National / International News

An algorithm that matches kidney patients and donors

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-06-17 11:49

Matching markets are markets where money isn’t allowed to do what it usually does. For example, school admissions — colleges don’t just raise the tuition price until demand meets supply. Or how new M.D.’s get assigned to their residencies — they can’t just buy their way into the hospital they want. In each case, you have to find a way to match a candidate with an available slot.

You also can't buy a kidney, or pay for somebody's college education to get a kidney, or purchase a car for them in exchange of a kidney.

So how can you make a market for something that is indivisible and can’t put a price on? Al Roth, a professor of economics at Stanford, realized that this model could be adapted to help kidney patients find a potential donor.

"Let’s pretend you and I, Kai, we both need a kidney transplant. And that both of us have a relative who’s willing to donate one, but your relative is not a biological match for you and mine isn’t for me," says Stephen Dubner, author of "Freakonomics." "Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could enter all your data and all of the donor's data into some algorithm that could magically sort these data from all the transplant centers in the country and match up donors and patients?"

Roth’s algorithm has helped save a lot of lives. Ruthanne Leishman from the United Network for Organ Sharing says the United States has about 600 kidney paired donation transplants per year right now. In 2000, the U.S only had two.

Yes, Your Car Loan Will Still Be Cheap As Fed Holds Rates Low

NPR News - Wed, 2015-06-17 11:45

Federal Reserve policymakers said Wednesday they will continue to tamp down interest rates. The last time they raised interest rates was June 2006. They set no specific deadline for raising rates.

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The last time the Fed raised interest rates

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-06-17 11:12

With this week's news conference, the Federal Reserve inched ever closer to raising interest rates, which have been flat since 2008. The last hike came in June 2006, after years of incidental .25 percent increases. The Fed indicated it was preparing for a slower increase this year, as it walked back forecasts of growth.

How much has the country changed since 2006? Let's take a look back.

Economy

GDP growth took, of course, a steep dive in the past nine years, and by December 2008 interest rates were down to zero. These days, year-over-year growth is back at about 2006 levels:

Unemployment isn't quite back to where it was in 2006, but still far from the double-digit rates we saw in the throes of recession.

Entertainment

2006 was a decent but unmemorable year at the box office. The highest-grossing film was a sequel to "Pirates of the Caribbean," a series that's still going nine years later. Superheroes didn't quite own the summer movie season like they do now, with just two poorly received "X-Men" and "Superman" movies. Presented without comment: 2006 also brought us "Borat."

The biggest songs of 2006 came from plenty of acts that are still at it: Rihanna, Shakira and Pharrell all had number-one hits, Beyonce and Justin Timberlake had two each. That said, the biggest hit of the year was very 2006: Daniel Powter's "Bad Day."

Politics

Not unlike today, we had a Republican-controlled congress in 2006 and an election on the horizon. Senators and future presidential rivals John McCain and Barack Obama co-sponsored the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, which created USASpending.gov. As president, Obama signed Digital Accountability and Transparency Act into law last year, improving the data available on the site.

Then-Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain testify at a Senate hearing about their bill in July 2006.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Finally, a foiled terror plot involving liquid explosives promoted the TSA to institute its "3-1-1" rule in 2006, limiting what liquids travelers could bring on planes. 

Technology

"Blogs and podcasts are so 2005," ABC News declared in December of that year. "In 2006, it's going to be all about vlogs, mobisodes, and cell phones that can swipe credit cards."

Sort of! Certainly, mobile and on-demand video have exploded in the past nine years, along with wider internet access and the rise of the smartphone. Plus, Square's mobile payment service was on the way.

But two more innovations coming down the line in 2006 were more difficult to predict. The iPhone was only a questionable rumor in 2006, and Twitter quietly launched with a tweet from the man who was just made interim CEO last week.

just setting up my twttr

— Jack (@jack) March 21, 2006

Google-owned Nest launches HD camera

BBC - Wed, 2015-06-17 10:48
The new camera can sense movement in a user's home and alert them via their smartphone. The firm also updated its existing products.

Federal Reserve keeps rates on hold

BBC - Wed, 2015-06-17 10:27
The US central bank , the Federal Reserve, has kept its main interest rate at 0%, where it has been since the 2008 financial crisis.

Labour leader hopefuls in TV clash

BBC - Wed, 2015-06-17 10:24
The four contenders for the leadership of the Labour Party are taking part in the first live television debate of the contest to replace Ed Miliband.

VIDEO: Youths 'being radicalised by right'

BBC - Wed, 2015-06-17 10:07
A BBC investigation has found children and teenagers are being recruited online by new groups of far right extremists trying to encourage hatred of Muslims.

