Google has a lot of algorithms. And the company updates them on a regular basis. But one update that started rolling out Tuesday has tech writers across the Internet warning of a coming "Mobilegeddon."
The change is only taking place on Google searches made on smartphones. The results will favor websites deemed "mobile friendly," giving them higher rankings than sites that are only optimized for desktops and laptops.
Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 8:03 pm
Emad al-Masaadi, a 41-year-old house painter and taxi driver, fled Damascus with his wife and three young boys after their home was bombed in late 2012, just one of the countless hard-luck stories generated by Syria's civil war. They landed in Beirut, but after more than a year without work or cash, Masaadi wanted out.
"So I asked my friends, 'How can we get to Europe?' " says Masaadi, an industrious and optimistic man with a gracious smile.
The answer was clear: "Smugglers were the only way," he recalls.
Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 9:53 pm
A logjam over an anti-human trafficking bill has finally broken in the Senate. Senate negotiators reached a deal after a long impasse over language on abortion funding. The compromise clears the path to a confirmation vote for attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch — a vote Republicans had delayed until after the trafficking bill gets resolved.
It took about six weeks, but the Senate deal on human trafficking was the latest outbreak of bipartisanship in a month that's seen compromises on Iran, Medicare and education.
Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 6:25 pm
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Prosecutors began to make their case today for why convicted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be sentenced to death. The same jury that convicted him will decide Tsarnaev's fate. NPR's Tovia Smith was in court and she joins us now.
Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 3:29 pm
A new California company announced Monday it is offering a much cheaper and easier way for women to get tested for genetic mutations that increase their risk for breast and ovarian cancer.
Color Genomics of Burlingame, Calif., has begun selling a $249 test that it says can accurately analyze a saliva sample for mutations in the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, as well as check for 17 other genetic variants that have been associated with a somewhat increased risk for cancer of the breast or ovaries.
Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 6:25 pm
Keeping track of the traffic in the skies above us is a big job. The nation's air traffic control system has been reliable, but it's not very efficient. And efforts to replace it with newer technology have gotten bogged down by a combination of uncertain congressional funding and the slow-moving federal bureaucracy. Now, some in Congress want to get the government out of the air traffic control business.
The Federal Aviation Administration says some 7,000 aircraft are over the U.S. at any given time.
Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 5:49 pm
NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. We're calling the project "Back at Base." This is the second of four reports this week about the National Guard.
Inside the hangar at Washington state's Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), the Army National Guard mechanics are busy maintaining a neat line of Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters.
NPR's Michel Martin is headed to New Orleans, to examine how the New Orleans school system is reinventing itself, ten years after the flood.
In collaboration with WWNO, Martin brings together a dynamic group of education experts at The George & Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center for live, on-stage conversations around the city's unique charter school system.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police may not detain a traffic violator longer than needed so as to allow police time to conduct a dog sniff for drugs.
Just after midnight on March 27, 2012, Dennys Rodriguez was spotted on a Nebraska highway veering slowly onto the shoulder and then back onto the road. Police officer Morgan Struble questioned Rodriguez and checked his license, registration and whether he had any outstanding arrest warrants. Everything checked out. Struble also questioned the passenger traveling with Rodriguez and checked his documents as well.
Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 4:54 pm
Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET
The Saudi-led military operation in Yemen is shifting gears, moving from airstrikes against Houthi rebels to a new phase that will include diplomatic and political efforts alongside military operations, Saudi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri said.
"The coalition will continue to prevent the movement of Houthi militias from moving or undertaking any operations inside Yemen," Asiri said at a news briefing in Riyadh.
He said coalition airstrikes had destroyed the ballistic missiles operated by the Shiite Houthis.
Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 4:54 pm
Ross Macdonald had a smart answer to the tedious question of why he devoted his considerable talents to writing "mere" detective stories: Macdonald said that the detective story was "a kind of welder's mask enabling writers to handle dangerously hot material." Like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler (the great hard-boiled masters whom he revered), Macdonald set out to excavate the dark depths of American life, but to find his own "dangerously hot material" Macdonald descended into uncharted territory.
Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 6:46 am
In his 20 years as a New York City police officer, Steve Osborne made thousands of arrests. He says that when he was in uniform, it wasn't unusual to handle 20 jobs a night. And in plainclothes, in the anti-crime unit, his teams would make several felony collars a week, mostly robberies, assaults and gun arrests.
Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 8:12 am
The transition to adulthood marks a big turning point in life for everyone, but for young people on the autism spectrum that transition can be really tough.
Young adults with autism had lower employment rates and higher rates of complete social isolation than people with other disabilities, according to a report published Tuesday by the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute.
A farm in Iowa is going to destroy more than five million of its chickens in an attempt to curb the spread of the highly infectious avian flu.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the H5N2 avian influenza outbreak Monday, adding that the agency says that there is little chance that humans could become infected. According to the department's press release:
Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 12:56 pm
Imagine yourself clinging to a cliff face with nothing but uneven, worn wooden planks and chains to keep you from plummeting 7,000 feet to your untimely demise. Don't worry: You can rent a little red safety harness for $5. No one will make you wear it, though.
Oh, and you will probably encounter someone coming the other way, in which case you will have to maneuver around your neighbor as if playing a deadly game of Twister. Someone has to go on the outside, so I hope you're good at not blinking first.
You wouldn't do this for all the tea in China, you say?
Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 3:13 pm
More than 80 profanities in under six minutes. That's the statistic baseball writers are talking about today, after Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price aired his frustrations with both the media and his team's struggles Monday.
Price took vehement exception to journalists' attempts to report on the Reds' personnel moves and the status of All-Star catcher Devin Mesoraco, who had at that point missed six consecutive games.
Before Monday's game, Price said Mesoraco wouldn't be available. Then he was asked, again, about the slugger's status.
Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 12:50 pm
A 93-year-old former guard at Auschwitz said his work at the concentration camp made him "morally complicit" in the atrocities committed there, but he told judges at the opening of his trial they "must decide on the question of ... criminal liability."
Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 3:03 pm
Looks like many of us don't have the right stomach for a paleodiet. Literally.
Two studies give us a glimpse into our ancestors' microbiome — you know, those trillions of bacteria that live in the human gut.
And the take-home message of the studies is clear: Western diets and modern-day hygiene have wiped a few dozen species right out of our digestive tracts. One missing microbe helps metabolize carbohydrates. Other bygone bacteria act as prebiotics. And another communicates with our immune system.
In the 1920s, Aurora Orozco crossed over from Mexico to Texas — a child of African descent who spoke not a word of English. She was an uneasy transplant.
Many years later, in an essay published in 1999, she recalled attitudes towards students who were caught speaking Spanish in school: "My teacher, Mrs. White, would make me stay after class. With a red rubber band, she would hit my poor hands until they nearly bled."
Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 10:31 am
The ancient Rabban Hermizd Monastery, on a hill overlooking the northern village of al-Qosh, is a testament to the long history of Christians in Iraq. Stone walls leading up the hill are decorated with iconography, and the 7th-century monastery is covered with the ancient Syriac language, still spoken today by the people of al-Qosh.
"Christians have been here in the Ninevah plains for thousands of years. It would be a tragedy if we just disappeared," said Athra Kado, a local Syriac language teacher.
Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 6:09 pm
Update at 1:21 p.m. ET, Wednesday:
The judge in the case has amended her ruling to strike out the term "writ of habeas corpus." It is now unclear whether Hercules and Leo, the chimps at Stony Brook University, can challenge their detention. You can read our post about the amended order here.
Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 5:27 pm
Italian authorities have arrested the captain and a crew member of the boat that capsized in the Mediterranean Sea over the weekend. The pair are among the boat's 28 survivors; the United Nations says more than 800 would-be migrants died after cramming themselves onto the 66-foot boat.
Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 10:04 am
Texas ice cream maker Blue Bell Creameries has widely expanded a voluntary recall over Listeria concerns, seeking the return of all of its products currently on the market. Blue Bell products are sold in 23 states.