National / International News

Why does Alex Salmond make speeches in England?

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 03:09
What's the point of Alex Salmond making speeches in England?

The GOP Now Likes Community Organizing (If It Wins Elections)

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-17 03:09

Yes, Republicans plan to use technology to get out voters in the midterms much like President Obama used it in 2012. But he was Sputnik to their planned moon landing, an official said.

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BBC News to cut a further 415 jobs

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 03:00
The BBC's News department is to axe 415 jobs as cost-cutting measures continue, says director of news and current affairs James Harding.

PODCAST: Microsoft's big firing

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-17 03:00

First up, more on the motivation behind Microsoft's announcement that it will layoff as many as 18,000 employees by the end of the year. Plus, a new report from Bloomberg Businessweek looks at malware that was hacked into the Nasdaq computer in 2010, most likely by Russians

PODCAST: Microsoft's big firing

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-17 03:00

First up, more on the motivation behind Microsoft's announcement that it will layoff as many as 18,000 employees by the end of the year. Plus, a new report from Bloomberg Businessweek looks at malware that was hacked into the Nasdaq computer in 2010, most likely by Russians

That perfect 'Seinfeld' episode about cable companies

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-17 03:00

Even though I got it, I never really got the "Seinfeld" Plaza Cable gag fully until I moved to New York City.

In my first apartment, I remember that even getting the cable installed and trying to start to pay the cable guy real money every month felt like an epic right of passage. That 1996 episode of television -- airing a decade before I even came to the city -- became, like so many "Seinfeld" depictions, a chrystalized experience in an ever-changing city. Watching it now nearly ten more years later, it remains pitch perfect. Just watch this and tell me you can't relate. I dare you. 


The weird 4-hour appointments, the long hold times on the phone, the grumpy dude in the van -- it's all there. Kramer as the everyman is exactly as he should be: Incredulous at a seemingly arbitrary and faceless bureacracy, righteous in his indignation, and happy to "stick it to the man," even when the man is of course a real person with real feelings.

It is actually really elegant how the roles are flipped. The cable guy becomes the powerless person waiting around as his blood is brought slowly to boil. Kramer is what we percieve the cable company to be: Snickering behind a peephole and messing with us while taking advantage because there's really not much we can do about it.

This has been an interesting week for media and cable companies. Rupert Murdoch's $80 billion bid for Time Warner is almost just a rumble behind the awkward sound of that customer service call between an Engagdget editor and a Comcast customer service agent. In a veritable monster mix of smash hits, it's the latest and greatest viral example proving the cable company is pretty much the worst at dealing with its customers.

Comcast is currently on a full court press for its unprecedented merger with Time Warner Cable -- Which, by the way, just sent me the most rediculous letter congratulating me on my newly-reduced-but-still-more-than-I've-been-paying rate. And at the same time from Reddit to The New Yorker, the company is also this week's modern stand-in for Seinfeld's Plaza Cable. 

The fact that the jokes are still relevant is what's really disturbing. In "Seinfeld," the cable guy apologizes through the door, and Kramer, moved, rolls back the deadbolt. They hug. What could be better? A truce between customer and company, a promise to do better, and a regonition of the humanity and hardships on both sides.

I think I prefer the TV show to real life. "Seinfeld," at least, has a happy ending.

VIDEO: An airline black box in 'the cloud'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 02:57
Earlier this year Malaysian Flight 370 disappeared without trace. Soon, proposals will be set out to ensure that never again can an aircraft vanish.

Wedding venue fined after trip death

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 02:57
A wedding venue is fined £20,000 after a guest tripped, broke his neck and died because its patio lights were not working.

India six-year-old 'raped in school'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 02:55
A six-year-old schoolgirl is allegedly raped by two staff members at a school in the southern city of Bangalore, the latest such attack in India.

VIDEO: Japan's Mount Fuji made out of rice

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 02:54
Artists in Japan use a paddy field measuring 140m by 100m to create a giant scene from a legend about Mount Fuji using different coloured rice plants.

French leader in West Africa tour

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 02:51
The French president begins a three-day visit to West Africa, likely to be dominated by security and fostering economic ties, in Ivory Coast.

Mortars Rock A Shaky 5-Hour Truce Between Hamas And Israel

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-17 02:51

Israel and Hamas agreed to hold their fire for five hours, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. local time, for humanitarian reasons. But the peace was marred by a mortar attack around noon.

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'Grave concerns' over M4 relief road

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 02:38
Serious questions about the Welsh government's decision to build a £1bn M4 relief road around Newport are raised by an assembly committee report due out next week.

Rosberg must alter World Cup helmet

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 02:27
Nico Rosberg is forced to change the design of a helmet he was planning to wear to celebrate Germany's World Cup win.

Ban B&Bs for care leavers, say MPs

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 02:06
Young adults leaving the care system in England should be provided with regulated accommodation and not placed in bed and breakfasts, say MPs.

AUDIO: Stirling Prize 'goes beyond aesthetics'

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 02:06
Julia Barfield discusses the Stirling Prize shortlist for architecture, which includes the Shard skyscraper and London Aquatics Centre.

VIDEO: Runners named for architecture prize

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 02:03
Shortlist for this year's Stirling Prize, which recognises Britain's best new architecture, is announced

Car theft dog found tied to pole

BBC - Thu, 2014-07-17 02:00
A dog that was inside a car which was stolen in East Dunbartonshire is found tied to a pole.

Students experiment in zero-gravity

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-17 02:00

This week, a group of students are heading to NASA's Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program. True to its name, the program puts particpants in a plane that flies up and down, approximating zero gravity so the young scientists can do their work. 

Ish Sanchez, who is studying Mechanical Engineering at San Jose State University, is one such student participating in the program. He says being in an environment without gravity is profoundly different from the typical human experience.

“Your whole outlook on life -- up until the point when you experience zero gravity -- is completely shifted,” says Sanchez. “There’s no up and down, there’s no side walls. The mere act of pushing a button can send you off in another direction.”

The group wants to study particles created in potential in-space manufacturing or asteroid mining operations — The experiment will cut some carbon fiber rods and observe the different particle trajectories from cutting in zero gravity.

Though after this round of experiments, there may be a failure to launch -- The program is being cancelled due to budgetary constraints after this flight.

Students experiment in zero-gravity

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-17 02:00

This week, a group of students are heading to NASA's Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program. True to its name, the program puts particpants in a plane that flies up and down, approximating zero gravity so the young scientists can do their work. 

Ish Sanchez, who is studying Mechanical Engineering at San Jose State University, is one such student participating in the program. He says being in an environment without gravity is profoundly different from the typical human experience.

“Your whole outlook on life -- up until the point when you experience zero gravity -- is completely shifted,” says Sanchez. “There’s no up and down, there’s no side walls. The mere act of pushing a button can send you off in another direction.”

The group wants to study particles created in potential in-space manufacturing or asteroid mining operations — The experiment will cut some carbon fiber rods and observe the different particle trajectories from cutting in zero gravity.

Though after this round of experiments, there may be a failure to launch -- The program is being cancelled due to budgetary constraints after this flight.

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