statistically, you're probably a dude) hunched over a laptop and rarely see the light of day.

Hacker? You're a bit dangerous (or at least you imagine you are).

Programmer? You're proud to be a nerd.

Engineer? You're filling in your Match.com profile.

In other words, you can call yourself whatever you think is cool. But it wasn't always that way. In fact, the distinction is a bit of a throwback, which is why it would make sense if the creator of the TV show Silicon Valley referred to it.

"Mike Judge was a Silicon Valley guy maybe 20 years ago," says Nick Heyman. He calls himself an engineer. I met him and Goodwani at the Founder's Den, a co-working space in San Francisco.

"There was was a big distinction back then," Heyman says. "Now much less."

Godwani agrees. "Especially, late 70s, early 80s," he says. "Companies back then made a distinction between engineers and programmers."

He says, back then computer science degrees weren't offered by a lot of colleges so if you wanted to learn about computers, you would get a more traditional engineering degree.

"Programmers were generally self-taught," Gidwani says. "So a lot of times, there was a distinction of 'I am more formally trained, I am more highly educated.'"

While some big tech companies still reserve the title of "engineer" for people with degrees, college dropouts like Bill Gates and Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple, helped disrupt that hierarchy.

And in recent years, new software tools have blurred the distinction even more by enabling people without formal training to build amazing tech products. So now anyone can call themselves a coder, programmer, hacker and even an engineer.

Oh and by the way, that scene in the show where Richard Hendricks recoils at the sight of his colleagues? A number of people told me what actually says is, "Bro-grammers, oh no, no!"

Yeah, who wouldn't be freaked out!

Marketplace Tech for Monday, April 28, 2014Marketplace Morning Report for Monday April 28, 2014by Queena KimPodcast Title The difference between coders, programmers and engineersStory Type FeatureSyndication Flipboard BusinessSlackerSoundcloudStitcherBusiness InsiderSwellPMPApp Respond No

Learning With Disabilities: One Effort To Shake Up The Classroom

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 14:21

The traditional special education model keeps kids with disabilities separate from their peers for much of the day. But a few educators and advocates are pushing for something different.

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Astronaut Twins To Separate For The Sake Of Space Travel

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 13:21

Before NASA can send a manned mission to Mars, it needs to know more about how extended time in space affects the human body. Mark and Scott Kelly are the perfect subjects for such an experiment.

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'Have Mercy On Our Little Ones': Kidnapping Agonizes Nigerians

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 13:21

More than 200 schoolgirls were taken from a remote town, horrifying the country. The government has been blamed for an inadequate response to the kidnapping, and to extremism in general.

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49ers Fan Sues NFL For $50 Million Over Seattle Playoff Tickets

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 12:46

Citing limits on who could buy Seattle Seahawks playoff tickets, a San Francisco 49ers fans is suing the NFL, saying the practice amounts to "economic discrimination."

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Keeping An Eye On The KKK

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 11:33

We asked Google to alert us to Ku Klux Klan activities for a week and our mailbox filled up quickly.

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Pro-Russia Forces Release Western Military Observer In Ukraine

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 09:51

Seven European military observers are still being held prisoner in eastern Ukraine by insurgents.

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Detained European Military Observer Freed In Eastern Ukraine

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 09:18

One of the eight military observers who were arrested by pro-Russian separatists has been freed, reportedly for medical reasons. The observers were detained Friday.

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Minneapolis Renames Columbus Day As Indigenous People's Day

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 08:44

Minneapolis designates the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day, after the city council heard concerns that hailing Columbus as the discoverer of America is inaccurate.

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Giving Up On Its Obamacare Exchange No Cure For Oregon's Ills

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 08:00

High hopes dashed, Oregon is the first state to abandon having its own health insurance marketplace. Now it has to figure out how to transition to HealthCare.gov.

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South Africa Celebrates 20 Years Of Democracy

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 07:08

President Jacob Zuma led Freedom Day celebrations in Pretoria Sunday, as South Africa marked the 20th anniversary of democratic rule. Back in 1994, voters sent Nelson Mandela to the presidency.

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Fossil Fans Get Their Dino-Fix Before Smithsonian Renovates

NPR News - Sun, 2014-04-27 06:43

The Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., got its new T. rex just in time to close its fossil hall for five years of renovations — longer than some dinosaur fans have even been alive.

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