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Microsoft buying speech recognition firm Nuance in $16B deal

Boston Herald

Microsoft, on an accelerated growth push, is buying speech recognition company Nuance in a deal worth about $16 billion. The acquisition will get Microsoft deeper into hospitals and the health care industry through Nuance's widely used medical dictation and transcription tools. Microsoft will pay $56 per share cash. The companies value the transaction including debt at $19.7 billion. Shares of Burlington, Mass.-based Nuance surged more than 16% in Monday trading.


Space, the final frontier for angry teens in 'Voyagers'

Boston Herald

From writer-director Neil Burger ("Divergent") comes another young adult science-fiction tale, this one of a cruise ship in deep space full of restless teenagers under the supervision of a single adult. Some of the young people find out that the adult is keeping them drugged and docile and forcing them to reproduce artificially. Is that a recipe for YA trouble or what? Just when you thought you could not watch one more film of this kind, here is "Voyagers," a title that sounds enough like "Passengers" (2016) to put you off you spaceship-grown peas and carrots. The story is set in 2063 when Earth is ravaged, and scientists have searched for another planet to colonize.


Searching symptoms online helps patients make a good diagnosis, doesn't increase anxiety, study shows

Boston Herald

Google" and researching health issues online makes patients better at diagnosing illnesses and doesn't make them more anxious, a new study out of Harvard and Brigham and Women's Hospital shows. "Every doctor has their story about the patient who has pinky pain who thought they had cancer," said Dr. David Levine, corresponding author of the study and internist at Brigham and Women's. But Levine said that's certainly not the norm, and he loves when his patients Google their symptoms before arriving at his office, "I think it shows they're invested in what's going on." Levine and his colleagues found that study participants showed modest improvements in reaching an accurate diagnosis after looking up symptoms online and reported no increase in "cyberchondria," or anxiety about one's health associated with using the internet. Googling health symptoms has often been thought of as a no-no due to online misinformation or the potential to stoke fear in patients, but Levine said the research findings show that's not quite true.


Ticker: MassArt holds auction to fund scholarships; Facebook data on more than 500M accounts found online

Boston Herald

The Massachusetts College of Art and Design is holding a virtual auction to help support student scholarships. The silent auction portion of the fundraising event ends at noon on April 11, while a live auction takes place online on the evening of April 10. The 32nd annual MassArt Auction is the second conducted online due to the pandemic. Artists who have had their works juried into the auction donate either 50% or 100% of the sale price to support MassArt scholarships. The two auctions will feature over 300 works from MassArt students, graduates, members of the faculty and others.


Robot artist sells art for $688,888, now eyeing music career

Boston Herald

Sophia is a robot of many talents -- she speaks, jokes, sings and even makes art. In March, she caused a stir in the art world when a digital work she created as part of a collaboration was sold at an auction for $688,888 in the form of a non-fungible token, or NFT. The sale highlighted a growing frenzy in the NFT market, where people can buy ownership rights to digital content. NFTs each have a unique digital code saved on blockchain ledgers that allow anyone to verify the authenticity and ownership of items. David Hanson, CEO of Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics and Sophia's creator, has been developing robots for the past two and a half decades.


Evan Fournier's debut was delayed by a false positive COVID test

Boston Herald

It was nothing more than what Brad Stevens termed "a curveball," as it turned out. After an initial false positive COVID test, Evan Fournier turned in a string of negative tests, leading to his first-time availability for the Celtics Monday night against New Orleans. "He will play significant minutes, as he will all the rest of the year," Stevens said of how he planned to begin with the talented wing player, acquired from Orlando at the trade deadline for the since-waived Jeff Teague and two second-round draft picks. "We had an obvious need for another wing that can do what he does, and we're fortunate he's with us, and he's on our team," said the Celtics coach. "So I got a chance to go over to the gym (Sunday) while he was shooting around when we got back and then this morning we went through some stuff prior to our shootaround, we shot around as a team for 30 minutes, so he's gotten the crash course in a very short amount of time. He's been there, done that. He's played against us, you know, tons of times, probably knows our plays as well as anybody, and certainly we just want him to play to his strengths and not worry about anything else."


Stephen Schaefer's Hollywood & Mine

Boston Herald

'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,' now streaming on Disney, marks a new direction for Marvel – a downsizing to television after 2 decades of big-screen superhero splendor. Marvel's top gun Kevin Feige, stars Anthony Mackie/Falcon and Sebastian Stan/Winter Soldier, and others gathered for a virtual press conference and discussed current and maybe upcoming developments. Q: Is there a possibility that there could be more seasons of'Falcon'? KEVIN FEIGE: It's a funny question and it's one that we obviously get asked much more in television. Because people expect it to be like what people know before.


Red Sox to use disinfecting robots to keep Fenway Park clean from COVID-19

Boston Herald

The Red Sox will be using UV disinfecting robots to keep Fenway Park safe and clean as it welcomes fans back this season. The organization partnered with the company Surfacide, which will employ the robots that are built with UV-C light energy to kill deadly virus and is "scientifically validated to inactivate coronavirus–the family of virus that make up SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19," according to a press release. Fans will see a trio of robots around the ballpark as they're allowed to return to games beginning with Opening Day on April 1. Fenway will welcome back fans at a 12 percent capacity, which is about 4,500 fans. "A lot of time and consideration went into outlining our heightened sanitation procedures for the upcoming season and our partnership with Surfacide is an important part of those protocols," said Jonathan Lister, Red Sox Vice President of Facilities Management, in a statement.


Bruins Notebook: Don Sweeney says lack of scoring 'major concern'

Boston Herald

As the Bruins sit here today, just one single point inside the East Division playoff structure, it is clear what is ailing them. No, it's not the fact that they are currently without half of the defense corps they started the season with. In fact, the patchwork blue line is holding up surprisingly well. The B's have allowed just one goal in each of their last five games. They should be on a roll, right?


B-52s again fly over Mideast in US military warning to Iran

Boston Herald

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- A pair of B-52 bombers flew over the Mideast on Sunday, the latest such mission in the region aimed at warning Iran amid tensions between Washington and Tehran. The flight by the two heavy bombers came as a pro-Iran satellite channel based in Beirut broadcast Iranian military drone footage of an Israeli ship hit by a mysterious explosion only days earlier in the Mideast. While the channel sought to say Iran wasn't involved, Israel has blamed Tehran for what it described as an attack on the vessel. The U.S. military's Central Command said the two B-52s flew over the region accompanied by military aircraft from nations including Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It marked the fourth-such bomber deployment into the Mideast this year and the second under President Joe Biden.