National News

In Landmark Case, High Court Issues Limits To Cellphone Searches

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 12:15

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court has ruled to limit law enforcement's right to warrantless searches of cellphone data. While the court left the door open to such warrantless searches in some emergency situations, the decision largely spelled a victory for privacy advocates.

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Supreme Court Deals A Big Win For TV Broadcasters

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 12:15

The Supreme Court has ruled that Aereo, a TV streaming startup, is violating the copyrights of TV producers, marketers and broadcasters by offering subscribers the ability to watch and record broadcasts on any Internet-enabled device. It now appears that Aereo will have to shut down.

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As The Anchor Chair Turns: A Glimpse At ABC News Past And Future

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 12:15

ABC News has announced major shakeups in its anchor lineup, as Diane Sawyer steps down from her perch as anchor of the network's evening news. What does her replacement say about the state of TV news?

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The unheralded path to success: be invisible

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-06-25 12:05

The desk of David Apel, a senior perfumer with Symrise, a fragrance company in New York, is covered with tiny glass vials of perfume trials with names like Taurus, Top Gun, and Zeus. This is, after all, the culture of #SelfPromotion. And if you're a celebrity, an athlete, or just a Greek god, chances are you’ve had a product named after you

FYI, Apel describes Zeus,  in case you shouldn't have the chance to smell an actual Greek god, as a combination of bergamot, orange and mandarin, as "very ultra masculine, very rich, rugged, very sort of, king of the hill of fragrance.”

Unlike another tiny vial on his desk with the more feminine name of "Love Mist."

Love Mist, Apel notes, is not a name he conceived. And, none of these fragrances will ever be named after him. He says he doesn’t need public recognition.

"If I walk down the street and I smell a fragrance that I've created, I feel wonderful," he says. "I feel like someone is wearing my creation, I'm expressing myself through them. I smell it in the air, I feel a really great sense of satisfaction from that. But I don't think I would feel any different, certainly not any better, if  I knew that my name was on that. It's not about a name. In the world of scent, this is all invisible."

Besides, he says, when he began his career, he got a lot of satisfaction from being the go-to guy at his company. Someone his colleagues could rely on.

"I still like that kind of behind-the-scenes role," he says, "being sort of invisible." And "Invisibles" is the name of a new book by David Zweig -- it’s about workers like Apel. Zweig describes invisibles as "people who are highly skilled professionals whose work is critical to whatever endeavor they're a part of, but who go largely unnoticed by the public.”

The anesthesiologist, instead of the surgeon. The industrial engineer, not the architect.

"If you have your gall bladder taken out, you're never going to forget the surgeon's name, but you'll probably forget the anesthesiologist's as soon as you leave recovery," notes Zweig, yet anesthesiologists possess an enormous amount of responsibility, with your life, literally in their hands.

Zweig says he got the idea when he was working as a fact checker at Conde Nast. “When's the last time you've read a great magazine article and thought to yourself, man that was fact-checked beautifully?" he asks. "You know, never."

The better he did his job checking facts, Zweig says, the more he disappeared. Today, he notes, we tend to equate power with attention, but often the people with real power are in the background. Invisible workers, he says, can often be the most successful, but they view themselves as part of a team. Zweig says although today’s culture is focused on self-promotion, instead we should focus more on our work and less on tweeting about it.

“One of the people I interviewed in the book had this really great line where he said, having a lot of followers doesn't get you good work. Doing good work gets you a lot of followers.”

But at the same time, Zweig says, being an invisible isn’t about being meek and hiding in a corner. After all, there are times when promotion is necessary -- like talking about your new book to the press. It’s just, he says, that we should focus on our work more. Like the invisibles do. Zweig notes they share certain characteristics:  they’re meticulous, they savor responsibility and, they’re ambivalent about recognition.

Dennis Poon, a structural engineer who works on some of the world's tallest buildings for global engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti, extolls the virtues of the construction workers who "sweat so much" on his firm's buildings, which he describes as team projects. He says they're the real unsung heroes. Poon has received many awards and honors over the years for his work. He keeps them stashed in a cardboard box under a cabinet behind his desk.

He doesn't like to brag, he says. "Who cares? Because when you die, who cares about all your awards? It’s the spirit that's left behind that counts, that’s how I look at it."

But Robert Bontempo, a professor at the Columbia Business School, says while the name invisibles might be new, the group itself isn’t.

“There's a very clear science that shows these are just stable individual differences -- these are just different types of people. Different people are comfortable with different levels of professional approach,” he says.        

And different types of people, notes Bontempo, self select into different types of careers.

“Extroverted, life of the party types, become marketers," he says. "They don't go into the lab. Detail-oriented people with strict attention to detail become accountants, they don't like self-promoting sales positions. It's just sort of human nature.”

