The table saws in David Butler's (left) workshop are outfitted with prototypes of his "Whirlwind" safety brake system. He and his lifelong friend Robert Calhoun filed their first Whirlwind Tool Co. patent in 2009.
Credit Chris Arnold / NPR
David Butler designed his safety brakes so they could be easily installed on existing saws and machine tools. This prototype is installed on a Delta 15-inch scroll saw, a model that has been used for decades in schools.
When you think of cutting-edge technology, power tools don't generally come to mind. Take the table saw: Many woodworkers are using 30-year-old saws in their wood shops and, among the major tool companies, there hasn't been much innovation since those decades-old tools came out.
But more and more inventors are trying to make these saws safer — and David Butler is one of them. At his home in Cape Cod, Mass., Butler flips on the fluorescent lights in his basement turned wood shop.
Tax Day 2012 is looming — and after we file our returns, many of us will try to figure out what to do with the seemingly innocuous but possibly crucial documents we use to prepare our returns. Filing electronically can make those records easier to manage. But what should we really keep, and for how long?
Most experts recommend holding on to financial records for three years after they're used in a tax return — that's the amount of time the IRS has to audit taxpayers.
The First Amendment protects the freedom to assemble peacefully – and incidentally, the freedom to loiter in front of downtown storefronts nationwide. And yet, shopkeepers persist in employing any means possible to drive away teenage yobs (as the British call them) without sending away paying customers.
Late last week, an investigative report from Reuters’ Enterprise Team uncovered the details of a big money contract between the Chinese telecommunications equipment company ZTE and the Telecommunication Company of Iran that included technology that can be used to conduct surveillance and crack down on dissidents. The details of the deal revealed surprising end-runs being made by Iran around global sanctions.
These days, hotels aren't just looking to hire bellhops, concierges and housekeepers. What the industry really needs are digital bloodhounds: people who understand how to use new technologies to track — and attract — potential guests.
One of those newfangled workers is Greg Bodenlos. At 24, he's just a couple of years out of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. His official title is digital marketing strategist at The Mark Hotel, a luxury hotel in New York City.
Gasoline prices seem to be going up every day, and motorists are looking to squeeze every penny of savings out of each fill-up. Well, as it turns out with so many things these days, smartphone apps can help.
Companies have applications for most smartphones out there to help people find the cheapest gas in town. I tried out six applications on an iPhone and narrowed the selection to two that I found the easiest to use: GasBuddy and Fuel Finder.
There are some 7,000 spoken languages in the world, and linguists project that as many as half may disappear by the end of the century. That works out to one language going extinct about every two weeks. Now, digital technology is coming to the rescue of some of those ancient tongues.
Members of the Native American Siletz tribe in Oregon say their native language, also called "Siletz," "is as old as time itself." But today, you can count the number of fluent speakers on one hand. Siletz Tribal Council Vice Chairman Bud Lane is one of them.
Last year, Utah created jobs at a faster pace than any other state in the country — with the single exception of North Dakota. While the boom in North Dakota is being driven by oil and gas, the hot job market in Utah is being powered by technology companies.
Computer-system-design jobs in Utah shot up nearly 12 percent in 2011. Scientific and technical jobs jumped 9.7 percent. With job opportunities expanding, the state is having little trouble attracting new residents.
For Jill Layfield, the decision to move here from Silicon Valley was not a tough call.
Workers burned during an explosion at an Apple supplier factory in Shanghai are seen at a hospital where they are receiving continued treatment for their injuries. According to the factory, 24 workers were burned in the explosion.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
Worker He Wenwen's face was disfigured by a fireball during the December explosion at a plant that produced aluminum backings for Apple's iPad 2.
Apple's new iPad goes on sale this Friday, the latest version of a wildly popular product from an iconic company. In the past couple of months, though, Apple has come under criticism for working conditions in Chinese factories that help build iPads.
A New York Timesinvestigation focused on an explosion at an Apple supplier factory last May. In December, another explosion struck a different Apple supplier factory in Shanghai.
Surgical robots like this one are wildly expensive. Before the economic troubles began, investment in such high-tech medical devices was plentiful. Now, hospitals are looking for comparatively simple solutions to cut costs: streamline medical billing and even investing in $1 catheters that can save upwards of $50,000.
It wasn't that long ago that money flowed steadily to entrepreneurs who dreamt up whiz-bang medical devices.
Hospitals souped up their surgical suites with robots or high-tech radiation machines for cancer treatment. Cost wasn't an issue: They just got passed along to insurance companies, who passed them on to employers and patients.
But after the Great Recession hit and the 2010 health law passed, the financiers behind the medical arms race started to rethink their investment calculus.
As has been the case with all of Apple's product unveilings, there is a shroud of secrecy surrounding today's impending announcement.
Today, Apple has invited media to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco for a 1 p.m. ET. event. The only clue provided by Apple was a typically cryptic invitation with a picture of an iPad and a few words: "We have something you really have to see. And touch."
Federal prosecutors have charged five men with responsibility for some of the biggest computer hacks in the past few years. The FBI says the hackers penetrated the computer systems of businesses like Fox Broadcasting and Sony Pictures, stole confidential information and splashed it all over the Internet.
But what's most unusual about the case is how investigators cracked it — with the help of an insider who became a secret government informant.