National News

Coffee Myth-Busting: Cup Of Joe May Help Hydration And Memory

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-13 14:56

A new study adds to the evidence that among everyday coffee drinkers, the old wives' tale that coffee will lead to dehydration is really just that: a tale. Another study found that caffeine may help to consolidate memories in the short term, but may not help retrieve old memories.

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Game Over For Nintendo? Not If Mario And Zelda Fans Keep Playing

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-13 14:53

Some analysts say that Nintendo's days are numbered because sales of its new console, Wii U, have been lackluster. But since Nintendo still offers some of the most popular game franchises, the love of Zelda and Mario may keep the company going for a long time.

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Federal Health Care Enrollees: Older Outnumber Younger

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-13 14:50

For the first time, the Obama administration released demographic data about the more than 2 million people who have signed up for private health insurance through the exchanges set up by the federal government. The administration said it hopes the number of young people signing up will pick up steam.

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Google Buys Nest, May Soon Know How Cool You Like Your Home

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-13 14:37

The search giant bought Nest, the home automation startup with smart thermostats and smart smoke detectors that are found in homes around the world. It signals a tipping point for "the Internet of things."

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Wall Street says, 'No, really -- take Sunday off.'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-01-13 14:36

Bank of America has recommended its junior employees take one day off every weekend. It isn't the only firm on Wall Street suggesting a change. JP Morgan says it will hire more junior people to lessen the workload. Goldman Sachs has created a junior officer task force to look into the issue.

"You've got to wonder what's behind this," says Nancy Koehn, historian at the Harvard Business School. "Is this about cleaning Wall Street's image... or is this about attracting talent?"

Koehn says Wall Street faces competition from Silicon Valley, where young workers expect high pay and lots of perks.

Koehn says it will take a lot more than these company recommendations to change workplace culture on Wall Street.

"You can bet all those folks, whether they take the Sunday off or not are going to be logged into their smartphone answering every single email that comes their way," she says.

Obamacare stats show some young folks signed up

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-01-13 14:18

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that nearly 2 million people enrolled for health insurance through the federal and state exchanges in December. That includes a dramatic increase in the number of young people signing up. That number of so-called 'young invincibles' is higher than some had predicted.

And in a conference call today, HHS officials said that about one in four of all the consumers on the exchanges are between the ages of 18-34. Ideally, you want to see a higher rate, about 40 percent, of exchange customers in that age range. The data raises a bunch of questions:

Q: If things stay at this current pace, what are we in for?

A: The non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation ran some numbers and found the world will not end if we stay at this 25 percent rate:

"Premiums might have to go up by 2-3 percent in 2015, but there’s no risk of any death spiral here with the kind of enrollment numbers they’ve released," says Kaiser Vice President Larry Levitt.

Levitt says he expects more young people will arrive in the final 11 weeks before the March 31st enrollment deadline.

Q: But even if more young people do sign up, this is more about health than age, right?

A: Right. A sick 23-year-old will cost the insurance companies a lot more than a healthy 63-year-old. That said, the government plans to aggressively go out and recruit as many young and healthy people as possible.

Q: What haven't we learned from today's numbers that we'd like to know about?

A: What is missing is basic but difficult to obtain stats. Look, some 16 million Americans are expected to get insurance in 2014. Of the 2.2 million who have enrolled through the exchanges we don’t know how many of them are uninsured. Nearly 4 million people have signed up for Medicaid. How many of them are new to the healthcare program? Finally, how many people are asking for hardship exemption because they can’t afford the coverage? It’s January, still early, and right now we’ve got more questions than answers.

Borscht Make Your Heart Beet? They're Serving 70,000 Gallons In Sochi

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-13 13:55

Organizers of the Winter Games are preparing to serve up quite a bit of the hearty deep-red Russian staple soup. Which is kind of ironic, says Russian food writer Anya von Bremzen, since borscht carries with it complicated political implications. And not all borschts are created equal, Bremzen warns.

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High Court's Pass On 'Fetal Pain' Abortion Case Unlikely To Cool Debate

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-13 13:40

The Supreme Court's decision not to review a lower court ruling on Arizona's "fetal pain" law has abortion rights advocates hailing the move as a signal the court isn't inclined to take on the 40-year precedent of Roe v. Wade.

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Alex Rodriguez Sues Baseball, Players Union Over Suspension

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-13 13:34

Rodriguez also made public a decision by an independent arbitrator who ordered a 162-game suspension. The Yankees third baseman is accused of using performance-enhancing drugs.

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Older Folks Get Modest Memory Boost From Brain Boot Camp

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-13 13:30

Older people who took a few weeks of classes to train their brains reported doing slightly better at activities of daily living a decade later compared with people who hadn't been trained. But the perceived difference might be explained by the expectation that training would help.

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Sandwich Monday: The Breaded Steak Sandwich

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-13 13:16

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try the famous "Breaded Steak Sandwich" from Ricobene's in Chicago. Yes, it's what it sounds like, and no, you're not dreaming.

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With TV And Games, Sony's Head Is In The Cloud

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-13 13:00

At the Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday, Sony amped up its talk of "transforming the living room" with its announcement of cloud-based gaming and television services.

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At Trade Show, Microsoft's Absence Looms Large

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-13 13:00

Microsoft did not make an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2014, nearly absent from the trade show for the first time in many years. Audie Cornish talks with David Linthicum, a blogger at InfoWorld, about where things stand with Microsoft.

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How The Hackers Did It: A Dicussion About Target's Data Breach

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-13 13:00

Millions of American customers of both Target and high-end retailer Neiman Marcus had their credit card information stolen over the 2013 holiday season. Melissa Block speaks with Mark Rasch, former Department of Justice prosecutor for cyber crimes, about how hackers may have acquired so much sensitive information — and what might be done with it.

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