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.


ICYMI: Gunshot broadcast live online

BBC - 37 min 58 sec ago
A round-up of interesting technology-related links you may have missed over the past weekend.

Man dies after being shot by police

BBC - 44 min 1 sec ago
London police shoot man dead outside property in Enfield after reports of a man threatening to kill.

Kanye to 'run for president'

BBC - 50 min 8 sec ago
He was given the lifetime achievement award and the other big winner winner was Taylor Swift.

Major gas field given green light

BBC - Sun, 2015-08-30 23:33
Production on the largest new oil and gas field to have been discovered in the North Sea for a decade is approved.

Amal Clooney's dilemma over al-Jazeera trial

BBC - Sun, 2015-08-30 23:18
Lyse Doucet speaks to Amal Clooney and examines the dilemma over how to get al-Jazeera's imprisoned journalists in Egypt freed.

VIDEO: Abbey Road Studios 'to expand'

BBC - Sun, 2015-08-30 22:46
Abbey Road's famous recording studios has been given planning permission for a multi-million pound expansion.

VIDEO: Father returns to quarry where son died

BBC - Sun, 2015-08-30 22:30
Safety experts have issued fresh warnings against swimming in disused quarries due to the dangers of freezing water.

VIDEO: Ebola man's tribute to African colleague

BBC - Sun, 2015-08-30 22:08
The first British healthcare worker who caught and survived Ebola is working as an NHS nurse in the hospital that helped save his life.

VIDEO: Calais ferry 'lifeboat blockade' lifted

BBC - Sun, 2015-08-30 21:37
Ferry services have resumed at the Port of Calais following a fresh protest by former workers of dissolved operator MyFerryLink which caused a night of long delays.

Fish and snake battle caught on film

BBC - Sun, 2015-08-30 21:21
An Australian spear fisherman captures one of the world's most venomous fish and a deadly snake in the middle of a fight for life.

'More male carers needed' for elderly

BBC - Sun, 2015-08-30 21:03
More male carers are needed to look after older people, the Chief Executive of Care England says.

Ebola nurse works at hospital that saved him

BBC - Sun, 2015-08-30 20:02
The first British healthcare worker who caught and survived Ebola is working as an NHS nurse in the hospital that helped save his life.

Wes Craven, Master Horror Movie Director, Dies At 76

NPR News - Sun, 2015-08-30 19:12

The legendary director of Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream has died. His films, which often mixed slasher gore with wry humor, helped reinvent the horror genre.

» E-Mail This

US horror filmmaker Wes Craven dies

BBC - Sun, 2015-08-30 18:07
US horror film director Wes Craven, creator of the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream franchises, dies aged 76, US media say.

Chinese shares lead Asia lower

BBC - Sun, 2015-08-30 17:58
Chinese shares are lower on fears of further market volatility and ahead of economic data expected to point to a further economic slowdown.

VIDEO: IS militants 'blow up' Palmyra temple

BBC - Sun, 2015-08-30 17:46
The Islamic State group is reported to have destroyed part of another temple in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.

VIDEO: Ragunan Zoo launch a phone app

BBC - Sun, 2015-08-30 17:19
Ragunan Zoo introduces a mobile phone app to navigate the park.

VIDEO: Al-Jazeera trial: Lawyer urges pardon

BBC - Sun, 2015-08-30 17:11
Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste were each jailed for three years on Saturday for "spreading false news".