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Parallels
11:28 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Rio Goes High-Tech, With An Eye Toward Olympics, World Cup

Rio's Operations Center brings together more than 30 agencies and allows them to coordinate on daily issues such as traffic, as well as on emergencies such as the frequent flash floods in hillside slums.
Raphael Lima Courtesy of the Operations Center, City of Rio De Janeiro

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 8:27 am

We are standing in front of a huge bank of screens, in the middle of which is a glowing map that changes focus depending on what the dozens of controllers are looking at.

The room looks like something straight out of a NASA shuttle launch. The men and women manning the floor are dressed in identical white jumpsuits. With a flick of a mouse, they scroll through dozens of streaming video images coming into the center.

This is Rio de Janeiro in real time.

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Code Switch
11:22 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Puerto Ricans Find Coors' Toast In Poor Taste

The Coors Light can created to celebrate this year's National Puerto Rican Day parade sparked controversy over its logo.
Courtesy of PIX11

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 2:51 pm

Community activists in New York are angry after MillerCoors placed a Puerto Rican flag on a special edition, 24-ounce beer can. The can was designed to promote the annual Puerto Rican Day parade.

Parade organizers approved a commemorative Coors Light can adorned with a Puerto Rican flag in the shape of a big apple. The phrase "National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc." was also emblazoned on the can.

Organizers insisted on Friday that the can does not feature the Puerto Rican flag.

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Research News
11:18 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Gizmo Uses Lung Cells To Sniff Out Health Hazards In Urban Air

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 7:23 pm

Cities like Houston are dotted with air-sniffing monitors that measure levels of benzene and other potentially unhealthy air pollutants. But those monitors can't answer the question we care about most: Is the air safe?

That's because there's no simple relationship between toxic air pollutants and health risks. Researchers at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill are trying to get a leg up on that problem. They are building an instrument that uses human lung cells to measure health hazards in the air more directly.

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The Two-Way
10:54 am
Fri May 31, 2013

No Smoking Outside Starbucks Shops Starting Saturday

Don't sit down here and have a smoke with your coffee, Starbucks says.
Mark Memmott NPR

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 11:17 am

Starbucks is moving its smoking ban outdoors.

Starting Saturday, according to signs posted in its more than 7,000 shops across the U.S. and Canada, "the no-smoking policy ... will include outdoor areas."

"Smoking will be restricted within 25 feet of the store and within outdoor seating areas," the notices read.

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Calmly, From Portland, It's The Quiet Music Festival

The show Portlandia recently featured a skit titled "The Battle Of The Gentle Bands." Portland will host the Quiet Music Festival this weekend.
IFC/YouTube

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 1:05 pm

Not all music festivals are carnivals of noise, propelled by thudding drums and screeching guitars. In fact, for the annual Quiet Music Festival of Portland, which begins today, the goal is to experience calming sounds.

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