Elise Hu

Elise Hu is a reporter who covers the intersection of technology and culture for NPR's on-air, online and multimedia platforms. Beginning in 2015, she will be assigned to the network's new bureau in Seoul, South Korea.

She joined NPR in 2011 to coordinate the digital development and editorial vision for the StateImpact network, a state government reporting project focused on member stations.

Before joining NPR, she was one of the founding reporters who helped launch The Texas Tribune, a non-profit digital news startup devoted to politics and public policy. While at the Tribune, Hu oversaw television partnerships and multimedia projects; contributed to The New York Times' expanded Texas coverage and pushed for editorial innovation across platforms.

An honors graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia's School of Journalism, she previously worked as the state political reporter for KVUE-TV in Austin, WYFF-TV in Greenville, SC, and reported from Asia for the Taipei Times.

Her work has earned a Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism, a National Edward R. Murrow award for best online video, beat reporting awards from the Texas Associated Press and The Austin Chronicle once dubiously named her the "Best TV Reporter Who Can Write."

Outside of work, Hu is an adjunct instructor at Northwestern University and Georgetown University's journalism schools. She's also an adviser to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where she keeps up with emerging media and technology as a panelist for the Knight News Challenge.

In the high-profile civil case against Wall Street titan Steven Cohen, federal authorities accuse the hedge fund head of allowing insider trading within his ranks. Cohen's lawyers offered up a defense fit for the digital age: They claim he didn't see a key, incriminating email because he gets too many messages — an estimated 1,000 a day, and opens only 11 percent of them.

Vermont, New Hampshire and Delaware get a notable benefit of being small: faster Internet connections. In the latest Akamai State of the Internet Report, they top the list of states with the fastest average connection speeds, and make the top 10 states with fastest peak connection speeds, too.

Check out the rankings, which include download speeds measured in megabits per second, and the year-on-year change for those numbers.

Every home in the United Kingdom will be blocked from accessing pornography through Internet connections, under new measures announced by British Prime Minister David Cameron. When these go into effect later this year, Internet users who want to access porn will have to opt in with their Internet providers.

So much fascinating tech and culture news, so little time. But we certainly think you should see the journalism that's catching our curiosity each week, so each Friday we'll round up the week that was — the work that appeared in this blog, and from our fellow technology writers and observers at other organizations.

ICYMI

Apple, Google, Microsoft and a broad coalition of major tech companies are making a loud call for greater government disclosure of digital communications monitoring.

In a letter out today, an alliance of 63 companies and groups are calling for dramatically increased transparency around U.S. government surveillance efforts. This comes as the companies — and individual Americans — continue to grapple with recent revelations of a sweeping surveillance program led by the National Security Agency.

In a blog series we're calling "Weekly Innovation," we'll explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Last week we featured the sink-urinal. (Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.)

Calm largely prevailed after a jury acquitted George Zimmerman Saturday night in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Law enforcement and community leaders had prepared for potential unrest, and riots had been feared for months. Slate's Dave Weigel sums up the fears:

Justin Carter, the 19-year-old who was arrested and jailed in February after making a Facebook comment about a school shooting, is out of jail. An anonymous donor posted the $500,000 bond to allow Carter to go home. Carter plans to stay near New Braunfels, Texas, to await his trial on a felony terroristic threat charge.

Google Glass isn't even available to the public yet. But the wearable technology that packs a tiny computer into a lightweight frame has already faced mockery, condemnation, fear and threats of regulation. As NPR's Steve Henn reported in May:

In a blog series we're calling "Weekly Innovation," we'll explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. (Have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.)

A Latvian designer named Kaspars Jursons is trying to help solve European water shortages by redesigning the men's restroom. His new urinal design includes a tap and sink right over it.

The Fourth of July holiday brought about another first for Google Glass, the computing device that you can wear on your face.

We've been following the case of Justin Carter, the Texas teen who's been jailed near San Antonio since February. It started when he posted a Facebook message saying he would go "shoot up a kindergarten." Austin Police arrested him and seized his computer and a grand jury indicted him in April on a charge of making a terroristic threat.

All this week, NPR is taking a look at the demographic changes that could reshape the political landscape in Texas over the next decade — and what that could mean for the rest of the country. We take a closer look at the local journalists covering the coming changes, in this part of the series.

