National News

Sgt. Bergdahl's Hometown Rejoices At His Long-Awaited Release

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-02 01:12

Bowe Bergdahl spent five years in Taliban captivity; he was released Saturday. He is still weeks away from returning to his hometown of Hailey, Idaho, where residents are celebrating his freedom.

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Inducing hypothermia to save lives

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-02 01:00

Starting in April of this year, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC began a study to see if cooling the body of patients with massive bleeding to 50 degrees below normal body temperature could improve the treatment of traumatic injuries. By the conclusion of the trial, 10 patients with gun shot or knife wounds will have had a large tuble placed in their aorta, which will then pump a cooling saline solution through their bodies as it puts them in a kind of suspended animation, hopefully buying doctors enough time to treat the source of the bleeding.

Though, because there will not be time to receive consent from family members, the team behind the research must go through a "exception-from-informed consent process," in which the public is informed of the trial and has the option to preemptively opt out.

First tested on pigs in 2000, the method showed huge success rates. This will be the first instance of testing the procedure on human beings. 

Spain's King Juan Carlos Plans To Abdicate

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-02 01:00

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says King Juan Carlos plans to abdicate and pave the way for his son, Crown Prince Felipe, to become the country's next king.

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A question of numbers and geography

Marketplace - American Public Media - Sun, 2014-06-01 23:50

Let me come right out and say it: I am a trafficker in Gross Domestic Product data and I'm not proud.

With every GDP estimate, first and second revisions of this key indicator of the state of the U.S. economy, there I am in the morning on the radio dutifully sharing this number, like a co-pilot calling out the airspeed during the takeoff roll so the pilot can decide the precise moment to lift the nose of the plane.

Despite my disclaimers, people hear GDP and conclude from that number that the economy is fabulous, good, indifferent, bad, or terrible.

The thing is, GDP measures money changing hands. It doesn't tell you if the money changing hands is for good or for evil. If a pandemic of athlete's foot ever swept across America, GDP would go up, because we would still hobble into work, but we would spend more on doctor's visits and anti-fungals, contributing extra to GDP.

So GDP going up isn't always "good."

Furthermore, the inventor of the Gross Domestic Product, the American economist and demographer Simon Kuznetz, never intended it to be used as a scorecard in this way when he developed the calculation 80 years ago.

As I like to say, determining if the economy is good or bad by counting the dollars that are exchanged is like determining if a piece of music is good or bad by counting the number of notes.

Because, ultimately, do we really care how "the economy" is doing? We care about how well we, our families, our communities are prospering. How are we doing? -- That's the real question we all want answered.

If not GDP, then what numbers might yield a better readout about how we are doing?

Economists, statisticians, and economists are applying a variety of creative approaches to getting a better reading on our well-being. On Marketplace, we have vowed to cover these alternative measures early and often. Let me just highlight one here, a project devised by a researcher at the London School of Economics.

Some researchers are trying to see if there is a correlation between how happy you are and exactly where you are.

So many of us carry around precise tracking devices at all times. They are called "smartphones" and there's an app called "Mappiness."

Map + happiness = Mappiness, geddit?

If you download the app and opt in, the thing will buzz you at random times (you can make it leave you alone at night, in case you are wondering). When the app beeps, you let it know how happy or sad you are at that moment. Here is the interesting part: When you record your level of bliss vs misery scale, your phone knows where you are. Researchers are building a big database of these readings to see if patterns emerge, focusing first on Britain.

Are we happiest in the woods, in a park or in a shopping mall? How bummed out are we at work compared to at home?

Among the results so far: People seem to be more content when they are near the ocean. Coming in second, behind the coast, is the mountains. The middle of the city was, statistically, the least happy place, as least as measured in the British data.

If enough people have the app installed, the system might eventually be able to correlate not just where we are the happiest but with whom we are the happiest. You don't need an app to tell you who fills you with rapture or annoys the heck out of you.

But researchers would be very interested in the role relationships play in our well-being. That may play a greater role that that GDP number the guy on the radio is always yammering on about.

For One Soldier At Tiananmen, A Day 'Never Forgotten'

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-01 23:36

Chen Guang is now an artist, and since early May, he has been held in police detention after staging a performance that was a comment on attempts to expunge the Tiananmen Square massacre from history.

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Pregnancy Hormone May Reduce Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-01 23:33

Women with multiple sclerosis often find that they have fewer problems when they are expecting. That led researchers to develop an experimental drug based on a hormone associated with pregnancy.

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Tiny Magnetic Beads Help Tame Severe Reflux For Some People

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-01 23:32

Lots of people have heartburn or gastric reflux, and not all of them are helped by medications. A surgical device may help people with severe symptoms, but it hasn't been tested long term.

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EPA Seeks 30 Percent Cut In Power Plant Emissions

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-01 21:21

The Obama administration on Monday will roll out a plan to cut earth-warming pollution from power plants by 30 percent by 2030. The proposal was first reported Sunday by The Wall Street Journal.

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Japanese-American Activist And Malcolm X Ally Dies At 93

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-01 20:51

Yuri Kochiyama spent two years in an internment camp and helped win reparations for Japanese-Americans. A lifelong champion of civil rights, she had a brief but formative friendship with Malcolm X.

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Curveball: What can't you learn online these days?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Sun, 2014-06-01 20:13
<a href="http://marketplaceapm.polldaddy.com/s/mooc-fun">View Survey</a>

When A Bullet Misses Its Target, It Can Still Kill

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-01 15:00

In places where bullets fly regularly, there's a new kind of "duck and cover" lesson for kids. The impact of stray bullets isn't widely studied, but their indiscriminate nature is known all too well.

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Report: NSA Collects Millions Of Photos For Facial Recognition Project

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-01 10:53

Documents leaked by Edward Snowden show the NSA is scouring emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other sources looking for facial-recognition quality photographs.

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A Sisyphean Task Begins As 'Forget' Requests Roll Into Google

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-01 09:03

Following a European court ruling, the search engine is taking requests to delete personal information. At one point on Friday, Google was getting more than 20 requests a minute.

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In The Midst Of A Historic Lull, Atlantic Hurricane Season Kicks Off

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-01 08:59

A major hurricane has not made landfall in the United States in for 3,142 days. That's the longest streak going back to 1900.

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What Elections? Syrian Opposition Rejects Assad's Expected Win

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-01 08:46

President Bashar Assad is sure to win in Tuesday's election. Some opponents are boycotting the vote, airing frustrations through bleak satire. There are signs that others will use violence in protest.

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Co-Owner Of 'Philadelphia Inquirer' Among 7 Killed In Plane Crash

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-01 05:54

The Atlantic City-bound private jet crashed shortly after it took off from a Massachusetts airfield on Saturday.

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Hagel Defends Trade of Guantanamo Prisoners For U.S. Soldier

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-01 03:45

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said officials believed Bowe Bergdahl's life was in danger, so the administration had to act quickly. Bergdahl was released after almost five years in captivity.

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Le Pen Victory In France Presents A Paradox For Hollande

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-01 03:44

In France, the far right's victory in last week's election was one more crisis for President Francois Hollande. Even before the vote, he was rated the most unpopular French president in 50 years.

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For Many Of China's Youth, June 4 May As Well Be Just Another Day

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-01 03:44

Students were the driving force behind the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Beijing. China's youth now have other worries, the events of 25 years ago forgotten and buried by time and the government.

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Creativity, Dirty Eggs And Vocal Fry: The Week In Science

NPR News - Sun, 2014-06-01 03:44

Science is always churning out weird, funny and fascinating findings. What did we miss this week? NPR's Rachel Martin checks in with science writer Rose Eveleth.

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