National News

UPS delivers on holiday orders – and hurts itself

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 11:16

UPS is warning that its earnings will fall short for the fourth quarter of last year, mostly because the company overcompensated for the shipping woes of 2013, when it delivered a surge of last-minute packages after Christmas.

For 2014, it hired more workers and invested in more equipment than was needed to handle what turned out to be an easier Christmas shipping season. E-commerce is a bigger part of UPS’ business now, and it is also hard to forecast. Will cost-cutting hurt performance next year?

Click play above to hear more from this story

For The Saudis, A Smooth Succession At A Difficult Moment

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 10:21

The royal family carried out the transition to a new monarch without a hitch. Still, the region is facing unprecedented turmoil and King Salman assumes the monarchy with several major challenges.

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Ukrainian Separatists Reportedly Abandon Peace Talks

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 10:16

The rebels are reported to have seized control of the Donetsk Airport days after the Kiev government had declared it had taken the destroyed facility.

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Will global temperature rise inspire a behavior shift?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 09:42

Last year, the world experienced a significant jump -- a rise in global temperature...

2014 was the hottest year on record, and just this week, a group of scientists moved the hands on the Doomsday Clock -- that's when mankind wipes out our own existence at midnight --- to 11:57 pm. That's the closest the clock has been to midnight since the height of the cold war.

One of the main reasons behind the move is climate change. 

But it's still hard to get people to act differently, especially when the consequences for inaction seem so far off in the future. For politicians, creating policy that causes pain in the present and not seeing the payoff directly can seem like a bad decision. 

To explain some of the leaps that global governments and populations have to take to slow and stop climate change, we spoke to Ann Carlson, the co-director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA Law.

Listen to the whole segment in the player above. 

The leap not taken: Wage growth

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 09:36

Despite creating more jobs, wages are still flat. Median household income in the US is lower now than it was fifteen years ago, and over the last year, the average hourly wage only rose 40 cents. 

So how do we make a leap towards higher wages, as a country? Heather Boushey, executive director at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth joined Marketplace Weekend to talk about how to increase wages, and what's holding us back. 

Listen to the whole segment in the audio player above. 

Who Is The New Saudi King?

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 09:24

King Salman, 79, presided over the dramatic transformation of Riyadh with a record for good governance, but he is not viewed as a reformer and is unlikely to change the course of Saudi politics.

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Your Wallet: Financial Crash

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 08:42

What goes up must come down. Or hit a brick wall. We're talking crashes.

If you have a story about about a time your personal economy crashed, tell us. What happened? How did you make it through?

Send us an email, or reach us on Twitter, @MarketplaceWKND

Will Greek voters make a great leap?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 08:21

Greek voters are about to make a great leap. Maybe.

Polls suggest that elections this Sunday could bring to power a hard-left party called Syriza

which wants to end the so-called “austerity measures” – the swingeing curbs on public spending rigorously enforced by the outgoing government for years.

Syriza also wants to renegotiate the terms of a bailout Greece got from the IMF and EU.

Quite a shift from the policy of the outgoing government led by the center-right New Democracy Party, which has been careful to play nice with Greece’s creditors.

Lizzie O'Leary spoke to Marketplace’s Stephen Beard in Athens. 

The leap second, deep space and how we keep time

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 08:12

You may have heard on the news or the internet about a very, very small leap that's coming. It's the leap second. Yeah, not year. Second.

On June 30th, all clocks around the world will add one second to their time. Why? The short version is that it brings clocks into sync with the movement of the earth.

For centuries we've measured time based on how the earth revolves around the sun. But the way our planet moves is weird. Earth wobbles, and sometimes solar time gets strays from the much more precise, human-made measurement: atomic time.

The solution? Every few years add or subtract a second on atomic clocks to bring everything back into alignment. The Paris Observatory, home to the International Earth Rotation and References Systems Service, determines when a leap second will be added -- when atomic time is .6 seconds or more off from solar time on earth. Since 1972, there have been 25 leap seconds.

To most people, a leap second is a pretty small thing. But for machines and computers, it can cause big problems... when all of a sudden there's an extra second in a minute, a computing clock's entire world can be thrown out of whack. In 1998, the leap second caused cell phone outages. In 2012, it lead to crashes on websites that ran on Linux and Java -- Mozilla, Reddit, Foursquare, Yelp, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon all reported leap second-related issues. 

