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The Salt
3:59 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Rosie The Robot Won't Serve Your Food, But She'll Pick It

A lettuce thinner manufactured by Ramsay Highlander removes excess seedlings from the field so that others have room to grow. Just one worker is required to operate the machine.
Rachel Estabrook

From manufacturing to cupcake sales, companies are finding that machines can often do the job just as well, or better, than humans. But some tasks – like picking and tending to fruit and vegetable crops – have remained the territory of low-wage laborers.

But labor-starved growers are now eying machines with increasing interest.

Some 90 percent of the strawberries and 80 percent of the salad greens grown in the U.S. come from California. These crops and a lot of others have always been picked by hand because they don't ripen all at once and can bruise easily.

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The Two-Way
3:56 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

NFL Tight End Aaron Hernandez Charged With Murder

Aaron Hernandez was cut by the New England Patriots after he was arrested Wednesday. Hernandez faces first-degree murder charges in the death of Odin Lloyd, 27.
Otto Greule Jr Getty Images

Pro football player Aaron Hernandez, who until today was a member of the New England Patriots, was charged with murder and other crimes in a Massachusetts courtroom Wednesday. He was arrested this morning and formally charged this afternoon, with authorities blaming him for the death of Odin Lloyd, 27, whose body was found on June 17.

A judge has ordered that Hernandez be held without bail.

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Parallels
3:37 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Thanks, But No: Social Media Refuses To Share With Turkey

An anti-government protester wearing a gas mask uses a cellphone to read the news on social media as demonstrators gather at midnight in Istanbul's Taksim Gezi Park on June 13.
Ozan Kose AFP/Getty Images

Turkey's battle with the Internet took a new twist on Wednesday.

A Turkish government minister said Twitter has refused to cooperate with the government, but that Facebook had responded "positively" and was "in cooperation with the state."

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Field Recordings
3:02 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Wild Belle: Reggae-Tinged Romance Amid The Big Bikes

Wild Belle performs for a Field Recordings video at South Bay Customs in El Segundo, Calif.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

At first, the inconspicuous facade of the El Segundo-based South Bay Customs motorcycle shop doesn't seem like the most compelling setting for one of our Field Recordings. But once we walked past the front doors, we quickly realized that this wasn't your everyday L.A. bike shop. South Bay's walls are lined with eccentric oddities, and the facility also houses an art gallery and a performance space for local musicians.

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The Two-Way
2:42 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Black Bear Roams In D.C., Days After Red Panda's Jaunt

A black bear was captured in northwest Washington, D.C., Wednesday, two days after Rusty the red panda escaped from the National Zoo into a nearby area.
YouTube

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

WATCH: Reactions To Gay Marriage Rulings

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World Cafe
1:45 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Laura Mvula On World Cafe

Laura Mvula.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 5:15 pm

U.K. singer Laura Mvula has been well-served by her conservatory training, which helped her uncover her own unique sound: Mvula's first full-length album, Sing to the Moon, blends classic pop, jazz and soul.

With help from producer Steve Brown, Mvula's choral-like arrangements are wonderfully layered and complex. In this installment of World Cafe, the singer performs live with her band and talks to host David Dye about how she separates her roles as a songwriter and a performer.

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Parallels
1:09 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Angry Chinese Workers Resort To Direct Action

American Chip Starnes, co-owner of Specialty Medical Supplies, waves Monday from a window where he is being held by angry workers inside his plant at the Jinyurui Science and Technology Park on the outskirts of Beijing. He remained confined to the plant on Wednesday.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 1:31 pm

When Chinese workers have a grievance, they are increasingly taking dramatic and direct action.

As we've reported, an American executive at a Chinese factory has been prevented by workers from leaving the plant since Friday. Chip Starnes of Specialty Medical Supplies says it's a misunderstanding following a decision to shut down part of his medical-supply business and move some jobs to India where wages are lower.

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The Two-Way
1:08 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

After DOMA: What's Next For Gay Married Couples

Edith Windsor is mobbed by journalists and supporters as she leaves the Supreme Court on March 27, when the court heard oral arguments in the case that challenged the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 3:47 pm

The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision Wednesday to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act is a monumental victory for advocates of same-sex marriage.

But what happens now that the 1996 federal law that confines marriage to a man and a woman has been declared unconstitutional?

Will federal benefits flow only to same-sex married couples living in states that recognize their unions?

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Music Reviews
1:05 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

'My Ellington': A Pianist Gives Duke Her Personal Touch

Duke Ellington (1899-1974) at the piano at the Fairfield Hall, Croydon, during a British tour on Feb. 10, 1963.
John Pratt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 4:50 pm

At the keys, Duke Ellington abstracted from stride piano, which modernized ragtime. Ellington's own spare percussive style then refracted through Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor, as well as a generation of freewheeling pianists active in Europe, like Aki Takase. Her new solo piano album is My Ellington, on which she plays some stride bass herself, as in "In a Mellow Tone."

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