National News

Tunisian Museum Attack: 'I Thought It Was A Game,' Witness Says

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-19 05:22

Tunisia's president says his country is "in a merciless war against terrorism." The victims reportedly include travelers from Japan, France, Poland, Italy, Colombia, Australia, Britain and Spain.

» E-Mail This

When The KKK Was Mainstream

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-19 05:08

In 1920s America the insidious Invisible Empire was not only visible, it participated in otherwise polite society.

» E-Mail This

Questions To Ask About Ed-Tech At Your Kids' School

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-19 04:03

America's schools are rocketing into the digital age. But parents are often in the dark as to how or, more importantly, why.

» E-Mail This

A First For Joe: Biden Could Break Tie For Attorney General

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-19 04:01

Vice presidents have cast 244 tie-breakers in the Senate, but if Biden rescues Loretta Lynch's nomination it will be the first time it has been used for a Cabinet nomination.

» E-Mail This

Australian Leader Raises Furor In Parliament With Goebbels Comment

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-19 03:38

Roars of disapproval rang out in Australia's Parliament Thursday, after Prime Minister Tony Abbott called Labor leader Bill Shorten "the Dr. Goebbels of economic policy."

» E-Mail This

Addressing inequality for Black and Hispanic students

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-19 03:00

The National Urban League released the 39th edition of its "State of Black America" report Thursday. Among the major findings are disparities in education, and in the recovery from the recession.

In 33 major U.S. cities, the black unemployment rate exceeds 15 percent, according to the report, which also for the first time released a 50-state analysis of educational inequality.

The report says there are major reading and math proficiency gaps, as well as high school graduation gaps, especially in many major urban areas, where "our schools are more racially segregated and they're also more segregated by income than they've ever been," says Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League.

Brookings Institution researcher Richard Reeves adds that inequality in education has broader economic indicators.

"Test scores that you can see in adolescence are a big predictor of upward and downward mobility by race," he says.

Reeves says 70 percent of middle-income black children will fall backwards on the economic ladder later in life.

Gates and Bloomberg team up against smoking

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-19 03:00

Media entrepreneur and former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg is teaming up with fellow billionaire Bill Gates to help low and middle-income countries fight legal challenges from tobacco companies. Countries like Uruguay and Australia have faced lawsuits from tobacco companies after passing regulations on how tobacco products can be packaged.

Tobacco companies argue these kinds of restrictions violate international trade agreements and World Trade Organization rules. Gates and Bloomberg created the Anti-Tobacco Trade Litigation Fund and seeded it with $4 million to help lower income countries defend their laws.

Click the media player above to hear more.

PODCAST: AT&T out, Apple in

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-19 03:00

While the Federal Reserve has a tradition of willfull obscureness, its closely-watched statement yesterday makes plain there's a puzzle as the guardians of interest rates look ahead. And Apple is in, AT&T is out. But what does it mean when you get dropped from the Dow? Not much, because what really counts is whether or not you’re in the S&P 500. Why? Because that’s what fund managers care about, and they’re the biggest buyers of stock. Plus, gas prices expected to drop again this week. Last year's plunge left consumers with a choice: keep buying those smaller fuel-efficient cars that have sold like hotcakes in an age of four dollar a gallon gas, or invest in a bigger, less fuel efficient car?

Addressing inequality for Black and Hispanic students

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-19 03:00

The National Urban League released the 39th edition of its "State of Black America" report Thursday. Among the major findings are disparities in education, and in the recovery from the recession.

In 33 major U.S. cities, the black unemployment rate exceeds 15 percent, according to the report, which also for the first time released a 50-state analysis of educational inequality.

The report says there are major reading and math proficiency gaps, as well as high school graduation gaps, especially in many major urban areas, where "our schools are more racially segregated and they're also more segregated by income than they've ever been," says Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League.

Brookings Institution researcher Richard Reeves adds that inequality in education has broader economic indicators, because "test scores that you can see in adolescence are a big predictor of upward and downward mobility by race."

Reeves says 70 percent of middle-income black children will fall backwards on the economic ladder later in life.

Gas prices opening up car choices

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-19 02:00

When Bryan Hartman, a junior high math teacher from Illinois, started shopping for a family car last winter, gas prices were about $2.50 a gallon and falling.

Hartman knew he wanted a Honda, but was unsure whether to choose a larger car for his growing family, or stick with a smaller, more fuel-efficient version.

A night of research helped him decide: the smaller car was the better choice.

"When it came down to looking at how much we were going to have to put in it, " Hartman explains, "whether gas was two dollars a gallon or four dollars - which seems feasible again - it was just going to be too much over the lifetime of owning the car."

Gas prices, after all, can go up at any time. 

Auto analysts say sales of light trucks and SUVs are up in the wake of lower gas prices.

But they note that even larger autos are more fuel-efficient than they were in years past. 

Why AT&T doesn't care it left the Dow

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-19 02:00

When the stock market opened on Thursday, Apple was part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the first time. AT&T was not.

What effect will that have on AT&T's stock price? "You would need a microscope to see the impact," says Jim Angel, associate professor of finance at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. 

Angel says that's because it's a huge company with plenty of stock, and relatively little of it is owned by index funds that simply by the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. 

"People follow the Dow because people in the past followed the Dow," says Kevin Landis, chief investment officer of Firsthand Funds. But it's the bigger, newer indices like the S&P 500 that attract most of the index fund money—and have the most market-moving clout.

Astro Teller talks about making room for failure

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-19 02:00

This week, Marketplace Tech is exploring South by Southwest Interactive, the tech-oriented event that draws tens of thousands of people to Austin, Texas every year.

