National News

Ballerina Misty Copeland counts herself lucky

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2016-06-30 11:20

Update: Misty Copeland was promoted Tuesday, June 30 to principal dancer for the American Ballet Theater. She's the first-ever African-American woman to hold that title.

 

Age starting dance: 13

Height: 5 feet 2 inches

Bust: "Bigger than most"

At least, that's how ballerina Misty Copeland describes her numbers-defying career in dance. A soloist with the American Ballet Theater in New York, Copeland recently explained how she doesn't really fit into the traditional model for ballet, but still made it work.

“All of those numbers, they just don’t add up to create a classical dancer,” she says. "No matter what, I'm going to be who I am."

Listen to the full conversation from our live show in New York City in the audio player above.

Tesla is disrupting more than just the car business

Marketplace - American Public Media - Sat, 2016-02-06 16:01

Tesla Motors is building the world's biggest battery factory just outside of Reno, Nevada. The company is calling it the “gigafactory,” and when it’s up and running in 2016 it’s expected to make Tesla’s electric cars much more affordable. 

“In a single factory we're doubling the worldwide capacity to manufacture lithium-ion batteries,” says J.B. Straubel, Tesla's chief technology officer. 

That's significant enough. But the company also plans to develop batteries for use with solar-power generation – giving Tesla a shot at challenging public utilities as an energy source, Straubel says.

“At the price points that we're expecting to achieve with the gigafactory ... we see a market that is well in excess of the production capability of the factory,” says Straubel.

The market for batteries is an offshoot of the booming business for solar panels, particularly in states such as California, where solar is becoming commonplace.

“We sign up approximately one new customer every minute of the workday," says Will Craven, director of public affairs at California-based SolarCity.

Much of the excess energy harnessed by solar panels is returned to the power grid, Cravens says. This means homeowners and businesses may earn a credit from their power companies, but have no say over when and how that energy is used.

The partnership with SolarCity will use rooftop solar panels fitted with Tesla’s battery packs to allow customers to keep that energy in-house. That means they can use it however, and whenever, they want. The concept puts Tesla in direct competition with utility companies.

“Stationary storage, or backup storage, is really being considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of renewable electricity generation,” says Ben Kallo, an analyst with the Robert W. Baird financial services firm.

Kallo points out that the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources makes them less reliable because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine.  But with the ability to store that energy, renewable energy sources can compete head-to-head with utility companies for customers.

“There are still many utilities out there who kind of have their head stuck in the sand and just hope that this goes away. What we're seeing is really building momentum,” Kallo says.

Forward-minded utilities might look at Tesla’s business model as an opportunity, he says.  Energy-storage technology could be used to build capacity in their existing grids, and also build new infrastructure for battery-powered cars and homes.

 

New Orleans Mayor On Katrina Anniversary: 'We Saved Each Other'

NPR News - 1 hour 12 min ago

The 10th anniversary of the devastating storm was marked by prayers and church bells to remember the estimated 1,800 who lost their lives in the disaster.

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Ebola Flashback: Nancy Snyderman's Experience Was Different From Mine

NPR News - 2 hours 51 min ago

The Today show medical editor gave a new interview about her controversial quarantine. It triggered powerful memories for an NPR journalist who was in Liberia around the same time.

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Thai Police Make Arrest Possibly Linked To Deadly Shrine Bombing

NPR News - 4 hours 9 min ago

Authorities say it's too early to say for sure if the unidentified suspect, who they say was found with bomb-making materials, had anything to do with the attack on Bangkok's Erawan shrine.

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Al-Jazeera Journalists Sentenced In Egypt To 3 Years In Prison

NPR News - 5 hours 1 min ago

The outcome in the closely watched trial shocked many observers. The Qatar-based network's acting secretary-general said the verdict was politically motivated and "defies logic and common sense."

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Texas Sheriff's Deputy Gunned Down At Gas Station

NPR News - 6 hours 14 min ago

A man walked up behind Darren Goforth as he was gassing up his patrol car and fired several shots into the deputy. A manhunt has been launched for the killer.

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The Sounds Of A Murder: News Or Not?

NPR News - 7 hours 1 min ago

Here's how NPR thought through whether the gunshots that killed two TV journalists should be replayed on the radio and online.

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A Decade After Flood's Devastation, Love Keeps New Orleans Afloat

NPR News - 7 hours 5 min ago

New Orleans lost much since Hurricane Katrina, and the failed levees that flooded the city. But Gwen Thompkins says the passions that survived the flood kept her city alive too.

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50 Percent Off A College Education? Not Such A Good Deal After All

NPR News - 7 hours 26 min ago

Why so many private colleges are giving out massive discounts.

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No More Standing By The Spigot: Messaging App Alerts Water Availability

NPR News - 7 hours 51 min ago

A startup in India — where an aging, ad hoc system limits water availability — is using text messages to let people know when their faucets should work, so they don't waste hours awaiting the deluge.

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For Inca Road Builders, Extreme Terrain Was No Obstacle

NPR News - 8 hours 5 min ago

A new exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian highlights the engineering prowess of the Inca, whose great road once spanned mountains, deserts and forests in 6 South American countries.

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Egyptian Court Sentences 3 Al-Jazeera Journalists To 3 Years In Prison

NPR News - 8 hours 58 min ago

Saturday's ruling in Cairo is the latest twist in a long-running trial which was criticized worldwide by press freedom advocates and human rights activists.

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Sam Clovis: I Trust Trump To Go To Washington And Change Things

NPR News - 9 hours 40 min ago

Donald Trump's Republican presidential campaign continues to lead in the polls, and this week Trump hired Sam Clovis to be his national campaign co-chairman. A week ago, Clovis worked for Rick Perry.

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High-Profile Russian Trials Bring International Criticism

NPR News - 10 hours 3 min ago

The conviction of a Ukrainian filmmaker is one of several cases in Russia that have drawn protests from human-rights groups and Western governments, including the U.S.

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Tropical Storm Erika May Fall Apart Over Hispaniola; Dominica Deaths At 20

NPR News - Fri, 2015-08-28 20:36

The storm caused devastating flooding and landslides on the tiny island early this week, but may pose less of a threat to Florida, according to National Weather Service forecasts.

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Scientist Who Wrote Protest Song About Canada's PM Is Put On Leave

NPR News - Fri, 2015-08-28 16:44

Tony Turner wrote and sang "Harperman," leading a (barefooted) choir through lyrics that ask questions such as "Who squashes all dissent?" and "Who muzzles all the scientists?"

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Worsening Wildfire Seasons Are Taxing The Forest Service

NPR News - Fri, 2015-08-28 14:16

The agency says it's now spending record amounts on fire suppression, and these bills are coming at the expense of its other programs — many of which would help prevent future wildfires.

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NHL Hall-Of-Fame Coach Al Arbour Dies At Age 82

NPR News - Fri, 2015-08-28 14:07

The long-time coach of the New York Islanders won four Stanley Cup championships with the team — after winning four as a player.

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On Wall Street: Not Much Fun, But It Sure Was Interesting

NPR News - Fri, 2015-08-28 14:01

Markets have been seeing some of the biggest stock-price swings in years. And economists say the extreme volatility is starting to weigh down consumer confidence.

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