National / International News

Amazingly, Congress Actually Got Something Done

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-26 14:15

The leaders and members must, in a word, compromise. And on this occasion, Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi did just that, with skill and savvy.

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France 1-3 Brazil

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 14:13
Brazil record their seventh win since their 2014 World Cup humiliation as they come from behind to beat France in Paris.

Australia gets controversial data law

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 13:55
The Australian Senate approves legislation requiring internet and mobile phone providers to store customers' metadata for two years.

Big Shelves of Antarctic Ice Melting Faster Than Scientists Thought

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-26 13:32

The shrinking of ice at the ocean's edge in the West Antarctic has increased by 70 percent over the past decade, an analysis of satellite images suggests.

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Think Nobody Wants To Buy Ugly Fruits And Veggies? Think Again

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-26 13:26

Remember that old movie trope, in which the mousy girl takes off her glasses to reveal she was a beauty all along? A similar scenario is playing out among food waste fighters in the world of produce.

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Church Of Scientology Calls New HBO Documentary 'Bigoted'

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-26 13:20

The filmmaker says Going Clear, harshly critical of the Church of Scientology, is about the dangers of "blind faith." The church has hit back with an aggressive public relations effort of its own.

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How Much Does Cancer Cost Us?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-26 13:00

We asked people on Facebook to share their stories about coping with the cost of cancer care. See what they told us. Also, test your knowledge of cancer costs with a quiz.

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Building collapses in New York blast

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 12:43
Emergency services are on the scene of a major fire and partial building collapse in New York City.

Dark matter flits through collisions

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 12:31
A long-running study shows dark matter coasts unscathed through galactic collisions, betraying a ghostly lack of interaction with the known Universe.

Yemen leader Hadi enters Saudi Arabia

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 12:12
Yemen's President Hadi arrives in the Saudi capital Riyadh, as Saudi Arabia continues air strikes against Shia Houthi rebels.

A Fraying Promise: Exploring Race And Inequality In Havana

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-26 12:02

One of the revolution's core promise was an egalitarian society. But as Cuba opens up, one of the unintended consequences may be more inequality.

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Premier League to share £1bn

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 12:00
Premier League clubs have agreed to share at least £1bn of their record TV rights deal with English football.

River health revealed in 'shocking' figures

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 11:47
Just 17% of England's rivers are judged to be in good health, according to "shocking" figures

Critic Faults Alcoholics Anonymous For Lack Of Evidence

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-26 11:38

Writer Gabrielle Glaser challenges the usefulness of Alcoholics Anonymous in April's issue of The Atlantic. The program's tenets aren't based in science, she says, and other options may work better.

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VIDEO: BBC makes blooper over Clarke 'sex'

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 11:33
Australia captain Michael Clarke is inadvertently asked about sex by a BBC Sport journalist following his side's World Cup semi-final win over India.

Is Colorado Primed To Become The Silicon Valley Of Agriculture?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-26 11:29

Colorado's food and ag industries have been growing two to four times faster than the state's economy overall. Economists are getting ever more hopeful about cornering the market on ag innovation.

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Rooney wary of building up Kane

BBC - Thu, 2015-03-26 11:25
England captain Wayne Rooney has warned against putting too much pressure on fellow striker Harry Kane.

Ebola Is Not Mutating As Fast As Scientists Feared

NPR News - Thu, 2015-03-26 11:21

Many people have worried that Ebola could evolve into a more deadly virus — or start spreading through the air. A study published Thursday alleviates these concerns.

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FanDuel: Where fantasy draft day is everyday

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-26 11:18

What if you could combine sports with instant gratification and make some money, while you're at it – all while never having to leave the comfort of your own home.

Generally speaking, you can't bet on sports online in this country. But what you can do is pick your favorite players and set up a fantasy team, where your win-loss record is based on how those players do in real life, not their teams, and make some money that way.

"It’s a game of skill, so you compete with other people in drafting teams," says Nigel Eccles, co-founder and CEO of FanDuel.

Well, 41 million people in the U.S and Canada are doing just that. Fantasy sports has become a different kind of national past time.

However, FanDuel is not your ordinary fantasy sports site. Most fantasy sports leagues can drag on for six-months and require a lot of commitment. And if a user drafts lousy players onto their team, the joy and interest in playing is usually gone by week four or five.

FanDuel is like the fantasy sports site for the non-committed. Users can play for one day or a weekend, whenever they’d like. In the fourth quarter of last year, FanDuel had over one million paying users. 

"The game is great like that because some people love sports, they love basketball, but they are never going to be committed enough to play a seasonal fantasy basketball league. And with this you’re just committing to one evening," Eccles says. 

 

Live-streaming comes to the smartphone era

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-03-26 11:14

Twitter wants us to spend more time live-streaming our lives. Their new broadcasting app Periscope went live today.

Acquired by Twitter for $100 million in January, the app allows users to live stream video from their smart phones (iOS only, for now). Interested viewers who don't catch the stream live can replay it later.

That follows what may prove to be the flash-in-the-pan success of Meerkat, which does the same thing but isn't owned by Twitter, a possibly insurmountable obstacle. Plus, Meerkat more closely resembles Snapchat: Once the stream is offline, it's gone, not to be viewed again. 

The concept of the live stream isn't new, says Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson. Sites like Ustream have been a mainstay of conferences, lectures and festivals for years. But this crop of new apps make it incredibly easy to turn a smartphone into a live broadcast device. One consequence is the increased ability to share moments of idleness or boredom. 

Another app, YouNow, is a streaming and chat service that boasts, among other things, a hashtag called #SleepSquad. Yes, watching people as they sleep. And there's a tip system, too, so conceivably, paying to watch people sleep. 

"It's curious and creepy," Johnson says. "This is the weird, Wild West days of live streaming on your mobile phone and being able to interact with people. Which is cool — but where's the money?"

Beyond the tips passed around YouNow, Twitter's Periscope and Meerkat will eventually seek ways to monetize. The site to watch for clues is Twitch, the video game streaming platform that Amazon acquired for $1.1 billion in 2014. There, gamers can broadcast and watch others. Banter, consistency, level of play, and yes, even production values, boost viewership here. Twitch's top broadcasters gain significant followings, and in some cases advertising and fans' financial support. 

"Here's a number: 20 million. That's the number of viewers who watched the live stream of a video game in the first week it was released on Twitch, last year," Johnson says, adding that YouTube is reportedly developing its own video game streaming service. 

These companies are betting that the growth in interest and viewership around live streaming will draw more advertisers as well. But while live streams can be intimate and personal, they are also unpredictable.

One potential consequence: a resurgence in swatting, where viewers contact 911 with a false gun or bomb threat, to direct SWAT teams to that player's house. 

"For a hacker, they want to be able to play this prank on someone and have — in some cases — 55,000 people watching this guy get thrown on the ground by police," Johnson said. 

No advertiser wants their banner ad plastered over a gamer in handcuffs, and so may stay away from potentially lucrative but chaotic streaming channels. In an interview with Twitch CEO Emmett Shear, Johnson asked whether the company plans to add additional controls.

"The key thing for us is cooperating with law enforcement," Shear said, adding, "Secondly, you know, honestly, not talking about it too much, because I think that there's a negative impact from giving too much attention to people who are honestly seeking attention by doing this."

Not talking about how this content may be moderated or controlled isn't a solution. So while there's growth and interest in live streaming, as well as money to be made, there are potential downsides — and etiquette — to be worked out. 

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