National / International News

The eight tribes of vinyl collector

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 17:29
The 8 tribes of people who keep buying records

Shannon Airport: A curious history of celebrity visitors

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 17:26
The airport that hosted a roll-call of presidents

10 things we didn't know last week

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 17:17
Rhea birds can be extremely dangerous, and more nuggets from the week's news.

Cheaper stamps if Scots go it alone?

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 17:13
Will stamps get cheaper if Scots go it alone?

Ferry disaster captain arrested

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 17:13
The captain of a South Korean ferry that sank this week leaving hundreds of people missing is arrested, along with two crew members.

Welby talks of gay marriage struggle

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 17:00
The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks of the Church of England's struggle to do "what is right" over the divisive issue of same-sex marriage.

US raises Ukraine pressure on Russia

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 16:49
The US threatens tougher economic sanctions if Russia fails to abide by a new international deal to help de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine.

Top 10 Tips: Susanne du Toit

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 15:46
Portrait painter Susanne du Toit on being an artist

Highland clans celebrate anniversary

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 15:30
Clan members from northern and western Highlands are expected to attend an anniversary celebration in Inverness which will also help mark this year's Homecoming festival.

Airport boss hits out at state aid

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 15:28
The chief executive of Edinburgh Airport hits out at state support for other airports for "distorting" competition.

Chlorine: From toxic chemical to household cleaner

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 15:26
The element that makes a familiar smell when mixed with urine

VIDEO: Boy in hospital with severe burns

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 15:21
A seven-year-old boy is hospital in Aberdeen with serious burns

A Journey Of Pain And Beauty: On Becoming Transgender In India

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 15:12

Abhina Aher is a member of the country's storied, yet marginalized, transgender community. Last week, the India's highest court legally recognized the group as a new gender — neither male nor female.

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Week in pictures: 12-18 April 2014

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 15:01
News photographs from around the world

Pope leads Good Friday services

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 14:55
Pope Francis highlights the plight of the poor, elderly and abandoned during the Way of the Cross procession in Rome to mark Good Friday.

I don't know my best team - Sherwood

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 14:55
Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood says he has so many players of a similar standard that he is unsure of his best side.

Are Democrats Trying To Energize The Base With The Race Card?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-18 14:31

Top Democrats have said recently that some GOP opposition to President Obama and his agenda is based on race. It's an explosive message that might drive Democratic voters to the polls.

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Republican shot dead in west Belfast

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-18 14:12
A prominent dissident republican, Tommy Crossan, has been shot dead in west Belfast.

Mobile broadband's latest bidding war

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-18 14:08
Monday, April 21, 2014 - 04:33 Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Barack Obama announces the nominator of Tom Wheeler to be chairman of the FCC at the White House on May 1, 2013 in Washington, DC.

As Americans buy more mobile devices, the airwaves become even more crowded with signals trying to reach their destination as fast as possible. Those airwaves carrying transmissions back and forth are referred to as "spectrum," and mobile providers like AT&T and Verizon can't get enough of them.

That's why the FCC is planning on purchasing spectrum from TV broadcasters and selling it to mobile broadband providers. It sounds like an easy solution to a big problem.

As chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Tom Wheeler said when he appeared on Marketplace Tech back in November:

"That, hopefully, will be a marketplace means of determining what the highest and best use of the spectrum is, and then we will take that spectrum -- which we have bought back -- and resell it to the wireless carriers to be able to meet the climbing demand for wireless services."

However, Brian Fung, a technology reporter for the Washington Post, says it's not that simple. According to Fung:

"There are two big wireless companies: Verizon and AT&T, and they want to buy up as much spectrum as they can get. On the other side you have smaller companies like Sprint and T-Mobile who say that they’re going to be shut out of the bidding opportunities if AT&T and Verizon are allowed to buy up as much as they want."

 Even more troubling is the possibility that companies like AT&T and Verizon could buy up a bunch of spectrum, and then simply not use it -- instead opting to hold onto it so that other companies don't have access to more spectrum.

Still, that won't stop the larger companies from participating. AT&T has threatened to pull out of the auction if it doesn't get its way, and that would be bad news for the Government. The FCC needs larger companies to participate in order to make the auction profitable.

Marketplace Tech for Monday, April 21, 2014by Ben JohnsonPodcast Title Mobile broadband's latest bidding warStory Type InterviewSyndication Flipboard BusinessSlackerSoundcloudStitcherBusiness InsiderSwellPMPApp Respond No

Solar grows, with government help

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-18 13:55

The White House announced new initiatives to support more solar development this week. But the Department of Energy’s inspector general cast a cloud, with a report slamming a $68 million loan guarantee gone wrong—shades of the Solyndra failure.  

However, solar has actually been growing by leaps and bounds. It provides a little less than 1 percent of U.S. electricity— enough to light more than two million households. Other numbers sound even more impressive.

"More solar has been installed in 18 months than in the previous 30 years combined," says Ken Johnson, vice president of communications for the Solar Energy Industries Association.  "The cost of installed solar systems have dropped 50 percent since 2010."

"Over the last five years, costs have come way down, particularly for large-scale solar installations," says Severin Borenstein of the University of California's Haas School of Business.  "They are almost competitive in some areas now with regular fossil fuel power."

Home installations, he says, are more qualified.

"Some people can save money by putting in solar on their house," he says. "Most people still won't save money."

Solar is competitive only because of government subsidies— many in the form of tax breaks. Borenstein says the calculations are complicated, but federal tax breaks alone can give back almost 45 percent.

That investment is paying off, says Shayle Kann, senior vice president of research at Greentech Media. "It's created a market that has driven costs down year over year," he says. "And why the drop in price accelerates is because there's learning that is done from all these installations. There are economies of scale. 

"There's been a huge storyline about panel prices falling," he says. "Actually, in 2013, the price of panels rose a little bit, and despite that, system prices fell. And that’s where learning from increased deployments makes a huge difference."  

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