National News

For The New Year, Ray Bradbury's Buoyant Vision Of The Future

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-02 12:18

We saw a lot of dystopias in both films and books this year. Author Jason Sheehan has had enough. He plans to celebrate the new year with some science fiction that's actually hopeful about the future.

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After Uprising, A Struggle To Restore Tunisia's Ancient Emblems

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-02 12:18

Preservationists are struggling to renew the ancient Medina in Tunis — one of the oldest Arab Muslim cities and a warren of elegant doorways, fountains and faded palaces mansions.

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Congress Could Find Energy Compromise With Hydropower

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-02 12:18

With the Republicans in the majority in both the House and Senate in Washington, there will be changes in energy policy in the next few years. Republicans are pledging to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and to delay or derail the Obama administration's clean air proposals.

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Flu Vaccines Still Helpful Even When The Strain Is Different

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-02 12:18

The influenza season is under way and experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn it may be particularly severe. We have an update on the flu and what you can do to protect yourself.

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Life Getting Tougher For Syrian Migrants, Refugees In Russia

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-02 12:18

Even Syrians who made their way to Russia long before their country's civil war are finding life tougher since the war started, with employers exploiting their desperation for a safe home.

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A Battle To Wash Away A Fountain's Controversial Namesake

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-02 12:18

In Washington, D.C., a local commissioner is working to get Sen. Francis Newlands' name removed from a fountain. Newlands was an outspoken white supremacist who tried to repeal the 15th Amendment.

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When A Rebel Is Homesick, He Might Be Willing To Surrender

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-02 12:18

To help end the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Michael Sharp sits among the banana trees and talks with the fierce fighters about memories of the past and dreams for their children.

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Researchers Create Artificial Organs On Microchips

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-02 12:18

Scientists are growing mock organs made of human cells to better study diseases and to help test drugs. Researchers at Johns Hopkins are working on a gut-on-a-chip.

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Fun Fact Friday: Beans and a lot of things

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-02 12:05
We're starting Fun Fact Friday, a list of the sometimes silly, but always interesting information we picked up over the previous week at Marketplace. Share your favorite Marketplace fun facts with us on Twitter @Marketplace or on our Facebook page.

OK, we'll go first:

  • Fun fact: Hangover cures don’t work … mostly because scientists don’t know why we get them.
For years, pharmaceutical companies and ... well ... pretty much everyone on New Year's day have tried to find a way around hangovers. But according to Marketplace reporter Stan Alcorn's report, the search may be in vain. Champagne wishes and hangover-cure dreams
  • Fun fact: The company Fuhu has a ball pit in the middle of its office.
Fuhu, maker of Nabi tablets for kids, estimates it has grown about 158,000 percent over the past year. You can find the full report, and a picture of the ball pit here.   Fuhu: The company that grew 158,000 percent in 2014
  • Fun fact: Coffee, bourbon and bacon are going to be more expensive next year.
Stock up now, or you’ll pay later. Things that will cost you more this year
  • Fun fact: You can rent a $378 Kate Spade necklace for $65.
At Rent the Runway, women rent formal-wear instead of buying. CEO and co-founder, Jennifer Hyman, says she believes fashion subscriptions will only get more popular. Fashion's new fairy godmother: Designer dress rental
  • Fun fact: Adidas released a soccer ball that uses sensors to measure your kick.
This technology can provide data and information like how fast the ball travels, how much it spins, and where to kick it for the best results. Internet's only just begun to run your life
  • Fun fact: The guys who invented the New Year's glasses shaped like digits didn't get rich off their idea.
In a battle over intellectual property, Richard Sclafani and Peter Caruso, the inventors of the glasses, lost out thanks to a multitude of knockoffs. They put the digits in New Year's glasses

Why the Domino's Pizza mascot 'the Noid' vanished

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-02 12:05

In the late 1980s, the Noid was pizza's worst enemy. He made pies arrive cold, late or crushed, with cheese stuck to the top of the box – at least that's what Domino's ads would have you believe.

Domino's could "avoid the Noid," delivering hot, fresh pizzas in 30 minutes or less. The Noid ads were a huge success, spawning toys and even a video game. 

