National News

Twitter cash-giver is identified

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-23 02:00

And now for a tech mystery. Described as "an anonymous social experience for good," the twitter account @HiddenCash  has been tweeting clues to actual stashes of cash hidden in San Francisco and other cities. 

@HiddenCash generally hides around $50 to $100 in an envelope and then sends clues as to the money's whereabouts via Twitter, which people then use to find the money.

And until recently, the man behind @HiddenCash was a complete mystery. Now, the social media robin hood has come forward. His name is Jason Buzi.

Buzi hails from the bay area, and previously tried to make it big with a series of failed web ventures. One particular fiasco was a YouTube knockoff called “Cashtomato.” A publicity stunt for the site in New York’s Union Square that included giveaways of money hidden in boxes of tomatoes devolved into what was written up in the New York Daily News as a “free-for-all”.

These days, Buzi makes most of his money through real estate. 

 

Can your school get decent wi-fi speed?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-23 02:00

Technology is pouring into schools faster than their wi-fi can keep up with it.

Virtually all school officials in a recent survey of 447 school districts said they will need to upgrade their Internet speeds within three years. The survey was done by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), a professional association for district technology leaders.

Education Super-Highway, which promotes high-speed Internet in schools, recommends a download speed of 100 Mbps* (megabits per second), for a school with 1,000 students and staff.  But, the  organization says "the typical public school has the same Internet access as the typical home – but with 100x more users."

The solution? Mostly more money. Nearly three-quarters of districts in the CoSN survey said the cost of the monthly Internet charges are a barrier to getting the speed they need. That wasn’t the only problem. Just over 10 percent said their Internet provider was not able to give them the higher speed they required.

Click the audio player above to hear more on the topic from Adriene Hill in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio

How to Use the Map:

The map shows  federal data on the maximum possible download speeds available at more than 70,000 schools in the country. It does not show whether the school has the top speed. You can see schools in your town, or nearby, by entering your zip code into the box above the map.

The green markers show schools that have speeds of at least 50 mbps available to them (enough for good Internet speed for at least 500 people, according to Education Super-Highway).  

Yellow markers show schools that could get 25 mbps to 50 mbps (enough for 250 to 500 people) and red markers show schools in areas where the top available speed is less than 25 mbps (enough for 250 people).  

By clicking on the markers you can see more specific information on download speed.

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story listed an incorrect explanation for what the abbreviation "Mbps" means.  The text has been corrected.

How the GI Bill created a market for the GED

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-23 02:00

The GI Bill turned 70 this week. Among the benefits provided, the bill enabled returning WWII veterans to go to college.  

Those without high school diplomas turned to the General Educational Development Testing Service, still known as the GED. 

When he signed the GI Bill on June 22, 1944,  FDR created a huge new market for the private company behind the GED test, which had been created a few years earlier. 

Of course, in those days, the test was mainly taken by returning troops who didn’t have a high school diploma. More recently, the demographic interested in taking the test has changed a great deal.

“So now we’ve got the GED heavily weighted toward the prison population,” says Lois Quinn, a research scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee's Employment and Training Institute. “So the prisons become the greatest customer for the test.”

Quinn also says more teenagers are taking the test after dropping out of high school. 

Recently, the GED's value has been put into question.

“To the extent that there are more people with a high school diploma, then that would put people with a GED at a disadvantage,” says Chris Swanson, vice president of Editorial Projects in Education, which publishes Education Week.

In fact, the military now prefers recruits with a high school diploma over those with a GED. 

 

 

 

Referees get a tech upgrade at the World Cup

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-23 02:00

Soccer fans will be focused on the players during the World Cup, but tech fans should keep an eye on the referees -- Their equipment is getting an upgrade this year.

The first thing you may notice is a new, spray-foam-like shaving cream that refs will use to mark the position of free kicks. It vanishes a few seconds later.

“It’s kind of fun,” says Victor Matheson, a sports economist at The College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. He’s also a former ref for Major League Soccer and has used the spray before.

“But the big great innovation that really opens the door here is goal line technology,” says Matheson.

When the ball goes near the goal, you might also notice refs checking their watch – but not for the time. Seven high-speed cameras will now monitor each net and send an alert to the ref’s watch within a second of the ball crossing the goal line.

