National News

Ending 20-Year Era, Boston Welcomes A New Mayor

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-06 10:25

Thomas Menino, 71, left a job he had held since 1993. And Marty Walsh was sworn in as the city's new mayor.

» E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us

Stories To Watch In 2014

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-06 09:36

Host Michel Martin and guests talk about stories to watch out for in 2014. She hears from Jason Johnson, political science professor at Hiram College, Julio Ricardo Varela of the blog Latino Rebels, and Brendan Costello, co-host of radio's The Largest Minority.

» E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us

Will I get stuck in the Kitchen Aid ecosystem?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-01-06 09:33

The Consumer Electronics Show kicks off in Las Vegas this week. On view almost 2 million square feet of the latest consumer gadgets and one of this year's themes is the Internet of Things. 

You know what the internet is, right? Well, the Internet of Things?

"So the Internet of Things is basically this idea that everyday objects will be able to connect to the Internet, will be able to communicate with each other," said Scott Jacobson is a venture capitalist at the Madrona Venture Group.

And the more we connect the Internet to things  like thermostats, refrigerators and even cars, the idea is, the smarter they get. Jacobson says a few things are driving this trend. Sensors have gotten really cheap and so you can detect sound and take images with almost any electronic gadget. And then, there’s the cloud.

"And so once they get connected, all the computing that needs to be done for these things can be done in the cloud," Jacobson said. 

Frank Gillett, an analyst at Forrester research, says expect to see a lot of Internet of Things around the home at the consumer electronics show this week.

"There’s a range of things here, there’s door locks that can be wifi enabled that you can unlock from your phone," Gillet said. 

But Gillet says, the real question is how do we make everything work together. It’s like the conundrum of the million remote controls you need to make your TV work. And that one has yet to be solved.

Will I get stuck in the Kitchen Aid ecosystem?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-01-06 09:33

The Consumer Electronics Show kicks off in Las Vegas this week. On view almost 2 million square feet of the latest consumer gadgets and one of this year's themes is the Internet of Things. 

You know what the internet is, right? Well, the Internet of Things?

"So the Internet of Things is basically this idea that everyday objects will be able to connect to the Internet, will be able to communicate with each other," said Scott Jacobson is a venture capitalist at the Madrona Venture Group.

And the more we connect the Internet to things  like thermostats, refrigerators and even cars, the idea is, the smarter they get. Jacobson says a few things are driving this trend. Sensors have gotten really cheap and so you can detect sound and take images with almost any electronic gadget. And then, there’s the cloud.

"And so once they get connected, all the computing that needs to be done for these things can be done in the cloud," Jacobson said. 

Frank Gillett, an analyst at Forrester research, says expect to see a lot of Internet of Things around the home at the consumer electronics show this week.

"There’s a range of things here, there’s door locks that can be wifi enabled that you can unlock from your phone," Gillet said. 

But Gillet says, the real question is how do we make everything work together. It’s like the conundrum of the million remote controls you need to make your TV work. And that one has yet to be solved.

Dennis Rodman: North Korea Is 'Not That Bad'

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-06 09:16

Rodman is scheduled to play a friendly game against a North Korean team on Jan. 8 to celebrate the birthday of North Korea's supreme leader, Kim Jong Un.

» E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us

'Jihad Jane' Gets 10 Years In Prison

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-06 09:14

Colleen LaRose dubbed herself "Jihad Jane" as she used the Web to recruit others for violent attacks. She was found guilty of being part of a failed plan to murder a Swedish artist. Because she cooperated with investigators, LaRose got less than the potential life sentence she faced.

» E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us

Cars get even more connected with Google's Open Automotive Alliance

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-01-06 08:47

Tomorrow, the International Consumer Electronics Show kicks off. But today, the swarms of company reps and entrepreneurs have arrived in Las Vegas. And one topic that's already big news is Google's Open Automotive Alliance. There was news ahead of this week's show about the tech giant partnering with Audi to put its Android operating system in cars. But it turns out the partnership is much bigger than that, including Honda and even General Motors. Tim Stevens, editor-at-large at CNET, tells Marketplace Tech more about Google's plans for your car.

Cars get even more connected with Google's Open Automotive Alliance

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-01-06 08:47

Tomorrow, the International Consumer Electronics Show kicks off. But today, the swarms of company reps and entrepreneurs have arrived in Las Vegas. And one topic that's already big news is Google's Open Automotive Alliance. There was news ahead of this week's show about the tech giant partnering with Audi to put its Android operating system in cars. But it turns out the partnership is much bigger than that, including Honda and even General Motors. Tim Stevens, editor-at-large at CNET, tells Marketplace Tech more about Google's plans for your car.

