National / International News

Jewish fears for safety in wake of Paris attacks

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 16:10
The Paris attacks were a grim reminder that anti-Semitism appears to be on the rise in Europe, says Caroline Wyatt.

Why can't the UK build 240,000 houses a year?

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 16:07
Why can't the UK build 240,000 houses a year?

Indian house crow invades Mombasa

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 16:04
Mombasa's chicken farmers and restaurants battle avian invasion

Anderson admits doubts after Hughes

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 15:53
England's James Anderson says he does not know how bowling again will feel after the death of batsman Phillip Hughes.

Cancer funding fears, and the 'train that's always late'

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 15:36
Fears that the life expectancy of thousands of cancer patients could be affected by spending curbs feature in Tuesday's papers. And there's news of a train service that was late for an entire year.

Which island gave Gotze three votes?

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 15:22
BBC Sport takes a look at the surprising and quirky elements of the Ballon d'Or as Cristiano Ronaldo is crowned winner.

So is cancer mostly 'bad luck' or not?

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 15:22
Were the headlines wrong to suggest most cancer is bad luck?

Eight biggest takeaways from CES 2015

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-01-12 15:19

Here are the big takeaways from last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In all, it was a nerd’s paradise.

1. Drones!

For the first time, drones got their own section of the floor at the Consumer Electronics Show—thanks partly to projections by the Consumer Electronics Association that the category will post 50 percent growth in sales this year, to about $103 million. Most drone makers showed  small- and medium-sized machines for consumers and hobbyists.  But China-based Harwar, displayed imposing, large commercial-grade drones that cost $15,000, can fly 15,000 feet, and weigh five pounds.

2. Gesture Control

Electronics companies are working hard to alter how we interact with technology: forget keyboards and mice, think hand gestures.  Laptops with gesture control, powered by Intel’s new 3-D technology, will hit  stores within weeks. Farther into the future, look for gesture control  in cars. VW was showing some of that off.  And Razer showed virtual-reality goggles that let gamers interact with screens using just their hands — no gloves required.

3. No Control

We all know automakers are  more deeply integrating smartphones, apps and tablets into their cars. Next up, smarter cars. BMW showed a video demonstration in which a car, communicating via a Samsung smartwatch, turns itself on, drives through a parking garage and locates its owner. Nvidia is working on a cloud-based smart learning system for cars, so they can warn each other about road signs, people and other objects.

4. Talk to Me

The “Internet of things” was a very buzzy CES term. These are products that connect everyday objects in the home via processors, sensors, and Bluetooth or other Internet connections. All that’s needed now is standard platforms, designs, technologies, and coding languages, so that products can be made to work with any ecosystem in the future.

5. Super Televisions

Samsung rolled out a new digital platform, Tizen, which is supposed allow for better connectivity between the TV, the Internet, streaming services, and, eventually, connected home devices. Meanwhile, Sony hitched its wagon to the Android TV platform with the same goals in mind. The two companies also announced new 4K televisions, known interchangeably – if not completely accurately – as Ultra High Definition TV. The technology for 4k, which upgrades a typical 2 million-pixel HD TV screen into an 8 million-pixel TV screen, has been around for a couple of years. But the price has begun to come down, and more players are entering the market. The sector is expected to double its business in 2015 to $4.9 billion in revenue, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

6. Streaming TV

Buried in all the new technology and gadgets was fairly big news from the pay-TV world. Dish Network announced its Internet-only, streaming-only TV offering, which will include many cable channels – even ESPN, hadn’t previously signed on with other streaming services. All for just $20 a month.

7. Just Wear It

Sales of wearable technology will grow 474 percent, this year, to $3.1 billion, says the Consumer Electronics Association. Much of that is being fueled by the expected debut of Apple’s smartwatch later this year. The show, though, had no shortage of smartwatches, digital bracelets and other fitness and health gadgets. There was even a baby thermometer in the form of a patch that can provide constant monitoring and app-based reporting on the baby’s temperature. One of the challenges facing wearables, though, is the availability of censors, which are mostly designed to work in mobile devices. Wearables need more durable, less power consuming sensors. And there aren’t enough of those right now.

8. Charge It!

Looking for better cell-phone charging technology? It’s coming. How about bolting a device to the bottom of your desk that turns the entire surface into a charging station? “The vision here is that we will eventually have the ability to charge your device everywhere,” says Kamil Grajski, President and Board Chairman of A4WP, the Alliance for Wireless Power.

