National News

New report finds 64 percent of managers 'disengaged'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-02 09:06

A new poll out from Gallup says half of all employees in this country have, at some point or another, quit their jobs to get away from a bad boss.

...Which is either depressing or empowering, I'm not sure which.

Of course, that may be because of the second part of the survey: just 35 percent of managers in American companies call themselves "engaged." 64 percent say they're "not engaged" or "actively disengaged."

Which is just a drag.

What can the Fed do about income inequality?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-02 09:01

Once upon a time, back when Laurence Meyer was a governor of the Federal Reserve, he was called to testify before Congress. Bernie Sanders, today a U.S. senator from Vermont, asked him what the Fed would do about income inequality. Meyer's reply? "Nothing."

That's not because he thought it wasn't a problem, but because of the Fed's strictly defined mandate: "full employment and price stability," Meyer said. "Anything else — not their job."

But what the Fed can do is conduct research, and that's just what Janet Yellen called for in a Thursday speech in Washington, D.C. Yellen called income inequality a "disturbing trend" and noted that family dynamics and related microeconomic factors could impact economic mobility and the broader economy.

A growing body of research suggests that lifelong economic productivity is affected by both family and early childhood development.

Randall Kroszner, an economics professor at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, says "I think we have much more data than we did before to drill down into the micro-factors that may be driving macroeconomics."

Ted Peters, a former Fed director, said that Yellen's star status means she can use the bully pulpit to rally politicians to take note of emerging economic trends that might affect the American economy.

"Janet Yellen publicly speaking out against this carries a lot of weight," Peters says. 

Could Chris Christie Appoint Himself To The U.S. Senate? Yes, He Can

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-02 08:58

The indictment of Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., could lead to Chris Christie, R-N.J., appointing a replacement. With Christie's presidential prospects, he might want to consider appointing himself.

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The Kids Brainwashed By Boko Haram Were Silent For Good Reason

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-02 07:58

That's how children cope with a fearful situation. But what happens when the trauma ends? We learn more about the the 84 boy rescued from a school that was reportedly influenced by the terror group.

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Megachurch Founder, Televangelist Robert Schuller Dies At 88

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-02 07:49

The pastor who built his church from nothing in the 1960s also launched the Hour of Power broadcast a decade later. By 2010, however, the palatial Crystal Cathedral was forced into bankruptcy.

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After Selma, King's March On Ballot Boxes

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-02 06:34

Tucked away in the archives of the University of South Carolina is a video clip of a rousing King speech.

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Germanwings Crash: 2nd Black Box Found, French Prosecutor Says

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-02 06:29

The plane's voice recorder was recovered last week near the scene of the crash. From it, investigators were able to determine that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane.

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Indiana, Arkansas Struggle With Changes To 'Religious Freedom' Laws

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-02 06:24

The states, which both passed legislation that critics say would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers, have been forced to backtrack following protests.

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World's Muslim Population Will Surpass Christians This Century, Pew Says

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-02 06:01

Islam is growing more rapidly than any other religion in the world, according to the Pew Research Center, which predicts that Islam will nearly equal Christianity by 2050 before eclipsing it.

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Citing Plagiarism, Indian Journal Retracts Paper On Plagiarism

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-02 05:54

And in other plagiarism news, a French lawmaker is being mocked for lifting sections on the Assyrian genocide from Wikipedia to craft a draft law.

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Searching Online May Make You Think You're Smarter Than You Are

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-02 05:52

Googling that fact can make insufferable know-it-alls even more sure of their superior abilities, a study finds. The mere act of searching seems to boost faith in one's knowledge.

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Al-Shabab Militants Cross Border To Storm University In Kenya

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-02 05:50

Gunmen have attacked a university in eastern Kenya, killing at least 14 people. The militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility. NPR's Gregory Warner offers the latest from Nairobi.

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Airbnb Starts Listing Homes In Cuba; Average Rate Is $43 A Night

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-02 05:22

A look at the offerings finds everything from "beautiful colonial rooms" in the heart of Havana" for $27 to "a holiday sanctuary" villa on the outskirts of Havana for $1000.

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Dozens Killed In Sinking Of Russian Fishing Trawler

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-02 05:03

The vessel reportedly capsized while bringing in its nets off the Kamchatka Peninsula. Authorities in Moscow have denied reports that it was overloaded.

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Al-Qaida Force Frees Inmates In Yemen, Seeking To Control Port City

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-02 03:36

As violence continues elsewhere in Yemen, al-Qaida has laid siege to a coastal city in the country's southeast, asserting control over key facilities in the port city of al-Mukallah.

