National / International News

Study maps fracking methane risk

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-03 01:10
A major study into the potential of fracking to contaminate drinking water with methane is published, highlighting where shale deposits and aquifers coincide.

VIDEO: Secrets of plant roots revealed

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-03 01:10
Plants have been grown inside a microscope to allow scientists to watch their roots developing in 3D.

Tech and train-hopping

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-03 01:00

My family likes to tell stories. Sometimes they get changed and exaggerated in the retelling: Dad got chased by a grizzly. No, it was two grizzlies. It was two grizzlies and he was on a horse. Wasn't it?

But one story I know to be true, at least in its simplest form: My dad used to hop trains out west.

I remember him telling me how dangerous it was. Sometimes the train would stop where you wanted to get off, sometimes it wouldn't. You had to hit the ground running as fast as you could just to stay on your feet and avoid falling into the tracks and under the wheels.

My family is from Colorado, and this is the type of story that reminds me of our roots. 

That's why when I heard about Ted and Asa Conover's story, I had to talk to them. This father and son duo is from New York City, but they've both caught the train-hopping bug --Ted first, then Asa -- and went on an adventure together to do it.

I can vaguely remember adventures like that with my own father. Not as dangerous or as illegal, but walking the line. Linking arms so we could pull something out of the rubble at the town dump because it wasn't trash. Hopping a fence here or there. As a kid you have to learn boundaries by pushing against them, and if you're lucky you have a guardian who helps you learn how to do that and survive it. 

The interesting thing about this week's conversation with the Conovers is that technology has changed the game of train-hopping. It used to be an oral tradition of sorts -- knowing the right moves and knowing when and where a train might stop. Heck, at any given time you could be riding a train and have no real idea how far you'd traveled or how close you were to your destination. But now there are smart phones and PDF documents shared among the hoppers that detail the gathered knowledge of this illegal pastime. There's even a rumor -- almost a tech ghost story -- about a special infrared scanner that law enforcement uses to catch people train-hopping near Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Ted Conover was saying that no matter how tech has changed the process, your success still depends completely on your own ingenuity. I thought that sounded like hacking, and he agreed. 

We all see our world change as we get older, and we lament the change. School shootings make for exhaustive visitation rules. More lawyers make for neighbors who don't invite you to use their pool on a hot day. Smart phones make for staring at screens instead of interacting with and meeting strangers. In the case of train-hopping, technology seems to hinder and help; depending on how you define "bad" and "good," it's got a bit of both.

Yeah, I know hopping trains is illegal and dangerous, and I'm not trying to encourage others to do it. In fact I would discourage people from doing it (for the record, Ted Conover probably would too). But that doesn't mean it's a story we shouldn't tell. It's part of my own family history -- part that's always made me proud to have a connection to the west. Like riding horses or knowing how to start a fire in the snowpack, there's something about train-hopping that makes me feel proud of the people and place where I come from. This July 4th week, that feels just about right. 

VIDEO: Footage of eagle raiding Springwatch nest

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-03 00:44
Video shows a young sea eagle pushing the Springwatch eagle chick out of its nest in an attack never before caught on film in Scotland.

VIDEO: Politician sobs and wails at briefing

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-03 00:44
A Japanese politician Ryutaro Nonomura who wailed and sobbed when quizzed by journalists about expenses has yet to prove that he spent public funds legitimately.

What's wrong with Brazil?

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-03 00:39
Can Brazil find their spark at the World Cup?

Poundland sales up as chain expands

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-02 23:53
Discount retailer Poundland reports nearly £1bn in annual sales and suggests it could double its store presence in the UK.

Animal attack theory in Kenya deaths

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-02 23:33
An inquest into the deaths of an Essex couple in Kenya hears their injuries were consistent with an animal attack.

VIDEO: Global food waste in eight numbers

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-02 23:27
How a third of global food is wasted – as millions starve

Eating disorders unit call for Wales

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-02 23:23
There are calls for a specialist eating disorders unit to be set up in Wales as the number of patients needing hospital treatment for problems continues to rise.

For Once, The U.S., Russia And Iran Actually Agree On Something

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-02 23:14

There's a broad international consensus that radical militants in Iraq pose a serious threat. But that doesn't mean the U.S., Russia, Iran and others will act in a coordinated fashion.

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VIDEO: Oscar Pistorius trial continues

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-02 23:12
Coverage of murder trial of Oscar Pistorius resumes in South Africa

An Uncertain Future Of The U.S. Terrorism Insurance Program

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-02 23:09

The federal program, which would pay for catastrophic damage if a U.S. city was attacked again, is up for renewal this year and some have begun to worry that it may be in trouble.

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Chikun-What? A New Mosquito-Borne Virus Lands In The U.S.

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-02 23:08

It's called chikungunya. And it causes severe joint pain that can last for months. A quarter of a million people have caught the virus in the Caribbean. So how big a problem will it be stateside?

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With Dirt And A Vision, Palestinian Architects Break The Mold

NPR News - Wed, 2014-07-02 23:07

In the city of Jericho in the West Bank, there's a new home that looks like it might be from another planet. But in fact, its designers took pains to use materials that were as local as possible.

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Hundreds in zero-hours council jobs

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-02 22:56
Councils in the West are criticised for employing hundreds of staff on zero-hours contracts following a BBC Freedom of Information request.

Housing 'biggest risk' to economy

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-02 22:54
Bank of England deputy governor Sir Jon Cunliffe says the UK housing market poses the "biggest risk" to the UK economy.

NHS plan 'a recipe for disaster'

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-02 22:42
Cutting back on hospital services in England before community services are geared up to provide care is a "recipe for disaster", MPs say.

Police apology for wrongful arrest

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-02 22:36
A pensioner receives £9,000 and an apology from Wiltshire Police after being unlawfully arrested and held in a cell for seven hours.

'I need to improve my game and work hard'

BBC - Wed, 2014-07-02 22:31
'I must work out how to get back to my very best'
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