technology | KCUR


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.


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 / File/KCUR 89.3

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.


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.


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.


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.

Several regional schools have seen intense, sometimes violent protests focused on social and civil divisions, but the UMKC campus has largely been spared. Today, we find out what makes the metro institution different. Then, a futurist shares her strategies for predicting trends in technology, business and more.

When Anthony Ladesich found his father's youthful correspondence with an old Navy friend on a stack of reel-to-reel tapes, he also found so much more: a portal into Kansas City's jazz history, and a way of keeping his dad with him a little longer.

Plus, for the first time ever, a student was admitted to UMKC Conservatory's composition program using the computer as his instrument.

This is an encore edition of Central Standard.


Courtesy ShotTracker

Kansas City entrepreneur Davyeon Ross just got the endorsement of a lifetime — from NBA legend Magic Johnson. 

Ross is the co-founder of ShotTracker, a basketball analytics startup and Johnson, along with former NBA commissioner David Stern and other investors, announced they're putting $5 million into the firm's latest product. 

"I grew up watching Magic play, so to be sitting in a conference room with him, and have that relationship is huge," Ross says.

Is nature a place to unplug ... or is it a photo op for social media? (#nature #gettingoutthere)? The relationship between technology and the wilderness.

Plus, a look back at how Leon Jordan and others consolidated black political power in Kansas City.


Jarrett Stewart / Flickr-CC

Kansas City officials were disappointed last week when they found out Kansas City will not receive a federal Smart City grant to help pay for enhancements to the planned Prospect MAX rapid bus line.

This is the second time the city was passed over for a Smart City grant


In an effort to take advantage of expanding local government data capabilities, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, has hired Alan Howze to fill a new position — chief knowledge officer. The role merges public service, government efficiency, and transparency, several things he is passionate about, Howze said in a Facebook post.

Recently, Google Maps started showing "areas of interest" in an orange color on the app. KC's areas of interested included the Plaza and Crown Center. Not included: 18th and Vine or the ruins of Quindaro in KCK.

We explore the ways that computer algorithms could reflect someone's prejudice or assumptions — or perhaps just reinforce our own.


Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint says it’s set a new record for wireless internet speed in Kansas City, using a technology called three-channel carrier aggregation.

The technology works by bundling data streams, and organizing them to work like one.  Creating one big pipe can handle a lot more information.