Sam Laird, who covers sports and technology for Mashable, says the hope is to avoid situations like the 2010 World Cup, where England lost a match to Germany thanks, in part, to a questionable call.

“It was a close play and the ref made the wrong call,” says Laird. “[It’s] a human error, but one that could have been corrected with the help of replay and for the first time that will be an option this year.”

But even with all the tech support refs will get at the World Cup this year, they are still human – which means there will likely be plenty of other reasons for fans to scream at them.

Egypt Sentences 3 Al-Jazeera Reporters To 7 Years

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 01:03

An Egyptian court has convicted three journalists for Al-Jazeera English and sentenced them to seven years in prison each on terrorism-related charges.

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To Boost Attendance, Milwaukee Schools Revive Art, Music And Gym

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 00:32

After years of cutbacks, Milwaukee Public Schools are re-hiring teachers for classes beyond the basic . They are hoping to retain students as well as boost attendance and test scores.

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Some Mexico Fans Feel Unfairly Targeted For World Cup Chants

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-22 23:50

Mexico and Croatia square off today in World Cup play. On the sidelines, both nations are among the targets of a FIFA probe into alleged homophobic and racist chants.

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The WNBA Televises Its Pride With LGBT Campaign

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-22 23:31

The WNBA launched its Pride initiative on Sunday, officially embracing the LGBT community. In addition to supporting its gay players and fans, the league stands to make some money off the move.

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As Carmakers Recall Vehicles, Dealers Might Make A Profit

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-22 23:30

When a company announces that millions of cars have a defect, there's an upside — for dealerships, at least. Car recalls can lead to more profit, and, counterintuitively, to more brand loyalty.

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Hospitals To Pay Big Fines For Infections, Avoidable Injuries

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-22 23:29

Starting this fall, 25 percent of all U.S. hospitals — those with the worst records for infections and injuries — will lose 1 percent of every Medicare payment for a year.

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How A Woman's Plan To Kill Herself Helped Her Family Grieve

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-22 23:27

After a suicide, family members are often devastated. Depression rates are much higher than when a loved one dies naturally. But Sandy Bem's family says her approach to suicide helped them mourn.

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Kerry Confronts Threat Of New War In Iraq

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-22 22:57

Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Baghdad on Monday to urge the Shiite-led government to give more power to political opponents before a Sunni insurgency seizes more control across the country.

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Congress Keeping Close Watch On Obama's Plans In Iraq

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-22 13:43

President Obama has said that the U.S. is prepared to take targeted military action in Iraq to confront insurgents and that he will consult Congress. But he's said nothing about seeking its approval.

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Puma's Pink And Blue Cleats Make A Bold Play At The World Cup

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-22 13:09

Soccer players aren't the only ones battling on the pitch: Shoe brands are fighting it out as well. While Adidas and Nike dominate the market, Puma has a sneaky counterattack: mismatched shoes.

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Georgia's New Pro-Gun Law Triggers Confusion For Some Residents

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-22 12:30

Starting July 1, the state's licensed gun owners will be able to carry their firearms into some schools, bars, churches and libraries. But there's uncertainty over how, exactly, the new law will work.

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In A Stunning Finish, Portugal Ties U.S.

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-22 09:53

The U.S. had the lead with 30 seconds left in the game. Portugal scored and crushed the Americans' opportunity to advance, without worrying about a third game with Germany.

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The Rockies' Very Bad Day: When A Wild Pitch Clears The Bases

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-22 08:26

The Milwaukee Brewers took advantage of some sloppy play by the Colorado Rockies. It was arguably one of the worst defensive plays of the season.

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Shortage Of Saline Solution Has Hospitals On Edge

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-22 07:34

Saline, used to clean wounds and treat dehydration, is a critical medical supply. But lately there hasn't been enough of it, and drugmakers say they won't be able to meet demand until next year.

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The Runner-Up Religions Of America

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-22 07:11

One nation under God, with many different religious traditions.

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Quebec Police Capture 3 Inmates Who Escaped Using Helicopter

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-22 07:02

The three men, charged with murder and drug trafficking, were captured in a luxury condo in Montreal. The suspects escaped June 7.

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