Some critics worry about problems with navigation, or energy. But it turns out that if you prepare for a leap second, it's fairly manageable. Google planned for the 2012 second with a workaround that it called a "leapsmear," introducing the leap by the millisecond so that it wasn't even noticable. Apple seems to have fared similarly well.

And for NASA, a company for which time, down to the second, and even the nanosecond, is crucial, the leap second is no big deal. At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories in California, researchers spend a lot of time thinking about, well, time. Robert Tjoelker, co-investigator on NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock Mission, says that their master clock system is "carefully designed to accommodate the leap second."

Their enormous master clock in California, one of three around the world, even has a box to mark the leap second. Once the leap second is initiated, the clock will add time, nanosecond by nanosecond, so there's no change in the timing system's continuity.

"Atomic clocks on the GPS satellites have to be very reliable, and have to be very accurate, because you're building a navigation system that is used everywhere on the earth," Tjoelker says, "similarly, in space, we could not track our spacecraft if we didn't accommodate the leap second."

In unexplored areas of deep space, like the places the deep space atomic clock will eventually go, these second, and teeny, tiny fractions of seconds, make a big difference. 

"There are no signposts when you travel in deep space, and so the only mechanism, really, for navigation, is sending signals back and forth between the spacecraft."

NASA wants to launch atomic clocks into deep space to improve their navigation systems and communications between earth and space. The deep space atomic clock that they're building at JPL is advanced enough to speed up communications times by double, because instead of sending signals back and forth, it will send them directly from the spacecraft to earth.

And even that clock, one of the most sensitive, accurate clocks in the universe, will account for the leap second. 

There's still some pushback about the leap second, but Tjoelker says that as long as changes to universal time are transparent and widely known, there shouldn't be any problems. It's not necessarily the leap second throwing computer systems off, it's preparedness. 

Tjoelker says that for his team at JPL, whether or not the leap second is abolished doesn't matter too much, as long as everyone is aware. "This was an arbitrary definition based upon international agreements, it is just a construct of time, just as time zones are, daylight savings time... the actual offset of time is relative and the main goal of time synchronization is that everybody's clocks are ticking together."

Quiz: New majority in public-school classrooms

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 07:55

More than half of children in public schools come from low-income families, according to the Southern Education Foundation.

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Young Women And Men Seek More Equal Roles At Work And Home

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 07:54

Young couples would prefer to share responsibilities equally at work and at home, a study finds. But they realize that workplace policies and child care can make that a tough go in real life.

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Goodbye, Garden Yeti: In-Flight Catalog SkyMall Files For Bankruptcy

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 07:49

The kitschy catalog fell victim to online shopping and the growing ubiquity of in-flight WiFi, according to the company's Chapter 11 filing.

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Argentine President Now Says Prosecutor's Death 'Not A Suicide'

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 07:21

Alberto Nisman, who accused the Argentinian leader of covering up Iran's role in a 1994 terrorist attack, was found shot dead in his apartment on Sunday.

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Dear World: Bill and Melinda Gates Have "Big Bets" For 2030

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 06:25

Their annual letter to the public has been published. They're betting that in 15 years, polio will be eradicated, Africa will feed itself and 2 billion people will use their phones as mobile banks.

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TSA Agents Discovered 2,212 Firearms At Airport Checkpoints In 2014

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 06:07

Grenades and blades were also found. In most cases, people forgot they had them. Our favorite discovery: a knife in an enchilada. The TSA said "the passenger's intent was delicious, not malicious."

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Senate Says Climate Change Real, But Not Really Our Fault

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 06:06

The brand new chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Sen. Roger Wicker was the only senator to vote against calling climate change "real and not a hoax."

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Yemeni Rebels Call For Mass Rallies After President Steps Down

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 05:45

The Houthis, who control the capital, Sanaa, are apparently hoping to exploit a power vacuum left by the resignation of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and his government.

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Thai Lawmakers Vote To Impeach Ousted Premier

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 04:43

Yingluck Shinawatra, whose government was removed from office in a military coup in May, has been accused of criminal negligence related to a failed program to prop up the price of rice.

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Fate Of Japanese Hostages Unclear After Islamic State's Deadline Lapses

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 04:08

A video purportedly by the militants says "the countdown has begun." Japan says it's still trying to secure Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto's release. The Islamists want $200 million for their release.

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Saudi King Abdullah Leaves Behind A Complex Legacy

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 03:05

The king's death was announced early Friday. He is being remembered as a man who laid the foundation for reform, but also as someone who promised much but accomplished little.

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