National News

Things your dad likes: Tools, electronics, crackers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 08:06

Father's Day is coming up, and while your dad probably said that all he wants is a pair of socks or a new tie for a gift, he's really got his eye on that awesome chainsaw or that shiny new smartphone, that is, if you go off of the findings from research organization YouGov, which has a survey of the best perceived brands by fathers. Power-tool maker Craftsman took the top spot, among other home improvement and technology brands.

According to YouGov's BrandIndex survey, household brand Clorox made the biggest leap in positive perception, taking the sixth place on the list, which is possibly indicative of the more active role fathers are taking in household responsibilites. Also moving up into the top 10 was cracker brand Ritz, reminding us of or dads' continued snacking needs as it joins on the list tech companies like Samsung, Sony and Amazon, and the media brands YouTube and the History Channel.

Moving out of the list compared to last year were Cheerios, Johnson & Johnson and M & Ms.

YouGov on their survey methods:

YouGov BrandIndex filtered their entire 1,100+ brand universe for respondents who identified themselves as men age 18 and over with children under 18 years old. The firm then ranked them using their flagship Index score, which measures brand health by averaging sub-scores on quality, satisfaction, impression, value, reputation and willingness to recommend. The scores reflect surveying over the past 30 days.

See the full list in the graphic below.

 

Critics Renew Calls For More Diverse Video Game Characters

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 08:03

Women make up a significant proportion of dedicated gamers, but they were hardly represented on stage and in games previewed at a big game industry trade event in Los Angeles.

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Pakistani Juice Drink Packs A Sweet And Spicy Punch

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 07:58

Sometimes NPR's foreign correspondents take a break from war and other serious business to enjoy daily life in their adopted cities. Here our Pakistan correspondent tries a 'miracle' drink.

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In A First, Afghanistan Is Set To Change Leaders At The Ballot Box

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 06:04

In a country shaped by warlords, Saturday's presidential election features two urbane men with doctorates vying to replace Hamid Karzai. Both want close U.S. relations, including a security deal.

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Crazy Bad Luck: It's Friday The 13th With A Full Moon

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 05:24

The next time this phenomenon will happen is Aug. 13, 2049.

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Exercise And Protein May Help Good Gut Bacteria Get Their Groove On

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 04:38

A new study of athletes suggests exercise may help support a rich, diverse mix of bacteria in the gut. But scientists say the athletes' high-protein diet may also be supporting the community.

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Dancing On A Lark: Gov. Christie Struts His Stuff On 'Tonight Show'

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 04:22

The New Jersey governor showed the Evolution of Dad Dancing with Jimmy Fallon, the show's host.

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iPads In Special Ed: What Does The Research Say?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 04:03

There are 8 million iPads in the classroom, but only a few thousand studies of their effectiveness.

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Bergdahl Back In The U.S. To Continue Recovery

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 03:55

The Army sergeant spent five years as a captive of the Taliban. He arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio early this morning after spending nearly two weeks recuperating in Germany.

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Shiite Leaders Urge Iraqis To Rise Up Against Sunni Extremists

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-13 03:25

The militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria already controls the cities of Mosul and Tikrit, and has now taken towns in Diyalah province.

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PODCAST: Open sourced electric cars

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 03:00

Elon Musk announced that Tesla would be opening up its patents for other companies to use. This open source policy could be a shrewd move for the company -- the more there is a culture around electric cars, the better chance they have of actually selling electric vehicles. Plus, President Obama makes his first visit to a Native American reservation as president. Also, with the U.S. market for fish being made up of 90 percent imports, its problematic that one third of that fish is caught illegally. More on the issues involved in combating illegal fishing.

Tesla's move to open source may be good for business

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 03:00

Tesla Motors is going open source. Its CEO, Elon Musk, says the electric car company will no longer enforce its patents, in effect allowing competitors not only to peek at the technology Tesla has pioneered, but to copy it.

“Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters,” Musk said in a statement. “That is no longer the case. They have been removed in the spirit of the open source movement for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.”

“It is important to understand that, in many ways, patents are a tradeoff,” says R. Polk Wagner, a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania. “Just because you have patents doesn’t mean you get anything out of them, necessarily.”

Sure, they can be valuable, but getting them and enforcing them is expensive.

According to Andrea James, an analyst with Dougherty & Co., the reason Tesla is doing this is “to accelerate electric vehicle adoption and innovation.”

“Tesla is really far ahead, and I think they just want to grow the overall market,” she says.

To succeed, Tesla needs more Americans to feel comfortable driving and buying electric cars. If more companies were to make them, that would help.

“It’s not a charity move,” says Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with AutoTrader.com. “It’s a very smart business move.”

Competitors could use the network of charging stations Tesla is installing, or they could buy Tesla batteries.

