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What's Next For Self-Driving Cars?

Feb 22, 2016

Would you have a computer drive for you?

Some say yes if the computer is accurate and has no bugs in it, while some say no because they want to be in control and they enjoy driving.

A University of Michigan survey found that about 90 percent of Americans have some concerns about the concept of self-driving cars. But most also say that they do want some aspects of the car to be automated.

Peter Mondavi, a pioneer of the Napa Valley wine industry, died over the weekend in California. He was 101.

Mondavi and his more famous brother, Robert, joined their parents' business, the Charles Krug Winery, in 1943. Back then, the Napa Valley was better known for producing prunes, and its grapes were grown for cheap jug wine. The Mondavi brothers, sons of Italian immigrants, would become key players in making the valley one of the world's premium wine-producing regions.

When it comes to the dispute over San Bernardino, Calif., shooter Syed Rizwan Farook's iPhone, new findings show that public support is on the side of the Justice Department.

Data from the Pew Research Center show that the majority of Americans — 51 percent — think Apple should cooperate with a federal court order. Thirty-eight percent say Apple should not help; 11 percent say they don't know.

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Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

We begin today with this week's edition of All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

When President Obama travels to Cuba next month — the first visit by a sitting U.S. president in nearly 90 years — it will mark a historic step on the path to normalizing relations with the island nation.

While Obama is in Havana, two U.S. businessmen are hoping the president might spend some time with them — or even take a seat on a prototype of the tractor they plan to assemble and sell in Cuba.

Luxury Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli has opened a new store in Iran's capital, Tehran.

This makes it one of the first luxury brands to formally enter the Iranian market since Iran curbed its nuclear program enough to trigger sanctions relief last month. The lifting of sanctions was a major part of the Iranian nuclear deal.

The U.S. labor market has recovered faster than expected, though that strength is tempered by economic challenges both at home and abroad, according to an annual assessment from the president's Council of Economic Advisers.

The 430-page "Economic Report of the President" released today summarizes recent developments in the economy and highlights areas where the administration sees room for policy improvements.

Americans craving kung pao chicken or a good lo mein for dinner have plenty of options: The U.S. is home to more than 40,000 Chinese restaurants.

One could think of this proliferation as a promise fulfilled — America as the great melting pot and land of opportunity for immigrants. Ironically, the legal forces that made this Chinese culinary profusion possible, beginning in the early 20th century, were born of altogether different sentiments: racism and xenophobia.

U.S. health regulators acknowledged they miscalculated the amount of formaldehyde emitted from some of Lumber Liquidators' laminated floor products. Shares of the company fell sharply Monday on the news.

The Centers for Disease Control And Prevention says the risk of cancer is three times higher than it previously estimated, and it strongly urged Lumber Liquidators customers to take steps to reduce exposure to the substance. The company no longer sells the Chinese-made, laminate products.

The debate over whether Apple should defeat the security on the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook isn't the first time the company has clashed with law enforcement.

The FBI also wanted to get into the iPhone of a drug dealer in Brooklyn. Jun Feng pleaded guilty to selling methamphetamine last year. As part of its investigation, the government obtained a search warrant for Feng's iPhone. But the phone was locked by a passcode, so prosecutors asked a judge for an order compelling Apple to bypass it.

Apple shareholders will be voting on a proposal at the annual meeting Feb. 26. It's a proposal that the company opposes, which calls for the tech leader to increase diversity in its senior management.

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As Apple and Justice Department lawyers duke it out in court over the government's attempts to force the tech company to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino killers, there are calls for a legislative solution in the debate that pits privacy against national security concerns.

But the chances of Congress coming up with what would almost certainly be a controversial solution to a highly complex issue in an election year seem remote. In part, that's because no one can figure out how to resolve the issue.

The Department of Justice has filed a motion to compel Apple to cooperate with a government investigation and help access data on an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino assailants.

The motion filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (read it in full below) lays out the government's legal case for why Apple should provide technical assistance.

Last year was a terrible season for the American pistachio industry. Warm temperatures and the lack of water resulted in a loss of almost half the crop, and profits were down by around $1.4 billion from 2014. This year, the industry is hoping to recover, but growers across the country may face a different issue: competition stemming from the lifting of sanctions against Iran.

On the campaign trail, the chief anchor of the Spanish-language network Univision, Jorge Ramos, chases three quarries: voters, viewers and relevance.

A self-described dinosaur who insists on mastering new tricks, Ramos and his team now reach an audience of millions who are watching not on television, but via video streams on Facebook, captured by an iPhone clutched in a selfie stick.

When a federal judge ordered Apple earlier this week to unlock a phone used by one of the assailants in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., she cited a law from 1789. It could make you wonder if the nation's legal system is having a hard time keeping up with the fast pace of technological change. So, I asked a few legal experts if our old laws can apply to this particular situation.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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The showdown between the FBI and Apple could result in huge changes for security and privacy, but one thing it may not do is deliver a big break in the San Bernardino case.

Ask anyone "How was your flight?" and you'll likely hear some kind of complaint: It was late, my luggage was lost, there was no legroom.

And it appears that more airline passengers are not just sounding off to friends and family, but are filing official complaints with the government.

New figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation show a large increase in the number of consumer complaints against airlines last year, even as the airlines are showing slight improvements in on-time performance and how well they provide other services.

It's hard to overstate the tech world's fascination with the legal standoff between the FBI and Apple. Laymen might look at the dispute and shrug; after all, the FBI is just asking Apple to help hack into one phone, and it's not unusual for tech companies to help the police.

In a few days, Apple will formulate its formal response to the federal judge's order seeking the company's help for the FBI to get inside a phone used by Syed Farook, one of the attackers in the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A leaking natural gas storage well on the outskirts of Los Angeles has been permanently sealed and shut down, after spewing methane into the atmosphere for months, California officials say.

These things we know for sure:

  • The sun rises in the East.
  • The Earth is round.
  • Wal-Mart sales increase every year.

Oops. We'll need to scratch that last one.

On Wednesday, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported that that for the fiscal year ended in January, annual revenues totaled $482.1 billion — down 0.7 percent from the previous year's $485.7 billion.

The Freedom 251 smartphone, which went on sale Thursday, has sparked intense interest in India and beyond. Priced at 251 rupees ($3.65), the 3G device is being called the cheapest smartphone in the world. But it's also sparking questions about how the phone works — and whether it's legal.

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