National / International News

VIDEO: 'Dazzle Ship' recreated in Liverpool

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:19
During World War One, some 2,000 warships were painted in bright colours to confuse the enemy. Now the technique's been recreated.

A famous London bookstore hits back at digital trends

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:04

Amazon and the e-book have spelled doom for many bookshops, especially in the U.S. and the U.K. Hundreds have closed. But tomorrow in London, one of the world’s best known bookstores defies the trend: Foyles on Charing Cross Road is officially opening a new $60 million flagship store. Can it survive the digital onslaught?

“Some people think we’re mad. Some people think we’re very brave. Some people think we’re now going to reverse the trend back towards physical books and bricks and mortar book retailing, ” says Christopher Foyle, grandson of one of the store’s founders and the current chairman.

The early signs are encouraging. Even before the official opening, the new, four story bookshop was full of book-loving customers.

"I do love the atmosphere of bookshops... the calmness,” says Nina Muehlemann. "I feel it’s a luxury spending time here."

Simon Shaw said shopping in a book store is far more satisfying than doing it online. “It’s the serendipity of coming across something that you didn’t know you were looking for,” he said.

And Lila Burkeman spoke of her preference for the printed word: “I love books,” she said. “ I do have a computer, but there’s nothing like holding a book in your hands.”  

Some publishing industry observers claim that these physical book lovers are a vanishing breed, and that eventually e-books will command a 95 percent share of the market. But Patrick O’Brien of Verdict Retail research isn’t so sure.

“We are seeing that the e-book market is really starting to mature already.” he says. “ So we do not believe that it’s going to destroy the physical book market in the near term. We think it could end up with a 50/50 split”

Foyles is calling its new flagship store “ the traditional bookshop of the future”. Ironically, since digital technology has been eating into its business, the company has equipped the new store with state-of-the-art digital equipment – including a smartphone system for guiding customers to the book they’re looking for. Christopher Foyle believes that high-tech and tradition will prove an irresistible combination, although there is one tradition he is eager to stamp out. Such was the chaos and the clutter of the old store, such was its status as a national institution , that book stealing became endemic and even respectable.

“I’ve even got a letter in the archive from one academic gentleman who bitterly resented being prosecuted for stealing vast quantities of books. He thought it was his right – as a poor academic – it was his God-given right to steal as many books from us as he possibly could,” says Foyle.

The new store is bristling with the latest security and surveillance equipment. Technology – a threat to physical books and bookshops – is fully deployed throughout the store to combat theft.

Brazilians Greet The World Cup Kickoff With Protests And Tear Gas

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:01

In Brazil, thousands of protesters clashed with police just hours before the World Cup opening ceremony. The streets of Sao Paolo were filled with tear gas and concussion grenades.

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The Majority Leader Has Lost. Long Live The Majority Leader

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:01

Shortly after Rep. Eric Cantor's surprise defeat in the Republican primary, Cantor announced his plans to step down soon from his position as House majority leader. This will leave a void in the GOP leadership, an open spot that's sure to attract plenty of interest.

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As Iraq Comes Apart At The Seams, Washington Weighs What To Do

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:01

Grave questions face the Iraqi government, and U.S. officials are scrambling to decide what to do. The U.S. helped shape the country; is there anything it can — or would — do to keep it together?

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Baby delivered after mother stabbed

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:01
A baby whose pregnant mother was stabbed while it was still in the womb is in a critical condition in hospital.

As Militants Sweep South Across Iraq, A View From The North

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:01

A shift in power is underway in Iraq, where the jihadi group ISIS has captured several cities in a recent offensive. Jane Arraf is a reporter for Al Jazeera America, and she comments on the violence.

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Facebook Announces Plans To Sell More User Data To Advertisers

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:01

Facebook will share users' Web browsing habits with advertisers in order to help the latter target their ads more effectively. At the same time, Facebook announced a feature that allows users to see why targeted ads are coming their way.

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On The Hill, Debate Reawakens Over Tired Truckers

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:01

The accident that seriously injured comic Tracy Morgan and killed another comedian has focused attention on truck driving safety. New regulations limited the amount of overnights truckers could work, but the trucking industry and its congressional allies are trying to roll back the limits.

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Paraplegic kicks off World Cup

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 11:57
A paraplegic man has made the first kick of the World Cup using a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton.

Firms fined after girl's gate death

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 11:33
Two firms are fined a total of £110,000 after a five-year-old girl was crushed to death by an electric gate.

Tech companies don't just recruit from the Ivies

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 11:17

If you think working for a big technology  company like Microsoft, Apple or IBM, requires attending an Ivy League school first, you might want to think again.

Turns out, tech companies recruit their employees from a variety of different universities and state colleges.

 "Yahoo’s top place where it gets its workers from is actually San Jose State University," says Joanna Pearlstein, deputy managing editor at Wired Magazine. "And it’s also the top supplier of workers to  Apple."

