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New Tech City

Emoji Gone Wild: We Text Without Words for a Month

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cute chat imagery expanded the emotional vocabulary of one cheery couple.

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Transportation Nation

Two-Second Rule: Feds Issue Distracted Driving Guidelines to Automakers

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

WAMU

Two seconds is enough time for you to do something with your built-in navigation or communication system while you are driving, according to new guidelines issued by federal safety officials to automakers.

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New Tech City

Job Opportunities in Your Pocket

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The Bloomberg administration believes it’s found a powerful new tool to connect the jobless with jobs: TXT-2-Work sends text messages about job listings directly into the hands of unemployed New Yorkers.

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New Tech City

New Tech City: Finding a Job in the Digital Era

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

In response to New York City's 9.1 percent unemployment rate, many New Yorkers are exploring new tech-based strategies to find jobs on their tablets, smartphones and even "dumb" phones.  

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Transportation Nation

Distracted Driving Awareness Month Begins With Plea to Change Behavior

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

(photo by Jim Legans, Jr.)

(Washington, D.C. -- WAMU) Safety advocates are pivoting off Distracted Driving Awareness Month to publicize the issue.

Meanwhile, legislators in Richmond -- and push for legislation making texting while driving a primary offense in Virginia.

"I think we're getting to the point where people are starting to understand and recognize that, but I'm not sure people are quite aware of how dangerous it is,” says Debbie Pickford, chair of the board of Drive Smart Virginia.

Just how dangerous? Texting while driving increases your risk of a crash by 23 times, according to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Eighty percent of all crashes and 65 percent of all near crashes involve driver inattention within three seconds before the accident. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who has been known to honk at drivers he sees talking on cell phones, has called distracted driving "an epidemic on America's roadways."

Despite these findings, Pickford says, it has been difficult convincing teenagers as well as adults to drop their gadgets and keep both eyes on the road. “The problem is getting worse,” she says. Her group is encouraging drivers to sign a pledge in which they publicly commit to eschewing cell phones while driving.

According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, teen driver deaths went up in the first six months of 2012 compared to the same period the prior year, and Pickford says a big reason is driver distractions like smart phones.

“We’re a multitasking society. We’re a busy society,” Pickford says. “I think multitasking has become a way of life, so people are just trying to get things done when they are in their cars and there is a lot more you can do now on a smartphone.”

Distracted Driving Awareness Month was once just one week, and advocates plans to extend their activities well past April into the “dangerous months” for teenagers when proms and graduation parties increase the potential for risky road behaviors.

Ultimately, safety advocates would like society to view distracted driving the same way it now sees drunk driving, but Pickford concedes that will take many years.

“It took a while for society to get to the fact that drinking and driving is really very dangerous, so I think it will take a few years to build this campaign and make people aware,” she says. “It doesn’t happen over night and it’s why we have gone from a week to a month.  We are hosting a distracted driving summit in September in Richmond.”

Advocates are also looking to Richmond lawmakers for help. This week state legislators are expected to approve legislation that would make texting while driving a primary offense.

“Right now a policeman can pull someone over if they see something else going on in the car.  They cannot pull them over if they see you texting while driving,” Pickford says.

Drive Smart Virginia says youth education starts in the car with parents. Children as young as five begin to pick up their parents’ driving behaviors, so she is urging parents to set good examples and refrain from using hand-held cell phones at the wheel.

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The Takeaway

What Would It Take to Stop Texting While Driving?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

We all know it’s not safe to text and drive. And many states have passed laws to cut down on the practice. But states like Massachusetts are finding that it can be a challenge enforcing these laws. Lt. Victor Flaherty of the West Bridgewater Police works to enforce the Massachusetts anti-texting laws that went into effect in 2010.

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The Takeaway

Today's Takeaway | January 17, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mali Unrest Spills into Neighboring Algeria | How to Crowd-Source a Story | Foreclosure Filings Fell Three Percent in 2012 | What Would It Take to Stop Texting While Driving? | The Last Four Doctors Who Perform Third-Trimester Abortions

On The Media

Emoticon Origins :-)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Today, emoticons - those smiling, frowning, or winking faces comprised of text and punctuation - can be found in everything from emails to text messages. But before their invention 30 years ago, there was no short cut for expressing sentiment in text form. Brooke speaks to computer science professor Scott Fahlman, who came up with the smiling and frowning faces, about how they came to be.

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Schoolbook

Cheating at Stuyvesant: Is it a Sign of the Times?

