technology | KCUR

technology

Segment 1: From Abilene to KC: The history of Sprint.

It's a multi-billion dollar company with thousands of local employees. But did you know that Sprint got its start in Abilene, Kansas? Over a century ago, a farmer-turned-businessman started stringing lines through town and bought up local independent telephone companies. Hear how the company grew from there.

file photo / Kansas News Service

For years, reporters in the Kansas Capitol press corps and advocates for open government pressed legislators to hide less of the workings of state government from public view.

Now, the Kansas Legislature appears ready to approve changes that would pull back the curtain — at least a tad.

Segment 1: The story behind a cowboy music band from Kansas City.

Cowboy music is not the same as country-western. We speak with two of the musicians of 3 Trails West — one of the few practitioners of cowboy music in Kansas City.

John Caldwell / Compile KC

Coffee carafes were nearing empty and there was a focused silence inside the Plexpod Crossroads on Sunday. It was the last day of Compile KC, a new event dedicated to bringing resources to Kansas City-based nonprofits. 

Local designer and software consultant John Caldwell took his cue from an event called Coders for Charities, which paired charities with software developers.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The co-working space in south Overland Park where Neelima Parasker has set up shop includes the amenities young, energetic and collaborative workers want: a coffee bar, stadium-like seating with oversized comfy chairs, offices next to windows and a ping-pong table where two 20-somethings are joking around. 

"Right now, this is my office and then my team starts here. The senior staff sits here," says Parasker, president and CEO of SnapIT Solutions. Parasker started the company in May 2016, and moved into this collaborative space in 2017. 

Segment 1: Memories of the wild west are kept alive in Johnson County park.

For many kids who grew up near Antioch Park, 'Dodge Town' has been a place to relive the wild west. As the playground prepares to re-open after being remodeled, we take a nostalgic look back.

  • Scott Wilson, writer and editor

Segment 2, beginning at 11:51: Mary Shelley's classic novel celebrates bicentennial anniversary.

Segment 1: Kansas City ranks as one of the top cities for women working in tech. 

For the fourth year in a row, Kansas City has been listed as the second best city for women working in the tech industry according to the website Smart Asset. Today, we find out how our city earned that title as well as learn how we can continue to improve. 

Segment 1: How will automation affect the future of work?

Self-driving cars, ATMs and self-checkouts ... many fields have been affected by technology. And studies project that half our current work activities could be automated by 2055. What kind of work will we do — and will there be enough of it?

Missouri Department of Public Safety

It’s still unclear what role technology might have played in the "nightmare" scenario that unfolded in Clinton, Missouri, this week, when an officer was killed responding to a disturbance call after 911 dispatchers gave police an incorrect address.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Overland Park police uncover hoax call in time, Kansas lawmaker sponsors anti-swatting legislation.

Two dramatic 'swatting' calls have occurred in separate Kansas communities. In Overland Park, police responded to one such hoax in January, and in Wichita, a man was shot and killed by police who received a 'spoofed' call just before the New Year. Today, we learn what 'swatting' is, how law enforcement is reacting and what legislators are doing to crack down.

NASA

Segment 1: How 4,000 years of writing shaped history, people and civilization.

From the "Epic of Gilgamesh" and the clay tablets it was written on in 2000 B.C. to the downloadable content of today, literature and the writing technologies that go along with it have allowed humans to make sense of the world, says Martin Puchner, general editor of "The Norton Anthology of World Literature." Today, he explained how written stories are the foundation of our modern world.

File photo / Kansas News Service

A telemedicine bill aimed at improving health care access for Kansans, particularly in rural areas, may get bogged down in abortion politics.

The legislation would mean insurance companies can’t refuse to pay for services provided long-distance that they would cover at an in-person office visit.

More controversially, the bill would not allow drug-induced abortion or other abortion procedures through telemedicine.

Screen grab from the Kansas Secretary of State website

The Kansas Secretary of State’s office took a trove of public records offline Thursday after a technology website discovered that they reveal partial Social Security numbers for potentially thousands of state officials.

Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton / U.S. Air Force

A particularly severe flu season is a good reason to refresh our series on children's health and development. In this latest installment, we get advice from metro medical experts for keeping yourself and your loved ones healthy through the winter.

Courtesy of Martin Mendoza

Bailey Miller, an engineering graduate student at the University of Kansas, has a compelling goal: to be among the first astronauts to land on Mars.

He's off to a good start.

Miller was the leader of a seven-member team that won an international competition hosted by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Their prompt was to design a spacecraft capable of reaching Mars, sustaining orbit and returning to Earth.