Texas town closes the toilet-to-tap loop: Is this our future water supply?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-01-06 08:47

Lots of us would probably rather not think too hard about where our drinking water has been. For instance, much of Houston’s water comes from the Trinity River, some of which is treated sewage effluent from Dallas and Fort Worth

But almost no one has taken the step of connecting sewage pipes directly to the drinking water supply. Until now.

With about 27,000 people, Big Spring is a decent-sized town for West Texas. It’s got a Walmart and a four-screen movie house.

But there’s no actual spring anymore. That dried up almost 90 years ago— around the same time that oil was discovered in West Texas.

It’s dry here. But so is a lot of the state--and drought has slammed wide swaths of Texas in recent years.  So why is Big Spring the site of this experiment in what experts call “direct potable reuse”? Here’s one clue:  In terms of customer satisfaction, the local water supply didn’t have a lot to lose.

“Nobody drinks the water here,” says Mary Jo Atkerson, proprietor of Big Spring Welding Supply.  “Nobody drinks it out of the faucet.”

“Hell no!  We don’t do that,” says Terry Sanders, age 54.  “I’ll bathe in it, but I won’t drink it. It’s too hard— it’s— it’s nasty.”

“It’s well-complained-about, that’s for sure,” says Chanel Castillo, age 20.

For years, people here in Big Spring have relied on filtered water. Many, like Atkerson, have filter systems in their homes.

Like many others, Sanders and Castillo buy water retail.  In their case, an early-December morning finds them filling jugs with filtered water at the Water Shoppe for 20 cents a gallon, using a self-serve machine on one side of the building.

On another side, Crystal Lopez’s family serves a steady stream of drive-through customers.

“Cars come through, and we’ll fill up their jugs and send them on their way,” says Lopez. Her younger sister, Emily Key, and their mother, Anastasia Key, handle everything from five-gallon containers that would be at home atop an office water-cooler to one-gallon jugs that recently contained milk and orange juice.

Last year, the city water that Big Spring residents avoid started to include treated sewage effluent.  

The treatment, at a brand-new, $14 million “raw water production facility,” is extensive. Water arrives there after initial treatment at Big Spring’s old sewage treatment plant.

 


 

The new facility treats that water with a heavy-duty filtration called reverse osmosis— the same process used by the Water Shoppe— plus two stages of disinfection and multiple stages of testing. Any water failing to meet the tests gets sent back to the town’s sewage treatment plant to start the process again.

Water that passes the test is drinkable, and arguably of higher quality than the water pulled out of nearby reservoirs.  However, before getting piped back to the homes and businesses of Big Spring, the “raw” water gets blended with reservoir water and the blend gets a final round of treatment in the town’s old drinking-water treatment plant.

John Grant, general manager of the Colorado River Municipal Water District, is the new system’s architect.   

And yes, he drinks filtered water at home too. “We’re not blessed, in West Texas, with really good-quality water,” he says.  “It’s got a lot of salt in it.  I mean, that’s all we got.”

It’s like the old joke about the bad restaurant:  The food is terrible.  Yes, and such small portions.  

Big Spring gets fewer than 20 inches of rain a year.  And the air is so dry, water evaporates from the reservoir at three times that rate. “So we pretty much start out in the hole already,” says Mr. Grant.

That strucural water deficit— the enormous gap between rainfall and evaporation— is why Big Spring has to pipe its sewage— albeit its rigorously-treated sewage—directly to the main waterworks.

Sending it to the reservoir, by way of the creek, would be more traditional.  And it wouldn’t work.

“If we put that water in the creek, it would evaporate,” says Grant.  “We’re actually creating more water.”

Grant’s system recovers 2 million gallons a day— about 40 percent of what the town consumes. The system actually reclaims a much higher percentage of the water it receives— 80 percent— but about half of the town’s water consumption never reaches the sewer system.  That’s the water for watering lawns, washing cars and other outdoor uses.

Grant started planning this system more than 10 years ago, before the recent years of super-drought, which made it appear more urgent. The nearest reservoir to Big Spring is currently 1.4 percent full.   

And it’s not the lowest in the state. Because of the drought, Texas voters recently approved $6 billion in new water projects.

The current five-year plan  doesn’t include much potable re-use. But when that plan was created, Big Spring wasn’t online yet.  No one had gone first.  

“It takes somebody—some local entity—brave enough to try it out,” says Robert Mace, of the Texas Water Development Board. “Then everyone else is looking over their shoulder. And then once they see it works: Boom. Off everyone goes.”

