Bits and megabytes


Issue: "Nuclear threat in Korea," Aug. 16, 2003

McDonald's next generation of employees may be robots. The fast-food powerhouse is considering automated grill and french-fry systems that reduce labor costs and allow employees to focus on customer service. Meanwhile, the company is testing self-service kiosks-where patrons ring up their own orders-in North Carolina.... NEC plans a new fuel cell that can keep laptops running up to 40 straight hours without stopping. The new batteries, set for a 2005 debut, are supposed to run 10 times longer than the lithium-ion batteries used today.... Jose Hernandez-Rebollar says he's invented a high-tech glove that translates sign- language gestures into conventional speech. The George Washington University researcher says his "AcceleGlove," which is actually a wearable computer, can help the deaf communicate. It may also have military uses, such as helping soldiers pass complex directions to each other with hand motions.... Two-thirds of online music pirates in a Pew survey said they don't care whether they're violating copyright laws. The study estimated that about 35 million American adults use file-sharing software.

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