Both Zweig and Bontempo agree -- you do have to promote yourself -- it’s just not clear how much.

"I think we all look forward to a world where things are just and fair and people get the rewards they deserve," Bontempo says. "But until that future comes, I think we all need to accept that a healthy dose of self promotion is going to be necessary for career advancement."  After all, he notes, "history is full of brilliant, hard-working people who did great work and are lost to history."

Giving Boys A Bigger Emotional Tool Box

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 12:03

Boys are suspended — and drop out — at higher rates than girls. An Oakland, Calif., educator is trying to change that.

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Beijing Blasts U.S. Plan To Name Road By Embassy After Dissident

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 11:36

An amendment working its way through Congress would rename the street in front of the Chinese Embassy after Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo. China called it a "sheer farce."

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Dexter Filkins On ISIS And The 'Bitter Consequences' Of The Iraq War

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 11:22

The journalist who covered the war in Iraq, and its aftermath, details the militant Sunni Islamist group, the power it has in Iraq and Syria and how its war is destabilizing neighboring countries.

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After court verdict, what do I do with Aereo account?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-06-25 11:21

Unless you've been ignoring most of the internet today, you know the Supreme Court handed down a decision on a big court case involving the video streaming startup Aereo.

Aereo rents users tiny antennas so that they can stream live television content from broadcasters to various devices. Aereo says it's just a modern version of your old TV rabbit ears. Broadcasters say that Aereo is more than that -- that it is acting like a cable company, showing content to people and charging them without having paid the proper liscensing fees to the companies that make said content.

In its decision on ABC Inc. vs. Aereo Inc., the Supreme Court effectively sided with broadcasters, saying that Aereo's streaming constitutes a public performance of copyrighted material. It also suggested that because of that, Aereo was acting like a cable company. Lots more of the nerdy details here.

So the big question is, what if I'm an Aereo user?

Well, for the record, I am. And for the record, I've been watching most of my favorite World Cup games thanks to Aereo streaming them from ABC and from Univision.

Here are some things worth thinking about: 

  • The case was remanded to lower courts, which may suggest some time will pass before the whole thing gets hashed out. Though its important to note that the majority opinion doesn't seem to leave Aereo much legal room to maneuver.
  • Two of the company's figureheads have put out essentially opposing statements on the future of the company. Investor Barry Diller said "we did try, but it's over now." Meanwhile CEO Chet Kanojia said today in a statement, "We are disappointed in the outcome, but our work is not done.  We will continue to fight for our consumers and fight to create innovative technologies that have a meaningful and positive impact on our world." Nice and vague, right? But in the wake of the decision, people inside the company may be trying to figure out what to do next, which could again take a little while. 
  • Like lots of startups, Aereo seems to be good at communicating with users. Because it's a digital company that requires an email to sign up for its service, Aereo has a direct route for communicating to users what is in store. The company has put out statements over email to users in the past regarding the case headed to the Supreme Court, so chances are, you'll get some communication before the service shuts down. 

After court verdict, what do I do with Aereo account?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-06-25 11:21

Unless you've been ignoring most of the internet today, you know the Supreme Court handed down a decision on a big court case involving the video streaming startup Aereo.

Aereo rents users tiny antennas so that they can stream live television content from broadcasters to various devices. Aereo says it's just a modern version of your old TV rabbit ears. Broadcasters say that Aereo is more than that -- that it is acting like a cable company, showing content to people and charging them without having paid the proper liscensing fees to the companies that make said content.

In its decision on ABC Inc. vs. Aereo Inc., the Supreme Court effectively sided with broadcasters, saying that Aereo's streaming constitutes a public performance of copyrighted material. It also suggested that because of that, Aereo was acting like a cable company. Lots more of the nerdy details here.

So the big question is, what if I'm an Aereo user?

Well, for the record, I am. And for the record, I've been watching most of my favorite World Cup games thanks to Aereo streaming them from ABC and from Univision.

Here are some things worth thinking about: 

  • The case was remanded to lower courts, which may suggest some time will pass before the whole thing gets hashed out. Though its important to note that the majority opinion doesn't seem to leave Aereo much legal room to maneuver.
  • Two of the company's figureheads have put out essentially opposing statements on the future of the company. Investor Barry Diller said "we did try, but it's over now." Meanwhile CEO Chet Kanojia said today in a statement, "We are disappointed in the outcome, but our work is not done.  We will continue to fight for our consumers and fight to create innovative technologies that have a meaningful and positive impact on our world." Nice and vague, right? But in the wake of the decision, people inside the company may be trying to figure out what to do next, which could again take a little while. 
  • Like lots of startups, Aereo seems to be good at communicating with users. Because it's a digital company that requires an email to sign up for its service, Aereo has a direct route for communicating to users what is in store. The company has put out statements over email to users in the past regarding the case headed to the Supreme Court, so chances are, you'll get some communication before the service shuts down. 

