National News

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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High Court Says Police Need A Warrant For Most Cellphone Searches

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 08:22

The Supreme Court's 9-0 decision is seen as a strong defense of privacy in the digital age. But the justices did rule that warrantless searches could be allowed in some exigent circumstances.

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Kandinsky On A Plate: Art-Inspired Salad Just Tastes Better

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 07:48

Would a salad arranged like an abstract painting be more enjoyable and valuable to diners than a typical salad presentation? Psychologists tried to find that out.

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Why America May Be Ready For Some Futbol

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 07:11

The aspects of soccer that once annoyed many people now seem part of everyday life.

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Heart Of The Matter: Treating The Disease Instead Of The Person

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 07:05

When a man winds up in the hospital after a heart attack, he feels the doctors and nurses treated him poorly. But they have a completely different view. They see his case as a resounding success.

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Spanish Princess Is Indicted In Corruption Case

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 06:50

The court decision is one of the last steps before a possible trial for Princess Cristina and her husband. They have denied wrongdoing and said they would appeal the latest ruling.

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Aereo's TV Streaming Service Is Illegal, Supreme Court Says

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 06:28

The court's 6-3 decision reverses a lower court ruling on what has been a hotly contested issue. Aereo lets subscribers watch TV programming that it routes onto the Internet.

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How Connecticut's Change In Autism Coverage Could Make Waves

NPR News - Wed, 2014-06-25 05:56

The state has defined autism behavioral therapy as a type of medical benefit not subject to the mental health parity law, a move that allows insurers more latitude in limiting benefits.

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Can minor chords make you cry?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-06-25 05:47

On today's show I went in search of the sound of educational technology.

Turns out it is an upbeat sound, bright, often evocotive of childhood.  It is sound meant to make us happy.  Sound that moves us forward. That encourages us to connect to our devices and take action. Sound that inspires us.

Sound has the power to evoke all sorts of emotion.

Check out this very cool "Emotions of Sound" site.  And see how your emotional responses compare to those of other folks.

Supreme Court pulls Aereo's plug

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-06-25 05:42

The following story was updated after the Supreme Court ruled against Aereo in a 6-3 vote.

The Supreme Court has ruled that Aereo violates federal copyright law by retransmitting copyrighted programs without paying a fee, in a case that was watched closely by everyone from ABC to Google to the NFL.

The case involved internet start-up Aereo, which streams broadcast television – CBS, NBC, Fox, and the like – to consumers on their phones, tablets, and computers, but doesn’t pay those providers retransmission fees. Instead, the company charges a subscription of up to $12 a month for which subscribers receive a tiny antenna to stream and record broadcast TV.

If Aereo had won, cable providers might have argued they don't have to pay networks for the rights to show their programming. That means the networks would have lost billions, forcing them to live off advertising revenue exclusively.

Before the ruling, Harvard Professor Susan Crawford said a loss by Aereo could raise numerous copyright questions about services somewhat similar to Aereo; services that store movies and music in the cloud, for example.

She says ultimately Congress may have to get involved, meaning a long fight in Washington with a “mosh pit of special interests” battling it out.

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