Monday, September 10, 2012

On WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show, reporter Beth Fertig explains the latest on the cheating scandal at Stuyvesant High School and listeners sound off about whether cheating overall is on the rise.

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WNYC News

ICYMI: Off-Beat Business

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

You’ve see the headlines, read the front pages and checked out the business section. But In Case You Missed It, here are a few, under-the-radar business stories you might have overlooked.

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WNYC News

Tickets for Texting-While-Driving Quadruple in New York

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Police in New York have written over 20,000 tickets since the state’s texting-while-driving ban took effect a year ago – more than four times the amount from the year prior.

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Transportation Nation

Texting-While-Driving Tickets Quadruple in New York

Thursday, July 12, 2012

(Photo by Kate Hinds)

Police in New York have written over 20,000 tickets since a more stringent texting-while-driving law took effect in 2011 – more than four times the amount than in the prior year.

"These tickets should send a resounding message to all drivers: keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel," said Governor Cuomo in a press release.

The law went into effect on July 12, 2011. It made driving while using any portable electronic device a primary, rather than just a secondary offense -- meaning that drivers can be stopped solely if they are found to be using such a device while driving.

When he signed the bill into law last year, Cuomo said it was "common sense — but sometimes you need law enforcement, and you need laws, to remind society of common sense and enforce common sense."

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called texting while driving "a national epidemic" and said it's responsible for about ten percent of all traffic fatalities.

A county-by-county breakdown of tickets issued before and after the law can be viewed below (source: NY Governor's Office).

COUNTY

TICKETS ISSUED 7/12/10- 7/12/2011

TICKETS ISSUED 7/12/2011-7/12/2012

ALBANY

75

539

ALLEGANY

5

14

BRONX

91

900

BROOME

22

103

CATTARAUGUS

10

45

CAYUGA

9

76

CHAUTAUQUA

23

130

CHEMUNG

27

92

CHENANGO

4

40

CLINTON

16

73

COLUMBIA

5

54

CORTLAND

22

85

DELAWARE

1

18

DUTCHESS

59

324

ERIE

226

1,418

ESSEX

6

10

FRANKLIN

5

27

FULTON

5

21

GENESEE

8

50

GREENE

11

16

HAMILTON  

1

HERKIMER

11

52

JEFFERSON

12

73

KINGS

540

3,234

LEWIS

4

31

LIVINGSTON

23

50

MADISON

19

75

MONROE

110

687

MONTGOMERY

17

45

NASSAU

162

505

NEW YORK

807

3,714

NIAGARA

73

214

ONEIDA

38

126

ONONDAGA

797

479

ONTARIO

8

87

ORANGE

67

292

ORLEANS  

8

OSWEGO

14

46

OTSEGO

7

61

PUTNAM

22

75

QUEENS

401

3,334

RENSSELAER

21

163

RICHMOND

157

205

ROCKLAND

69

151

SARATOGA

42

326

SCHENECTADY

18

69

SCHOHARIE

4

9

SCHUYLER

3

4

SENECA

8

41

ST LAWRENCE

12

265

STEUBEN

14

108

SUFFOLK

185

908

SULLIVAN

5

32

TIOGA

13

67

TOMPKINS

20

139

ULSTER

54

246

WARREN

15

166

WASHINGTON

10

21

WAYNE

6

74

WESTCHESTER

148

720

WYOMING

3

18

YATES  

2

TOTALS

4,569

20,958

 

 

 

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Transportation Nation

LaHood: Cellphone Use While Driving A "National Epidemic"

Thursday, June 07, 2012

 

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (US DOT Photo)

US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has stepped up federal efforts to combat distracted driving, which he says are responsible for ten percent of all traffic fatalities.

The Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving, released Thursday, builds on efforts first piloted in Syracuse and Hartford. It calls for more public awareness, police enforcement, and driver education about the dangers of texting while driving. It also encourages the 11 remaining states that lack anti-texting laws to pass them.

While a recent government survey found that teen seatbelt use is up and drunk driving is down, over half of all high school seniors admitted to texting or emailing while driving.

On his blog, LaHood wrote that deaths from distracted driving are entirely preventable.  "In 2010, at least 3,092 people were killed on our nation's roads in distraction-affected crashes. That's approximately one in every ten fatalities, and we can put an end to it."

The DOT is also funding a $2.4 million pilot program in California and Delaware that will examine whether increased police enforcement coupled with advertising and news coverage can significantly reduce distracted driving.

The blueprint can be downloaded here (pdf).