Already, three more places in Texas are actively exploring potable re-use projects: The town of Brownwood, the city of Wichita Falls, and the much bigger city of El Paso, with more than 600,000 people.  

However, getting their citizens on board could be a tough sell.

In Big Spring-- where no one seems to drink the water-- the re-use project appears to have flown under some people’s radar. About half the people I talked with there had never heard of it.  

That included Crystal Lopez, at the Water Shoppe. Here’s how she responded when I told her about it:

“Really,” she said. “I didn’t know that, that’s gross. That is gross. Wow.”

I explained how good the filtering was— the same filtering process she uses in her shop-- plus the decontamination, the testing.

And the fact that lots of cities take their water from rivers that some other town has dumped sewage in.

No sale.

“I don’t know,” she said. “That’s— it’s disgusting.  I can’t think of another word.”

PODCAST: Yellen expected to be confirmed today

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-01-06 08:40

Janet Yellen is expected to be confirmed as the chair of the Federal Reserve this afternoon, and Wall Street is watching.

As Congress comes back to work this week, it’s expected to debate the possibility of re-instating unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, which expired for 1.3 million people a few days after Christmas. 

Delta Air Lines is the last domestic carrier to fly the DC-9, and one final Delta flight this Monday afternoon will mark the close of the plane’s nearly half-century run.    

Story That Kim Jong Un Fed Uncle To Dogs Was Probably Satire

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-06 08:37

The story appears to be false because it originated with a satirical post on a Chinese microblogging site. The post was picked up by a Hong Kong newspaper and then reported as fact around the world.

» E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us

Supreme Court Halts Gay Marriages In Utah

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-06 08:28

The order puts marriages on hold until an appeal is decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Utah has been allowing same-sex marriages since Dec. 20.

» E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us

What if Congress doesn’t reinstate unemployment benefits?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-01-06 08:13

As Congress comes back to work this week, it’s expected to debate the possibility of re-instating unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, which expired for 1.3 million people a few days after Christmas. 

Research shows that when unemployment benefits get cut, the unemployment rate goes down -- but not just because some people take new jobs. Some of the reduction is the combination of bad news and a quirk of how the numbers get compiled. 

The bad news is, when benefits go away, some people give up on finding a job, since an active job search is a requirement for collecting benefits. 

And the quirk is, when people stop looking for work, they stop getting counted as “unemployed.”

“When people give up and drop out of the labor force, that lowers the unemployment rate -- but that’s not a good way of lowering the unemployment rate.” says Chad Stone, chief economist for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  “It’s not that they’re transitioning into jobs -- it’s that they’ve stopped searching.”

And people without work -- and without unemployment benefits -- can’t necessarily get what they need from the local food bank. 

“What we’re seeing is, charities are not really able to keep up with the increased demand, with more and more people unable to make ends meet,” says Melissa Boteach of the Center for American Progress.

She says the price tag for reinstating benefits -- $25 billion -- far outstrips what charities could supply. According to her group’s analysis, it’s five times the amount anti-hunger charities collect in a year.

Missing N.Y. Man Found In D.C., Thanks To AP Photograph

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-06 08:11

Nicholas Simmons, 20, hadn't been seen since New Year's Day. On Sunday, USA Today published a photo of him. The young man was in Washington, D.C., trying to keep warm on a steam grate. His family saw the picture. With help from the newspaper, an AP photographer and police, their loved one was found.

» E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us

Looking at the future of the TV

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-01-06 07:32

One of the big topics at the Consumer Electronics Show this week is television -- like smart TVs and more high-definition programming. But as more and more of us stream our content, what does the future of television really look like beyond pixels and frame rates? For a look at how television stations might be licensed in the future and how interactive new programming might be, Marketplace Tech turns to Harvard's Jonathan Zittrain. Click the audio player above to hear more.

Was Luck's TD The Most Amazing Moment Of A Wild NFL Weekend?

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-06 07:01

Watch the replay as Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck scoops up a fumble and stretches across the goal line against Kansas City. During a weekend of four close games in which three weren't settled until the last minute, was that the highlight of highlights?

» E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us

How do Muslim investors know when a company is Sharia friendly?

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

This week, Marketplace is looking at investors who are using their money to invest in companies that share their values.

IdealRatings is a San Francisco company that helps Muslim investors do just that. Through its screening system, IdealRatings finds stocks and other investment vehicles that comply with Sharia law.

Mohamed Donia, IdealRatings' chief executive officer, says there are many levels at which a company is judged to see if it is a socially responsible buy for Muslim investors.

