National News

Atop the Iron Throne of pirated TV

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 10:34

Have you been using our handy list of places to pirate this year's World Cup?

Not that we want to encourage you to do anything illegal, but, chances are, you're already well on your way. During the 2010 World Cup alone, millions of people around the world streamed the games through one of 18,000 illegal broadcasts. And that was back in 2010, when Blackberry phones were still hot tech.

FIFA, the governing body behind the World Cup, took the unprecedented move this year of warning several prominent sites not to allow illegal game streams. (Copyright owners usually wait for the law to be broken before taking action.)

But, ultimately, trying to shut down online piracy might be a futile effort by copyright owners. Case in point: Millions and millions of people love to watch "Game of Thrones" -- but only a share of them pay HBO for the privilege of watching one man crush another man's head with his bare hands. And if you're not one of the people using your ex-roommate's girlfriend's mom's boss's HBOGo account, you're one of the millions of people straight up illegally downloading copies of the show.

"Game of Thrones" has sat atop the Iron Throne of illegally downloaded TV shows three years in a row. In fact, TorrentFreak put together this list of the most pirated shows of 2013.

People love pirating Game of Thrones, games of soccer

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 10:34

Have you been using our handy list of places to pirate this year's World Cup?

Not that we want to encourage you to do anything illegal, but at this point, illegally streaming or downloading content is the norm. During the 2010 Cup alone, millions of people around the world streamed the games through one of 18,000 illegal broadcasts. And that back in 2010, when the hot new piece of tech to own was the iPhone 4.

FIFA, the governing body behind the World Cup, took the unprecedented move this year of warning several prominent sites not to allow steams of broadcasts of the games. Copyright owners usually wait for the law to be broken before taking action.

But, ultimately, copyright owners trying to shut down online piracy might be a futile effort. Millions and millions of people love to watch "Game of Thrones." Though very few of them are paying HBO for the privilege of watching one man crush another man's head with his bare hands. If you're not one of the people who is using your ex-roommate's girlfriend's mom's boss's HBOGo account, you're one of the millions of people illegally pirating the show.

"Game of Thrones" has sat atop the Iron Throne of Illegally Downloaded TV Shows three years in a row now. Among the other most popular downloads are some of the most buzzed about shows online. TorrentFreak put together this list of the most pirated shows of 2013. It makes it easy to guess what might be on their list this year.

USA Vs. Belgium: If The World Cup Were Played In Beer

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-27 10:33

If Tuesday's match were played in beer, it seems that everyone would win. Here's some analysis to shed light on what the U.S. and Belgium bring to the table.

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Defining the new middle class

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 10:29

Do you consider yourself middle class?

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Heather Moore is an 11th grade history teacher and lives in Glendora, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, and is 31 weeks pregnant. Her husband, Michael, is a computer programmer and stay-at-home Dad to 4-year-old April.

They live on about $82,000 a year, just over the median income in Glendora.

Moore considers herself solidly middle class. Why? "I don't even know if I could put my finger on it. We have a very suburban life style. We are not struggling, but we are still concerned about money.

Moore wrote us online about how being in the middle is a balance of needs and wants: " My uncle has this great line that he said, 'As long as you have everything you need and a little of what you want, than that is essentially a good life.' And that's where I feel we are today," Moore says. "We can afford to paint our house, and save up a little for new carpet, but then also pay some out of the budget too."

And, they have no debt beyond their mortgage, too.

"Michael and I have a college education with no debt leftover. That was a tremendous gift that my family was able to give us. That's the gift I want to give my children. That's my priority when it comes to saving is to give them a college education that's debt-free. And if I put off retirement a few years, then so be it. I can't think of a better reason to do it... I also kind of see this generationally and see this as an age thing as well. My grandparents did a lot to help out my parents when me and my brothers were born. And my mom is essentially paying it forward. So she's promised the diaper service for this one when he's born. And the way I'm going to thank my mom is to do this for April. In fact, I wrote her a thank you note, and she said you don't need to do this, just do this for April. And that's how you're going to thank me."

Jason DiPinto, a Navy chaplain in San Diego, Calif., calls himself "borderline middle class."

"When I see that sort of thing, and I do, I travel a lot for my job, around to a lot of different communities. And when I see communities, even sometimes new ones, that look like the community I grew up in, but to me that's like watching a black-and-white television show."

Despite a steady job, benefits, and potential job growth, DiPinto is unsure where to place himself. "I think that when I talk to my friends, and I talk to my peers, I think we were very affected by the last four or five years. And I think what it means for us to be secure is very different than when we grew up."

Defining the new middle class

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 10:29

Do you consider yourself middle class?

