National News

The problem with "Golden Parachutes"

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-03-25 12:09

Time Warner CEO Robert Marcus will get $80 million once his company’s sale to Comcast is finished.  Marcus was on the job for just six weeks, which makes this one of the most “golden” of “golden parachutes.”

Nancy Koehn is with the Harvard Business School. She said Golden Parachutes have been around for at least a generation of CEO compensation and they are important for keeping CEOs in the fold when changes of control happen.

Koehn said the idea of “Golden Parachutes” is up for debate.

“Data does not support that if you pay someone like Robert Marcus more than a million dollars a day, that necessarily Comcast and Time Warner shareholders are going be better off, than if you paid him something that most reasonable people including compensation experts and other CEOs would recognize as some kind reward for what he’s doing; helping shepherd the sale of the company."

Koehn said the $80 million Marcus is receiving reflects the overall bar in corporate America being raised in corporate America for the senior levels or corporations.

In Ranchers Vs. Weeds, Climate Change Gives Weeds An Edge

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 12:03

Invasive weeds are already a big headache for ranchers, who spend thousands of dollars to get rid of them. New research shows that a changing climate is likely to help many of these weeds thrive.

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'Sous Chef' Reveals The High-Adrenaline Dance Behind Your Dinner

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 12:00

In his new memoir, sous chef Michael Gibney spends 24 hours on the line, capturing the rhythm of a New York restaurant kitchen — from quiet morning prep work to dinner hour in full swing.

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At Nuclear Summit, Ukraine Questions Dominate The Day

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 12:00

President Obama is holding a series of bilateral meetings with world leaders in The Hague. Although the event is focused on nuclear disarmament, international attention is dominated by events in Ukraine.

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Facing Ebola Outbreak, Officials Must Contain Both Virus And Panic

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 12:00

Health workers in the West African nation of Guinea are working to control an outbreak of the Ebola virus. The disease has sickened 86 people and killed 59, according to the World Health Organization.

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Justices Divide By Gender In Hobby Lobby Contraception Case

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 12:00

The company, citing religion, argued before the Supreme Court that it shouldn't have to provide contraception coverage in its health plan. The coverage is mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

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After Oil Spill, Ships Start Moving — But Cleanup Has Just Begun

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 12:00

After a vast oil spill in the waters off Houston, authorities are reopening the shipping channel, hoping to ease the wait on those using it. Dave Fehling of Houston Public Media explains the cleanup.

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For Advocates And Telephone Companies, NSA Changes Are Welcome News

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 12:00

A House committee and the White House are proposing to move the NSA's phone records program to the hands of phone companies. Privacy advocates and phone companies both support these proposals.

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Out Of White House And Congress, Two Proposals To Change NSA Practices

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 12:00

House Republicans are proposing a limit on the National Security Agency's phone records program. President Obama also repeated support for having phone companies keep the records, rather than the NSA.

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Tuberculosis Roars Back With A Deadly Edge

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 11:44

PBS's Frontline travels to the epicenter of a rising epidemic: drug-resistant tuberculosis that's costly and tough to treat. Join us for a live Twitter chat tonight during the film's premiere.

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With Ribbons, Russians Show Support For Takeover In Crimea

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 11:33

Politicians have adopted the orange and black ribbons in a symbolic move that was first introduced by Catherine the Great in the 18th century.

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Oil and gas will drive future control of the South China Sea

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-03-25 11:13

The global geopolitical conversation this week is focused on Europe and Ukraine and what the G7 is going do about Russia.

However, eventually and probably sooner rather than later, the conversation is going to turn back to Asia. President Obama's got a trip scheduled to the region next month, and somewhere in his conversations with leaders there the South China Sea is going to come up; who gets to control it and who gets the oil and natural gas reserves that are under the ocean floor.

In his new book “Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and The End of a Stable Pacific”, Robert Kaplan breaks down how a possible dispute over the South China Sea could have a substantial impact.

Kaplan notes that the South China Sea is said to have oil reserves of seven billion barrels and over 900 cubic feet of natural gas. This makes it very attractive to countries in the region. Kaplan said the biggest competitor for control of the South China Sea is China. 

“The Chinese themselves claim what’s called the nine dash line or the whole heart of the sea itself” said Kaplan. “China sees the South China Sea, the way the United States saw the Caribbean in the 19th and early 20th century; as the blue water extension of its continental landmass that it must dominate”.

