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Science
2:06 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Robot Construction Workers Take Their Cues From Termites

Climbing robots, modeled after termites, can be programmed to work together to build tailor-made structures.
[Image courtesy of Eliza Grinnell, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 7:58 pm

Termites can build huge, elaborate mounds that rise up from the ground like insect skyscrapers; scientists have now created little robots that act like termites to build a made-to-order structure.

"Termites are the real masters of construction in the insect world," says Justin Werfel of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. "The largest termite mound on record was 42 feet tall."

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The Two-Way
1:54 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Belgian Lawmakers Extend Euthanasia To Terminally Ill Children

The electronic voting board shows Belgian politicians voted in favor of the bill on child euthanasia at the Belgian federal Parliament in Brussels on Thursday. Belgium, one of the few countries where euthanasia is legal, takes the unprecedented step of extending the right to children.
Yves Logghe AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 2:21 pm

We told you Wednesday about a Belgian proposal that would have made the country the first in the world to allow terminally ill children to choose euthanasia. Thursday, lawmakers in the country voted overwhelmingly to allow just that.

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Politics
1:51 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

A Closer Look At How Corporations Influence Congress

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 4:51 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Corporations work hard to influence Congress and public opinion. My guest, Eric Lipton, is an investigative reporter for the New York Times who's been writing about how corporations work in opaque ways to shape debates on issues ranging from whether we should raise the minimum wage to whether high-fructose corn syrup is less healthy than sugar.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

VIDEOS: Rappin' And Rockin' School Closing Announcements

Durham Academy Head of School Michael Ulku-Steiner (in foreground) and Assistant Head of School/Upper School Director Lee Hark channeled their inner Vanilla Ice to let students and parents know school is closed today.
DurhamAcademyComm

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 2:56 pm

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The Two-Way
1:02 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Apple Steps Up The Pressure On 'Conflict Minerals'

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the iPad Air in October 2013. The company says it is publicizing the names of suppliers that are still sourcing minerals from conflict regions.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 2:12 pm

Apple has announced that its suppliers are no longer using the mineral tantalum sourced from conflict regions.

Tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold are among the minerals used to make electronics, and questions about their origins have become a controversial issue because, as The Wall Street Journal reports, "minerals from some of the mines in and around the Democratic Republic of the Congo are blamed for paying for the fighting in the region."

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