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Heather Moore is an 11th grade history teacher and lives in Glendora, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, and is 31 weeks pregnant. Her husband, Michael, is a computer programmer and stay-at-home Dad to 4-year-old April.

They live on about $82,000 a year, just over the median income in Glendora.

Moore considers herself solidly middle class. Why? "I don't even know if I could put my finger on it. We have a very suburban life style. We are not struggling, but we are still concerned about money.

Moore wrote us online about how being in the middle is a balance of needs and wants: " My uncle has this great line that he said, 'As long as you have everything you need and a little of what you want, than that is essentially a good life.' And that's where I feel we are today," Moore says. "We can afford to paint our house, and save up a little for new carpet, but then also pay some out of the budget too."

And, they have no debt beyond their mortgage, too.

"Michael and I have a college education with no debt leftover. That was a tremendous gift that my family was able to give us. That's the gift I want to give my children. That's my priority when it comes to saving is to give them a college education that's debt-free. And if I put off retirement a few years, then so be it. I can't think of a better reason to do it... I also kind of see this generationally and see this as an age thing as well. My grandparents did a lot to help out my parents when me and my brothers were born. And my mom is essentially paying it forward. So she's promised the diaper service for this one when he's born. And the way I'm going to thank my mom is to do this for April. In fact, I wrote her a thank you note, and she said you don't need to do this, just do this for April. And that's how you're going to thank me."

Jason DiPinto, a Navy chaplain in San Diego, Calif., calls himself "borderline middle class."

"When I see that sort of thing, and I do, I travel a lot for my job, around to a lot of different communities. And when I see communities, even sometimes new ones, that look like the community I grew up in, but to me that's like watching a black-and-white television show."

Despite a steady job, benefits, and potential job growth, DiPinto is unsure where to place himself. "I think that when I talk to my friends, and I talk to my peers, I think we were very affected by the last four or five years. And I think what it means for us to be secure is very different than when we grew up."

U.K. Loses Big Vote On The Future Of Europe — Now What?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-27 09:48

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron was furious when EU leaders voted to nominate Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the European Commission. It raises questions about the U.K.'s future in the EU.

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Dov Charney, the World Cup and Aereo over Brunch

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 09:21

As part of the new Marketplace Weekend, Lizzie O'Leary will sit down for a weekly conversation about the topics you want to know more about and the stories you may have missed. In this, the inaugural epsiode, Lizzie sat down at Les Noces Du Figaro in downtown Los Angeles with Andrea Chang of the L.A. Times and Buzzfeed's Ken Bensinger.

The brunch discussion topics included:

1. The Supreme Court's decision on Aereo.

2. Andrea Chang's report on the exit of Dov Charney from American Apparel, the company he founded:

American Apparel founder Dov Charney was an unpredictable executive.

Although heralded as a retail innovator and an advocate for American manufacturing and fair wages, he also faced numerous sexual misconduct accusations.

Over the years, the chief executive -- who on Wednesday was ousted by American Apparel's board of directors because of "alleged misconduct" -- behaved oddly during many interviews with Times reporters. 

During a factory tour several years ago, he refused to answer questions about the company and talked repeatedly about "Sesame Street."

3. Ken Bensinger's report on U.S. soccer and the World Cup, examining the man who helped build soccer in the United States:

In the middle of 1989, suburban soccer dad Chuck Blazer had just lost his job, had no income, and was struggling with debt.

But he did have a few things going for him: He was audacious, with a keen eye for opportunity; he was a splendid salesman; and he knew a vast amount about the world’s most popular sport. Not the fine points of on-field strategy — he’d never actually played the game — but rather the business of American soccer, which was, back then, woeful. Compared to baseball, basketball, and football, soccer was a starving runt. Multiple professional leagues had flopped. TV networks couldn’t even figure out how to fit commercials into the 90-minute, time-out-free games, and they rarely bothered to broadcast the sport. The United States national team hadn’t qualified for a World Cup in nearly 40 years.

A quarter-century later, American soccer has become an athletic and economic powerhouse, due substantially to the contributions of Blazer. He helped win Major League Soccer’s first real TV contract, and just last month the MLS inked a $720 million TV deal. The U.S. national team, which he helped promote, is now a World Cup mainstay, ranked higher than powers such as France and the Netherlands. And more people in America are playing soccer than any team sport save basketball.

Dov Charney, the World Cup and Aereo over Brunch

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 09:21

As part of the new Marketplace Weekend, Lizzie O'Leary will sit down for a weekly conversation about the topics you want to know more about and the stories you may have missed. In this, the inaugural epsiode, Lizzie sat down at Les Noces Du Figaro in downtown Los Angeles with Andrea Chang of the L.A. Times and Buzzfeed's Ken Bensinger.