Other car companies have charted a similar course in the past.  Volvo decided not to enforce its patent for the three-point safety belt. GM shared the technology behind its catalytic converter.

Tesla says the move is in good faith. The company will still apply for patents, and if necessary, Musk says the carmaker won’t be afraid to fight back.

 

Obama will see problems on reservations first hand

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 02:47

President Barack Obama's visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota Friday will let him get a first-hand look at the challenges facing Native Americans. And there are many.

The Census Bureau says 27 percent of Native Americans are poor. Helen Oliff of National Relief Charities says on the reservations her organization serves, the poverty rate is actually higher, which exacerbates another problem: many Native Americans have little access to fresh, healthy food.

“You have a lot of convenience stores on the reservations," Oliff explains. "Many people are 30 to 60 miles away from the nearest regular grocery store.”

That leads many people to eat the pre-packed foods the convenience stores sell. 

Unemployment is also problematic, partly because it's hard to reach jobs from remote reservations.

“When our reservation area was created, back in the day, it really put us in a box, literally," says Scott Davis, a Lakota Sioux and head of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission.

Davis says the Obama administration has given tribes more autonomy, and President Obama has included the Choctaw Nation in his Promise Zone program, which helps impoverished communities access federal resources. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Data on our data: 100,000 malware implants

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 02:30

This month marks the first anniversary of the Edward Snowden leaks that changed our understanding of online privacy. Just like the subject matter of the leaks, the reporting over the last year has offered a deluge of information. So this week, we're posting a short series about all that data. Every day we'll bring you another number that reminds us how much we have learned in the last year about online surveillance and the reach of the NSA.

85,000-100,000

malware implants

This number refers to the bits of malicious software that the National Security Agency has put onto computers around the world. The software allows the government to conduct surveillance, but it's also essentially building a network of weaknesses in our vast system of computing devices.

“This often introduces vulnerabilities to computer systems, and can have far-reaching effects if criminals are able to learn from some of this highly advanced code being deployed by the government,” says Chester Wisniewski of the cybersecurity firm Sophos.

I think this last data point is really profound. No matter how we conduct war, it’s important to remember that when we build new weapons, we run the risk, and the threat, of those weapons being used against us. The question is when and if it's worth it.

Silicon Tally: NSA my name

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 02:00

It's time for Silicon Tally. How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

This week we're joined by Glenn Greenwald, a journalist with The Intercept, and the author of "No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the U.S. Surveillance State".

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Obama will see problems on reservations first hand

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 02:00

President Barack Obama's visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota Friday will let him get a first-hand look at the challenges facing Native Americans. And there are many.

The Census Bureau says 27 percent of Native Americans are poor. Helen Oliff of National Relief Charities says on the reservations her organization serves, the poverty rate is actually higher, which exacerbates another problem: many Native Americans have little access to fresh, healthy food.

“You have a lot of convenience stores on the reservations," Oliff explains. "Many people are 30 to 60 miles away from the nearest regular grocery store.”

That leads many people to eat the pre-packed foods the convenience stores sell. 

Unemployment is also problematic, partly because it's hard to reach jobs from remote reservations.

“When our reservation area was created, back in the day, it really put us in a box, literally," says Scott Davis, a Lakota Sioux and head of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission.

Davis says the Obama administration has given tribes more autonomy, and President Obama has included the Choctaw Nation in his Promise Zone program, which helps impoverished communities access federal resources. 

Is Friday 13th an economic drag? Probably not

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 02:00

When Friday the 13th rolls around, we often hear reports that the date is unlucky for the economy. Superstitious employees, we're told, call out sick from work, frightened flyers cancel plane tickets and more than a few of us won't leave the house to go shopping. So, is it true? 

Dan Ilves, senior vice president of leisure at Travel Store, is inclined to call it bunk.

"I've never heard of a client or had a client tell me they will absolutely not fly on Friday the 13th," Ilves said. 

Lisa Hale, who directs the Kansas City Center for Anxiety Treatment, says that while 25 percent of the population cops to being superstitious, only about 1 percent identify as "very superstitious." Those folks might avoid the workplace on Friday the 13th, but, Hale points out,  superstitious people help pump money into the economy, too. Someone, after all, is buying all those lucky rabbit foot keychains. 

Illegal catches hurt fishermen and fish populations

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 02:00

Almost all the seafood Americans eat -- 90 percent, to be exact -- is imported. A new study from the Fisheries Centre at the University of British Columbia found that as much of a third of wild-caught, imported seafood is caught illegally or without proper documentation.

The United States has one of the largest seafood markets in the world with these illegal imports potentially adding up to $2 billion dollars; a huge bite out of the pockets of American fishermen.

To understand why illegal catches are such a big deal just ask a fishermen.

