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Sharyn Morrow via Flickr

Andrew Shinar meets a lot of people in pain. 

He performs hip and knee replacement surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and in 2011, he decided to start tracking how many of his patients coming in for joint replacements were taking painkillers. 

Courtesy of Google

This has been the year of the telecom companies.

Comcast, AT&T and Google Fiber have not only announced their plans to deploy competing gigabit-speed Internet services in Nashville — they've also been vying for the attention of the city's business, nonprofit and political leaders. Wednesday morning brought another example of that, when Google Fiber gave the keynote speech at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting. 

Middle Tennessee is already home to business accelerators for startups in health care technology and music technology. For the next two months, an accelerator in Tullahoma will work with a dozen new companies that are creating technology for law enforcement, prisons and public safety. 

Emily Siner / WPLN

A Nashville nonprofit now has at least $400,000 to help solve the digital divide — a term the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee uses to refer to the lack of internet access in some parts of Davidson County, especially low-income areas. 

Mack Linebaugh / WPLN

When movies portray a scientific discovery, it's usually some version of that one Eureka moment — a flash of insight at an unexpected time. Vanderbilt University engineer Leon Bellan says while that does happen occasionally, failure and frustration are also an intimate part of the discovery process.  He talked to WPLN's Emily Siner in our live series Movers & Thinkers.

Mack Linebaugh / WPLN

Nashville entrepreneur Marcus Whitney knows what opportunity looks like. He has helped build several successful tech companies — including Emma and Moontoast — and now he invests in other people's startups. He talked to reporter Emily Siner during WPLN's live series Movers & Thinkers about discovering the next big idea — and how he's changed that discovery process over the years.  

Emily Siner / WPLN

A retired Tennessee couple is midway through an unusual quest: to spot 100 species of birds in every single county in the state, all 95 of them.

I spent a hot summer morning with Ron Hoff and Dollyann Myers — once described as the "power couple of international bird-watching" — to try to help them see some more.

You can listen to our conversation below, but I encourage you to scroll down further as well to hear Hoff in action. 

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

As the University of Tennessee tries to raise its reputation nationwide, one of the key areas it’s focusing on is scientific research — and specifically, growing its relationship with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Metro GIS / City of Nashville

The future plan for 200 acres of wild land in West Nashville will be decided Thursday afternoon. The Metro Planning Commission hearing may determine whether current development plans — 864 housing units — are appropriate for the Bellevue property.

But conservationists want to protect this parcel, which is located on the corner of Highway 70 and Old Hickory Boulevard. The land contains 300-year-old trees, streams, undulating hills, sharp slopes and caves filled with sensitive species, they say. 

AT&T announced Monday it's offering gigabit-speed internet to more Nashville residences, and it's focusing on luxury apartment buildings. 

The company has expanded to a couple dozen properties in Middle Tennessee, including Pine Street Flats in the Gulch and the Lofts at Taylor Place in Germantown. These are buildings where 500-square-foot studio apartments start at $1,200 to $1,400 a month, and that offer amenities like free gyms and dog parks.