The brunch discussion topics included:

1. The Supreme Court's decision on Aereo.

2. Andrea Chang's report on the exit of Dov Charney from American Apparel, the company he founded:

American Apparel founder Dov Charney was an unpredictable executive.

Although heralded as a retail innovator and an advocate for American manufacturing and fair wages, he also faced numerous sexual misconduct accusations.

Over the years, the chief executive -- who on Wednesday was ousted by American Apparel's board of directors because of "alleged misconduct" -- behaved oddly during many interviews with Times reporters. 

During a factory tour several years ago, he refused to answer questions about the company and talked repeatedly about "Sesame Street."

3. Ken Bensinger's report on U.S. soccer and the World Cup, examining the man who helped build soccer in the United States:

In the middle of 1989, suburban soccer dad Chuck Blazer had just lost his job, had no income, and was struggling with debt.

But he did have a few things going for him: He was audacious, with a keen eye for opportunity; he was a splendid salesman; and he knew a vast amount about the world’s most popular sport. Not the fine points of on-field strategy — he’d never actually played the game — but rather the business of American soccer, which was, back then, woeful. Compared to baseball, basketball, and football, soccer was a starving runt. Multiple professional leagues had flopped. TV networks couldn’t even figure out how to fit commercials into the 90-minute, time-out-free games, and they rarely bothered to broadcast the sport. The United States national team hadn’t qualified for a World Cup in nearly 40 years.

A quarter-century later, American soccer has become an athletic and economic powerhouse, due substantially to the contributions of Blazer. He helped win Major League Soccer’s first real TV contract, and just last month the MLS inked a $720 million TV deal. The U.S. national team, which he helped promote, is now a World Cup mainstay, ranked higher than powers such as France and the Netherlands. And more people in America are playing soccer than any team sport save basketball.

If Aereo is dead, what's next in the evolution of TV?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 09:18

In a decision this week the Supreme Court effectively pulled the rug out from TV streamer Aereo. The company is small, but the ramifications are big.

Quartz Senior Editor Zach Seward says the decision will impact consumers and could significantly alter the fight to make TV internet-friendly:

But part of the US Copyright Act of 1976 was written explicitly to prevent cable companies from doing that. In its ruling, the court found that Aereo functions like a cable company: “Behind-the-scenes technological differences do not distinguish Aereo’s system from cable systems,” justice Stephen Breyer wrote. As a result, the court found, Aereo’s service constitutes a “public performance” of television for which it needs a copyright license. Aereo had argued that it’s more like an equipment provider: Its customers rent tiny antennas, which are connected to a DVR and attached to a very long cord. But because that cord is actually the internet, the case threatened to implicate other cloud technology, as well.   

“The Court vows that its ruling will not affect cloud-storage providers and cable-television systems,” justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a dissenting opinion, “but it cannot deliver on that promise given the imprecision of its result-driven rule.” He mocked the majority’s finding that Aereo resembles a cable company, saying it would “sow confusion for years to come.”

Underlying the back-and-forth between Scalia and Breyer is a long-running dispute about how to interpret legislative statutes like the Copyright Act. Breyer’s interpretation takes into account that Congress, in 1976, intended to prevent more-or-less exactly what Aereo is now doing. Scalia—along with justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, who joined him in the dissent—think the only thing that matters is the strict text of the law.

If Aereo is dead, what's next in the evolution of TV?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 09:18

In a decision this week the Supreme Court effectively pulled the rug out from TV streamer Aereo. The company is small, but the ramifications are big.

Quartz Senior Editor Zach Seward says the decision will impact consumers and could significantly alter the fight to make TV internet-friendly:

But part of the US Copyright Act of 1976 was written explicitly to prevent cable companies from doing that. In its ruling, the court found that Aereo functions like a cable company: “Behind-the-scenes technological differences do not distinguish Aereo’s system from cable systems,” justice Stephen Breyer wrote. As a result, the court found, Aereo’s service constitutes a “public performance” of television for which it needs a copyright license. Aereo had argued that it’s more like an equipment provider: Its customers rent tiny antennas, which are connected to a DVR and attached to a very long cord. But because that cord is actually the internet, the case threatened to implicate other cloud technology, as well.   

“The Court vows that its ruling will not affect cloud-storage providers and cable-television systems,” justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a dissenting opinion, “but it cannot deliver on that promise given the imprecision of its result-driven rule.” He mocked the majority’s finding that Aereo resembles a cable company, saying it would “sow confusion for years to come.”

Underlying the back-and-forth between Scalia and Breyer is a long-running dispute about how to interpret legislative statutes like the Copyright Act. Breyer’s interpretation takes into account that Congress, in 1976, intended to prevent more-or-less exactly what Aereo is now doing. Scalia—along with justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, who joined him in the dissent—think the only thing that matters is the strict text of the law.