Could The Ebola Outbreak Spread To Europe Or The U.S.?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 11:15

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the deadliest in history. And it's spreading in a city with an international airport. So what's the risk of a sick traveler bringing the virus to the West?

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The record industry is a lot like Wall Street

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-06-25 10:54

Music is a big part of our daily lives. Sometimes, we know too much about the artist than necessary and not enough about the people who discovered their talents.

"I realized there were important distinctions that made up the record industry. There were businessmen and there were execs," says Gareth Murphy, author of "Cowboys and Indies: The Epic History of the Record Industry." "But there was a special kind of person who was not only a businessman, but a businessman with ears. People who could really spot talent -- early talent. They're all the ones who made the recording industry what it is."

Murphy defines the two different types of record labels as "cowboys or indies." The two compete, but they need each other for the industry to continue to grow and survive.

"The indies always find the next big thing and the majors, generally speaking, wait around for something to rise to the top," says Murphy. "But there always comes a time when any artist knows he will need a lot of money invested in him; they need mass exposure. And the only people who can afford that are the majors."

While conducting research for his book, Murphy found that not many people knew about the crash of the record or of the CD. He hopes his book reminds the record men and women of tomorrow of the troubles and industry crashes that were faced in the past. Regardless, he is sure that history will one day repeat itself.

"Just like economic crashes happen on Wall Street, the same thing happens in the record industry," says Murphy. "And there will be a renaissance, but we have to get back to the music."

U.S. Vs. Germany In The World Cup: What To Look For

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 10:51

The Americans need a win or a tie to decide their own fate; a loss would mean they need help to advance to the round of 16. The game begins at noon Thursday, ET.

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In Nigeria, Pressure Continues To 'Bring Back Our Girls'

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 10:05

It's been more than two months since the Nigerian school girls were kidnapped, and they're still missing. Host Michel Martin learns more about what the government is doing to find them.

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What Kids Can Learn From A Water Balloon Fight

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 10:03

Rough-and-tumble play is a vital part of growing up...and a really fun part of parenting.

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Federal Judges Reverse Gay-Marriage Bans In Utah, Indiana

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 09:58

In Indiana, a judge said that same-sex couples are "in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such."

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How to get parents to pay $169 for a toy robot

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-06-25 09:38

When you’re covering educational technology, you see a lot of gee-whiz tech gear and toys that claim to make kids smarter. Lots of those toys make similar sounds. And we wanted to find out why.

So we went in search of the real meaning in the sounds of ed tech.

Lots of those toys are also pretty pricey. And it turns out getting parents to fork over for themalso  has something to do with sound, too.

Think of it as the sound of the sell.

Because this story is a story about, yes, sound, we encourage you to take a few minutes to listen to it.

Along the way we meet a robot named Bo, whose sounds were developed by folks who’d worked at Pixar, the movie studio behind Cars and Toy Story. Bo is an educational toy, meant to teach young kids to code. 

We meet Vikas Gupta, who heads Play-i, the company that makes Bo. He tells how sounds can establish an emotional connections between a child and the robot.

We meet director and composer Steven Wilson, who wrote the music for Play-i’s promotional video. He tells us about all the tricks composers use when writing music meant to make us feel a certain way. To put us in a buying mood, as it were.

And, we meet Bruce Walker, a professor in the School of Psychology and School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. He talks us through the future sounds of our technology and how sounds help create emotional connections that can encourage us to buy.

What do you think?  How do sounds influence your emotions?  We’ve got a cool audio quiz here.

In Emotional Scene, Teen Survivors Of South Korea Ferry Return To School

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 09:38

Only 75 of the 323 students aboard the ferry Sewol survived after the ship sank in April. Some bowed their heads and wept as they walked into Danwon High School in Ansan, South Korea.

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U.S. Moves Toward Easing A Ban On Exporting Its Oil

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 09:25

The new rulings are being reported amid a backdrop of rising gas prices in the U.S., a situation blamed on new violence and uncertainty in Iraq.

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Diane Sawyer's 'World News' Departure Sets Off Big Changes At ABC News

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 09:16

As the veteran anchor steps away from ABC's flagship evening newscast, the network gives key duties to George Stephanopoulos — making the man who co-anchors its morning broadcast the face of ABC News.

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Supreme Court Rules On Aereo, Cellphone Searches

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 08:47

The court ruled against the technology company Aereo's practice of streaming broadcast TV. It also decided a case involving police searches of individuals' cellphones.

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