National / International News

'None bigger than this, the World Cup semi-final'

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 10:45
England women's coach Gary Street and Ireland counterpart Philip ‘Goose’ Doyle will put friendship aside for their World Cup semi-final.

20 years of online shopping later...

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-08-12 10:39

Twenty years ago this week, someone paid $12.48 plus shipping for this:

We're not talking about Sting's 1993 album – “Ten Summoner’s Tales" – for its musical merits.  It is, in fact, pretty average as far as Sting albums go, with two hit singles and a few Grammy nominations.  No, "Ten Summoner's Tales" has made it into the annals of contemporary history as the unremarkable item purchased in the first "online secure commercial transaction." It was the sale that proved online retail safe enough to make it, well, average. 

From the New York Times on August 11, 1994

"At noon yesterday, Phil Brandenberger of Philadelphia went shopping for a compact audio disk, paid for it with his credit card and made history.

Moments later, the champagne corks were popping in a small two-story frame house in Nashua, N.H. There, a team of young cyberspace entrepreneurs celebrated what was apparently the first retail transaction on the Internet using a readily available version of powerful data encryption software designed to guarantee privacy.

Experts have long seen such iron-clad security as a necessary first step before commercial transactions can become common on the Internet, the global computer network."

Tech-watchers had high hopes for retail on that "global computer network". In March of 1994, researchers at USC's Information Sciences Institute put out a paper called "Electronic Commerce on the Internet". In a section titled "Vision", they wrote:

"Every aspect of the acquisition process is handled seamlessly; participants need never revert to off-line paper communications. Buyers can browse multimedia catalogs, solicit bids and place orders. Sellers can respond to bids, schedule production, and coordinate deliveries. Third parties lubricate the marketplace via such value-added services as specialized directories, brokering, referral, and vendor certification." 

After that, the phrase "e-commerce" started popping up everywhere (it was almost as pervasive as Marketplace host David Brancaccio's favorite, "information superhighway").  By 1999, the Census had begun requesting e-commerce data as part of the overall economic picture. Commerce Department surveys showed the number of people shopping online rocketed from 13 percent in 2000 to 21 percent in 2001.

Retailers waded straight into those "Fields of Gold". 

Today, those numbers have quadrupled. Forrester says approximately 69 percent of Americans regularly buy products online, and those consumers generally do 16 percent of their shopping over the Internet. In their words, more and more people shop from rooms "besides their office," like the living room or the kitchen, on tablets and cell phones –  many of which they bought online in the first place.

 To put it mildly, e-retail continues to grow:

Robin Williams and the link between comedy and depression

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 09:51
Why do many comedians struggle with depression?

'Thousands' trapped by Iraq rebels

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 09:46
Tens of thousands of civilians remain trapped by militants on a mountain in northern Iraq and need "life-saving assistance", the UN warns.

UK warns over Israel export licences

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 09:41
Ministers identify 12 export licenses to Israel that they would suspend in the event of what they describe as "significant hostilities" resuming in Gaza.

LA Clippers Sold To Former Microsoft CEO Ballmer

NPR News - Tue, 2014-08-12 09:41

The announcement by the Clippers followed an order by a California court that ruled that Shelly Sterling, wife of the team's previous owner, Donald Sterling, had the authority to sell the team.

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VIDEO: Ebola vaccines 'are promising'

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 09:40
US health experts say there are some "promising vaccines" close to being available to treat the Ebola virus.

Obama leads Robin Williams tributes

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 09:37
President Obama leads tributes to actor and comedian Robin Williams, who has died in an apparent suicide.

VIDEO: Gilliam on the 'miracle of Robin'

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 09:32
Monty Python star Terry Gilliam pays tribute to the late Robin Williams whom he worked with on the film The Fisher King.

Car hire prices 'unfairly vary'

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 09:27
Drivers are being charged different prices online for the same car rental based on where they live in Europe, the European Commission says.

A Fascinating Look Inside Those 1.1 Million Open-Internet Comments

NPR News - Tue, 2014-08-12 09:24

These cluster maps give us a two-dimensional look at the complex arguments Americans posted on the topic of net neutrality. One theme in the comments had to do with the American dream.

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'Lover miscarriage' plotters jailed

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 09:18
Two men who plotted to have a pregnant woman beaten up in order to get rid of her unborn child are jailed.

RAF Tornados leave for Iraq mission

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 09:04
Three RAF Tornado jets leave the UK to support efforts to deliver aid to thousands of refugees trapped on a mountain in northern Iraq.

Elemental Storytelling

NPR News - Tue, 2014-08-12 08:44

Thomas Doyle tells stories with teeny frozen people. They aren't cold. They are frozen in time, but he freezes them with exquisitely suspenseful, Sherlock Holmes-like care.

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Man Utd target Rojo requests move

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 08:32
Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo hands in a transfer request and admits his desire to join Manchester United.

Missouri shooting protests continue

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 08:30
Protests continue in the St Louis, Missouri, suburb of Ferguson, three days after the shooting of an unarmed black teenage by police.

Lotto winner shares win with workmate

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 08:22
An Edinburgh painter and decorator who won more than £7m on the lottery vows to share some of his fortune with a workmate.

No police action in C. diff outbreak

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 08:20
Wales' biggest health board will not face police action over an outbreak of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) at hospitals in north Wales.

'Care boy' tells of electric shocks

BBC - Tue, 2014-08-12 08:12
A man who went through Jersey's care system describes friendly German soldiers during WW2, and later bullying and electric shocks in a life that became "hell".

Iraqi Helicopter Reportedly Crashes Carrying Refugees Off Mountain

NPR News - Tue, 2014-08-12 08:01

In addition to carrying people belonging to the besieged Yazidi religious minority, its passengers also reportedly included journalists from The New York Times.

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