National / International News

3D sound tests carried out by BBC

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 15:12
The BBC's attempt to create 3D sound recordings

Could offices change from sitting to standing?

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 15:12
Should offices change from sitting to standing?

Hi-tech start-ups aim for the stars

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 15:05
New tech helps small firms shoot for the stars

'They told me I was the guy who killed their son'

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 15:01
'They told me I was the guy who killed their son'

VIDEO: Steering a business in a new direction

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 15:00
Major change is a challenge for companies and their investors. How can chief executives shift a firm's course effectively?

VIDEO: Pro-Russian mob targets journalists

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 14:57
The confrontation in eastern Ukraine worsened on Monday with more official buildings seized by pro-Russian forces.

NSA stories take Pulitzer Prize

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 14:23
The Guardian and Washington Post newspapers share the Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism for a series of stories on US electronic spying.

Wenger admits top-four complacency

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 14:04
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says his team may have been guilty of taking Champions League football for granted.

Ukrainian Jews Celebrate Passover In Uncertain Times

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 14:03

The holiday has a powerful message this year for Jews in Ukraine, who have found liberation from what they saw as a corrupt government. But with violence in the East, their story is still unfolding.

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Ooops! US Airways Accidentally Includes Lewd Photo In Tweet

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:59

Airlines commonly use Twitter to address the concerns of customers. When US Airways did that Monday, its response included a graphic picture of a naked woman.

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Survey results: What's your type?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:55

The break-up of a graphic design duo has resulted in a lawsuit of $20 million – over fonts. Tobias Frere-Jones and Jonathan Hoefler worked together for 15 years to create some of the most famous and ubiquitous fonts around– used by GQ, Martha Stewart, the New York Jets and Saturday Night Live. They won awards for their typefaces - before the relationship turned sour.

When this story broke, we found out one thing for sure: Wow, Marketplace fans care about fonts. Here are the results of our font survey:

You like...

Sally Herships/Marketplace

And you really, really don't like...

Sally Herships/Marketplace

Gene Linked To Alzheimer's Poses A Special Threat To Women

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:43

Scientists have figured out one reason women might be more vulnerable to Alzheimer's: A risk gene doubles women's chances of getting the disease but has minimal effect on men.

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Kraft hits refresh button on vintage brands

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:41

Maxwell House coffee gets a makeover today. The Kraft brand is unveiling a new logo, new packaging, and, bringing back its “good to the last drop” tagline – to remind consumers how good it is, it says. But is it a good idea to tinker with a classic brand’s identity?

An idea that might have seemed great a few decades ago-- we're talking about Quaker Oats’ old version of Aunt Jemima--might not seem so hot just a little bit later. But even when brands need to make big changes, they need to step carefully, says Dave Reibstein, a professor of marketing at the Wharton School of Business.

“In general, what it is you want to do is to be very, very, very consistent with your brand,” Reibstein says, especially to avoid the worst case scenario. “I walk down the aisle and I don’t even see it."

Tom Meyvis, a professor of marketing at the Stern School of Business at New York University, cites Brawny paper towel's sucessful handling of an image problem the brand had with its illustrated spokeman.

“The Wall Street Journal described him as a 70s porn star," Meyvis says.

But, Meyvis notes, that brand handled its image right–by taking baby steps. It slowly shrank the problem mustache, and character, until they were replaced by one a little more up to date. But Matt Egan, senior director of strategy for Siegel+Gale, a brand consultancy based in New York, says even though Kraft says its coffee has a brand new campaign, relying on its old slogan, "Good to the last drop," may not do the trick.

"When a food company resorts to talking about goodness," he says, "that’s always a sign they don’t have much of a real story to tell."

Global warming: 15 years to change things...

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:38

The latest U.N. climate change report says that if the world doesn't do some really tough, expensive things over the next 15 years, the costs of climate change may spiral out of control. Some of those things involve technology that isn't available yet, such as removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Others involve things countries have done a terrible job of so far— like burning less coal, oil and gas. Scientists have been saying carbon-dioxide emissions have to be reduced for decades, but emissions actually went up in the early twenty-first century. Some people deny global warming is caused by human activitity, but what holds the rest of the world back? A lot. 

Robert Gifford, a psychologist at the University of Victoria, studies what he calls the “dragons of inaction” on climate change. So far, he says he’s counted more than 30. 

"Certainly one that would be in the top ten is 'lack of perceived behavioral control,'" he says. "Which in plain English is: What can I do about it? I’m only one person out of 7 and a half billion people?”

Another one is fatalism. "If people think the game is already over, then why should I do anything?" Gifford says. He thinks "apocalyptic" predictions by scientists can actually make that problem worse. 

"I’ve called this the policy problem from hell," says Anthony Leiserowitz, who runs the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.  "You almost couldn’t design a problem that in some ways is a worse fit for our psychology as well as our institutional decision making."

Psychologically, he says, it doesn’t help that carbon dioxide itself is invisible. It's hard to fight what you can’t see.

Climate change also seems too far away to focus on. "Even if they accept that climate change is real," he says, "many people still think it’s distant in time—that the impacts won’t be felt for a generation or more. Or distant in space -- that this is about polar bears."

