National / International News

Wilfork helps rescue trapped woman

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-20 02:35
New England Patriots star Vince Wilfork rescues a woman from a car crash after helping his side reach the Super Bowl.

Boy linked to hospital sex attacks

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-20 02:28
A teenage boy is reported to prosecutors in connection with sexual assaults on two female members of staff at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Xbox, Sony hackers hit by hack attack

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-20 02:26
Hacking group Lizard Squad has been hit by an embarrassing attack that exposed the entire database of people who signed up to use its services.

Argentine death sparks protests

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-20 02:24
Thousands of Argentines take to the streets of Buenos Aires to demand a probe into Sunday's death of federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

Deadly Congo clashes over Kabila

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-20 02:23
Four people are killed in protests in DR Congo over claims that President Joseph Kabila is seeking to extend his rule by delaying next year's elections.

Scottish Power to cut gas prices

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-20 02:19
Scottish Power becomes the third major gas supplier to announce a price cut, with the news it is to reduce prices by 4.8% from 20 February.

India's tiger population up 30%

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-20 02:16
India hails a "huge success" in tiger conservation as the latest census shows a population increase of 30% since 2011.

Serena overcomes second-set wobble

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-20 02:09
Serena Williams comes through her opening match plus wins for Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka and quotes of the day.

Anscombe in Wales Six Nations squad

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-20 02:08
Cardiff Blues fly-half Gareth Anscombe is in Warren Gatland's Six Nations squad, but there is no James Hook or Adam Jones.

The unending race to make the fastest supercomputer

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-01-20 02:00

Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory may once again be home to the world’s fastest supercomputer. It held the title in 2012, but only kept it for six months — then a computer in China took the top spot. But the U.S. recently put aside more than $400 million to stay in the race.

The supercomputer at Oak Ridge, called Titan, is the size of a basketball court and sounds like a jet engine. It can make 27 quadrillion — that’s 27 followed by 15 zeros — calculations per second.

“It’s almost like it’s alive,” says Buddy Bland, director of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility. “It has a pulse to it. You can feel it in your body when you walk in the room.”

These kinds of machines are used to do incredibly complex simulations of real-world things, such as analyzing weather patterns over time or predicting new chemical combinations in drugs. Faster computers mean more scientific breakthroughs.

Like any computer, whether it's a Titan or your personal laptop, it will be basically obsolete in a few years, Bland says.

“Because we can go out and buy a new machine for less than it costs to pay the maintenance of the old machine,” he says.

The U.S. has been a leader in supercomputing for decades, and staying up-to-date and ahead of the pack is pricy. Oak Ridge’s next computer, called Summit, could cost up to $280 million.

Yet Congress has funded supercomputing with gusto. In November, the Department of Energy pledged $425 million to help build Summit and a computer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., says it’s a priority that stretches across party lines.

“This is a case where the Obama administration and I and others in Congress since 2008 have had the same goal: We wanted double funding for supercomputing,” he says.

Alexander gives two reasons: First, national security — some federally funded machines manage the country’s nuclear weapons.

Second, private companies can apply for time on the computers to develop products more quickly. For example, Procter and Gamble has used Oak Ridge’s Titan to research how  skin might react to its products.

And then there’s something that has nonmonetary value: pride.

“It’s like being number one in football,” Alexander says. “We like the idea of having the fastest supercomputer in the world, and we have had that at Oak Ridge.”

Summit is expected to go live in 2017, but Oak Ridge isn’t calling it the fastest yet — by that time, some other country may be building one that’s even faster.

 

Closing the loophole on a tax advantage

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-01-20 02:00

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama will urge what is now a Republican senate and a Republican house to dump what the President sees as a loophole that allows the wealthiest of American families to pass on a big tax advantage to their heirs.

Along with raising capital gains taxes for some in the higher brackets, the idea is to use the money to let low income people keep $500 a year of their money when both spouses work, and among other things, to help families with under five years olds pay for child care. But let's start with a closer look at this trust fund business.  

