Ellie is a computer simulation designed to engage real people in meaningful conversation and take their measure. The computer system looks for subtle patterns in body language and vocal inflections that might be clues to underlying depression or other emotional distress.
Ellie (right) is a computer simulation designed to engage real people, like the woman on the left, in meaningful conversation and take their measure. The computer system looks for subtle patterns in body language and vocal inflections that might be clues to underlying depression or other emotional distress.
As the country awaits two important Supreme Court decisions involving state laws on same-sex marriage, a small but consistent body of research suggests that laws that ban gay marriage — or approve it — can affect the mental health of gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans.
By all the laws of anything, Winston Chen should not have quit his well-paying, midcareer job at a software company at age 40. But one day he was watching a TED Talk, one of those popular online video presentations, delivered by a New York designer.
"He presented this absolutely irresistible idea," Chen says. "He said, 'Why don't we take five years out of retirement and spread them throughout your working life?' "
You're out navigating the jammed sidewalks of Kenya's capital city when you suddenly realize you're in desperate need of a toilet. You crane your neck over the crowds, vainly seeking a McDonalds, a Starbucks — no such luck. What next?
There could be an app for that. Twendeloo, which is Swahili for "Let's Go to the Loo," would allow you to use your phone to locate the nearest public restroom in Nairobi's business district, then give it a rating for cleanliness.
Within science circles, trying to come up with a new universal language was a trendy past-time in the 17th Century. Even the man who discovered gravity, Sir Isaac Newton, took a stab at it. Arika Okrent, editor-at-large at TheWeek.com, talks about its failure to catch on with Weekends on All Things Considered host Jacki Lyden.