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PODCAST: The billion-dollar sweatshirt industry

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-02 03:00

For high school seniors, March and April mean the arrival of college acceptances – and a rush on college bookstores to buy sweatshirts to proclaim their new status.  A look at how admission seasons have created a billion dollar. More on that. Publishing giant Harper Collins is reportedly at odds with Amazon over details of its contract renewal. We explain how their fight will impact readers. 

Gunmen Kill At Least 14 In Al-Shabab Attack on College In Kenya

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-02 02:26

A siege is ongoing at the school in the town of Garissa. It is reportedly attended by more than 800 students.

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Fact Check: Hillary Clinton, Those Emails And The Law

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-02 02:03

A top Republican senator charged that Hillary Clinton "probably" broke the law with her use of private emails as secretary of state. But it's not likely to be so clear.

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College acceptances bring a rush to buy sweatshirts

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-02 02:00

This week, high school seniors across the nation have been laser-focused on one thing: their email inboxes.

That’s because April 1st is when many colleges and universities send out acceptance letters.

It’s also when college bookstores ready for a mad rush of T-shirt-seeking teenagers.

Count Rachel Fratt among that group. The 18-year-old is about to graduate from Forsyth County High School just north of Atlanta, and she’s eager to let everybody know she got into the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech.  

Thanks to a sweet scholarship, the aspiring biotech major also has a bit of extra cash. And where better to spend it than at the Barnes & Noble on campus, Tech’s official bookstore?

“I brought some money, and I’m probably going spend all of it,” says Fratt.

Until now, Fratt has avoided visiting the bookstore—she didn’t want to jinx her chances of getting into the highly selective school. But now that she’s here, she goes right to the sweatshirts. “It has ‘Tech’ in big letters,” Fratt says, noting that’s a good thing.

With her mom and grandma in tow, she makes her way from rack to rack, picking up a T-shirt, pajama pants, a baseball cap, a water bottle. And when she makes it to the checkout line, the reality of the trip becomes apparent.

“Your total is $256.85,” says a voice from behind the cash register.


That’s tough on Fratt’s pocketbook, but great for the bookstore. The college bookstore industry brings in $10.2 billion a year, according to the National Association of College Stores. And a lot of that cash comes in when admissions letters go out.

Leah Antoniazzi manages the Barnes & Noble on Emory University’s campus. She says students rush to buy stuff about five times a year—the first of April is just one.  

“During early admissions and during back to school—which would be August and January—we beef up our clothing and apparel,” Antoniazzi says. Acceptance emails even come with a coupon for Emory bling, she says.

But it’s not just the big universities where new students are stocking up on school-branded gear. Seventeen-year-old Kaley Lackey is heading to Atlanta’s Oglethorpe University—enrollment 1,000. Its bookstore is the size of a small gas station quickie mart, and sells about 2,000 Oglethorpe-branded shirts a year. Lackey walks in and buys the first sweatshirt she sees.

“I like how simple it is. It’s not too busy,” she says. “You look at it and you’re like, ‘Wow. She’s going to Oglethorpe.’”

And that’s exactly what she wants people to know, which is why she has no problem forking over $40 for a sweatshirt that says so.




Algorithm as Art

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-02 02:00

Imagine an auction where you could buy algorithms, or code. Like the one the dating website OkCupid uses for calculating compatibility between two people. If you think that’s too far-fetched, you’re in for a surprise.

New York’s Cooper Hewitt Museum recently held an auction exactly like the one described above: algorithms in all forms—from code scribbled on paper to a thumb drive—were represented in artistic ways, ready to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

“The Algorithm Auction,” as it was known, was the work of Ruse Laboratories, which describes itself as the “preeminent gallery of pure code.” That is, it’s a company that wants to get people to see code as art—art that can be auctioned. Achieving that goal, according to some observers, would increase the popularity of coding, as well as attract more money in the form of philanthropic donations.

“When you read the code as a computer scientist you can see the brushstrokes and the flourishes and the trills that the technologist uses when they craft what they are creating,” said Benjamin Gleitzman, one of the co-founders of Ruse Labs, speaking at the auction.  “I think it’s time the general population understands the beauty of code.”

One of the hottest items on the auction block was, in fact, OkCupid’s compatibility calculator.

“Because our match algorithm can be represented ... as a formula, not simply lines of code, we represented it as a piece of art showing two people falling in love on different ends of the world, being connected by that formula,” said co-founder Chris Coyne, who attended the auction.