Technology
4:25 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Robot Eyes As Good As Humans When Grading Essays

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm

A new study has determined that some automated essay graders can do as good of a job as humans. Melissa Block talks with New York Times education columnist Michael Winerip about the study and the weaknesses of automatic essay readers.

Presidential Race
4:22 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

With Romney In Lead, GOP Primaries Quiet

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm

Tuesday is primary day in five states. But with the nomination all but sewn up for Mitt Romney, finding people actually interested in voting can be tough.

Around the Nation
4:20 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Study: Mexican Immigration To U.S. Drops Sharply

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The Mexican-born population of the United States is huge, 12 million. And a little over half of that is people who are unauthorized, they're here illegally. Well, now a new study from the Pew Hispanic Center reports that after rising for many years, the number of Mexicans coming to the U.S. is now roughly equal to the number of Mexicans migrating away from the U.S., back to Mexico. In short, net migration has fallen to zero.

Pew finds several causes for that decline: Mexican demographics, the U.S. economy, U.S. border enforcement.

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Law
4:15 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Firm Leaves Miss. After Its Prison Is Called 'Cesspool'

In 2010, former inmate Ross Walton describes mistreatment he says inmates received from guards. Faced with a court order to reform the Walnut Grove juvenile prison, the company managing the prison is leaving Mississippi.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 8:06 pm

One month after a federal court ordered sweeping changes at a troubled juvenile prison in rural Mississippi, the private company managing the prison is out. A report by the Justice Department describes "systemic, egregious and dangerous practices" at the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility.

As those words imply, the official report is scathing.

Federal Judge Carlton Reeves wrote that the youth prison "has allowed a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions to germinate, the sum of which places the offenders at substantial ongoing risk."

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Music Interviews
4:01 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Classical 'Rock Star' Joshua Bell Takes On Conducting

Joshua Bell.
Ethan Miller Getty Images for The Smith Center

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 5:17 pm

Joshua Bell, the violin prodigy who grew into what some call a classical-music rock star, has taken the helm of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Bell is the orchestra's first music director since Sir Neville Marriner, who created the group.

On his first tour with the group as both music director and conductor, Bell plays the violin while conducting the orchestra simultaneously, gesturing with his bow. And he leads from the concert master's chair, rather than the podium, which seems unusual to some audiences.

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Books
4:01 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

'America's Great Debate' Saved Union From War

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 12:32 pm

The Civil War remains the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history and the defining crisis of the nation. But it might easily have started 12 years earlier.

In 1850, California's application to join the Union threatened to unhinge the delicate balance of pro- and anti-slavery forces. The flood of European immigration had shifted power in the House of Representatives decisively to the North. Another free state would tilt the U.S. Senate.

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World Cafe
3:57 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Ben Howard On World Cafe

Ben Howard is a no-nonsense, no-frills singer-songwriter.
Courtesy of the artist

A surfer and songwriter, Ben Howard's two loves intertwined when the English surfing world became the first audience for his quiet, meditative music. At the encouragement of friends, Howard released two EPs and was soon invited to tour with Xavier Rudd. Howard is a talented artist in the vein of labelmate and influence Nick Drake, with similarly dark and soulful lyrics.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:39 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Los Angeles Bets On Crusading Doc To Turn Around Public Health

Dr. Mitch Katz rides his bike to work, defying the commuting norm in Los Angeles.
Michael Wilson L.A.County Health Services Dept.

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 9:24 pm

It would be easy to confuse Dr. Mitch Katz with any other doctor at the Roybal Comprehensive Health Center in East Los Angeles. His desk in a closet-sized, windowless office is littered with patient records, X-rays and cans of Diet Coke.

His everyman demeanor belies his stature. As director of the county's Department of Health Services, Katz, 52, oversees Los Angeles' public hospitals and clinics, the health care of last resort for millions of low-income Angelenos. He oversees 22,000 employees and a $3.7 billion-dollar budget.

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The Two-Way
3:23 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

USDA: New Case Of Mad Cow Disease Confirmed In California

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 6:25 pm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it has confirmed a case of Mad Cow disease in a cow in central California. It is the fourth case found in the country in recent years.

The animal was a dairy cow and "at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health," U.S.D.A. Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford said in a statement.

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Michele Norris is one of the most respected voices in American journalism. As NPR host and special correspondent, Norris produces in-depth profiles, interviews and series, and guest hosts NPR News programs.

Norris also leads the "The Race Card Project," an initiative to foster a wider conversation about race in America that she created after the publication of her 2010 family memoir, The Grace of Silence. In the book she turns her formidable interviewing and investigative skills on her own background to unearth long hidden family secrets that raise questions about her racial legacy and shed new light on America's complicated racial history.

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