Missouri’s attorney general is trying to find out if Google has violated the state’s antitrust and consumer protection laws.

Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Monday that he is issuing a subpoena to the tech giant. Among other things, the Republican official wants to see how the tech giant is gathering personal information from users.  According to a news release, he also wants to know if Google is manipulating its search algorithm to “preference websites owned by Google and to demote websites that compete with Google.” 

Wikimedia Commons

During the Vietnam War, military conflict in Southeast Asia aggravated flaring social issues back home. Today, we discuss how activism during the war advanced the fight for civil rights on many fronts, and how mass protests then compare to today's resistance movements. Then, renowned biographer Walter Issacson takes us into the mind of Leonardo da Vinci.

Public Domain

They may be icons of the old west, but cowboys aren't just an American phenomenon. Today, we learn the long history of the horseback herdsmen, whose roots go back to Africa. Then, we discuss climate change and the complexities of reducing fossil fuel use with environmentalist Bill McKibben. Later, we ask Sam Cossman why on earth he climbs into active volcanoes and what he hopes to gain from doing so.

Pixabay - CC

Tensions over the Jackson County jail continue to mount. Attorneys for former inmates filed a class-action lawsuit last week that would force authorities to address the detention center's dangerous, dirty conditions. Today, we speak with two Jackson County legislators about what they'd do to improve the facility. Then, we kick off a week full of conversation with presenters from this year's TEDxKC.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Can a sweet treat help narrow a gender gap in the technology field? Today, the founder of Kansas City Women in Technology walks us through how a mother/daughter coding class could get more girls interested in pursuing it as a career. Then, we discuss the upcoming special session that will focus on considering abortion regulations in Missouri. Joining us is Democratic Rep.

Conner Hazelrigg
Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Three years ago, Conner Hazelrigg was a sophomore at William Jewell College, in Liberty, Missouri, when a friend came back from a trip to Haiti. The friend told Hazelrigg that everyone in the island nation—one of the world’s poorest countries—has a cell phone. They just don’t have any way to charge them. Electricity, she learned, was expensive and hard to find.

How do communities come together to share information and solve problems? From searching for a missing child to neighbors cleaning up after a storm, we look at how people take action — and whether changes in technology have affected how they solve problems.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Erin Smith doesn’t watch a lot of TV.

Instead, the 17-year-old spends her evenings perfecting an online tool she created. The tool, called FacePrint, can detect Parkinson’s disease years before current diagnosis methods by recording your facial reactions with a webcam at home.

Farmers are used to fixing their own machinery, but without the right software from tractor manufacturers they are effectively locked out of many models.
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

A new tractor often costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, but not included in that price: the right to repair it. That has put farmers on the front lines of a battle pitting consumers against the makers of all kinds of consumer goods, from tractors to refrigerators to smart phones.  

Modern tractors, essentially, have two keys to make the engine work. One key starts the engine. Today’s tractors are high-tech machines that can steer themselves by satellite, so there is another key – a software key – to get into the programs that make a tractor run properly.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The new Bloch Galleries at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art showcase European art from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. This includes masterpieces of Impressionism and post-Impressionism collected by Marion and Henry Bloch — artists such as Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh.

But visitors to the galleries might also be dazzled by some of the technological upgrades from sound to lighting. 

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Looking back, Mira Mdivani says she can now connect the events and put them in context.

“Before the shooting, actually,” she says, “I had a phone call from an Indian national who emigrated to the United States and is a United States citizen.”

Mdivani, an immigration attorney in Overland Park, Kansas, was recalling the Feb. 22 shooting at an Olathe bar in which two Indian men were targeted in what appears to have been a racially motivated attack.

A rural farm in Kansas. A wealthy family with a dark secret. A missing young woman. That's the basis of a new book by a local author. She shares how a real-life small Kansas town — and her background as a criminal defense attorney — helped inspire her novel.

Then, a look at how police department throughout the country (including in KC) are using technology that mines cell phone data.

Xaqt

Kansas City, Missouri, has started sharing data collected from interactive kiosks along the streetcar route.

A website launched Tuesday can tell visitors to downtown how traffic is flowing and if parking is available.

“If I don’t have to search for more than five minutes for a parking spot, I can better enjoy my day during play time. I can make better use of my time while I’m going to meetings,” Chief Innovation Officer Bob Bennett says.

TEDxKC

For the second year running, Up To Date has invited presenters from TEDxKC to fill us in on their work.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Over concerns about the exclusivity of the local tech scene, one Kansas City man wants to create a startup community near the 18th and Vine District for minority entrepreneurs. We also hear from a former Kansas City Star writer about her life in the Flint Hills and the transition to new work.

Pages