Click the media player above to hear finance reporter David Cay Johnston in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio.

Can community colleges cope with being free?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-01-20 02:00

President Barack Obama is expected to give a big boost to community colleges in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. The President has proposed making tuition at two-year public colleges free for students in good standing. If the proposal passes Congress—and that’s a big if—can community colleges handle a surge in students?  

Click the media player above to hear more.

The race to make the fastest supercomputer

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-01-20 02:00

Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory may once again be home to the world’s fastest supercomputer. It was in 2012, but that title only lasted six months — then a computer in China took the top spot. But the U.S. recently put aside more than $400 million to keep itself in the race.

The supercomputer at Oak Ridge right now, called Titan, is the size of a basketball court and sounds like a jet engine. It can make 27 quadrillion — that’s 27 followed by 15 zeros — calculations per second.

“It’s almost like it’s alive,” says Buddy Bland, director of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility. “It has a pulse to it. You can feel it in your body when you walk in the room.”

These kinds of machines are used to do incredibly complex simulations of real-world things, such as analyzing weather patterns over time or predicting new chemical combinations in drugs. Faster computers mean more scientific breakthroughs.

But Bland says like any computer, whether it’s Titan or your personal laptop, will be basically obsolete in a few years.

“Because we can go out and buy a new machine for less than it costs to pay the maintenance of the old machine,” he says.

The U.S. has been a leader in supercomputing for decades, and staying up-to-date and ahead of the pack is pricy. Oak Ridge’s next computer, called Summit, could cost up to $280 million.

Yet Congress has funded supercomputing with gusto. In November, the Department of Energy pledged $425 million to help build Summit and a computer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) says it’s a priority that stretches across party lines.

“This is a case where the Obama administration and I and others in Congress since 2008 have had the same goal: We wanted to double funding for supercomputing,” he says.

Alexander gives two reasons: First, national security — some federally funded machines manage the country’s nuclear weapons.

Second, private companies can apply for time on the computers to develop products more quickly. For example, Procter and Gamble has used Oak Ridge’s Titan to research how the skin might react to its products.

And then there’s something that has non-monetary value: pride.

“It’s like being number one in football,” Alexander says. “We like the idea of having the fastest supercomputer in the world, and we have had that at Oak Ridge.”

Summit is expected to go live in 2017, but Oak Ridge isn’t calling it the fastest yet — By that time, some other country may be building one that’s even faster.

 

Gasoline prices are all over the map

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-01-20 02:00

You hear about the average national gasoline price, but it’s often different from the station down the block. So why are prices so inconsistent from station to station, not to mention state to state?

A gallon of gasoline costs about 50 percent more in New York than Missouri. Taxes vary by as much as 35 cents a gallon, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Geography plays a role, too. States like Missouri and Oklahoma are near lots of refineries, and those refineries have pipeline access to cheaper crude supplies from the U.S. and Canada. Finally, state and local regulations produce many different varieties of gasoline, with different ethanol blends, octane requirements and emissions standards. 

 

Aldi heirs win art dealer damages

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-20 01:54
The heirs to the Aldi supermarket empire in Germany win €19m in damages in a civil case over an art dealer's purchase of paintings and cars.

Dog in sinkhole 'ok', says golf club

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-20 01:51
A golf club receives concerned requests from pet owners about the fate of a dog photographed in a sinkhole that appeared on its course.

Gordon Ramsay loses court battle

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-20 01:48
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay loses a High Court battle over being held personally liable for the rent on a London pub he bought.

Teacher dies after sledging accident

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-20 01:42
A woman who was seriously injured in a sledging accident in Glasgow's Kelvingrove Park at the weekend dies in hospital.

How Melbourne made Amelie Mauresmo

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-20 01:39
Controversy, coming out and career-defining moments - why a return to the Australian Open holds no fear for Amelie Mauresmo.

Bahraini opposition leader charged

BBC - Tue, 2015-01-20 01:35
Bahraini opposition leader Ali Salman will go on trial next week on charges of "promoting political change using illegal forceful means and threats".

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