Husband sues over wife's IRA murder

BBC - Wed, 2015-06-17 10:05
Husband of murdered RUC officer to take legal action against IRA informer and PSNI boss.

Why Some Teen Brains May Be Hardwired To Make Risky Choices

NPR News - Wed, 2015-06-17 09:55

Individual differences in the brain's working memory could help explain why some teens are especially impulsive about sex. Having engaged parents helps reduce the risk.

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Closing the 710 freeway gap

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-06-17 09:53

We're doing a series this week about the perilous state of the infrastructure in this country. The power grid, water supply, roads – all stuff an economy pretty much has to have to function. However, all that stuff in this country keeps breaking or doesn’t get built.

One example of this is right near Marketplace Headquarters in Los Angeles. A four and a half-mile stretch of infrastructure that, so far, has not been built and has had people fighting over for about 59 years.

It's dubbed the 710 Gap – just northeast of Downtown Los Angeles between Pasadena and the city of Alhambra – where two interstates, the 210 and the 710, were at some point supposed to connect. Instead, both highways just end – four and a half miles apart.

Highways are built in segments, as the 710 once was up from the port of Long Beach, north to Alhambra.

But when time came to build the four and a half miles from Alhambra to Pasadena back in the 1990s, locals objected, sued and got an injunction.

Since then, thousands of cars dump out onto surface streets in the surrounding towns daily, causing major traffic, environmental issues, and health problems.

"It's a project that's been studied and studied and studied and that gap in 710 from Alhambra up through South Pasadena has been a real ole' struggle," says Bob Stevens, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers. "It may be a record on how long it's taken to go from building the road from both ends and having that gap that they can't get completed."

CalTrans, the state transportation agency, and the LA Metropolitan Transit Authority have offered the community several alternatives as a solution to the region’s congestion problem.

  1. A “no build,” which would leave everything the way it is right now
  2. A transportation system management and transportation demand management alternative, which means to improve the streets, traffic light timing, and other minor road fixes to get things to flow better in the “no build” condition
  3. Connecting the 710 and 210 highways by building a freeway in a tunnel
  4. Light rail
  5. A bus rapid transit alternative which uses, basically Fremont and a couple of other streets, to use a bus that would go from East LA all the way up to, I believe it ends at Cal Tech.

A draft proposal on those five alternatives is out for public comment now.

Video produced by Preditorial | www.preditorial.tv
Director and Editor: Rick Kent
Director of Photography: Anton Seim
Producer: Mimi Kent

"Black Vortex" and "Constance" Kevin MacLeod
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Tesco shoppers scrum for cheap meat

BBC - Wed, 2015-06-17 09:52
Shoppers at a Tesco store had to be told to "sit" like dogs before they scrambled for reduced price meat.

To Tackle Food Waste, Big Grocery Chain Will Sell Produce Rejects

NPR News - Wed, 2015-06-17 09:45

If fruits and vegetables don't measure up to cosmetic standards, they're often plowed under in the field. One company wants to help change that by creating a market for less-than-perfect produce.

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Whatever Happened To The Debate Over Use of Force Against ISIS?

NPR News - Wed, 2015-06-17 09:38

For months, members of Congress called on the president to seek approval for the use of military force. But when he finally did so, the climate suddenly changed.

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Chad bans face veil after bombings

BBC - Wed, 2015-06-17 09:34
Chad bans people from wearing the full-face Islamic veil, saying it is to counter militants after Monday's twin suicide bombings.

'Sex tape trio' sacked by Leicester

BBC - Wed, 2015-06-17 09:18
Leicester City sack three players who appeared to take part in a racist sex tape filmed on the club's end of season tour.

Yemeni capital hit by car bombings

BBC - Wed, 2015-06-17 09:17
A series of car bombings have hit mosques in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, causing dozens of casualties, residents and officials say.

In Combustible, Muslim Karachi, A Christian Erects A 140-Foot Cross

NPR News - Wed, 2015-06-17 09:16

Parvez Henry Gill says the cross is intended as a "symbol of peace." But in a city where sectarian violence is common, the cross could become a target. Gill acknowledges that death threats are common.

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NASA Satellites Show World's Thirst For Groundwater

NPR News - Wed, 2015-06-17 09:02

New data suggest that many regions in the world are overusing their underground water supplies. And researchers aren't sure how much remains.

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New anti-malaria compound discovered

BBC - Wed, 2015-06-17 09:00
Scientists at Dundee University develop an "exciting" new single-dose malaria drug to combat drug-resistant parasites.

US questions Iraq's IS commitment

BBC - Wed, 2015-06-17 08:53
Defence Secretary Ashton Carter questions Iraq's commitment to fighting Islamic State and criticises the availability of Iraqi military recruits.

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