Kaplan said the possible dispute over who owns the South China Sea could have a staunching economic impact.

“If the pacific is no longer stable, that will affect investment, growth rates, etc.” said Kaplan. “If you ask me what’s the biggest question in the world today; it’s not ‘Will Iran get its Nukes?’ it’s the direction of the Chinese economy.”

China claims that the South China Sea will produce 130 million barrels of oil.  Kaplan said that if this calculation is correct, the South China Sea is only second to Saudi Arabia in terms of how much oil it has.

Oil and gas will drive future control of the South China Sea

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-03-25 11:13

The global geopolitical conversation this week is focused on Europe and Ukraine and what the G7 is going do about Russia.

However, eventually and probably sooner rather than later, the conversation is going to turn back to Asia. President Obama's got a trip scheduled to the region next month, and somewhere in his conversations with leaders there the South China Sea is going to come up; who gets to control it and who gets the oil and natural gas reserves that are under the ocean floor.

In his new book “Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and The End of a Stable Pacific”, Robert Kaplan breaks down how a possible dispute over the South China Sea could have a substantial impact.

Kaplan notes that the South China Sea is said to have oil reserves of seven billion barrels and over 900 cubic feet of natural gas. This makes it very attractive to countries in the region. Kaplan said the biggest competitor for control of the South China Sea is China. 

“The Chinese themselves claim what’s called the nine dash line or the whole heart of the sea itself” said Kaplan. “China sees the South China Sea, the way the United States saw the Caribbean in the 19th and early 20th century; as the blue water extension of its continental landmass that it must dominate”.

Kaplan said the possible dispute over who owns the South China Sea could have a staunching economic impact.

“If the pacific is no longer stable, that will affect investment, growth rates, etc.” said Kaplan. “If you ask me what’s the biggest question in the world today; it’s not ‘Will Iran get its Nukes?’ it’s the direction of the Chinese economy.”

China claims that the South China Sea will produce 130 million barrels of oil.  Kaplan said that if this calculation is correct, the South China Sea is only second to Saudi Arabia in terms of how much oil it has.

Oil and gas will drive disputes on future control of the South China Sea

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-03-25 11:13

The global geopolitical conversation this week is focused on Europe and Ukraine and what the G7 is going do about Russia.

However, eventually and probably sooner rather than later, the conversation is going to turn back to Asia. President Obama's got a trip scheduled to the region next month, and somewhere in his conversations with leaders there the South China Sea is going to come up; who gets to control it and who gets the oil and natural gas reserves that are under the ocean floor.

In his new book “Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and The End of a Stable Pacific”, Robert Kaplan breaks down how a possible dispute over the South China Sea could have a substantial impact.

Kaplan notes that the South China Sea is said to have oil reserves of seven billion barrels and over 900 cubic feet of natural gas. This makes it very attractive to countries in the region. Kaplan said the biggest competitor for control of the South China Sea is China. 

“The Chinese themselves claim what’s called the nine dash line or the whole heart of the sea itself” said Kaplan. “China sees the South China Sea, the way the United States saw the Caribbean in the 19th and early 20th century; as the blue water extension of its continental landmass that it must dominate”.

Kaplan said the possible dispute over who owns the South China Sea could have a staunching economic impact.

“If the pacific is no longer stable, that will affect investment, growth rates, etc.” said Kaplan. “If you ask me what’s the biggest question in the world today; it’s not ‘Will Iran get its Nukes?’ it’s the direction of the Chinese economy.”

China claims that the South China Sea will produce 130 million barrels of oil.  Kaplan said that if this calculation is correct, the South China Sea is only second to Saudi Arabia in terms of how much oil it has.

Pollution From Home Stoves Kills Millions Of People Worldwide

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 11:07

Air pollution causes 1 in 8 deaths worldwide, with half of the deaths caused by fumes from home stoves. Fixing the problem isn't as simple as providing more efficient stoves. Habits must change, too.

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Your Smartphone Is A Crucial Police Tool, If They Can Crack It

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 10:54

Suspects' smartphones contain a wealth of information: calls, photos, GPS data. With so much info, it's often all police need to make a case. But with fast-changing phone technology, it can take work.

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In which Kai Ryssdal has to settle for $22.40

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-03-25 10:52

I got an email from Amazon this morning, telling me I had a credit of $22.40 in my account. It's a payout from the $166 million e-book price-fixing settlement.