The family of Justin Carter, the 19-year-old Texas gamer who made offensive Facebook comments that landed him in jail, is working with new urgency to get his $500,000 bail reduced because they say he's getting beat up behind bars.

A Texas teen faces up to eight years in prison after making a comment on Facebook about shooting up "a school full of kids." Deputies in Comal County, Texas, charged then-18-year-old Justin Carter with making "terroristic threats" — a third-degree felony — in March. According to the Comal County Jail, he's been behind bars since March 27, unable to make his $500,000 bail. Austin-based KVUE-TV reports:

All this week, NPR is taking a look at the demographic changes that could reshape the political landscape in Texas over the next decade — and what that could mean for the rest of the country.

You can't say they didn't warn you. On Monday, Google Reader will no longer be available. The search behemoth is putting its RSS reader to rest, leaving millions of dedicated users scrambling to find other platforms for organization of their news feeds and content exploration.

In case you missed it Monday, we're rebooting our technology blog to focus on the intersection of innovation and culture. The updated approach both widens our view of technology — for example, two-ply toilet paper was innovative at one point — and sharpens our gaze. You won't find general tech business news in this space anymore.

The official clock ran out on Texas lawmakers overnight, which effectively killed a bill that would have dramatically restricted abortion in the nation's second most populous state. Hours of chaos and confusion in Austin finally lifted as Texas Senate leaders decided that the vote on Senate Bill 5 did not clear a constitutionally-mandated hurdle that it pass before midnight.

By midnight Texas time, it was all over but the parliamentary inquiries. After a nearly 11-hour filibuster attempt by state Sen. Wendy Davis to block sweeping restrictions on abortion, the Republican-dominated Texas Senate successfully shut down the filibuster on points of order. (See update at the bottom of this post.)

"This is probably the worst night that I've experienced since I've been in the Senate, maybe since I've been in public life," said state Sen. Kirk Watson, a Democrat from Austin.

UPDATE on Thursday at 1:44 p.m. ET: Instagram For Video Arrives

It's not your everyday real estate deal. A team of young entrepreneurs persuaded about 50 deep-pocketed investors to help them purchase a mountain. The deal just closed in April, and development on Utah's nearly 10,000-acre Powder Mountain is now underway.

"When we made those first phone calls, everybody's like, what? That being said, they know that we aren't kidding," says Jeff Rosenthal, co-founder of Summit, the group that led the purchase of the peak.

Lawmakers in Illinois are headed back to work next week to address the state's $100 billion pension crisis, the worst unfunded pension liability in the nation. While almost all states faced pension funding issues during the recession, none of them are looking at a predicament as severe as in Illinois. Every day it doesn't get fixed, the burden on taxpayers grows larger.

Gov. Rick Perry's outsized Texas swagger is coming to the heart of blue state America.

If you opt for the upgrade, changes are coming to your iPhone experience this fall. And if you want to shell out some cash right away, the latest line of MacBook Air computers boasts a lot more power and battery life, and the machines are available to ship today.

Apple chiefs announced their latest products and improvements Monday as part of the keynote at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

We kept an eye on the two-hour presentation so you didn't have to. The highlights:

Controversy is raging over a court order allowing the FBI and the National Security Agency to seize aggregate information of millions of Verizon customer phone calls.

For an academic contest pitting young spellers against the dictionary, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has taken on the intensity of the fiercest athletic events. Feeling the warmth of television lights — not to mention nerves and distractions — all while sports commentators are analyzing your "style" and approach is something only a select club of young word-nerdy Americans gets to experience. How does that early experience affect these mostly middle-school-aged kids later in life?

Lasting Memories

Yahoo's $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr could be considered a bargain compared with its other big-dollar bets. The company's history is dotted with pricey purchases of once-hot Web properties that had more promise than eventual purpose. A look back:

GeoCities, 1999: $3.7 Billion

The Federal Aviation Administration continues work on its multibillion-dollar upgrade to the nation's air traffic control system, but it may not be enough to stop hackers from taking control of airplanes with a smartphone.

Overnight temperatures are dipping below freezing and the forecast calls for snow, but cold, boredom and discomfort haven't stopped more than 30 Supreme Court die-hards from camping out for a seat to history.

"I just really wanted to be part of this moment, so I had been planning to come down for months," said Darienn Powers, a college student who came to Washington from New York. "No matter what, it's worth it to be in there and really experience what's going on."

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