National / International News

Lewis backs mixed-gender 'Ryder Cup'

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 21:21
World number one golfer Stacy Lewis says she would be keen to see the introduction of a mixed-gender 'Ryder Cup' tournament.

The England Test hopeful who turned down Man City

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 21:13
Adam Lyth could have been a footballer, but his exploits as a Yorkshire batsman have put him on the brink of an England call-up.

7-day GPs and 'war on workers' - front pages

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 20:51
Pledges from the Conservative Party conference dominate front pages, with some focusing on measures to expand GP cover and others examining the benefits freeze.

Japan volcano eruption intensifies

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 20:45
Efforts to recover the bodies of at least 24 climbers are suspended again after the eruption on Japan's Mount Ontake intensifies.

Modi meets Obama at White House

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 20:26
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets US President Barack Obama at the White House over dinner, ahead of formal talks on Tuesday.

Antibiotic 'link to child obesity'

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 20:02
A large American study suggests young children who are given repeated courses of antibiotics are more likely than those given fewer drugs to be obese.

VIDEO: Protesters 'clean up' after calm night

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 18:32
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters have continued their demonstration in the heart of Hong Kong's financial district.

VIDEO: Third video of UK hostage released

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 17:53
A third video has been posted online showing the British photographer John Cantlie, who's being held by the group which calls itself Islamic State.

Rise in UK trafficking and slavery

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 16:52
The number of people trafficked for slavery or other exploitation in the UK has risen sharply to more than 2,700, the National Crime Agency says.

VIDEO: Sewer sensors to sniff out bombs

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 16:27
Scientists in Europe have developed sensors for sewers that can detect traces of explosives.

Who was the world's first trainspotter?

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 16:16
What hobby did this drawing start in 1825?

'Forgotten explorer' to be honoured

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 16:11
A plaque honouring one of Scotland's great forgotten explorers is set to be unveiled at Westminster Abbey.

Intruder 'ran through' White House

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 16:07
A man arrested for breaking into the White House earlier this month gained access to more of the building than previously believed, US media report.

In pictures: India's dying printing tradition

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 16:05
Printing tradition kept alive in Calcutta

Human trafficking figures revealed

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 16:02
Fifty five potential victims of human trafficking were identified in Scotland last year, according to the National Crime Agency.

Scottish economy shrugs off slump

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 16:00
The Scottish economy continues to recover with performance at pre-recession levels, according to the Bank of Scotland business monitor.

Third video of UK hostage released

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 15:58
A third video has appeared featuring British hostage John Cantlie who is being held by Islamic State militants.

Playing matchmaker in Silicon Valley

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-29 15:49

Online dating is a billion dollar industry, and one in three Americans met their match through websites or dating apps. But algorithms don’t always work for everyone, even in Silicon Valley.

Michael Ralston is a software designer and a client of Linx Dating, a boutique matchmaking service in Palo Alto. There’s a lot that he likes about online dating — the time to craft thoughtful responses, multitasking while chatting with someone — but he wasn’t having much luck.

So he tried Linx.

When Ralston joined the matchmaking service his wardrobe was the typical Silicon Valley uniform: jeans and T-shirts. Amy Andersen and Michael Norman of Linx dating took him shopping, got him a haircut and figured out what Michael needed to become more dateable. It is full service, top to bottom.

“Dinner reservations and recommendations, sedan booking should they not want to drive for the date,” Andersen lists some of Linx’s many services. “Shopping for some proper hand towels, making sure the refrigerator is stocked with some decent wine.” Andersen takes clients ballroom dancing to work on rhythm and letting go.

Linx counter-intuitively brings "Fiddler on the Roof"-style matchmaking to the most connected Valley in the world, but business is booming. Andersen charges up to $100,000 for tailored matchmaking services.

Andersen hit on the idea for Linx one night during a dinner date. She is a strikingly beautiful and charming Stanford grad, yet her date kept looking over her shoulder.

“So I called him on it,” she says.  “I said, ‘What are you doing?’ and he literally said ‘The BBD’. And I said ‘The whatah, whatah, huh?’ and he said ‘the Bigger Better Deal.’”

The “Bigger, Better Deal” is a Silicon Valley anxiety disorder in-which one can’t stop searching for the next hot start-up. Andersen realized that the sheer number of singles online creates a kind of dating BBD.

“The grass is always greener,” Andersen says, “there has to be someone else who’s just a little more interesting, or a little more of a better match.”

A third of Americans agree that online dating’s masses make it hard to pick just one. But if you do win the electronic love lottery, studies show online couples have higher satisfaction and lower divorce rates. So Linx offers a blend—a large enough pool to find deep matches, but not so many that clients get stuck in choice paralysis. Andersen also works with each client individually, zeroing in on their romantic pitfalls.

Her client Michael Ralston is smart, interesting and very sweet, but his weaknesses are confidence and real time communication with women. So Andersen gently hammers away at these challenges. 

She runs Ralston through a mock version of the pre-date phone call.

“Ring,” Ralston says, holding his hand like a phone to his ear.

“Hello?,” Andersen replies.

“Hi Amy, this is Michael….  Amy from Linx gave me your number.”

“Oh hi Michael! How was your workday?”

“Um, pretty good. So…” Ralston stumbles, blushing.

“Tell me about it, tell me about your workday,” Andersen says.

Ralston gives up and breaks down laughing.

Andersen drops character and says, “What were you feeling right then when I said, ‘How was your day?’”

“I was like “Oh no!” to be honest,” Ralston says.

They practice the call several times until Ralston is able to go off script and be more spontaneous.

Life lessons, wardrobe make-overs, mock dates.  All this costs Ralston over ten grand. But does he think it’s worth the price?

“I’ve always been socially awkward and I think I’m less so now,” he says. “It is expensive.  But from one point of view, the answer to that question is—is it going to work?”

High-end matchmakers often say they successfully match up eighty to ninety percent of their clients. But what successful match means is harder to pin down.

Libya parliament rivals hold talks

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 15:43
Representatives from rival factions in Libya's new parliament have held UN-brokered talks for the first time in the oasis town of Ghadames.

Thousands flock to 'anti-Facebook'

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 15:42
Ad-free social media platform Ello overcomes a technical setback to continue its rapid growth, but one expert questions its business model.
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