National / International News

'Big risks' in German arms spending

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 09:06
Spending on nine of Germany's biggest defence projects is severely criticised by an independent report that cites 140 problems and risks.

From GIs To Gen Z (Or Is It iGen?): How Generations Get Nicknames

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-06 09:02

Baby boomers, Generation X, millennials — every generation has a name. But where do these names come from, who chooses them, and why do we need them?

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Twin Peaks to return with new series

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 09:00
Cult 1990s TV series Twin Peaks is to return with a third series in 2016, 25 years after the end of the second series, creator David Lynch confirms.

Setback for Hungary over big EU job

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 08:57
The European Parliament rejects Hungary's EU commissioner-designate as unsuitable for the education and culture post.

Tests 'undermine pupils' confidence'

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 08:55
A Welsh teaching union raises concerns that annual reading and numeracy tests are undermining the confidence of pupils.

Why Ebola Patients Are Getting Treatment In Nebraska

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-06 08:40

The Nebraska Medical Center is the largest of four high-level biocontainment patient care units in the U.S.

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Ebola is scaring people away from ERs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-10-06 08:33

During the past few days, there has been no wait at Texas Health Presbyterian’s emergency room in Dallas. Usually, it takes about 45 minutes to see a doctor. But a week after a patient confirmed to have Ebola came through the ER, it’s not the most popular place.

“If I lived in Dallas and became ill, I would head straight for the Texas Health ER knowing that the waiting lines are so short,” Dr. Albert Wu says. Wu is professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  “I would bet that Texas Health is a safer hospital,” Wu says, “and their ED is safer than the other hospitals they would otherwise compete with.”

Wu says even if fear about catching Ebola is not always rational, the panic will have a short-term effect on business. “Emergency departments are certainly one of the main routes to getting hospital admissions," Wu says. "So for almost every big hospital, the emergency room is a crucial way to get patients.”

There are more than 80,000 visits to the ER at Texas Health Presbyterian each year. On average, an ER visit brings in anywhere from $150 to $1,000 in revenue, according to Dr. Angelo Falcone. That might not sound like a lot, but Falcone says if you multiply that by the number of patients that are not coming, it “dramatically affects both the hospital's and the group's bottom line.”

Falcone is CEO of Medical Emergency Professionals, which staffs emergency departments in Maryland and Connecticut. He says the real financial loss isn’t from not treating a broken arm or prescribing pills. It’s from not admitting a patient. Nearly half of hospital patients come through the ER. When you lose one of those customers, Falcone says it could be a loss of tens of thousands of dollars in revenue. Falcone says patients probably won’t avoid the hospital permanently, and fluctuations in patient numbers come with the territory. “It’s the nature of the beast,” he says. “In emergency medicine, you’ll have some days where all of a sudden all the patients show up and other days where it’s not quite as crazy.”

In the long run, Alex Wu at Johns Hopkins says Texas Health Presbyterian could actually benefit. “I’m not sure they’re going to make their reputation on ‘We do the best job curing Ebola cases, send them to us!’ but they are getting their name mentioned and that might not be a terrible thing,” he says.

Right now, we just have the hospital’s symptoms; the prognosis is uncertain.

NPR Chief Announces Departure Of Key Digital Strategist

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-06 08:32

CEO Jarl Mohn announced Monday that Kinsey Wilson is leaving the network. Wilson, whose exit follows the departure of several other NPR executives, is seen as a leader on the digital front.

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Bond villain Geoffrey Holder dies

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 08:30
Geoffrey Holder, the Tony-winning actor, dancer and choreographer known to millions as Baron Samedi in Bond movie Live and Let Die, dies in New York at the age of 84.

The numbers for October 6, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-10-06 08:16

The crowd of protesters in Hong Kong reached 80,000 this weekend, organizers said. The pro-democracy movement and the government were still at a standoff on Monday morning, after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said he would "take all necessary actions to restore social order." The crackdown didn't materialize and protesters cleared a small path to the government headquarters as their ranks thinned. Quartz reported that neither side seems to have a clear plan.

Here are the stories we're reading, and other numbers we're watching, Monday.

55,000

That's the number of jobs HP says it will cut—5,000 more than expected—the New York Times reported. The bump comes amid the news that HP will split into two companies, one focused on business technology and the other focused on consumer hardware. 