@kairyssdal: Top schools for APM staff: U. Minn., USC, St. Olaf. NPR: U. Maryland, Berkeley, American. NY Times: NYU, Columbia, Harvard

— Joanna Pearlstein (@jopearl) June 12, 2014

Pearlstein’s research also shows that four out of five of the top universities that Microsoft is getting its employees from are located in the Washington state.

Check out Wired's breakdown of what colleges feed the big tech companies:

Luca Masud and Brittney Everett/Wired

Tech companies don't just recruit from the Ivies

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 11:17

If you think working for a big technology  company like Microsoft, Apple or IBM, requires attending an Ivy League school first, you might want to think again.

Turns out, tech companies recruit their employees from a variety of different universities and state colleges.

 "Yahoo’s top place where it gets its workers from is actually San Jose State University," says Joanna Pearlstein, deputy managing editor at Wired Magazine. "And it’s also the top supplier of workers to  Apple."

@kairyssdal: Top schools for APM staff: U. Minn., USC, St. Olaf. NPR: U. Maryland, Berkeley, American. NY Times: NYU, Columbia, Harvard

— Joanna Pearlstein (@jopearl) June 12, 2014

Pearlstein’s research also shows that four out of five of the top universities that Microsoft is getting its employees from are located in the Washington state.

Check out Wired's breakdown of what colleges feed the big tech companies:

Luca Masud and Brittney Everett/Wired

Baby ashes scandal report submitted

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 11:07
The work of the infant cremation commission has been handed over to the Scottish government and is set to be published on Tuesday.

England semi-final 'not about revenge'

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 11:03
Captain Barry Middleton says England are not thinking of revenge against Netherlands in the Hockey World Cup semi-finals.

Getting tickets for the NBA Finals is a game itself

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:47

For Miami Heat season ticket holders, the NBA Finals should be all LeBron jerseys and cocky tweets.

After all, the Heat are one of just four teams to ever play in four straight NBA Finals. And season ticket holders have first crack at snagging highly-coveted playoff tickets and buying them at a relative steal.

“The Eastern Conference Finals will generally go for anywhere from three to four times face value,” says Ayeh Ashong with Miami-based broker Tickets of America. “And the NBA Finals can go for anywhere from four to five times face value.”

Season ticket holders can cover a good chunk -- if not all -- of their expenses by selling just their conference finals and finals tickets. Depending on where NBA Finals seats are located, says Ashong, tickets can sell for anywhere from $275 to $25,000.

For a subset of season ticket holders, the playoffs becomes a complicated affair. Like a timeshare, some fans join informal season ticket pools with colleagues, friends, and friends of friends.

Ashong says at least twice a year, he turns into a counselor for group season ticket holders. There’s an extra playoff game left. Who gets to go? Should they just sell the seats and split the money?

“Oh wow, we’ve done all kinds of things,” says Ayeh Ashong with Miami-based broker Tickets of America, “from pulling straws to flipping coins.”

Perhaps the easiest way to fairly break up playoff tickets is to liquidate them all and split the profits among the group.

But many season ticket holders, like Gregg Gelber, wouldn’t dream of selling their seat to a stranger. He and six long-time friends share four season tickets. “Like everything with our group, it starts with a spreadsheet,” says Gelber, a financial advisor who keeps obsessive records of who attends which game.

For the playoffs, Gelber’s group uses a rotation system to distribute playoff seats. An order is randomly generated, and each group member gets a ticket when his name is up. Four of the seven guys go to each game this way.

Over the last four years, the group has developed a small bible of playoff-specific rules.

“Giving your ticket to anybody without prior approval is complete banishment,” says Gelber. “Immediately.”

Group members are also prohibited from selling their ticket. “If you can’t go, you can offer to trade. If that is rejected... it goes to the next person automatically,” says Gelber.

In Gelber’s rotation system, all of the group members have the same chances of getting any given ticket. That is one way to think about “fairness.”

But there’s at least one other way. “A property that mathematicians call ‘envy free-ness,’” says Mike Rosenthal, who teaches math at Florida International University.

Rosenthal suggests splitting up season tickets with a method that originated as a way to divvy up an estate when no will had been written:  the Knaster system.

“[It] was developed during World War II,” says Rosenthal, “by a Polish Mathematician: Bronisław Knaster.”

Using the Knaster system, each ticket holder would write down what a given game is worth to them. The person who values a game most gets the ticket, but has to reimburse the other members for not going.

And then there’s the Peltz family system. Which is to say no system, really.

The Peltzs have owned a pair of Heat season tickets for about two decades, since their kids were just babies. Now that the Heat are a regular fixture in the Finals, and the kids are adults, there’s a good deal of jostling for use of the family seats.

The youngest son, Jonathan Peltz, used to strategically pass on earlier playoff games to claim the rights to later, more important playoff games.

Last year, Jonathan and his brother Moish were all set to go to one of the first two finals games against the Spurs. At the last second, his sister Maxine booked a flight home from New York.

“Like literally 24 hours notice,” says Jonathan.

Word came down that Maxine would get to go to the game instead of Jonathan.

