National / International News

AUDIO: Cable 'appalled' by loan-to-income ratios

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 01:07
Business secretary Vince Cable says that loan-to-income ratios offered by banks are adding to the housing boom.

Man killed in inflatable doll row

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 01:06
A man dies after being critically injured in what police said was a "brutal assault" at the Parklife Weekender Festival in Manchester.

Brazil ready for 'lone wolf' attacks

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 01:06
Brazilian counter terrorism official say they are prepared for a "lone wolf " attack on the World Cup, but they think it is unlikely to happen.

Final Team Scotland picks announced

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 01:00
Daniel Purvis is among the final 102 athletes added to Team Scotland for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Golf group hopes fewer holes means a better game

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 01:00

As the U.S. Open golf tournament starts today in Pinehurst, North Carolina, the event’s organizers kick off a campaign aimed at golfers, encouraging them to play shorter games: 9 holes, instead of 18.

Golf has been losing players by the hundreds of thousands, partly because it takes so long to play — up to five hours for 18 holes.

“If you go to a movie it takes two hours, if you go to dinner it takes two hours,” says Hunki Yun, of the U.S. Golf Association. “So, a five-hour round of golf is not necessarily compatible with today’s lifestyles.”

David Hueber takes some responsibility for the problem. As head of the National Golf Foundation in the 1980s, he helped launch a strategy to open more courses. “Unfortunately,” he says, “we developed a product our customers — that is, golfers — didn’t want to buy.”

The new courses were designed by marquee architects to be hard, meaning they took a long time to play.

They were also designed to be big — partly to satisfy the real-estate developers who funded them. The bigger the course, the more houses the developer could sell overlooking it.  “Take a typical hole,” says Hueber. “If you add 50 yards to it, with home-sites on both sides, you’re going to pick up four home sites. You know, that could be a million dollars.”

Multiply that by 18, and a half-mile’s walk has been added to every game.

Raining? Twitter wants to help sell you an umbrella

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 01:00

One of the scariest lines a bad guy in a movie can say is, “I know where you live.”

But these days, thanks to location data, online advertisers almost always know where you are. 

In fact, Twitter and the Weather Channel want to let them in on still more information about potential customers -- a newly announced partnership will target ads, or “promoted Tweets,” to users based on where they live and what the weather’s like.

By letting advertisers know a customer is shivering or sweating, they’re hoping to help the company target its products.

“Sixty degrees might be cold in Miami, which means that you want hot coffee," says Curt Hecht, the global chief revenue officer at The Weather Channel. “Sixty degrees in Chicago means I’m getting an iced coffee, right?”

Hecht says The Weather Channel’s service doesn’t take into account users' interests through past posts or searches, but rather tries to predict their needs based on current and upcoming weather conditions. In the past, the company has worked with Pantene to market anti-fizz hair products to customers on days with high humidity.

“If previously we used to think more about different advertising for different people, now we’re starting to think different advertising for the same people at different states of their environment -- in this case weather,” explains Oded Netzer, a marketing professor at Columbia Business School.

There’s a strong correlation between weather and consumption, says Netzer. Knowing what the weather’s like is really useful for advertisers. Studies show that customers are generally more likely to buy things on nice days and even spend more for the same product if the weather is good.

“There’s some evidence that companies might be able to charge a little bit higher prices during warm weather conditions,” he says. “Whether this will be ethical to do and whether consumers react to that if companies do it is a whole different story.”

In other words, a consumer might find it helpful to see an ad for an umbrella right before it’s supposed to rain. Jacking up the price of air conditioners on a really hot day – not so much.

Two rare snow leopards born at zoo

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 00:57
Two rare snow leopards are born at a zoo in Cumbria and will be able to be seen by the public in a few weeks.

No food or water for ailing DJ Kasem

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 00:56
The daughter of radio host Casey Kasem has chosen to withhold food, liquid and medication from her 82-year-old father, following a court ruling.

The lasting allure of the flying saucer

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 00:54
The retro appeal of the flying saucer

VIDEO: 'I'm prepared to face a water cannon'

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 00:48
London Mayor Boris Johnson says he is prepared to be blasted by water cannon to prove they are safe after the Metropolitan Police were authorised to buy three of the devices.

New energy agency set for Aberdeen

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 00:20
A new agency aimed at increasing collaboration across the oil and gas industry is to be based in Aberdeen.
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