National News

Facebook Announces Plans To Sell More User Data To Advertisers

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:01

Facebook will share users' Web browsing habits with advertisers in order to help the latter target their ads more effectively. At the same time, Facebook announced a feature that allows users to see why targeted ads are coming their way.

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On The Hill, Debate Reawakens Over Tired Truckers

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:01

The accident that seriously injured comic Tracy Morgan and killed another comedian has focused attention on truck driving safety. New regulations limited the amount of overnights truckers could work, but the trucking industry and its congressional allies are trying to roll back the limits.

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Tech companies don't just recruit from the Ivies

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 11:17

If you think working for a big technology  company like Microsoft, Apple or IBM, requires attending an Ivy League school first, you might want to think again.

Turns out, tech companies recruit their employees from a variety of different universities and state colleges.

 "Yahoo’s top place where it gets its workers from is actually San Jose State University," says Joanna Pearlstein, deputy managing editor at Wired Magazine. "And it’s also the top supplier of workers to  Apple."

@kairyssdal: Top schools for APM staff: U. Minn., USC, St. Olaf. NPR: U. Maryland, Berkeley, American. NY Times: NYU, Columbia, Harvard

— Joanna Pearlstein (@jopearl) June 12, 2014

Pearlstein’s research also shows that four out of five of the top universities that Microsoft is getting its employees from are located in the Washington state.

Check out Wired's breakdown of what colleges feed the big tech companies:

Luca Masud and Brittney Everett/Wired

Tech companies don't just recruit from the Ivies

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 11:17

If you think working for a big technology  company like Microsoft, Apple or IBM, requires attending an Ivy League school first, you might want to think again.

Turns out, tech companies recruit their employees from a variety of different universities and state colleges.

 "Yahoo’s top place where it gets its workers from is actually San Jose State University," says Joanna Pearlstein, deputy managing editor at Wired Magazine. "And it’s also the top supplier of workers to  Apple."

@kairyssdal: Top schools for APM staff: U. Minn., USC, St. Olaf. NPR: U. Maryland, Berkeley, American. NY Times: NYU, Columbia, Harvard

— Joanna Pearlstein (@jopearl) June 12, 2014

Pearlstein’s research also shows that four out of five of the top universities that Microsoft is getting its employees from are located in the Washington state.

Check out Wired's breakdown of what colleges feed the big tech companies:

Luca Masud and Brittney Everett/Wired

Getting tickets for the NBA Finals is a game itself

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:47

For Miami Heat season ticket holders, the NBA Finals should be all LeBron jerseys and cocky tweets.

After all, the Heat are one of just four teams to ever play in four straight NBA Finals. And season ticket holders have first crack at snagging highly-coveted playoff tickets and buying them at a relative steal.

“The Eastern Conference Finals will generally go for anywhere from three to four times face value,” says Ayeh Ashong with Miami-based broker Tickets of America. “And the NBA Finals can go for anywhere from four to five times face value.”

Season ticket holders can cover a good chunk -- if not all -- of their expenses by selling just their conference finals and finals tickets. Depending on where NBA Finals seats are located, says Ashong, tickets can sell for anywhere from $275 to $25,000.

For a subset of season ticket holders, the playoffs becomes a complicated affair. Like a timeshare, some fans join informal season ticket pools with colleagues, friends, and friends of friends.

Ashong says at least twice a year, he turns into a counselor for group season ticket holders. There’s an extra playoff game left. Who gets to go? Should they just sell the seats and split the money?

“Oh wow, we’ve done all kinds of things,” says Ayeh Ashong with Miami-based broker Tickets of America, “from pulling straws to flipping coins.”

Perhaps the easiest way to fairly break up playoff tickets is to liquidate them all and split the profits among the group.

But many season ticket holders, like Gregg Gelber, wouldn’t dream of selling their seat to a stranger. He and six long-time friends share four season tickets. “Like everything with our group, it starts with a spreadsheet,” says Gelber, a financial advisor who keeps obsessive records of who attends which game.

For the playoffs, Gelber’s group uses a rotation system to distribute playoff seats. An order is randomly generated, and each group member gets a ticket when his name is up. Four of the seven guys go to each game this way.

Over the last four years, the group has developed a small bible of playoff-specific rules.

“Giving your ticket to anybody without prior approval is complete banishment,” says Gelber. “Immediately.”

Group members are also prohibited from selling their ticket. “If you can’t go, you can offer to trade. If that is rejected... it goes to the next person automatically,” says Gelber.

In Gelber’s rotation system, all of the group members have the same chances of getting any given ticket. That is one way to think about “fairness.”

