National News

After Spending Millions On Communications, Homeland Security Fails Radio Test

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 11:37

The department has spent millions of dollars so first-responders from different agencies can communicate with one another. The Office of the Inspector General reports there's still a lot of static.

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NASA Sends 'Flying Saucer' On Its Way To 120,000 Feet Above Earth

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 11:34

A giant balloon is carrying the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator to an altitude of 120,000 feet. Then it'll go even higher before heading back down.

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Apple is officially in the business of music streaming

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-08 11:26

Apple's 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference kicked off Monday in San Francisco. The conference hosts developers for a preview of what's to come in software for Apple products. But it's also, often, a place for Apple to announce new products and initiatives.

Apple CEO Tim Cook gave a keynote address where he announced, among other things, a new music streaming and Internet radio service called Apple Music. The service is coming later this month.

"The company was basically talking about different ways that this service will function," says Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson. "One is Beats 1, which is this sort of 24/7 streaming radio service that is put together by DJs in LA, New York, and in London."

Apple Music will be available for $9.99 per month, or $14.99 a month for the family plan, which lets users share Apple Music with up to five other people. 

Insurer Uses Personal Data To Predict Who Will Get Sick

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 11:08

A Philadelphia health insurance company analyzes its clients' health data and other factors to find the frailest and assign them health coaches. That may improve health, but is it a breach of privacy?

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Supreme Court Rejects NRA Challenge To S.F. Gun Rules

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 11:03

The case centered on a law requiring residents to keep handguns under lock and key or to use trigger locks when not carrying their weapons. Another measure bans the sale of hollow-point bullets.

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For Afghan Women Mountaineers, Uphill Battles Begin Before The Climb

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 10:58

Scaling Afghanistan's tallest mountain will be difficult enough. But Afghan female climbers and their American guides also face civil war, red tape and cultural taboos.

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Georgia's Giant Clay Pots Hold An 8,000-Year-Old Secret To Great Wine

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 10:14

Making ancient Georgian wine is pretty uncomplicated: Toss grapes into a huge, egg-shaped pot, bury it, walk away. What comes out is an orange wine with a deep tannin flavor prized around the world.

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Texas Pool Party Update: Teens And Residents Speak Out

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 10:01

A teenage girl who was forced to the ground and briefly detained is black; she was grabbed by McKinney Police Cpl. Eric Casebolt, a white officer who also briefly pulled out his gun.

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This Past May Was Wettest Month On Record, Says NOAA

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 09:44

On average, the contiguous United States received 4.36 inches of rain in May. That's 1.45 inches above average and the most since record-keeping began 121 years ago.

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This is your brain on Wi-Fi

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-08 08:50

Finish this sentence: "If my brain could connect to my Wi-Fi network, I would feel ______."

In his new book, “Apex,” former Microsoft developer Ramez Naam takes readers 20 years into the future to tell the story of a dystopian world that is (disturbingly) similar to our own. The third book in his “Nexus” trilogy, Naam explores the potential pitfalls of a neurally networked society.

“Everything you can imagine can go wrong,” Naam says. “From software crashes in your brain, to hackers, to the equivalent of the NSA wanting to snoop in on your thoughts.”

Naam was inspired to write the series when, after years as a developer, he began to realize just how advanced brain-implanted technology was becoming. The field is still largely experimental, but many scientists are already exploring the possibility that people could one day control computers and even communicate with one another using only their minds.

A connected world like this raises many ethical questions. But while society may reject technology advances at first, Naam says that, with time, people will come to embrace it.

“When we had in vitro fertilization invented about 30 years ago, the cover of Time Magazine was ‘Test Tube Babies,’ and we thought it was deeply unethical … but 30 years on, no one even talks about test tube babies. Now they just say, ‘Oh, we had some trouble having a baby, and now we have twins.' ”

Naam says that, much like the story told in his trilogy, there will always be a temptation to use advancements improperly, but he contends that that shouldn’t stand in the way of progress.

“Mostly, people choose to do things for their betterment or their kids," he says. "If somebody's trying to do it to really hurt someone else, make that illegal, but let people make smart choices for themselves.”

Supreme Court Strikes Down Law In Jerusalem Passport Dispute

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 07:56

The law, passed by Congress in 2002 but not enforced by the Bush or Obama administrations, allowed Americans who were born in Jerusalem to state Israel as their birthplace.

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Former North Charleston, S.C., Police Officer Indicted On Murder Charges

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 07:26

Video showed Michael Slager shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back. Slager had told investigators that he followed protocol.

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Do Creativity And Schizophrenia Share A Small Genetic Link? Maybe

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 07:18

The notion goes back to the ancients — that minds given to flights of fancy are on the healthy side of a spectrum that includes what we today call psychosis. An Icelandic gene study offers new clues.

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Parole Board Recommends Oscar Pistorius Be Released In August

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 07:09

The state is appealing Pistorius' murder acquittal, but it appears that the Olympic athlete will be out of custody when that appeal comes before the justice system.

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Are High School Exit Exams An Unnecessary Barrier To Graduation?

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 06:49

Eight times Brandon Lewis has taken Florida's Algebra I end-of-course exam. And eight times he's failed it.

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5 Questions Answered On The Legal Challenge To Obamacare Subsidies

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 06:48

If the court rules against the Obama administration, health insurance subsidies could be eliminated for more than 6 million people in states that use, the federal exchange website.

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U.S. Women's World Cup Opens Tonight Against Australia

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 06:36

The Americans have played the Aussies 24 times — and never lost. But going into the match, there are questions swirling about players' health and further controversy about goalkeeper Hope Solo.

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Spain's Air Traffic Controllers Go On Strike; Pay Isn't The Big Complaint

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 06:25

At issue: punishments for an earlier strike. NPR's Lauren Frayer says of Spain's controllers, "They're among the best-paid civil servants, with average salaries almost half a million dollars a year."

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Drought-Friendly Recipes Kick Up The Flavor — And Cut Back On Water

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 05:46

An LA chef and his partner are cooking up recipes using ingredients that require less water to grow and cook with. They want to get us thinking about the resources that go into growing our food.

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Kalief Browder, Jailed For Years At Rikers Island Without Trial, Commits Suicide

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-08 04:29

Browder was arrested because he allegedly stole a backpack. His family couldn't afford to pay bail so he languished in jail for years, enduring beatings and solitary confinement.

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