We caught up Astro Teller, scientist, author and head of Google X, aka its “Captain of Moonshots.” Teller runs Google’s mysterious research facility tasked with achieving major breakthroughs in technology. He spoke with us about the culture at Google X, the ideas they have had to let go, and the single piece of technology he is waiting for.

So you’re the head of one of the most famously mysterious places in the tech world. What’s the most different thing about it as a workplace?

The talk that I just gave here at SXSW was about failure. And I think that subject is one of the things that’s sort of the Google X special sauce. We actually have a culture where doing the experimenting is the learning; is the innovation.

Not only okay but encouraged?

I am not sure that there is an alternative.

What’s the craziest idea that you guys completely passed on and are not doing anything about?

I am just throwing out random examples but...the first couple I can think of. Someone said, hey, I wonder how much power there is in an avalanche? So we’re like, do the math and is that practical? You know...throw that one out after half-an-hour. But that was worth doing. Someone else says, hey, what if we put a coil of copper around the North Pole and then harvest the magnetic flux of the earth’s core as it joggles back and forth, which will cause a current in that wire of copper and we can pipe that back down to Europe or something.

Bad idea? Not a good idea?

Several hours before we threw that out. But if you ever say to those people, that’s stupid, they will never bring you another idea.

Do you think culture then is more important than ideas?

It’s everything.

At one time, Google’s model was, “Don’t be evil.” I mean, is that a part of your thinking when you're talking about putting giant coils of metal on the North Pole?

Of course. Actually that issue of “don't be evil” is probably the number one reason we throw out ideas. It’s not just, “don’t be evil”, which is still the sort of inform mode for Google. We want to actively make the world...

Good?

If we can, a radically better place...That’s an even higher bar and that cuts off a bunch of avenues that we might otherwise have gone down. Maybe that even would have been lucrative. But what we lose in those ways, we more than make up for because everybody at Google X gets to be passionate and purpose-driven. And it translates into a special kind of progress.

How do you define the culture in terms of being good? I mean is that a challenge as well?

We don’t have some message from god that gives us a list of what's good and what’s not good. Obviously we have to make our own flawed judgments about each thing. But when we try to make a car that drives itself, we believe - whether we’re right or not - we believe that there would be strong net positive benefit to the world if cars could drive themselves safer than people could.

What’s a piece of technology that you wish you had that you don’t have?

We have started a few projects that are sort of shells. They are like projects waiting to happen but we don't have an idea but we are so desperate to do that project. Batteries is one of them. It comes up over and over and over again that a ten times increase in the weight-oriented density of batteries or the volume metric, the space oriented density of batteries, would enable so many other moonshots that that’s one that just constantly comes up over and over again and we will start that moonshot if we can find a great idea. We just haven’t found one yet. So it's just sitting there like an empty box, waiting.

 

Got milk (and financial success)?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-19 01:44
15 percent

According to the National Urban League's "State of Black America", the black unemployment rate exceeds 15 percent in 33 major U.S. cities. The report also included a state-by-state assessment of education inequality for the first time, and found that areas with greater segregation also saw major reading and math proficiency gaps, as well as high school graduation gaps.

350 jobs

Yahoo announced it would close its remaining office in China, effectively eliminating 350 jobs. The company says the move is part of its efforts to cut global costs. As reported by the BBC, the fired employees have already been approached by a local employment agency.

$9

That's how much Target will pay in minimum wage starting next month, as reported by the WSJ. As companies like Wal-Mart and T.J. Maxx make similar moves, efforts to attract and retain low-wage workers are getting more competitive.

$10 million

Speaking of Target, the company has reportedly agreed to pay a $10 million settlement in the class-action lawsuit related to 2013's data security breach. As reported by Reuters, Target will put the money into an " interest bearing escrow account, to pay individual victims up to $10,000 in damages."

6,000 babies

That's how many babies were involved in a Brazilian study looking at correlations between breast feeding and long-term success. As reported by the Guardian, babies that were breast-fed longer tended to be better educated, and higher-earning as adults.

Scientists Catch Up On The Sex Life Of Coral To Help Reefs Survive

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 23:35

It's all in the timing. Biologists haven't been able to breed embryos of the rare, pillar coral in the lab because it's been tough to catch the creatures in the act.

» E-Mail This

More Americans Opt For Risky Long-Term Car Loans

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 23:33

The length of the average car loan isn't just creeping up, it's leaping up. Nearly 40 percent of people secure car loans that take more than five years to pay off. The trend has some analysts alarmed.

» E-Mail This

One Year After Mudslide, First Responders Tackle Emotional Damage

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 23:29

This weekend, residents of Washington state will mark one year since a massive mudslide devastated a small community, killing 43 people and destroying dozens of homes in a matter of minutes.

» E-Mail This

As Women Try Out For Armor Units, 'If You Can Hack It, You Can Hack It'

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 23:24

As part of an experiment, the men and women of a Marine armor unit are being assessed on difficult physical tasks, such as hooking up heavy towing gear. The women are keeping up, but it's a struggle.

» E-Mail This

Obama Says Critics Making 'The Same Argument' Despite Better Economy

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 23:22

President Obama defends his economic track record, even as Republicans are trying to change the government's fiscal course. House and Senate committees unveiled draft budgets that would cut spending.

» E-Mail This

Why Is Insulin So Expensive In The U.S.?

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 23:06

The hormone that controls blood sugar among diabetics is one of the oldest medicines used today. But more than 90 years after its discovery, a low-cost version is no longer available in the U.S.

» E-Mail This

Microsoft Is Phasing Out Internet Explorer

NPR News - Wed, 2015-03-18 17:39

The web browser will be replaced in Windows 10, with what's currently being called Project Spartan.

» E-Mail This

Pages