National / International News

How High Debt From The Housing Collapse Still Stifles Our Economy

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-24 02:01

Seven years after the subprime mortgage crisis, the U.S. economy has not yet fully recovered. Now two economists have come up with new evidence about what's holding the economy back.

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Why young children are fleeing Central America

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-24 02:00

The issue of how to deal with young illegal immigrants has been particularly troubling for the Obama administration, with more than 57,000 young migrants, most from Central America, apprehended at the southwest border since October.

María Elena Salinas co-anchors the Univision Network’s national newscast “Noticiero Univision” and the weekly primetime newsmagazine “Aquí y Ahora." She took a recent trip to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to explore the social, political, and economic reasons why children are fleeing from those countries to the United States. 

Click the media player above to hear Univision anchor María Elena Salinas in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio.

Demographics, tech, and the digital divide

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-24 02:00

In the tech industry, one of the central debates has been over whether continued technological innovation can do much good for a wider group of people than just a narrow slice of the urban upper middle class. Tessie Guillermo, CEO of the tech consulting company ZeroDivide, has been thinking about these issues.

The “digital divide” — the gaps between technology haves and have nots — which inspired the name of her firm, is a real and pressing issue. The skewed demographics of the tech industry can also make using technology to improve social outcomes a challenge.

“It creates a lot of anxiety and fear,” says Guillermo.

The ability to give digital literacy to these groups — community organizations and underserved communities — is difficult, and the demographics compound the challenge.

Furthermore, the way the tech industry sells these improvements could be counterproductive.

“There’s not necessarily an app for everything,” says Guillermo.

There is an impatience to how the tech industry deals with problems, in terms of the constant iteration, that doesn’t always translate to other contexts. 

When music introduces a new technology

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-24 02:00

If music tech nerds had a patron saint, that patron saint might be electronic music pioneer Robert Moog. As an inventor and entrepreneur, Moog's impact on synthesizers and electronic music in general is best described by gear heads who are more knowledgeable than yours truly. Nonetheless I've been thinking about Moog and his synthesizers a lot.

The 9th anniversary of Moog's death is just under a month away on August 21st. I've been thinking about Moogs in part because of the band Neutral Milk Hotel, which played Brooklyn on Wednesday. At this point, the band has reached a kind of classic indie rock status — known far more now than it was back when it was making records. And one of the great songs in the band's set right now features a special version of the Moog called the Rogue, played by bassist Julian Koster. Not designed by Moog himself, the instrument has its supporters and detractors.

But dang if it doesn't sound pretty awesome when Koster plays it on this tune. The first time I heard it, I was floored. Check it out (gets good around 2:00):

 

Instrument technology in the electronic age has vastly expanded the number of options musicians have when they go about making their music. That’s had a massive impact on the art form—maybe more than other disciplines, though that could be my bias.

As an example, the Rogue is actually pretty old fashioned. It came out in 1981 — since then there have been so many other kinds of synthesizers and digital instruments that have appeared to change the landscape for musicians. But it was cheaper than earlier models, making it easier for people who wanted a monophonic synth to get and play with.

For musicians, most of whom do not start out rich, price point is often a key deciding factor. And as technology advances, it often gets cheaper. So I think the Rogue is still one of my favorites — proof that innovation at its best can move the needle and the listener.  

Why it's so difficult to break the glass ceiling

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-24 02:00

Workplace discrimination comes in many different forms and shapes. But research out of the University of Colorado shows how women and minorities are often punished for promoting other women and minorities.

Researchers at the University of Colorado say they think they’ve solved the puzzle of why there is still a glass ceiling. They say women and minority leaders are discouraged from focusing on diversity, while white men are praised for doing so.

Matthew Kohut is Managing Partner of KNP Communications and co-author of the book, “Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential.” 

“This is a double standard. There’s no question that this is straight up discrimination,” says Kohut.

Kohut says a positive case for diversity has to be made again and again.

“Certainly my hope would be that, that would minimize the impact of this double standard and that would begin to chip away at it,” says Kohut.

But in the meantime, the best and brightest employees could still be overlooked. Lissa Broome heads the Director Diversity Initiative at the University of North Carolina Law School.

“So I would really hate the result of this to be that people don’t go to bat for whomever they believe the best candidate is regardless of that person’s gender or race,” said Broome. 

The study suggests one way to change this behavior is to get rid of the idea of “diversity” and instead focus on “demographic unselfishness.” 

VIDEO: Shakespeare in Love stage show opens

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 01:37
An adaptation of the Oscar-winning film, Shakespeare in Love, makes its London stage debut.

UN warns of 'dire' Gaza situation

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 01:36
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos expresses extreme concern at the situation in Gaza, warning that residents are running out of food and water.

European Central Bank website hacked

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 01:34
The website of the European Central Bank has been hacked, with personal information stolen, but the bank says no market sensitive data was compromised.

Commonwealth Games begin in Glasgow

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 01:31
The Queen declares the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow open after a live show featuring a cast of 2,000 and appearances from several famous Scots.

Man charged with MH17 Twitter post

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 01:29
An 18-year-old man from Sunderland is charged over an offensive Twitter message relating to the Malaysia Airlines crash.

VIDEO: 'Cheesegrater' construction complete

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 01:23
Building work is completed on the tallest skyscraper in the City of London.

New force to fight Nigeria Islamists

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 01:21
Nigeria and three of its neighbours pledge to speed up the creation of a 2,800-strong regional force to tackle militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

UK retail sales continue to grow

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 01:20
The volume of goods sold in the UK's shops, stores and supermarkets continues to grow, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Experts to examine MH17 flight data

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 00:53
UK investigators are due to start examining a second black box flight recorder from downed flight MH17, after downloading "valid data" from the first.

AUDIO: Why don't women write to newspapers?

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 00:46
Iain Hollingshead and Yvonne Roberts discuss why men write more letters to newspapers than women.

Elton film is from 'birth to rehab'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 00:41
Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall says his new biopic about Sir Elton John, starring Tom Hardy in the main role, tells the singer's life story 'from birth to rehab'.

Fishermen rescued as boat sinks

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 00:32
Three fishermen are rescued from a life-raft by a coastguard helicopter after their boat sinks off Cape Wrath.

Watchdog launches full energy probe

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-24 00:13
The Competition and Markets Authority launches a full investigation of the UK energy market.

Man arrested following Newry assault

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-23 23:39
A 57-year-old man is arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following an assault in Newry, County Down.
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