"You screen for good companies not interested in alcohol or gambling -- even games," he explains. "Then, there is another level of leverage, interest. So, I'll give you an example -- like firearms. There are companies that are selling the firearms, so we look at whether they're getting an income of less than 5 percent from firearms -- typically these companies will pass. If the income level is more than 5 percent, then it is likely to fail."

Donia says a service like the one IdealRatings supplies is essential to Muslims, because too much money is being left on the table as investors worry whether a company complies with Islamic teaching.

"The Islamic finance industry is estimated around $1.5 trillion, growing steadily at 25 percent," Donia says. "Most of that money is in cash accounts, not earning interest, because investors -- they have the fear that they cannot invest the money, so when you provide a screened universe of companies, this would definitely help investors to start investing this kind of money, and also leverage their investments across different regions."

For more about Islamic finance and IdealRatings, click the audio player above.

German Chancellor Merkel Fractures Hip In Skiing Accident

NPR News - Mon, 2014-01-06 05:57

Angela Merkel suffered the injury while cross-country skiing in the Swiss Alps. She didn't realize she had a fractured hip until she returned to Berlin.

» E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us

Private jet business picks up speed

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-01-06 05:40

“Fly faster, do more.” That’s what the website for Spike Aerospace’s supersonic business jet reads. The new $80 million dollar aircraft is due out in 2018 and promises to fly from New York to London in just three to four hours.

Corporate plane shame is gone.

“Particularly the perception that as people were losing their jobs and as the economy was tanking, you shouldn’t be out flying around in a business jet,” says Doug Royce, vice president of research and editorial services for aerospace research firm Forecast International. “That’s gone away,” he says.

The market for private jets is worth tens of billions a year, says Royce, but the lower end is still struggling. He says a signal the top of the market is growing is manufacturers like Bombardier and Gulf Stream developing new aircraft.

Robert Mann, president of R. W. Mann, an airline industry analysis and consulting firm says Fortune 500 firms are still the biggest business buyers of private jets. He notes that pilots on private planes can pay twice as much for fuel as commercial airlines. It can be expensive to ship jet fuel to small airports and  large commercial airlines have the luxury of consuming fuel without paying taxes on it.

“The old adage goes speed costs money -- how fast can you afford to go,” he says.

Aerion, developer of another supersonic jet says it has letters of intent for 50 aircraft. The check in date is 2020. 

After four decades, Delta's DC-9 jets make final landing

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-01-06 05:28

Delta Air Lines is the last domestic carrier to fly the DC-9, and one final Delta flight this Monday afternoon will mark the close of the plane’s nearly half-century run.    

Most passengers about to board Delta flight 2494 from Atlanta to Akron a few days ago had no idea their jet was built during the Carter administration.

When 44-year-old Scott Smith learns of the plane’s age, his face lights up.

“I think it’d be fantastic,” the Canton, Ohio native says.“I remember when I was a little kid I would get those -- they don’t do this anymore -- but you could go to the cockpit and they’d give you these little metal planes. And I’d collect them.”  

A lot’s changed in aviation since then. Like the planes. Today’s jets almost fly themselves, but the DC-9 definitely does not.

Delta Captain Scott Woolfrey will fly the airline’s final DC-9 flight. He said because pilots have to always be “hands-on,” most enjoy the plane more than other commercial aircraft. 

“A lot of pilots here at Delta have a sentimental attachment to the aircraft,” he says. “It was their first right seat check out or first left seat checkout.”  

The DC-9 was designed for short, frequent routes. It brought jet service to most U.S. cities for the first time. Delta launched the airplane 1965, but sold the fleet in the early 90s to smaller carriers. When Delta merged with Northwest Airlines in 2008, Delta got some of the DC-9s back

“It’s been a workhorse,” says Robin Barnes, a Delta flight attendant for three decades. She says interior upgrades mean most passengers can’t tell the plane’s vintage. “The give-away being if you look in the cockpit, the framework is still robin’s egg blue,” she notes. “But they still run great. I’m kind of sorry to see them go. I like working on them.”  

The DC-9’s final domestic passenger flight is number 2014. It takes off from Northwest’s former base -- Minneapolis/St. Paul -- and lands at Delta’s current headquarters in Atlanta.

KBBI is Powered by Active Listeners like You

As we celebrate 35 years of broadcasting, we look ahead to technology improvements and the changing landscape of public radio.

Support the voices, music, information, and ideas that add so much to your life. Renew here or visit KBBI by April 21 to enter to win one round-trip airfare with Era between Homer and Anchorage. Thank you for supporting your local public radio station.

ON THE AIR

FOLLOW US

Drupal theme by pixeljets.com ver.1.4