But there’s at least one other way. “A property that mathematicians call ‘envy free-ness,’” says Mike Rosenthal, who teaches math at Florida International University.

Rosenthal suggests splitting up season tickets with a method that originated as a way to divvy up an estate when no will had been written:  the Knaster system.

“[It] was developed during World War II,” says Rosenthal, “by a Polish Mathematician: Bronisław Knaster.”

Using the Knaster system, each ticket holder would write down what a given game is worth to them. The person who values a game most gets the ticket, but has to reimburse the other members for not going.

And then there’s the Peltz family system. Which is to say no system, really.

The Peltzs have owned a pair of Heat season tickets for about two decades, since their kids were just babies. Now that the Heat are a regular fixture in the Finals, and the kids are adults, there’s a good deal of jostling for use of the family seats.

The youngest son, Jonathan Peltz, used to strategically pass on earlier playoff games to claim the rights to later, more important playoff games.

Last year, Jonathan and his brother Moish were all set to go to one of the first two finals games against the Spurs. At the last second, his sister Maxine booked a flight home from New York.

“Like literally 24 hours notice,” says Jonathan.

Word came down that Maxine would get to go to the game instead of Jonathan.

“I mean I wish I didn't have to play that card,” says Maxine, “I would have rather been here for all of the playoff games.”

“It’s like a corporation,” says Jonathan, “She’s like: I cleared it with mom. So it’s like then she doesn’t have to ask me.”

Explicit texts were exchanged. A livid Jonathan, at some point, had to be talked down while pacing and fuming. Maxine considered canceling her flight and not coming home.

“[Jonathan] was really mad at me,” says Maxine, “and I was like: this is World War III in the Peltz family.”

Their dad, Arvin Peltz, says at this point he’s essentially given up on ever using the family tickets.

This article includes comments from the Public Insight Network, an online community of people who have agreed to share their opinions with WLRNA version of this article also ran on WLRN.

What is the point of a COO? A CEO? A CVO? A CKO?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:37

The COO. Chief Operating Officer. What, exactly, does that even mean? What do COOs do?

Mostly, they do what CEOs don't have time to do – the menial toil of running the company, whether it's marketing and sales or research and development.  It's different for every company.  Often though, the COO studies to be the next CEO. Having a COO is a way of training, evaluating and grooming a future CEO.

But COOs are a dying breed. Since 2000, the percentage of S&P 500 and Fortune 500 companies with COO positions has shrunk from 49 percent to 35 percent. Many companies, according to executive placement firm CristKolder, are realizing that these duties can increasingly be taken on by chief financial officers, who aren’t as limited to numbers knowledge as they were in previous eras.

By Shea Huffman

"C-suite" or "C-level" refers to the highest-level executives at a company, taking their name from the three-letter initials starting with "C" that make up their titles. The most familiar such positions are chief executive officer (CEO), chief operations officer (COO) and chief financial officer (CFO). Such titles usually tell you who holds the power in different organizations, but recent trends, especially in the start-up scene, have all sorts of C-suite officers popping up that have some wondering what their titles actually mean.

Here are five C-suite titles we've found that seem a bit unusual in name at first, but might (or might not) make some sense once you figure out what they do.

Chief Agility Officer

Sounds like an executive for a clan of ninjas, or the self-given title of a football coach. Alas, the "agility" this title refers to is the corporate variety, not the physical. This one is technically a proposed position, but it derives its moniker from the growing agility movement, a corporate philosophy that emphasizes eschewing a rules-based work process in favor of an organization that is highly responsive to change. The chief agility officer, in that sense, is "tasked with creating and nurturing an Agile culture that pervades the whole organization."

Chief Knowledge Officer

Did the head librarian decide her title wasn't exciting enough? No, this officer is actually a fairly common position to see these days in companies like advertising firms, legal firms or even NASA. A chief knowledge officer is typically in charge of research and analytics for her company, gathering information on technology, customer relationships and successful business practices. They're also usually in charge of formulating and executing whatever strategic company-wide goals an organization wants to strive for, and to make sure they don't lose that knowledge after achieving a success; basically remembering what worked best. If it sounds similar to the more common chief information officer, that's because they do pretty much the same thing, but with different buzzwords. But CKOs totally swear they're different and you shouldn't get rid of them.