A Doctor Tries To Save A 9-Year-Old Stricken With Ebola

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-27 09:08

The child was brought to a treatment center in the back of a pickup truck with his dying mother. Doctors knew his condition was dire. But they thought that maybe they could save him.

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White House Task Force To Save Bees Stirs Hornet's Nest

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-27 07:14

When the administration created a task force to combat the ongoing collapse of the nation's bee population, it created more than a little buzz.

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Chemist With Visual Flair Answers Burning Food Science Questions

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-27 06:37

A high school chemistry teacher in the U.K. started honing his visual talents by making posters for students. Now his infographics about food science and chemistry basics are a hit on the Web.

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U.S. Says It Won't Make More Anti-Personnel Land Mines

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-27 06:12

Saying it wants to join an international treaty banning anti-personnel land mines, the U.S. announced today that it will no longer make "or otherwise acquire" them.

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Top Shiite Cleric Calls For Deal On Next Iraqi Leader Amid Crisis

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-27 04:50

The call Friday by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani came as Human Rights Watch said ISIS militants likely executed at least 160 unarmed men when they took the city of Tikrit.

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Suarez Ban Is 'Excessive,' Bite Victim Says

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-27 04:44

Days after being bitten by Uruguay's Luis Suarez during a World Cup match, Italy's Giorgio Chiellini says Suarez's four-month ban from soccer is too harsh.

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Ukraine Signs Trade Deal With EU, Risking Russia's Ire

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-27 03:13

The economic deal, which comes as a tense cease-fire is set to expire Friday in Ukraine, also includes two other former Soviet states, Moldova and Georgia.

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PODCAST: Bitcoin for sale

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 03:00

With the the commerce department saying that GDP fell 3% in the first quarter -- the largest revision in three decades -- a look at what investors are saying about the stunning downward revision. Plus, more on the auction of $18 million worth of bitcoin by the U.S. Marshal's office. Also, homeless rates have been steadily going down for a number of years, even through the Great Recession. Part of the credit goes to programs that give shelter to the homeless without any preconditions

PODCAST: Bitcoin for sale

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 03:00

With the the commerce department saying that GDP fell 3% in the first quarter -- the largest revision in three decades -- a look at what investors are saying about the stunning downward revision. Plus, more on the auction of $18 million worth of bitcoin by the U.S. Marshal's office. Also, homeless rates have been steadily going down for a number of years, even through the Great Recession. Part of the credit goes to programs that give shelter to the homeless without any preconditions

Mental health parity opens new business opportunities

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-27 02:00

Business may be looking up if you’re a psychiatrist, own a substance abuse clinic or run a residential treatment program for eating disorders. Thanks to changes in the law that have been in the works since 2008, the behavioral health sector will be on more equal footing with general medical care. That means millions more Americans will soon be able to seek treatment for mental health and substance abuse.

As the owner of the Renfrew Center, established in 1985, Sam Menaged could teach a class on ways to persuade insurers to cover patients. But even with all his savvy, Menaged still loses plenty of business.

“Renfrew turns away at least 40 percent of those patients who are referred to us because it’s prohibited under their policies,” he says.

But Menaged thinks the denial days may be ending.

“I’m already investigating other cities to open in, lower levels of care, but also residential care," he says.

If you are in the behavioral health business, 2014 is a defining moment. First, you’ve got the Affordable Care Act, which opens up service to all the uninsured. The law also requires most plans to include mental health and substance abuse services. The University of Maryland’s Howard Goldman says out-of-pocket spending – deductibles and co-pays – is on par with what a patient would spend on general medical care.

“It means that millions more people will be able to seek services in the private sector and have those services covered -- and covered in a way that will not cause them to be bankrupted,” he says.

More patients with better access to care have providers and investors humming. One in four Americans has a diagnosable mental disorder, including individuals with addiction. About 40 million people are expected to get improved access to mental health and substance abuse services by 2016.

With a market like that, it’s no wonder Wall Street has started sniffing around says Mark Covall, President of the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems.

“There [are] huge investments in healthcare. And mental health has been on the sidelines. Today we are seeing investors look at this part of healthcare very differently,” he says.

Covall expects providers to plough new money back into their businesses and find ways to make services more affordable and attractive for insurers.

These new financial opportunities also represent behavioral health’s coming out party.

NYU Dean Sherry Glied says that makes "therapy" and "addiction" less like dirty words.

“We’ve deinstitutionalized in some sense stigma. We’ve taken it out of our insurance institutions. Whether we can take it out of our social institutions remains to be seen, but it’s definitely a big step forward,” she says.

Glied says finally, mental health is just another condition. And there’s room to make money off it, just like every other health condition.

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