National News

Taking the hydro out of hydropower

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-08 02:00

California is facing its worst drought in a thousand years, according the state’s energy commission. The Snowpack in the Sierra Nevadas, which Northern California counts on to replenish reservoirs, is 94% below average.  So what happens when there's less water for hydropower?  

Normally, hydropower fuels 15%, on average, of California’s energy needs, primarily in the northern half of the state.  (The state's Energy commission puts the figure at between 14% and 19%) So with less hydro? “It almost cuts it in half,” says Heather Cooley, director of the Water Program at the non-profit Pacific Institute.  She estimates hydropower's contribution dropped to around 8%. 

 This has meant that over the past few years, California has had to turn to dirtier energy sources to make up for the loss.

 “Generating this electricity from other sources increased greenhouse emissions by up to 8 %,” says Cooley.

Hydropower is cheap, so replacing it has also cost the state.  Cooley estimates Californians have paid $1.4 billion extra for their power over the last three years.  Robert Weisenmiller, chair of California’s Energy Commission, says these effects will persist into next year, costing Californians another $300 million. 

“We will have somewhat dirtier air, somewhat higher prices of power, but the lights will stay on,” he says. Blackouts are not in the cards. 

For farmers in the central valley, Weisenmiller says “it’s a double whammy – higher energy prices and...less farming.”  Some farmers will have to spend more on energy to pump groundwater. 

California’s aggressive move towards renewables has, however, cushioned the blow.  “Solar and wind has more or less doubled, two and half times between 2012 and 2014,” says Weisenmiller. Without that, he says, emissions would be worse. 

Like Father, Like Son? Not Exactly When It Comes To Rand And Ron Paul

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-08 01:03

Ron Paul laid the groundwork for his son's political rise. But Rand is making it very clear — this is not his father's campaign.

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How much is that MBA paying off

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-04-08 01:00
$69 billion

 That's how much Royal Dutch Shell is paying for another huge natural gas and oil company BG group. BG provides a lot of the liquefied natural gas in America, and, once closed, this deal will be the second biggest ever, after Exxon's acquisition of Mobil in the late 1990s.

 

47 percent

 This is the percentage of car expenses for Uber, according to a company called Certify that processes expense reports for other companies. That's up from 15 percent March last year, thanks to the convenient app that eliminate the process of filing for reimbursements. A win-win situation for employees, companies, and of course, Uber.  

 

$200 million

 That's how much Nestlé, the Swiss food giant plans to spend in growing its flavored water production in America, according to the Wall Street Journal.Sales of water have grown rapidly and could overtake carbonated soft drinks by volume in the U.S. by 2017, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp. Nestlé is doubling down on this trend on launching more flavored version of its sparkling water, a healthier alternative to soda. 

 

1 percent

 The quit rate for disabled Microsoft employees hired in food service, transportation and events. Now the tech giant is expanding its efforts to hire more diverse workers by recruiting people with autism for 10 full-time positions.

 

$47,000

 The median pay bump MBAs enjoyed after earning their degree and earning their degree, according to a Bloomberg survey  People who switched fields after getting their MBA saw an even bigger raise.

 

54 percent

 That's how many non-working people said they're staying out of the workforce for family reasons, according to a poll New York Times, CBS News and Kaiser Family Foundation. The Upshot explores the work/family balance in Silicon Valley, where the tension can be most severe.

TV Ads Financed With Secret Money Attack Paul On Day 1 Of Presidential Bid

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-08 00:58

As Sen. Rand Paul declares for the GOP presidential nomination, a secret money group called the Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America attacks him as a weak protector in foreign policy.

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Aspiring Craft Brewers Hit The Books To Get Science Chops

NPR News - Wed, 2015-04-08 00:35

As the craft beer industry grows, so are options for learning to brew. More colleges are now introducing degree programs to teach the art and science of beer-making.

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States Review Laws Revoking Licenses For Student Loan Defaults

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-07 23:48

Montana could soon dial back laws that allowed defaulters to have their professional and driver's licenses revoked after failing to pay back debt.

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For The Modern Man, The Sweatpant Moves Out Of The Gym

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-07 23:46

High-end sweatpants are becoming a staple in an increasing number of men's wardrobes. It's part of a global fashion trend called "athleisure," where gym clothes find their way out of the workout room.

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Doctors Test Tumor Paint In People

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-07 23:45

A modified venom from scorpions that carries a dye into the brain and makes tumors glow has cleared its latest hurdle. But will this attempt to improve brain surgery work in humans as well as animals?

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Black Representation On Ferguson City Council Increases From 1 To 3

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-07 22:38

Two African-Americans won seats on the six-seat panel on Tuesday. The St. Louis suburb has been in the national spotlight since the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man.

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Chicago Mayor Keeps His Job In Tough Runoff Election

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-07 18:41

Rahm Emanuel has won a second term, fending off Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

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Connecticut Wins 3rd Straight Women's Basketball Title, 5th In 7 Years

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-07 18:29

With the 63-53 victory over Notre Dame, coach Geno Auriemma collects his tenth championship ring since 1995 — a streak of dominance few teams or coaches in any sport can compete with.

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Stan Freberg, A Genius Of American Advertising, Dies

NPR News - Tue, 2015-04-07 16:32

Freberg was one of the first to inject satire into commercials. In the 1950s and '60s, he created countless memorable ads using pointed humor.

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