Institutionally, he thinks politicians have more practical reasons for thinking short-term: The next election cycle. "Many of them aren't going to be around to see the ultimate effect of the decisions they make today," he says.  

"What makes this even harder is that countries need to coordinate," says David Victor, the author of Global Warming Gridlock, who helped put together the U.N. report's introductory chapter. "No big emitter is going to control its emissions aggressively and bear that cost unless it sees other major emitters in the world doing something similar."

The U.N. climate report outlines steps to hold global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Victor says he expects the world to “blow past” that target.

Global warming: 15 years to change things...

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:38

The latest U.N. climate change report says that if the world doesn't do some really tough, expensive things over the next 15 years, the costs of climate change may spiral out of control. Some of those things involve technology that isn't available yet, such as removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Others involve things countries have done a terrible job of so far— like burning less coal, oil and gas. Scientists have been saying carbon-dioxide emissions have to be reduced for decades, but emissions actually went up in the early twenty-first century. Some people deny global warming is caused by human activitity, but what holds the rest of the world back? A lot. 

Robert Gifford, a psychologist at the University of Victoria, studies what he calls the “dragons of inaction” on climate change. So far, he says he’s counted more than 30. 

"Certainly one that would be in the top ten is 'lack of perceived behavioral control,'" he says. "Which in plain English is: What can I do about it? I’m only one person out of 7 and a half billion people?”

Another one is fatalism. "If people think the game is already over, then why should I do anything?" Gifford says. He thinks "apocalyptic" predictions by scientists can actually make that problem worse. 

"I’ve called this the policy problem from hell," says Anthony Leiserowitz, who runs the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.  "You almost couldn’t design a problem that in some ways is a worse fit for our psychology as well as our institutional decision making."

Psychologically, he says, it doesn’t help that carbon dioxide itself is invisible. It's hard to fight what you can’t see.

Climate change also seems too far away to focus on. "Even if they accept that climate change is real," he says, "many people still think it’s distant in time—that the impacts won’t be felt for a generation or more. Or distant in space -- that this is about polar bears."

Institutionally, he thinks politicians have more practical reasons for thinking short-term: The next election cycle. "Many of them aren't going to be around to see the ultimate effect of the decisions they make today," he says.  

"What makes this even harder is that countries need to coordinate," says David Victor, the author of Global Warming Gridlock, who helped put together the U.N. report's introductory chapter. "No big emitter is going to control its emissions aggressively and bear that cost unless it sees other major emitters in the world doing something similar."

The U.N. climate report outlines steps to hold global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Victor says he expects the world to “blow past” that target.

Dead London Marathon runner named

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:36
A man who died after collapsing at the finish line of the London Marathon is named as 42-year-old Robert Berry.

Retail sales: What's driving demand?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:35

The Commerce Department reports retail sales in March rose 1.1 percent from the previous month, and 3.8 percent from one year ago. It’s the biggest gain since September 2012, and was led by auto sales—up 3.1 percent—and building materials and garden supplies—up 1.8 percent. Except for electronics stores, appliances stores and gas stations—which saw their sales fall—the retail rebound in March was across the board—clothing, bars and restaurants, health and personal care, books and music.

The rise in March came from improving weather, after a dismal winter with frigid temperatures and heavy snowfall across the East and Midwest, and drenching rain at times in the Pacific Northwest.

Deborah Trout-Kolb was heading into a Nordstrom department store in downtown Portland, Ore. She owns a fitness studio in New Haven, Conn., where she lives, and she said the ‘horrendous’ winter weather depressed her income.

“Obviously if people can’t come into a dance and fitness studio they don’t pay,” she said. “But I believe it’s getting better.” And that’s making her feel a bit more like shopping now. “You’ve got to do that retail therapy every once in a while,” she said.

Nationwide, people who didn’t shop for clothes or washing machines or cars in mid-winter, have come into stores with a vengeance. However, there are still headwinds at the bottom of the income ladder, said economist Chris Christopher at IHS Global Insight: “Extended unemployment benefits being phased out, in addition to food stamps being lowered.”

And for the middle-class, income and household wealth still haven’t caught up to pre-recession levels, said NYU economist Edward Wolff. He said a main driver of the improving store-sales figures is increased borrowing.

“Rising debt levels, consumer debt particularly, is helping to increase consumer spending [and] retail sales,” said Wolff.

Some of that consumer borrowing is driven by people feeling better-off—a so-called ‘wealth effect’—if their home or stock portfolio has risen in value. And some of it is the need for ‘retail therapy’ that the shopper heading into Nordstrom was talking about.

By Shea Huffman/Marketplace

VIDEO: At site of Nigeria bus station blast

BBC - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:28
A powerful bomb blast has ripped through a crowded bus station on the outskirts of Nigeria's capital, Abuja, killing at least 71 people.

NSA Coverage Garners Pulitzers For Post And Guardian

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:25

Winners of the 2014 Pulitzer Prizes were announced Monday. The Washington Post and The Guardian were among the notable winners, commended for together breaking the news of NSA surveillance programs.

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A 'Roller Coaster' Year For Texas Town Rocked By Blast

NPR News - Mon, 2014-04-14 13:21

Some lawmakers say a deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West last year could be the state's best opportunity to pass needed safety measures. But it's going to be an uphill battle.

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