National / International News

University Of Oklahoma: Racist Chant Learned At National Frat Event

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-27 11:14

President David Boren, releasing an investigation into the incident involving the Sigma Alpha Epsilon, contradicts statements by the fraternity's national office that the chant was learned locally.

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Murray eases past Young in Miami

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-27 11:10
Britain's Andy Murray reaches the third round of the Miami Open with a 6-4 6-2 win over Donald Young.

'My dad wanted me to play tennis'

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-27 11:06
How England defender Sophie Bradley could easily have ended up playing at Wimbledon instead of Wembley.

Medical Bills Linger, Long After Cancer Treatment Ends

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-27 11:04

A woman's family is stuck with medical charges for care she received after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Negotiating relief from the bills has become a part-time job for her daughter.

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Did That Restaurant Pass Its Health Inspection? Now Yelp Will Tell You

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-27 10:53

You might not see health inspection information until you're opening a restaurant's door. But if you're in New York and several other cities, you'll see it when you check out an eatery's Yelp page.

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Rolls-Royce to cut 220 Scottish jobs

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-27 10:46
Rolls-Royce announces that some jobs will be lost at its plant in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, as part of global cutbacks.

O'Sullivan pulls out of China Open

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-27 10:37
Five-time world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan withdraws from next week's China Open for unspecified health reasons.

Calls to 'boycott' Indiana after law

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-27 10:37
Activists are encouraging a boycott of Indiana after the US state enacted a "religious freedom" law which they say discriminates against gay people.

How Senate Democrats Will Choose Their Next Leader

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-27 10:35

Closed-door leadership elections are held on a given day, but really take place over years of interaction and commerce among caucus members. Ideology and issues are not the paramount concern.

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Social workers win contempt appeal

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-27 10:18
Two social workers who were found in contempt of court after stopping a mother's contact with her children have had the finding against them quashed.

With Reid Out, Republicans See An Opportunity

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-27 10:18

Democrats argue the top Senate leader's retirement might be a good thing. But it's going to set off a scramble to replace him in one of the most hotly contested races in 2016.

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Alabama Police Officer Accused Of Injuring Indian Man Is Indicted

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-27 10:17

A federal grand jury decided there was enough evidence to bring charges against Officer Eric Parker. The incident sparked an international incident.

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Your Wallet: Recycling

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-27 10:15

Next week, we're talking about Recycling. How does reuse factor into your financial life?

Maybe you're in the market for a used car, or passed along your old baby clothes to a friend...

Tell us your story of economic recycling. Write to us, or tweet us -- we're at @MarketplaceWKND.

6 Things You Might Not Have Known About Harry Reid

NPR News - Fri, 2015-03-27 10:12

The senator from Nevada was raised in a home built of scavenged railroad ties and with a toughness that has carried him through his life and political career.

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Tory benefit cut options leaked

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-27 10:02
The Conservatives are considering options for scrapping some benefits, the BBC learns - but the Tories say they are not party policy.

NHS: Labour's private profits cap

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-27 09:50
Is Labour trying to make NHS privatisation an election issue?

Smart meter 'IT disaster' warning

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-27 09:40
The government's £11bn scheme to roll out energy saving smart meters could be an "IT disaster", the Institute of Directors warns.

Banned girls from Syria trio's school

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-27 09:38
Five girls barred from travelling abroad attend the same east London school as three teenagers feared to already be in Syria, it is revealed.

US charges in beating of Indian man

BBC - Fri, 2015-03-27 09:38
Federal officials have charged a former Alabama police officer with violating the civil rights of an Indian man.

Transforming your wait in line from torture to fun

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-03-27 09:31

Have you ever had such a bad experience somewhere — a store, a hotel, a restaurant, an airport — that you vowed never to return? 

That's the question Dick Larson, a MIT engineering professor known as "Dr. Queue", asks his students. Larson, an expert in the field of lines, says that in a class full of college students, more than half of the hands go up. In fact, it was his own horrible experience in line at a big box store that first interested Larson in lines. Now, he studies the ways to optimize structures for an overall improved experience.

People have been studying lines since at least 1955, when an experiment in New York attempted to solve an issue with complaints about elevator delays. Larson says a business analyst at Wharton suggested that floor to ceiling mirrors be installed next to an elevator to stop complaints about delayed wait times. The elevator wait times stayed the same, but with people occupied by their own reflections, complaints dropped to near zero.

Coincidentally, 1955 also marked the opening of Disneyland, which soon mastered the art of the line to become, as Larson says, "The best scientist and engineers of line management in the world."

Disney's Imagineers — a team of scientists, engineers and operations managers — design lines along side attractions at Disney parks. The story begins with the wait to ride, and the Imagineers calculate and optimize the experience based on the payoff.

"They design all kinds of distractions within the line ... so that you feel like the amusement has actually started before you get on your two-minute ride up Space Mountain," Larson says.

If you've waited in line at a theme park (especially if you've waited alongside a child), twisting and turning through rooms and meticulously decorated outdoor spaces, to the tune of a favorite theme song and with video updates on monitors overhead, you've experienced firsthand some of these careful scientific calculations at work.

It's one thing to wait for the anticipated joy at the end of a theme park line, but lines aren't all so happy, and many of us are in them every day. In traffic, on hold with the cable company, waiting for checkout at the grocery store. It can be exasperating. Larson says that a lot of this is about managing expectations and weighing value.

"If somebody is shopping for the family for the week, and you have $200 worth of groceries, you expect to wait in that line for awhile, because there might be another one or two carts ahead of you like that," he says. "But if you go back the next day because you forgot a half a dozen eggs and a quart of milk, you expect to go in and out fast in the express checkout lane. It's all a matter of expectations."

If you're shopping for a value, you may be more willing to brave a long line. Larson says big box customers are happier to wait, because they think they're getting a deal, compared to if someone visits a high-end jewelry store, they may expect fast, personal service and no wait times. 

So can the theme-park models be applied to the outside world to make line experiences better elsewhere? Larson says other businesses can take some of the same ideas: distracting, amusing and teaching customers to keep their minds and eyes off their clocks.

And technologically, lines are changing everywhere. There are more options for self-service — at the gas station, the drug store or the bank — and more ways to preempt wait times by scheduling appointments, call back times, or "fast pass" style service: like at Disneyland, or in an airline's mileage club, or in a toll lane, where you can pre-book or pay more so you can wait around less.

Lines may be improving, but Larson says when it comes to wait time, there's still more work to do. 

"This is something that retailers and service providers don't understand," he says. "If they don't pay a lot of attention to their customers' line experiences, they may lose a customer for life."