$290

Bitcoin's value fell nearly 20 percent over the weekend to $290, the BBC reported. It's the sharpest drop yet in a steady decline for the online currency, which was worth more than $1,000 late last year. 

$6 billion

Meanwhile, the mobile payment market was roiling with rumors Monday. Square nabbed $150 million at a $6 billion valuation, but the Verge reported new cash might confirm Square is in trouble. Elsewhere in Silicon Valley, Facebook seems to be experimenting with peer-to-peer mobile payment. A few users found the functionality already hidden in the company's Messenger app, TechCrunch reported.

2016

That's when new episodes of David Lynch's cult hit "Twin Peaks" will debut on Showtime, 25 years after its original run. The Screen Wars rage on.

Inside Sierra Leone's Ebola clinics

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 07:58
How patients' relatives search in vain for treatment

The 21st Century house cat

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 07:53
Can four felines live happily under the same roof?

Supreme Court Declines To Take Up Gay-Marriage Appeals

NPR News - Mon, 2014-10-06 07:37

On Monday, on the first day of its new term, the court stunned the legal world, refusing to take any of the appeals pending on lower court rulings allowing gay marriage.

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Attack code for USB flaw released

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 07:29
Computer code that can turn almost any device that connects via USB into a cyber-attack platform has been shared online.

Bianchi 'critical but stable' - FIA

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 06:53
Jules Bianchi's condition is described as "critical but stable" by the FIA following his crash in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Somali forces control key port

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 06:39
Somali government and African Union forces have taken full control of the last port city held by militant Islamists, officials say.

Analysis: Why are Western women joining IS?

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 06:08
Why are Western women joining Islamic State?

The FCC takes on illegal jamming

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-10-06 06:00

Last week, the FCC fined Marriott $600,000 for jamming guests’ Wi-Fi signals at one of its hotels. The Marriott Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee, was operating software designed to protect networks from threats, but instead used it to disrupt and shut down the Wi-Fi hot spot that guests had set up in one of its conference rooms. Marriott charges up to $1,000 for setting up Wi-Fi hot spots of its own, but doesn’t bar people from using other Wi-Fi systems.

Marriott, for its part, says the hotel acted lawfully and that the FCC is vague about what kinds of jamming are allowed. The FCC seems to have been pretty clear for several years now that pretty much no jamming is permissible. Also, if you think you’re being jammed, they have an online tip line

Here are some of the creative ways people have been using signal jammers to mess with GPS, cellphones and Wi-Fi (and how they got busted for it).

1. If I can't talk to anyone on the bus, nobody will!

This guy used a jammer to keep people from chatting on the bus.  

2. Putting the "mute" in commute

A Florida man didn’t want people talking or texting while driving. So he put a jammer in his car to disrupt the phones of everyone who drove around him as he commuted to work each day. Unfortunately, he was also interfering with 911 signals. And people who were lawfully using a headset.  

3. Welcome to the People's Republic of Workistan

Employers seem to love jamming their employees' phones. Steel manufacturing companies do it. So do sewing companies.

4. You're not the boss of me

Employees have used jammers to fight back. This guy’s boss put GPS trackers in his truck to track his whereabouts and lunch breaks, so he got a jammer to disable it. Unfortunately, he also messed with planes landing and taking off at the airport.  

5. Jam tomorrow. Jam yesterday. But never jam today.

In the largest fine of the agency’s history, the FCC said it would assess a $34.9 million penalty against a Chinese signal jammer manufacturer for marketing its products in the U.S. over two years. It’s gone after smaller manufacturers as well, after jammers were found being used in a Texas cosmetology school and another disrupted communications in a sheriff’s office in Florida. As Mitchell Lazarus writes for CommLawBlog:

“Ironically, in both Texas and Florida, it is legal to openly carry firearms into a Starbucks, say. But not a phone jammer. So when the cell phone at the next table erupts into The William Tell Overture and its owner bellows, “HELLO? HEY! YEAH, IN A STARBUCKS! IT’S RAINING HERE! SO WHERE’RE YOU?” pulling out the jammer is not an option. It’s the firearm or nothing. This may not be good public policy.”

Why women suffer more knee injuries

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 05:58
Alistair Magowan asks if the number of knee injuries are down to wider hips, synthetic pitches and too many games.

'Local schools' drive inequality

BBC - Mon, 2014-10-06 05:57
Deciding school admissions on distance from home means giving an unfair advantage to wealthy families, say researchers

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