theNewsWorthy: Thursday, May 16th, 2019
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All the news stories mentioned in today's episode are listed with links below, so you can spend as much -- or as little -- time as you want perusing the latest happenings...
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New Immigration Plan: Today President Trump will lay out a new plan to overhaul the U.S. immigration system to favor people based on merit. People with degrees, high-level skills and job offers would have a better chance of getting in to the U.S. (instead of based on family/relatives). The new plan likely won’t get far, since it doesn’t address "dreamers," so Congress probably won't go for it.
Read more: AP, The Hill, The Washington Post
Iran Conflict: Tensions between the U.S., Iran and Iraq are high, and today lawmakers from both parties will meet for information about what the White House says is a rising threat from Iran. U.S. officials have ordered all non-essential staff and their families to leave Iraq due to threats linked to Iran. Some lawmakers feel they’re still in the dark. White House officials say they don’t want war. but are prepared for any attack.
Read more: AP, NYT, NBC News
Online Extremism Pledge: More than a dozen countries and a handful of tech companies have signed a pact in the largest global effort against online extremism yet. However, the U.S. is choosing to sit this one out, citing concerns about restricting free speech. Some lawmakers are criticizing President Trump for not joining the effort. The White House instead launched a new tool that allows users to report instances when they think social media sites censored them due to political bias.
Read more: Vox, NBC News, The Hill, NYT, The Verge
FCC vs. Robocalls: The FCC wants phone companies to automatically block 'robocalls' for consumers for free. Phone companies have tried to stop them before, but many of them weren't sure if automatically blocking calls was legal. If the FCC’s plan passes next month’s vote, it would clear the way for carriers to take more action.
Read more: Engadget, Gizmodo, WSJ
Low Birth Rate: The U.S. birth rate is the lowest it’s been in more than three decades, and the women who are having kids aren’t having as many. It can be seen as a positive, as there are fewer teen pregnancies and more women in the workforce (who then may delay having children). In other ways, some worry about the impact of a shrinking population on the future economy.
Read more: NPR, WSJ, NBC News
3D Printed Community: Construction on the world’s first 3D printed community will begin this summer, and the first family is scheduled to move in by the beginning of next year. A Swiss designer is teaming up with a non-profit and a construction technology company to build 50 small houses for a community of farmers in Latin America. Each building will take only about 24 hours to print via a large 3D printer programmed to pump out concrete.
Read more: De Zeen, NYT
DIY Diagnosis: Researchers are working on an app that can detect an ear infection using your phone and a small paper funnel. You put the tip of the funnel into the ear, then the app plays chirping sounds. The app uses the echo to determine whether there’s fluid in the ear. So far the app has been 80 percent accurate but would still need FDA approval.
Read more: NPR, Science Magazine, Gizmodo
Uber Quiet Mode: Uber is making it easier to personalize your ride with so-called rider preferences. Quiet Mode, for example, lets riders choose how much conversation they want to have with the driver: quiet preferred, happy to chat or no preference. It’s available now on Uber Black rides.
Read more: TechCrunch, Vox, CNET
Big Bang Finale: After 12 seasons, the longest-running multi-camera comedy in TV history is ending. The one-hour series finale of The Big Bang Theory airs tonight. It's still one of TV’s highest-rated comedies, but one of the stars ultimately decided he was ready to walk away. The show airs at 8:00 p.m. EST on CBS.
Read more: THR, ET, ENews