We can’t wait.

How low will petrol prices fall?

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 15:18
With the cost of crude oil falling, how low will petrol prices go?

Your tennis racquet can't be too good

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 15:17
Why tennis technology can only go so far

VIDEO: Serving up a tennis advantage?

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 15:17
How much advantage can new technology give to players in tennis, a sport where skill and tenacity count for so much.

Car firms take on the tech giants

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 15:16
Car firms take on the tech giants

End election deposits, says watchdog

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 15:10
The £500 deposit required to stand in a general election should be scrapped as it is an "unreasonable" barrier for potential candidates, the Electoral Commission says.

VIDEO: Rival protests on Dresden streets

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 15:09
Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West (Pegida) have marched through Dresden.

MPs to press for Iraq report debate

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 15:07
A cross-party group of MPs calls for a Commons debate so they can push for publication of the long-awaited inquiry into the Iraq war.

The goats fighting America's plant invasion

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 15:00
Eating-machines enjoying a US smorgasbord of invasive plants

VIDEO: China censors period drama cleavage

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 14:57
China's most popular television drama has been re-edited to get rid of the plunging necklines featured in the show.

VIDEO: Mercedes boss: Car as smartphone on wheels

BBC - Mon, 2015-01-12 14:41
Samira Hussein speaks to Dr Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz about autonomous vehicles, and cars becoming smartphones on wheels.

'Smart' devices used to hunt for water leaks

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-01-12 14:32

Trillions of gallons of water are lost to leakage and bursts from pipeline utilities worldwide each year.

Amanda Little wrote a feature about the conservation efforts of one man, Amir Peleg, for Bloomberg Businessweek. Peleg is an entrepreneur who started TaKaDu, a water network management company that tracks leaks in pipes using data collected by sensors.

Little points out that the U.S. probably won’t be implementing anything like this for a while. “Utilities have very little incentive to implant these smart sensors in their networks and sort of absorb the costs of that,” she says.

TaKaDu primarily works with desert countries, or countries that have been experiencing drought conditions for decades. In those places, their pricing structures penalize water use. This differs from water use in the United States, which Peleg refers to as “all-you-can-eat water.”

Little describes a difference in attitude towards water: “There has been this consciousness in Israel and actually much of the world, that water is a life-or-death issue. It is the wellspring of their economy, and for that matter, their national security. Wars have been fought around water for thousands of years. In the U.S., we’re really only just beginning to develop this sort of consciousness around water.”

“This is a story about technology and a technological shift but it’s really a story about a changing of consciousness,” she says.

Quick facts about water:  

  • 8.6 trillion gallons of water worldwide are lost to leaks each year.
  • For every $1 spent on reducing water leaks, $5 worth of water can be saved.
  • 30-35 percent of water pumped through the pipelines of utilities worldwide is lost to leaks and bursts.

You can read Amanda Little’s piece, Israel’s Water Ninja, in its entirety online.

One man's water technology watershed moment

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-01-12 14:32

Trillions of gallons of water are lost to leakage and bursts from pipeline utilities worldwide each year.

Amanda Little wrote a feature about the conservation efforts of one man, Amir Peleg, for Bloomberg Businessweek. Peleg is an entrepreneur who started TaKaDu, a water network management company that tracks leaks in pipes using data collected by sensors.

Little points out that the U.S. probably won’t be implementing anything like this for a while. “Utilities have very little incentive to implant these smart sensors in their networks and sort of absorb the costs of that,” she says.

TaKaDu primarily works with desert countries, or countries that have been in drought conditions for decades. In those places, their pricing structures penalize water use. This differs from water use in the United States, which Peleg refers to as “all-you-can-eat water.”

Little describes a difference in attitude towards water: “There has been this consciousness in Israel and actually much of the world, that water is a life or death issue. It is the wellspring of their economy, and for that matter, their national security. Wars have been fought around water for thousands of years. In the US, we’re really only just beginning to develop this sort of consciousness around water.”

“This is a story about technology and a technological shift but it’s really a story about a changing of consciousness,” she says.

Quick facts about water:  

  • 8.6 trillion gallons of water worldwide are lost to leaks each year
  • For every $1 spent on reducing water leaks, $5 worth of water can be saved
  • 30-35 percent of water pumped through the pipelines of utilities worldwide is lost to leaks and bursts

You can read Amanda Little’s piece, Israel’s Water Ninja, in its entirety online.

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