Chief Networking Officer

A networking officer sounds like a position a fraternity would cook up for setting up parties with all the popular sororities. CNOs are often favored by ad agencies and consulting firms, and are in charge of well, networking; they connect people and businesses within their companies with people and businesses outside their companies. The position can have some overlap with a chief marketing officer, but with less of a focus on sales and customer service, and more of a focus on communicating between offices and setting up those boring team-building exercises you always skip. A chief networking officer can also refer to a technical executive in charge of computer networking strategy, which arguably makes more sense.

Chief Visionary Officer

In the land of vague titles and start-up companies with unclear purposes, the chief visionary officer is king (or queen). Or really, they advise the king or queen (the CEO) on which direction to take the company. As the title can be used to formalize an advising position, the CVO is typically a high-ranking executive who performs executive duties, but with added responsibilities of creating a forward vision for the company, especially if they are operating in a fairly new industry. Internet pioneer Einar Stefferud is ususally recognized as the first CVO.

Chief Electrification Officer

If this one sounds like a title from the early 1900s that refers to the person who kept the all the lights on, that's because that's exactly what it is. Not normally used anymore in developed countries, the electrification officer was responsible for managing the electrical generating and distribution systems at companies during the beginnings of electrification in industry. The title still pops up occasionally in developing countries that still lack universal electricity. It also makes for a pretty cool title for the co-founder of a solar power start-up.

Pentagon Says Bergdahl En Route To Texas

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:24

The U.S. Army sergeant held hostage for five years in Afghanistan has left a hospital in Germany aboard a U.S. military plane destined for San Antonio, Tex.

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All by yourself

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:18

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Friday, June 13:

In Washington, the Labor Department issues the Producer Price Index for May.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon celebrates his 70th birthday.

A three-day festival celebrating duct tape gets underway in Avon, Ohio. There's a parade, and clothes and the opportunity to get stuck to someone.

Or maybe you prefer some alone time. You're in luck. National Hermit Week begins.

And some folks celebrate National Weed Your Garden Day. That's guaranteed to get you some alone time.

Cool Kids Lose, Though It May Take A Few Years

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:11

Call it revenge of the nerds. Popularity at age 13 fades by age 22, a study finds. And kids who try to act cool in their early teens are more likely to have alcohol and relationship problems later.

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Maybe Dinosaurs Were A Coldblooded, Warmblooded Mix

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:03

Evidence from bone growth now suggests that T. rex and its kin had the best of both worlds. Their muscles and nerves fired fast like ours, but they burned energy slowly, more like lizards do.

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Ex-'Times' Editor Jill Abramson To Teach At Harvard

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:01

The former executive editor of The New York Times, whose sudden dismissal sent shock waves through the media world, will teach undergraduate courses on narrative nonfiction.

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Legendary Actress Ruby Dee Dies At 91

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 09:15

The actress who starred with Sidney Poitier in the 1961 classic A Raisin in the Sun died Wednesday. She was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for her work in American Gangster.

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Teen Smoking Hits A 22-Year Low, But Other Tobacco Uses Rise

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 09:14

Public health officials have dreamed of getting cigarette use down to 16 percent of teens, and that day has come. But some are turning to hookahs and electronic cigarettes, so the news isn't all good.

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Facebook Ad Targeting Will Use Even More Of Your Data

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 09:14

It will start drawing on Web browsing data to determine what ads users see, while allowing them to edit their own data profiles. Privacy advocates say the changes put too much burden on consumers.

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Who Runs The World? Rutgers Says Beyonce

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 08:52

Rutgers University students now have a homework assignment they might look forward to: Listening to Beyonce. Professor Kevin Allred discusses his course, Politicizing Beyonce.

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How Dreaming Big Led One TV Star To His Big Break

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 08:52

Before Cesar Millan became a TV personality, he was a homeless, undocumented immigrant from Mexico with a dream. He reveals how his career took off as part of NPR's series, "My Big Break."

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President's Student Loan Action Might Be Too Little, Too Late

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 08:52

President Obama signed an order that will cap student loan repayments at 10 percent of income for millions of borrowers. Georgetown University's Anthony Carnevale discusses whether it will help.

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Is Teacher Tenure Really The New Brown V. Board Of Education?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 08:52

A California judge ruled that the state's teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional because they disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students. Education Week's Stephen Sawchuk explains.

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Did Eric Cantor Forget That All Politics Are Local?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 08:52

The House majority leader says he will step down from that post after a surprise loss. For more, host Michel Martin speaks with Republican strategist Ron Christie and Univision's Fernando Espuelas.

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U.S. Drones Kill 13 Suspected Militants In Pakistan

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 08:40

The strikes are the first by the U.S. in nearly six months, and come just days after the Pakistani Taliban staged an audacious attack on Karachi airport, Pakistan's largest.

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