What's interesting is how they figured out who got how much: It's $3.17 for each New York Times best-seller you bought, and $0.73 for everything else.

Did you get a settlement payout? Tell us on our RebelMouse page:

IRS Says It Will Treat Bitcoins As Property, Not Currency

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 10:47

This means any profits made on the currency will be taxed at the lower, capital-gains rate. The rule, however, also means investors have to keep extensive records.

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Wal-Mart Recalls 'Cuddle Care' Dolls Because They Can Burn

NPR News - Tue, 2014-03-25 10:45

The dolls get sick on cue and come with a medical kit that can relieve their symptoms. But the electronics inside the dolls can get hot enough to cause blisters or burns.

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MOOC 2.0: Open online education moves forward

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-03-25 10:32

 There are some new developments this week in the land of the MOOC. That’s shorthand for the "Massive Open Online Courses" that were supposed to transform higher education as we know it, bringing free education from the likes of Harvard and Stanford to you and me.

MOOC pioneer Coursera has hired a new CEO -- none other than the former long-time president of Yale University, Richard Levin.

Meanwhile Coursera competitor edX has a new president from the business world -- former Vistaprint executive Wendy Cebula. The hires mark a new phase in the evolution of free online education as it tries to move beyond the initial hype -- and the inevitable backlash.

"Clearly there's a big jump between the credibility of two Stanford faculty members and someone who's a 20-year president of Yale University," says Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller. "I think this really makes clear that we are not out to put universities out of business -- have never been out to do that."

Six signs that MOOCs are growing up

by Marc Sollinger

MOOCs, or Massively Open Online Courses, are pretty much exactly what their acronym implies: college courses offered on the web that anyone can take. The actual format of the courses vary by what actual work is required and whether they're free or require payment. Critics say they’re overhyped.  However you parse it, MOOCs are becoming a big deal. Here are six signs they’re growing up: 

1. Ex-Yale president joins Coursera

Coursera is the largest provider of MOOCs, with 532 courses offered. And Richard C. Levin, who ran Yale for 20 years, will be it’s CEO. This development means Coursera will be led by someone with lots of ties the world of brick-and-mortar higher ed. This move could show that Coursera is looking to get at least some of its courses accredited. (So far, none of the schools that create content for Coursera actually offer credit for courses taken.)

2. Thomas Friedman thinks MOOCs might save the world

Well, perhaps not save the world. But Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, does think that “nothing has more potential to lift more people out of poverty.” It’s not just Friedman that thinks MOOCs might change education -- they’ve been praised in Al Jazeera, elsewhere in the New York Times, and Wired. Though MOOCs have had their share of criticism, the idea that they could democratize education is widely-held.

3. MOOCs go global

It’s not just U.S. colleges that are offering MOOCs. Universities in Finland, France, and Ireland also have their own massive online courses. In the U.K. they’ve launched FutureLearn, which offers courses from 23 local universities. Part of the appeal of MOOCs is that anyone from across the globe can access them and increasingly, the courses can come from anywhere as well. In fact, one Harvard professor’s course was so popular in South Korea, he was invited to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game in that country.

4. Wharton puts its first year online

Last year, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the most prestigious business schools in the U.S., put much of its first-year MBA content online. Though you won’t get access to career services or an alumni network, and the courses aren’t actually for credit, you can still access all the information presented to a beginning Wharton student. This interest in MOOCs is not atypical of top-tier business schools, with seven of Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Top 10 Business Schools experimenting with them. 

5. MOOCs help train physician’s assistants in Ghana

A team at the University of New Mexico has partnered with Central University College in Ghana to use MOOCs to train physician’s assistants. The project is still in its early stages. It involves buying tablets for 30 students studying to be doctor’s aides in rural Ghana and using the tablets to train the students while they help people in their communities. Though it’s not a standard MOOC, according to the University of New Mexico’s Charlotte Gunawardena, it demonstrates the potential of the technology.

6. Georgia Tech offers master's degree through a MOOC

Though MOOCs can broadcast a college’s content, most universities don’t offer accreditation for completing one. So it was big news when Georgia Tech offered a Master's in Computer Science using massively open online course technology. The master's degree cost $6,600, cheap compared to the $44,000 Georgia Tech charges for residential studies, but far more than the $49 Coursera charges for its courses.

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