National News

Avoiding government surveillance at the Olympic games

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-02-06 05:03

The winter olympics start tomorrow in the Russian city of Sochi. Olympians, officials, and reporters have been arriving all week, with lots of devices in tow. And that means there's been a lot of talk about digital surveillance. Russia's government doesn't have the best record in, say, protecting freedom of the press. Ars Technica's senior business editor Cyrus Farivar has been looking at how to use technology while at the games and joined us to help explain.

Click play on the audio player above to hear more.

Senate Retreats Offer Chance To Bond, Plot Strategy

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 04:23

It was annual Senate retreat day in Washington Wednesday, a time when senators get away from the U.S. Capitol and all its daily distractions. But not too far away.

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Sensory Fiction: Books That Let You Feel What The Characters Do

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 04:06

Apparently, just imagining what's happening on the written page isn't enough. A new wearable device uses temperature controls and lighting to mimic the experiences of a story's protagonist.

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No Jail For Teen With 'Affluenza' Who Killed 4 In Crash

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 04:00

The 16-year-old was legally drunk last June when he lost control of the truck he was driving. The crash left four people dead and two others severely wounded. His attorneys argued that a coddled upbringing contributed to the boy's problems.

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No benefits for the rich

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-02-06 03:36

Today the Senate will vote on a bill to extend long-term unemployment benefits for 1.7 Million Americans. The proposal would exclude one group – people making incomes over $1 Million.

After all, if you’re a millionaire, maybe you don’t need a safety net funded by tax payers.

“It is the kind of thing that I think government should be doing more of. Which is saying, who really needs that safety net and who doesn’t,” says economist Michael Strain with the American Enterprise Institute.

But would the exclusion save the government money?

“The millionaires exclusion is a solution in search of a problem,” says Judy Conti, a federal advocacy coordinator with the National Employment Law Project.

In 2009, millionaires collected $20 million in unemployment benefits. “That was only 18-one-hundredths of a percent of the total outlay of unemployment benefits for that entire year,” says Conti.

Also, excluding the rich wouldn’t be free. States would have to set-up new systems to measure income.

“There is an associated cost. And they wouldn’t get additional money to administer this test,” says Rich Hobbie, executive director of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.

He says states would be forced to spend scarce resources in order to deny benefits to millionaires.

It's not that easy to be a YouTube superstar

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-02-06 02:15

YouTube used to be a place that was mostly about curiosities, bits of original, unedited video clips by amateurs. Then people started getting serious. The amateurs started getting famous because of what -- and how much -- video they were putting on the website. YouTube started selling ADS on all those videos, and giving some of that money to creators. Leslie Kaufman is a media reporter for the New York Times. She wrote a story this week on how hard it can still be to make the big bucks even when you're a super YouTuber.

Click play above to hear the whole interview.

Reining In Health Care Costs Key To Trimming Deficit

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 01:24

The Congressional Budget Office said this year's deficit is likely to be about a third the size it was in 2009 when the Great Recession bottomed out. A better economy is the main reason for the improving deficit but moderating health care costs help.

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Woolly Mammoths' Taste For Flowers May Have Been Their Undoing

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 00:27

New research shows a big part of the woolly mammoth's diet was made up of tiny flowers rather than grass. When the flowers disappeared, the mammoths did, too.

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Woolly Mammoths' Taste For Flowers May Have Been Their Undoing

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 00:27

New research shows a big part of the woolly mammoth's diet was made up of tiny flowers, rather than grass. And when the flowers disappeared, so too, did the mammoths.

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Chinese Flock To The Countryside For A More Authentic New Year

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 00:25

As New Year's celebrations in China grow increasingly commercialized, many city dwellers are seeking a return to tradition. Some head to an ancient town outside Beijing where poor but ingenious blacksmiths created their own fireworks. But even centuries-old customs aren't immune to change.

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Amtrak Fights Big Oil For Use Of The Rails

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 00:23

Because of an influx of trains hauling crude oil and other freight across the Northern Plains, Amtrak is facing problems with unreliability, long delays, lost revenue and stranded passengers. An advocacy group wants the government to intervene.

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Tijuana Prisoner: I Was Forced To Dig Drug Tunnel To San Diego

NPR News - Thu, 2014-02-06 00:22

The man says he was one of 17 kidnapped by a cartel and forced to build drug-smuggling tunnels. Now he might be in prison for the rest of his life.

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Lawmaker Says Snowden Leaks Will Cost Country 'Billions To Repair'

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-05 16:27

During a classified briefing, the lawmakers were told most of the information taken by Edward Snowden had nothing to do with U.S. surveillance programs. Instead, his leaks "specifically [work] to compromise the military capability and defense of the country."

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Police Officer Arrests Firefighter At Accident Scene In California

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-05 16:27

Authorities are still discussing an incident that took place Tuesday night on California's I-805, where a firefighter was arrested by a police officer at the scene of an accident. The reason? They disagreed over where the fire truck should be.

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A Venture Capitalist Is Betting A Pair Of Socks (And $50 Million) On Bitcoin's Future

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-05 15:32

A leading investor thinks bitcoin is going to change the world. A prominent writer disagrees. They make a bet about what we'll be using for money in 2019.

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Black Openly Gay Judge Would Be Federal Bench's First

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-05 15:30

President Obama nominated Florida Judge Darrin Gayles to serve on the U.S. District Court bench. GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who blocked the president's last nominee for the position, says he doesn't plan to object.

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U.S. Warns Airlines Over Potential Explosives In Toothpaste Tubes

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-05 15:28

Officials said they issued the warning for Russian-bound planes out of an abundance of caution. A Homeland Security official said the warning was borne out of new intelligence.

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Scientists Help Western States Prepare For Drought As New Norm

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-05 15:27

In a warming world, extreme droughts are predicted to become more common. Amid the historic drought gripping California and much of the West Coast, scientists are studying how states can manage with a lot less water in the future.

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'Almost Otherwordly': The Sea Caves Of Lake Superior, On Ice

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-05 15:16

Thousands of people have walked out to the caves in recent weeks to inspect beautiful ice formations. It's the first time Lake Superior's ice has been thick enough to walk on in the area since 2009.

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Celebrities Turn Star Power Toward Political Stage

NPR News - Wed, 2014-02-05 15:11

Clay Aiken is the latest in a long line of actors, singers, reality TV stars and athletes to seek second careers in politics. But fame is no guarantee of success at the ballot box.

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