technology | KCUR

technology

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

TOPEKA, Kansas — When it comes to cybersecurity, most Kansas counties are behind. Overall, only eight county websites end in .gov, a domain extension that’s only given to governments.

Most of Kansas’ 105 counties have websites ending in .org or .com. And 60 counties don’t use a basic security protocol called SSL; their website URLs start with “http” rather than the more secure “https.” Both make it easier for hackers to impersonate websites in an effort to install malware, trick citizens into giving out personal data or sway elections.

Segment 1: "When the Chiefs needed to pick up the yards, Damien Williams was there," said sports reporter Kennetra Pulliams.

In the wake of an historic Chiefs Super Bowl win, we discussed what went right on Sunday, which players could have also been in the running for MVP, and what the future could hold for the team. Plus, what Kansas City learned from the 2015 World Series parade when it comes to port-a-potties and keeping track of children.

Segment 1: A young Kansas City poet reads Dear White Police Officer.

Veronica Clay was one of the featured performers at the Kansas City Jazz Museum for last year's Martin Luther King Day celebration (2019). This is a rebroadcast of a conversation about the poem she read, and her experience of race in Kansas City.

  • Veronica Clay, poet and spoken word artist

Segment 2: What premature birth can teach us about being human.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Kansas City, Missouri — Time was, a fledgling tech company called CivicPlus had to explain to prospective customers why it was based in Kansas — and not some tech-heavy coastal city.

“We said, ‘Hey, you get Midwest values, but with Silicon Valley quality,’” recalled Ward Morgan, owner of the government software maker based in the college town of Manhattan. “It did throw people off to think that there was a tech company in Kansas.”

Today CivicPlus, founded in the 1990s, serves 3,500 cities and counties on two continents.

Segment 1: Decades after desegregation, there remain students in the Kansas City area who are still not receiving a quality education. 

Education professor John Rury detailed the inequalities as they exist in urban and suburban school districts. As the Kansas City area expanded in the 1950s, wealth moved to the suburbs. The levels of poverty in many urban, black neighborhoods have remained in the 30-40 percentile. "This brings a whole host of issues that makes it very difficult for schools to function," Rury said. 

Segment 1: How a fractured school system contributes to problems with transportation.

Kansas City, Missouri, public school kids travel to school on dated buses that crisscross the city inefficiently. That cuts into school budgets, as well as time spent in class and on extra-curriculars. Big thinkers are taking on the issue and envisioning new models for getting kids to and from school.

Segment 1: Heavy caseloads and long hours are taking a toll on Missouri's public defenders.

Officials say public defenders in Kansas City, Missouri, are sometimes handling more than 100 cases at a time, and staffing and workload situations have been dire for years. We speak with leaders of the public defender's office to find out how those pressures are affecting attorneys' mental health and the ability of clients to get a fair trial.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3 file photo

In a scathing letter to Facebook this week, Missouri U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, along with three of his Republican colleagues, renewed his criticism of the social media giant, saying the company censors conservative voices.

It’s Hawley’s latest call for more government scrutiny and regulation of tech companies stemming from concerns like data privacy, internet addiction and censorship. 

Seg. 1: Technology In Prison | Seg. 2: Unidentified

Aug 19, 2019

Segment 1: A KU research team got a grant to bring technology training to women's prisons.

The population of women in U.S. prisons has risen 834 percent over the past 40 years. More than half of the women now in prison are mothers of children under 18. After interruptions in their educations and resumes, technology training could help them begin planning for re-entry.

Segment 1: American patriotism through the years

Some things never change, like the American need to blow things up on Independence Day. Not as predictable is our collective definition of patriotism. The concept has sustained the country's 243 years, but does it mean the same thing today as it did during the 1770s, 1870s or 1970s?

Segment 1: The Kansas City Public Library has joined a movement toward eliminating late fees.

Following the announcement that the Kansas City Public Library is no longer charging late fees, we dig into the reasoning behind the decision, as well as the larger movement it's a part of.

Segment 1: How a 1990s movie on DVD saved the life of a queer Kansas teen.

Savannah Rodgers is making a documentary about her obsession, as a 12-year-old, with the movie Chasing Amy.

Segment 1: A New York Times reporter sees votes for Quinton Lucas as votes for neighborhoods.

The weekend before Kansas City's mayoral election, a story appeared in the New York Times suggesting that this election came down to a choice: continued emphasis on downtown, or a shift toward prioritizing neighborhoods struggling in downtown's shadow. The author joins us to reflect on the outcome.

Segment 1: Why we don't fix things any more, and why that matters.

There's a national movement encouraging people to learn how to fix things as an antidote to consumer waste and excess spending. But fix-it-yourself workshops happening around the country are having trouble getting off the ground in Kansas City. Our guests give the spiels they'd deliver at such workshops, if they did exist here.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

A teenager wakes up, gets ready for school. Slips a smartphone into her pocket on the way out the door.

