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NPR Story
3:05 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Robot Eyes As Good As Humans When Grading Essays

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 4:37 pm

A new study has determined that some automated essay graders can do as good of a job as humans. Melissa Block talks with New York Times education columnist Michael Winerip about the study and the weaknesses of automatic essay readers.

Books
3:01 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

'America's Great Debate' Saved Union From War

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 11:32 am

The Civil War remains the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history and the defining crisis of the nation. But it might easily have started 12 years earlier.

In 1850, California's application to join the Union threatened to unhinge the delicate balance of pro- and anti-slavery forces. The flood of European immigration had shifted power in the House of Representatives decisively to the North. Another free state would tilt the U.S. Senate.

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Music Interviews
3:01 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Classical 'Rock Star' Joshua Bell Takes On Conducting

Joshua Bell.
Ethan Miller Getty Images for The Smith Center

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 4:17 pm

Joshua Bell, the violin prodigy who grew into what some call a classical-music rock star, has taken the helm of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Bell is the orchestra's first music director since Sir Neville Marriner, who created the group.

On his first tour with the group as both music director and conductor, Bell plays the violin while conducting the orchestra simultaneously, gesturing with his bow. And he leads from the concert master's chair, rather than the podium, which seems unusual to some audiences.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:38 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Los Angeles Bets On Crusading Doc To Turn Around Public Health

Dr. Mitch Katz rides his bike to work, defying the commuting norm in Los Angeles.
Michael Wilson L.A.County Health Services Dept.

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 8:24 pm

It would be easy to confuse Dr. Mitch Katz with any other doctor at the Roybal Comprehensive Health Center in East Los Angeles. His desk in a closet-sized, windowless office is littered with patient records, X-rays and cans of Diet Coke.

His everyman demeanor belies his stature. As director of the county's Department of Health Services, Katz, 52, oversees Los Angeles' public hospitals and clinics, the health care of last resort for millions of low-income Angelenos. He oversees 22,000 employees and a $3.7 billion-dollar budget.

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The Two-Way
2:34 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

USDA: New Case Of Mad Cow Disease Confirmed In California

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:25 pm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it has confirmed a case of Mad Cow disease in a cow in central California. It is the fourth case found in the country in recent years.

The animal was a dairy cow and "at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health," U.S.D.A. Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford said in a statement.

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