“I mean I wish I didn't have to play that card,” says Maxine, “I would have rather been here for all of the playoff games.”

“It’s like a corporation,” says Jonathan, “She’s like: I cleared it with mom. So it’s like then she doesn’t have to ask me.”

Explicit texts were exchanged. A livid Jonathan, at some point, had to be talked down while pacing and fuming. Maxine considered canceling her flight and not coming home.

“[Jonathan] was really mad at me,” says Maxine, “and I was like: this is World War III in the Peltz family.”

Their dad, Arvin Peltz, says at this point he’s essentially given up on ever using the family tickets.

This article includes comments from the Public Insight Network, an online community of people who have agreed to share their opinions with WLRNA version of this article also ran on WLRN.

US screen legend Ruby Dee dies

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:41
The actress, civil rights activist and wife to Ossie Davis died at her home in New York on Wednesday, her family reported.

What is the point of a COO? A CEO? A CVO? A CKO?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:37

The COO. Chief Operating Officer. What, exactly, does that even mean? What do COOs do?

Mostly, they do what CEOs don't have time to do – the menial toil of running the company, whether it's marketing and sales or research and development.  It's different for every company.  Often though, the COO studies to be the next CEO. Having a COO is a way of training, evaluating and grooming a future CEO.

But COOs are a dying breed. Since 2000, the percentage of S&P 500 and Fortune 500 companies with COO positions has shrunk from 49 percent to 35 percent. Many companies, according to executive placement firm CristKolder, are realizing that these duties can increasingly be taken on by chief financial officers, who aren’t as limited to numbers knowledge as they were in previous eras.

By Shea Huffman

"C-suite" or "C-level" refers to the highest-level executives at a company, taking their name from the three-letter initials starting with "C" that make up their titles. The most familiar such positions are chief executive officer (CEO), chief operations officer (COO) and chief financial officer (CFO). Such titles usually tell you who holds the power in different organizations, but recent trends, especially in the start-up scene, have all sorts of C-suite officers popping up that have some wondering what their titles actually mean.

Here are five C-suite titles we've found that seem a bit unusual in name at first, but might (or might not) make some sense once you figure out what they do.

Chief Agility Officer

Sounds like an executive for a clan of ninjas, or the self-given title of a football coach. Alas, the "agility" this title refers to is the corporate variety, not the physical. This one is technically a proposed position, but it derives its moniker from the growing agility movement, a corporate philosophy that emphasizes eschewing a rules-based work process in favor of an organization that is highly responsive to change. The chief agility officer, in that sense, is "tasked with creating and nurturing an Agile culture that pervades the whole organization."

Chief Knowledge Officer

Did the head librarian decide her title wasn't exciting enough? No, this officer is actually a fairly common position to see these days in companies like advertising firms, legal firms or even NASA. A chief knowledge officer is typically in charge of research and analytics for her company, gathering information on technology, customer relationships and successful business practices. They're also usually in charge of formulating and executing whatever strategic company-wide goals an organization wants to strive for, and to make sure they don't lose that knowledge after achieving a success; basically remembering what worked best. If it sounds similar to the more common chief information officer, that's because they do pretty much the same thing, but with different buzzwords. But CKOs totally swear they're different and you shouldn't get rid of them.

Chief Networking Officer

A networking officer sounds like a position a fraternity would cook up for setting up parties with all the popular sororities. CNOs are often favored by ad agencies and consulting firms, and are in charge of well, networking; they connect people and businesses within their companies with people and businesses outside their companies. The position can have some overlap with a chief marketing officer, but with less of a focus on sales and customer service, and more of a focus on communicating between offices and setting up those boring team-building exercises you always skip. A chief networking officer can also refer to a technical executive in charge of computer networking strategy, which arguably makes more sense.

Chief Visionary Officer

In the land of vague titles and start-up companies with unclear purposes, the chief visionary officer is king (or queen). Or really, they advise the king or queen (the CEO) on which direction to take the company. As the title can be used to formalize an advising position, the CVO is typically a high-ranking executive who performs executive duties, but with added responsibilities of creating a forward vision for the company, especially if they are operating in a fairly new industry. Internet pioneer Einar Stefferud is ususally recognized as the first CVO.

Chief Electrification Officer

If this one sounds like a title from the early 1900s that refers to the person who kept the all the lights on, that's because that's exactly what it is. Not normally used anymore in developed countries, the electrification officer was responsible for managing the electrical generating and distribution systems at companies during the beginnings of electrification in industry. The title still pops up occasionally in developing countries that still lack universal electricity. It also makes for a pretty cool title for the co-founder of a solar power start-up.

78-year-old dies in Newry road crash

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:27
A 78-year-old woman dies in a two vehicle road collision on the Warrenpoint Road in Newry.

Pentagon Says Bergdahl En Route To Texas

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:24

The U.S. Army sergeant held hostage for five years in Afghanistan has left a hospital in Germany aboard a U.S. military plane destined for San Antonio, Tex.

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