National / International News

Ballerina Misty Copeland counts herself lucky

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2016-06-30 11:20

Update: Misty Copeland was promoted Tuesday, June 30 to principal dancer for the American Ballet Theater. She's the first-ever African-American woman to hold that title.

 

Age starting dance: 13

Height: 5 feet 2 inches

Bust: "Bigger than most"

At least, that's how ballerina Misty Copeland describes her numbers-defying career in dance. A soloist with the American Ballet Theater in New York, Copeland recently explained how she doesn't really fit into the traditional model for ballet, but still made it work.

“All of those numbers, they just don’t add up to create a classical dancer,” she says. "No matter what, I'm going to be who I am."

Listen to the full conversation from our live show in New York City in the audio player above.

Tesla is disrupting more than just the car business

Marketplace - American Public Media - Sat, 2016-02-06 16:01

Tesla Motors is building the world's biggest battery factory just outside of Reno, Nevada. The company is calling it the “gigafactory,” and when it’s up and running in 2016 it’s expected to make Tesla’s electric cars much more affordable. 

“In a single factory we're doubling the worldwide capacity to manufacture lithium-ion batteries,” says J.B. Straubel, Tesla's chief technology officer. 

That's significant enough. But the company also plans to develop batteries for use with solar-power generation – giving Tesla a shot at challenging public utilities as an energy source, Straubel says.

“At the price points that we're expecting to achieve with the gigafactory ... we see a market that is well in excess of the production capability of the factory,” says Straubel.

The market for batteries is an offshoot of the booming business for solar panels, particularly in states such as California, where solar is becoming commonplace.

“We sign up approximately one new customer every minute of the workday," says Will Craven, director of public affairs at California-based SolarCity.

Much of the excess energy harnessed by solar panels is returned to the power grid, Cravens says. This means homeowners and businesses may earn a credit from their power companies, but have no say over when and how that energy is used.

The partnership with SolarCity will use rooftop solar panels fitted with Tesla’s battery packs to allow customers to keep that energy in-house. That means they can use it however, and whenever, they want. The concept puts Tesla in direct competition with utility companies.

“Stationary storage, or backup storage, is really being considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of renewable electricity generation,” says Ben Kallo, an analyst with the Robert W. Baird financial services firm.

Kallo points out that the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources makes them less reliable because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine.  But with the ability to store that energy, renewable energy sources can compete head-to-head with utility companies for customers.

“There are still many utilities out there who kind of have their head stuck in the sand and just hope that this goes away. What we're seeing is really building momentum,” Kallo says.

Forward-minded utilities might look at Tesla’s business model as an opportunity, he says.  Energy-storage technology could be used to build capacity in their existing grids, and also build new infrastructure for battery-powered cars and homes.

 

Last UK bodies returning from Tunisia

BBC - 1 hour 10 min ago
The final five bodies of British victims killed in the Tunisia beach attack are due to be flown back to the UK later.

Ukraine far-right in war march

BBC - 1 hour 21 min ago
A 1,000-strong rally called by Ukraine's ultra-nationalists is held in the capital, Kiev, demanding a formal declaration of war on rebels in the east.

Tories to change inheritance tax rule

BBC - 1 hour 57 min ago
Chancellor George Osborne is to announce the end of inheritance tax on family homes worth up to £1m in Wednesday's Budget.

Shot PC's family 'wait for justice'

BBC - 2 hours 17 min ago
The family of the police officer shot by gunman Raoul Moat are still waiting for justice five years later, his grieving twin brother says.

Call for improved urinary catheters

BBC - 3 hours 16 min ago
A leading researcher says industry must "wake up and invest more" in urinary catheters

VIDEO: Judge recognises school friend in dock

BBC - 3 hours 38 min ago
A Judge and a man suspected of burglary were 'reunited' briefly during a court hearing in Miami, in the US.

Iran nuclear deal 'never closer'

BBC - 3 hours 39 min ago
Iran's foreign minister uses a YouTube posting to say a comprehensive agreement over its nuclear programme has never been closer.

Brazil unveils Rio Olympics torch

BBC - 3 hours 56 min ago
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff unveils the torch to be used at the 2016 Olympics and says the Rio Games will bring "honour and pride".

Exam focus 'harms' pupils' health

BBC - 4 hours 8 min ago
Schools are on the verge of becoming exam factories that damage pupils' mental health and self-esteem, says the NUT.

Small tube - big problem

BBC - 4 hours 24 min ago
Catheter use 'needs a rethink'

VIDEO: 'I'm HIV positive ... will you touch me?'

BBC - 4 hours 54 min ago
The HIV positive man challenging public perceptions

War hero on South Korean stamp

BBC - 4 hours 57 min ago
A British war hero, who fought in the Korean War, is commemorated on a South Korean stamp.

VIDEO: Why isn’t there more booing in theatres?

BBC - 5 hours 7 min ago
Will Gompertz wonders why theatre audiences don't express their dissatisfaction more audibly.

Was HG Wells the first to think of the atom bomb?

BBC - 5 hours 20 min ago
Did a science fiction writer predict the atom bomb 30 years before?

Now you can authorize mobile payments with a selfie

Most people aren't paying for things with their phones just yet. If you are, maybe you're just getting used to using your fingerprint to authorize a transaction.

MasterCard is blazing right ahead with an app that will let you pay for items with your face.

Technically, you pay using your MasterCard, obviously. But to authorize your mobile payment, you look at your camera's selfie cam and blink once to prove you're a human.

This story has everything America loves: Buying stuff, cell phones and selfies.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Footballers attempt to break record

BBC - 5 hours 33 min ago
Amateur footballers in Edinburgh are attempting to break the world record for the longest 11-a-side match by playing for 105 hours.

The special water flown in for Princess Charlotte

BBC - 5 hours 40 min ago
The special water flown in for the royal christening

Minecraft fans to gather in London

BBC - 5 hours 44 min ago
Minecon, the global gathering for fans of the video game Minecraft, takes place in London this weekend

Pages