technology

News
12:54 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Microsoft Announces $1.1 Billion Data Center in West Des Moines

A map outlines the 154-acre project area for Microsoft's new data center
City of West Des Moines

It's official: Microsoft is behind the 1.2-million square-foot data center coming to West Des Moines. 

Officials announced Friday that Microsoft will build a four-phase, regional data center costing a total of $1,126,218,400. Formerly known as Project Alluvion, the 154-acre site will house servers and computer equipment to operate web portal services like the Cloud and XBox Live. Completion is expected in early 2021.

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News Buzz
3:06 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

This Helmet Has a Brain

Shawn Cornally holds a student-designed helmet with concussion detection hardware. (host Ben Kieffer in background)
Ben Stanton/Iowa Public Radio

The brain on this helmet is designed with the idea of protecting your brain from a concussion. Built into it is what amounts to a small computer.  It was designed and programmed by an Iowa student.  

Different LEDs light up depending on how hard the helmet is getting jostled. This project is one of many that students might get involved in through The Big Ideas Group, which is an optional education program through the Cedar Rapids School District.

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River to River
2:12 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Technology and Health

The National Institutes of Health recommends that kids should be limited to two hours a day to screen time.
Peter Merholz

Today, kids average six hours of screen time a day.  According to a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics, children whose parents limit screen time get more sleep, do better in school, have fewer behavior problems and lower their risk of obesity.  Doug Gentile, associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University, discusses the reverse results on the studies. 

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River to River
3:25 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Iowa City's Oculus Rift

Host Ben Kieffer rides a roller coaster on the Oculus Rift, March 28, 2014.
Kirk Cheyney

Fab Labs, started in 2007 by MIT, aim to democratize access to tools and technology. In May, The S.T.E.A.M. Room Fab Lab, will open on the eastside of Iowa City.  S.T.E.A.M Room Director of Operations Kirk Cheyeny says visitors will have access, "To any tool you need to build anything that you want."

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Talk of Iowa
11:58 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Religion in the Digital Age

Bill Read

The internet has changed how we find information, get news, connect with friends, and for many people it also has changed the experience with faith and religion.  Guests include Elizabeth Drescher from Santa Clara University, L. Edward Philips from Emory University, and author, editor, and lecturer Phyllis Tickle.

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River to River
1:56 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

How the Internet Is Changing Our Brain

Students on their smartphones.
Fredler Brave

Technology, culture and economics writer Nicholas Carr’s most recent book "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains" was a 2011 Pulitzer Prize nominee. He speaks with host Ben Kieffer about why he doesn't have a smartphone and how the internet is changing our society.

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River to River
1:25 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Former Senate Majority Lead George Mitchell

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Envoy Sen. George Mitchell on 01/04/2010.
U.S. State Department

Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell has made a career out of crafting compromise. First in the U.S. Senate, then later brokering peace in Northern Ireland, and finally tackling peace in the Middle East.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Mitchell about Syria and Iran. He’ll also share his views on what is driving the hyper-partisan atmosphere in Washington.

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Talk of Iowa
3:33 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Photographing the Heartland

David Plowden's new book "Heartland: The Plains and the Prairie" captures the Midwestern landscape.
David Plowden

For more than 50 years photographer David Plowden has been capturing images of American and the land he loves most is here in the Midwest. Host Charity Nebbe talks with Plowden about his latest book "Heartland: The Plains and the Prairie." 

Also, Dennis Chamberlin of Iowa State University's Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication discusses how the field of photojournalism is changing.  

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River to River
4:33 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Obamacare: Tech Glitches and Policy

healthcare.gov
Ben Stanton/Iowa Public Radio

Join host Ben Kieffer to examine the technical issues surrounding the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and answer questions about the law itself, including its requirements and the process of enrolling in the health insurance exchanges online.

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Talk of Iowa
3:39 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Creative Communities

Downtown Des Moines's residential vacancy rate is at an 18-year low of less than 3 percent. The area has seen a renaissance in the last 15 years thanks to community investments in the arts and culture.
John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

Iowa's cultural and economic shift away from the family farm created serious problems for the state.  It has also created opportunities for reinvention and creativity.

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River to River
3:10 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

News Buzz: Guns, Allergies, Cheapskates, and 'Cyence'

Professor Arun Somani stands next to an ISU computer that could fill a garage
Bob Elbert

This River to River includes discussion about gun laws in Iowa, high pollen counts and allergies, an Iowan who was appointed to the National Council on the Humanities, ISU has a new very fast computer, hot weather, a holiday weekend State Park preview, and Des Moines and Cedar Rapids are supposedly good places for frugal living.

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River to River
2:51 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Science Literacy in Iowa

Des Moines Middle School Science Fair in February 2012.
Phil Roeder Flickr

Does drinking coffee prevent dementia? Will diet soda give you cancer?  Science and health reporting is often misleading and confusing.

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Talk of Iowa
1:37 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

The Modern Workplace: Having It All And Carrying Work In Your Pocket

Twaalfdozijn / flickr

Technology has made it possible for many of us to work from anywhere, but technology has also made it seem necessary for some of us to work all the time and everywhere. The proliferation of laptops over the last twenty years sparked the telecommuting revolution and gave us the catchphrase flex time.