“Well, it’s a lot harder because of the damage done to the stock,” says Willy Hatch, who runs a charter and commercial fishing boat in Falmouth, Mass. Hatch fishes for tuna and says a combination of fewer fish to catch, and cheap, illegal tuna imported from countries like Thailand and the Philippines drives the price down for fishermen like him.

“America is an expensive country to live in and operate and we’re held to the highest levels of conservation and we have to compete against other countries where they’re pretty much allowed to go hog wild,” he says.

“It's hugely more expensive,” says Logan Kock, vice president of strategic purchasing & responsible sourcing for Santa Monica Seafood, a distributor. He says limits on fishermen are important but the restrictions can cut into their profits. Kock points to one local fishery in particular.

"They had to design nets where the top edge is down about 30 feet -- that's to allow marine mammals and turtles to go above it. It has to have pingers on it, in case at night marine mammals come by, they'll be able to sense the presence of a net. Those guys can't fish within three miles because that's where young threshers are growing -- it's a nursery. They can't fish offshore at other times of the year because that's when other fish are breeding. They can't fish in the non-marine protected areas. There's an abundance of restrictions that are on them, that not only restrict the areas where they can fish but it also drives the cost of their fishing practices way up."

Kock notes illegal imports squeeze fishermen the most -- those working under the table drop prices to unload their catches, so law-abiding fishermen are often forced to drop their prices to compete. But he says the practice creates ripples.

“There’s the collateral fix because that fisherman has a boat, the boat needs ice, the boat needs fuel, the boat needs repairs. And so it's a community thing.”

Megahn Brosnan, manager of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Ending Illegal Fishing project, says this is neither a problem for the United States to fix on its own, nor one that other countries should tackle independently.

“This is a global problem -- it really is," she says.

Brosnan notes that almost a third of all fish populations in the world have been overfished. She says the supply chain needs more oversight, all fishing vessels should receive unique identification numbers, and ports should have more inspectors. Otherwise, resources will continue to be depleted:

“If at a certain point, if you take too many mom and dad fish, then there’s just not going to be enough to go around.”

Brosnan says that with big oceans where even aircraft carriers look tiny, trying to stop illegal fishing needs to be an international effort.

Data opens doors in healthcare, but then what?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-13 01:00

In healthcare these days, data is king. The primary care offices in Camden, N.J., have access to some of the most sophisticated patient data in the country.

They can track many of their sickest and most expensive patients across the city’s healthcare system, which gives them a better handle on the kind of primary care that will keep them out of the hospital. 

But the efforts of the Urban Health Institute – one primary care office in the city – show why for all of data’s promise there are real world limits. 

Every morning, a team of nurses, social workers, and healthcare coordinators reviews the patient data that pours in from the city’s three hospitals. If one of their patients has been admitted, they’ll go to that patient’s bedside to set up a primary care appointment.

To do list

Jessica Kourkounis

Studies show hospital readmissions drop if a patient gets primary care follow-up within seven days of discharge. One of the biggest tests for the healthcare system is how well doctors and hospitals find ways to respond to the lives the data reveals.

UHI’s Amy Kaplan says while the data leads right where she needs do go, she doesn’t know who she’ll find in that room.

“A majority of the encounters [with patients] are not simply: you go in, the phone number is correct, you make the appointment, you leave.”

Often, she says, “it takes digging around, and that takes time.”

Many patients are what are called “poor historians": folks who aren’t sure which medications they are taking, the name of their doctor, or even their home address. Other patients don’t have phones or are only able to occasionally borrow a neighbor’s phone.

Marcia Johnson (left) and her team of nurses and health workers at the Urban Health Institute

Jessica Kourkounis

One morning a few weeks ago, the team discussed the case of a patient with a leg wound that required a refrigerated antibiotic. The problem: he’s homeless, so he has no refrigerator.

The solution was to send a homecare nurse to meet him on a street corner a few times a week.

The nurses in the meeting agreed that solution only delayed the inevitable: the guy back in the hospital.

Social worker Marcia Johnson, who oversees the UHI team, knows no amount of data or well-meaning efforts from her staff gets this patient a stable life so he can recover.

“We sit and have these conversations and just kind of think through it,” says Johnson. “Healthcare doesn’t know how to solve some of these problems.”

And while the efforts to help the nearly homeless patient are wholly inadequate to solve all of his problems, it’s a start. It used to be the case that these kinds of patients would just disappear after leaving the hospital.

Thanks to the data they’ve gone from invisible to visible.

This ongoing series on healthcare and data is produced in partnership with Healthy States

Remembering A Civil Rights Swim-In: 'It Was A Milestone'

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 23:04

Fifty years ago, J.T. Johnson and Al Lingo jumped into a whites-only pool in Florida as part of a civil rights protest. They were taken to jail — after the hotel owner poured acid into the water.

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