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Transportation Nation

Teen Drivers Learn Dangers of Texting Behind the Wheel Through Simulation Exercise

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Texting and driving simulation vehicle in front of Houston City Hall. Photo by Gail Delaughter/KUHF

(Houston, TX -- Gail Delaughter, KUHF)   The texting and driving simulators are like the ones used to simulate drunk driving, except in this one you're constantly glancing between the computer-generated roadway on your simulation goggles, and the phone keypad you're clasping under the steering wheel.

Like in any video game, a loud crash signals you've messed up. Come to find out, I was on the wrong side of the road the entire exercise.

My simulation was conducted by Dylan Richardson with Peers Awareness, a firm that puts on simulation exercises for young drivers.  He says no one gets it right.   "All people have some type of infraction, or they will crash."

A local TV station brought along two sisters who drive race cars. Even they couldn't do it.

The event in front of Houston City Hall was sponsored by AT&T to mark the 100 deadliest days for teens to be on the road, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day.   AT&T Regional Vice-President Alice Aanstoos says a new driver with a smart phone is a dangerous combination, considering it takes about five seconds to look at a text.  She says the simulator ride proves to be a rude awakening for teens who think they're experts at multi-tasking behind the wheel.

"Because they realize that, again, just one split second from looking away from the road can cause troubles. We haven't seen a single person actually pass this simulator test without either some sort of accident, a wreck, or some kind of infraction."

Aanstoos says it's not just teens who text while driving. She says adults do it too, and often they're texting their own kids while sitting at a red light.

"I hear a lot of them say it's okay to just check their phone and read a text at a red light or something because they're obviously not moving, so it's okay, right?  But that's dangerous too."

You can listen to the KUHF story here.

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The Takeaway

Why Texting in Class Might Actually Be a Good Thing

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

If you’re a parent, teacher, or student, you probably won’t be surprised by these statistics: In schools that permit cell phones, 71 percent of students text during class. In schools that ban cell phones entirely, the percentage is nearly as high: 58 percent. While we frequently hear teachers and parents complaining about these statistics, not all adults see these numbers as a bad thing. In fact, a small but growing number of educators are exploring how cell phones might be used to help students learn more and learn better.

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Transportation Nation

VIDEO Belgian Organization Tells Teens to Text While Driving (So They Won't)

Friday, May 18, 2012

How do you convince drivers not to text while driving? FORCE them to text while driving.

That's the reverse psychology applied by a Belgian organization called Responsible Young Drivers (RYD). The group has produced a video in which an actor, playing a driving instructor, told actual test takers that a new government regulation says they must demonstrate the ability to successfully text while driving to receive a license.

"Plenty of people will crash, I'm telling you!" says one would-be driver. Others scream, curse, swerve wildly and plow into traffic cones while trying to text instructor-dictated messages. (To up the difficulty level, the instructor criticizes their spelling.)

The end of the film provides the message that RYD wants to hammer home -- a frazzled teen saying "I can't do both!"

"Worldwide, vehicle crashes are the biggest cause of mortality of youngsters between 15 and 24 years of age," Axel Druart, RYD's European Project Director, told the BBC. "We have to do something about it."

Watch the video below.

 

 

 

 

 

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On The Media

The Future of the Phone

Friday, May 18, 2012

The text message turns two decades old this year, and numerous studies have shown a sharp decline in actual phone use in favor of texting and email. Brooke talks to writer Tom Vanderbilt, who says the phone call’s day may be passing.

 

JD Samson and MEN - Life's Half Price

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Transportation Nation

Texting While Walking: The Terror Stalking Our Sidewalks (VIDEO)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

To be filed under "how did we miss this!" ... Casey Neistat -- the filmmaker who gamely used himself to illustrate the hazards of blocked bike lanes -- has made a cautionary video about texting while walking. It first appeared in the New York Times and was picked up today by Laughing Squid.

The practice, Neistat says, "may lack the social stigmas of drunk driving or smoking crystal meth, but it can be just as dangerous."

Luckily, there are ways to text on the street and not become the subject of an afterschool special. Neistat has a tip: "Proper technique is putting your back against the wall and standing in one place while you text, allowing foot traffic to safely flow by."

See for yourself!

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Schoolbook

Using Social Media to Teach: Keep It Transparent, Open and Safe

Monday, December 19, 2011

An expert in educator sexual misconduct said she has seen many instances when social media has been used to target, groom and harm students. But by taking care to make intentional decisions about how to use social media and keep professional and private lives separate, Twitter, Facebook and texting can boost student learning and engagement. Here is her advice for teachers.

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