But it all came crashing down in 1989, when the Noid suffered what may be the worst PR disaster in history. Zachary Crockett has written about the Noid for Priceonomics, and he tells us the strange, sad story.

Six brand mascots potentially as strange and popular as the Noid

Mac Tonight

Mr. Six

Slimer

The mascot for Hi-C's popular "Ecto Cooler" until 2001, 17 years after the release of "Ghostbusters."

Bob the Baby

Not to be confused with the E-Trade baby, who didn't get his own show on CBS.

Cavemen

These guys also inspired a short-lived TV series, starring a young Nick Kroll.

The King

This plastic-faced mascot was polarizing, but popular enough to appear in several video games.

30 Bodies Recovered From AirAsia Wreckage, Officials Say

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-02 11:54

Twenty-one other bodies were pulled from the Java Sea near Borneo. The Airbus A320 crashed Saturday with 162 passengers and crew aboard.

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Some Not-So-Conventional Wisdom About The Next Congress

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-02 11:54

Will Republicans have to prove they can govern and will Democrats be totally irrelevant? Will the president's veto pen get a workout? Here's a second look at some wisdom about the next Congress.

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Trial Of Polygraph Critic Renews Debate Over Tests' Accuracy

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-02 11:43

Doug Williams, one of the country's most vocal critics of the polygraph test, will go on trial in January. For decades, he has helped people "beat" the test by exploiting its shaky science.

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College football's playoff payoff

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-02 11:01

$7.3 billion is the sum ESPN will pay for the 12-year broadcast rights for NCAA football's four major bowl games, plus the two semifinal bowls and the national championship game.

Since the playoffs draw championship interest to three games instead of just one, the moneymaking potential is huge, and many say it's only a matter of time before the bracket is expanded to eight teams or more.

"I do believe that this will be the first step in an expansion in what will likely be an eight-team playoff eventually," says Paul Swangard, director of the University of Oregon's Sports Marketing Center.

As the TV money keeps growing, program budgets and coaching salaries are increasingly on par with the pros. But the only ones who aren't seeing a payday are the players.

Uber has a rockin' New Year's Eve

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-02 11:00

In the run-up to New Year's Eve, there was a lot of speculation about whether Uber’s surge pricing would affect ridership. That means when demand goes up so does the cost of using the car-sharing service.

Uber reports that most of the trips subject to surge pricing happened between 12:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. on what is technically New Year's Day.

More than 100,000 passengers were in an Uber at the stroke of midnight, and demand increased by 180 percent between 12:01 a.m. and 12:30 a.m., according to Uber.

New Yorkers took the most trips around 2 a.m. and Parisians took the most trips around 4 a.m., local time.

 

Something new from from something blue

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-02 10:57

Making something new from something old. Marlo Fox is a denim designer at the Gap, Jeff Garza is a veteran of the war in Iraq. And he collects of odds and ends.

Together, they've built a new business called Fox Hole, and a second life of sorts for very well-loved clothes.

It all started with Jeff's dad's old Levis.

 

Obama Authorizes New Sanctions On North Korea Over Sony Hack

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-02 10:27

The executive order targets three North Korean entities and accuses the Pyongyang regime of "destructive, coercive cyber-related actions."

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Things that will cost you more this year

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-02 10:20

It's a new year and some of the daily items we buy will see a price increase. Mark LoCastro, a shopping expert from DealNews.com sheds light on why things will cost more this year. We are talking about items that we can't live without  like coffee, chocolate, and bacon. One of the main reasons for this increase is that demand has outstripped supply. Another issue is mother nature and drought. But it's not all doom and gloom, we will see items like gas prices on the decline. This is great news for consumers because they end up with more money in their pockets. Which could put momentum into retail sales and the stock market. Check out LoCastro's full list.

Was Cuomo Destined To Be President Or Just Political Poet Laureate?

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-02 09:30

It may never be clear whether the late New York governor passed on the 1988 and 1992 presidential cycles — his natural turn at bat — for reasons related to politics or his personality.

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No Yolk: Eggs Beat Most Other Foods In Our Blog Last Year

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-02 09:13

We looked back at the most popular posts of 2014 and found many of them were about eggs. So we asked: What makes this everyday food so intriguing?

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