Her day may well include some biology or chemistry, history, algebra, English and Spanish. It likely won’t include lessons on how that smartphone — more powerful than the computers aboard the Apollo moon missions — and its myriad colorful apps actually work.

Segment 1: Reporting on floods

Flooding has been catastrophic outside of Kansas City and covering the damage isn't an easy task. KCUR reporters share perspective on what it's like to wade into these stories.

Segment 1: Education & Online Curriculum

A digital education platform introduced to a couple of Kansas school districts has received criticism from some parents. At the forefront of the debate is the question: is education reform tapping into the potential of technology? Or are we disrupting a tried-and-true method of teaching?

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Parents in the Shawnee Mission School District say students are spending too much time on their iPads, and they don’t think administrators are taking their concerns seriously.

“We asked for a comprehensive review,” said Gretchen Shanahan, one of the parents who's serving on the district's digital learning task force. “We asked for data, and the response we got from administrators was that would be a step backward when we need to move forward.”

Segment 1: Getting more women in the male-dominated world of sports management and media. 

Women have made great advances as coaches, managers, and sportscasters, but still rarely hold the same top spots as their male counterparts. So what would it take to get more women involved? We ask a panel of sports journalists what is needed to give women a better opportunity to secure some these coveted positions.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley has been in office for 100 days. And in that relatively short time, the Republican has taken on tech giants like Google and Twitter, proposed new regulations for duck boats and co-authored a bill to lower the cost of prescription drugs. 

Segment 1: Moderatism and social media.

It seems everywhere on the news there's talk about a political divide in America. But is it possible that claim is over exaggerated by social media? In this conversation, we find out why a recent study from the University of Missouri says this might be the case.

The city of Hutchinson is set to become a test site for new technology that’s designed to improve public safety and city operations.

AT&T selected Hutchinson to try out its new Smart City program beginning this summer. The company will provide and install sensors, cameras and communication technology at no cost to the city.

Hutchinson Police Chief Jeff Hooper presented the proposal to city leaders at a council meeting last Tuesday.

PublicDomainPictures.net

Segment 1: Policymakers have yet to grasp the depth of the recession in farm country.

Farmers are slowly losing their livelihood as the input costs of farming rise and the price of commodoties sink. We talked with Paul Johnson, a grower and policy analyst, about the crisis in farm country. "There's not much, if any, of a debate of a farm and food discussion that we need in Kansas," Johnson said.

The U.S. trade war with China, now approaching a year, is often framed as hurting manufacturing and agriculture the most. But that’s mainly collateral damage in an international struggle over power and technology that has its roots in the Cold War, when China was still considered a largely undeveloped country.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Google Fiber says dozens of customers remain without home internet nearly two weeks after a major winter storm knocked out service for many across Kansas City. 

The company says technicians are "working night and day" to get subscribers back online, but many customers say they're fed up and that their trust in the Silicon Valley brand they once admired is gone.

"We're actively looking to switch providers," says Julie Gronquist-Blodgett. "Our experience now is counter to how I used to view Google."

Argonne National Laboratory

Kansas State University is now officially home to one of the best groups of cyber-defense trainees in the nation.

In December, the university's Cyber Defense Club won second place nationally and first place regionally in a competition hosted by the United States Department of Energy. The K-State students competed against 70 teams from 24 states at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, one of seven sites to host the contest.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

An 18-year-old Shawnee Mission West graduate has been named to the 2019 Forbes '30 Under 30' health care list for an app she created to detect early symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Regulate us, please

In 2013, a coalition of school districts formed. They’d be laboratories for new ideas. If they could show the state they were serious enough about making classrooms work in new and better ways, they’d be freed from some state rules — notably, who they could hire as teachers and how much testing they had to run their students through.

The state law outlining the special status was limited to a small number of school districts. Ultimately, Blue Valley, Kansas City, Fredonia, Concordia, Hugoton, Marysville and McPherson schools signed up.

Segment 1: 100 years since the 1918 epidemic, but we still battle influenza.

Historians are still debating how many people died from the flu pandemic in 1918, at least 2,000 Kansas Citians included. We talk about the politics and protocols of treating the flu in the past and learn how to best prevent the spread of the flu this season.

Two lines of forward-facing trucks with a man walking away between them.
Tech Sgt. Larry E. Reid, Jr. / U.S. Air Force

Segment 1: As crashes involving large trucks continue to increase, resistance to crash avoidance and mitigation technology remains.

When a tractor-trailer truck runs into the back end of a passenger vehicle at highway speed, there's a good chance that people will die. Today, jumping off an recent Kansas City Star investigation, we talked about collisions between trucks and passenger vehicles, the number of resulting deaths and potential preventive measures.

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