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Environment
9:39 am
Wed June 12, 2013

5 years later, Iowans learning to live with floods

Donnarae MacCann stands by a wall of sandbags surrounding her home on Normandy Drive, in Iowa City.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

It has been five years since the floods of 2008. Now, a week after another round of flooding in Eastern Iowa, IPR’s Durrie Bouscaren looks at how many Iowans are adapting to changing times.

More than a thousand runners participated in “Run the Flood,” an annual race through Cedar Rapids to commemorate the anniversary of a flood that would change the landscape of many Iowa cities and towns. Carmen Covington says she participates every year.

“It was shocking,” Covington said. “It was sad to see everything I had known my entire life to be destroyed under so much water,”

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River to River
1:40 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Facial Recognition Technology and Police Lineups

Mennecke says that digital signage systems can deteremine a person's age, gender and face.
Brian Mennecke, associate professor of information systems at Iowa State

Facial recognition technology is increasing becoming a part of life, but how is this technology being used and how much is too much?  Brian Mennecke will explain the ways digital advertisements can "read" your face and discuss other commercial uses for facial recognition technology.  Later Gary Wells joins the program to discuss his recently developed proc

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River to River
1:16 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Tech Companies Choosing Iowa

A rendering of the first building of Facebook's new Altoona data center.
Facebook

This week, the social networking site Facebook announced plans to build a $1.5 billion data center in Altoona, IA.  On the same day, Google announced a $400 million expansion to its data facility in Council Bluffs. Iowa has a growing tech industry.  What makes Iowa an attractive place for companies like Google and Facebook?  Also, hear about our homegrown technology companies like INVOLTA.

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River to River
4:31 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

App Development In Iowa

Taptu / flickr

When smartphones were introduced, not many people knew how to navigate a mobile app…but several years later, we go through each day using multiple apps, often several at once. Today on River to River, Ben Kieffer checks in with app developers across the state, to find out how Iowans are using applications on their devices, and what apps we can expect in the near future.

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Education
12:00 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Iowa's Experiment with On-Line Education

Credit Flickr Creative Commons

Iowa is nearing the end of the first year of a three-year experiment with the Iowa Virtual Academy.

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Talk of Iowa
10:27 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Mourning in the Digital Age

Graveyard
Emily Woodbury

Former Paullina, Iowa resident Kenneth Weishuhn committed suicide earlier this year after being bullied as a result of his sexuality. Brynn Bilou, a 12-year-old from Canada, created a memorial page without ever knowing Kenneth.

A lot of us live much of our lives online, and online communities are also becoming an important part of death. On today's "Talk of Iowa", we find out about an online community for people who have lost a loved one, how funeral homes are embracing technology, and life after death on Facebook.

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Education
6:13 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Being Learning Disabled in Iowa: Treatment

A variety of teaching approaches are employed to help people who have trouble reading, writing or comprehending. Some of the pioneering research in the field took place at the University of Iowa.

Being in Iowa is funded in part by The Principal Financial Group Foundation and Alliant Energy.

Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
7:27 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Could the 'Farmer of the Future' Be...A Robot?

Brent Ware, a member of the robotics team at Kansas State, stands next to a planting robot that won a national competition.
Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

There’s always work to be done on the farm, but often it’s the same work day, after day, after day. Parts of the job must feel a bit like an assembly line.

While it’s impossible to automate farming like many manufacturers have automated their assembly lines, using robotic technology on the farm might not be so far off.

The biological and agricultural engineering robotics team at Kansas State University knows a thing or two about agricultural robots. They’ve won national robotics competitions in each of the last five years.

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River to River
1:11 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Building Computer Apps in Class

Not long ago, the word 'app' was unfamiliar to many. Today, many of us would be lost without our favorite mobile software applications. We'll examine a class at the University of Iowa focused on building computer apps. Among Ben's guests- UI Computer Science Professors Ted Herman and Jim Cremer.

Arts & Culture
7:36 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Got Government Data? There's an App for That

You might have heard about the Drake Relays this weekend. Turns out there was another kind of relay going on - a race to make phone and computer applications - using government data.

The event was called the Open Iowa Code-a-thon. It involved around 50 people, 52 sets of data, and approximately 54 hours to get it done. Government agencies made information available, so coders could capture open-source data to turn into useful applications.

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River to River
11:00 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

2011 Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman

Join host Ben Kieffer as he talks with the 2011 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Professor Dan Shechtman.  We’ll hear the story behind his discovery of a type of crystal so unusual at the time that it upended the scientific world and about his reaction to the moment he was given the news of his Nobel Prize.  Dan Shechtman is a professor of materials science and engineering at Iowa State University, a research scientist for the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, and the Philip Tobias Professor of Materials Science at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.

Talk of Iowa
11:00 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Improving Science Literacy in Iowa

Rapid advances in science and technology have created a need for bright young scientists in the U.S., scientists who often come from other countries. On today's Talk of Iowa, we'll find out about efforts to ignite a passion for science in Iowa’s kids. Charity speaks with Dr. Charles Miller about his efforts to start the Iowa Space Science Center and Brent Studer, who teaches astronomy at Kirkwood Community College.