The Federal Communications Commission is proposing a change to allow travelers to make phone calls as they fly on jetliners in the U.S. The agency's new chairman, Tom Wheeler, calls the current ban on the use of cellphones during flights "outdated and restrictive."
By putting light sensors inside a giant ice cube that's a mile beneath the South Pole, scientists detected 28 neutrinos from beyond the solar system. It's just a start – but researchers hope the work could eventually yield a way to see through debris clouds to the core of exploding stars.
Men and women who were regularly munching on peanuts or tree nuts in their 30s and 40s were significantly more likely to reach their 70s, a study found. Researchers say they aren't sure why nuts promote longevity, but they think it has to do with how they affect metabolism and satiety.
The orchestra was mid-performance when news of the president's assassination reached the symphony hall in 1963. The musicians had to decide: suspend the concert or continue? Their decision transformed a moment of shock into a moment of shared consolation.
After gaining 109 points Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 16,000 for the first time in history. The index touched the mark earlier this week but fell short by day's end.
The real reason Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid changed the rules Thursday was the proliferation of the filibuster's use — and the near-total separation of the tactic from any real objections to the nominee being blocked.
Close to 40 percent of kids in Philadelphia live in poverty — but discussion of the link between poverty and student achievement is almost absent from an ongoing debate to fix schools. Public health and education experts say poverty and hunger undermine children's development.
Dallas became known as the "City of Hate" after President John F. Kennedy was killed there. But the city has changed, and it hopes that the 50th anniversary of the assassination on Friday will be a chance to show the extent of that transformation.
Citing gains among veterans and the chronically homeless, a large government study reports continued progress. But nearly 20 percent of homeless people were in either New York City or Los Angeles, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. And several states also saw an increase.
B. Todd Jones is in charge of a bureau whose relevance and performance are being questioned and whose resource problems appear to be growing larger. He's trying to put the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives back on solid footing after years of controversy and criticism.
In a small study, Harvard researchers found that getting food stamps didn't help low-income individuals as much as they expected. Despite their food aid, researchers say the people they surveyed weren't getting a complete, nutritious diet.
This final note, from the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said the Federal Communications Commission might allow cell phones to be used on planes, as in, while actually flying.
Historian Gregory Koger says the Senate Democrats' vote for the "nuclear option" is a function of increasing frustration and that GOP retaliation may be largely limited to rhetoric rather than action.
For the first time, three women were among the Marines who graduated Thursday from the two-month combat training course. The U.S. lifted the ban on women in combat earlier this year. Now, the Marines are conducting tests to see if women have what it takes to actually serve in the infantry.
The average interest rate on a 30-year mortgage has dropped to 4.22 percent. That's down from 4.35 percent last week.
Good news for those who believe that an improving housing market is key to our economic recovery.
One caveat: That 4.22 percent is not the flat rate that people paid. It includes points paid up front by borrowers. Regardless, the rate is still falling, which means that it's getting cheaper for people to borrow, which means they're more likely to buy.
Yesterday, we learned that outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is committed to keeping interest rates low. To date, the Fed has done this via quantitative easing, in which the Fed buys huge amounts of bonds every month.
But how does the Fed's bond splurge translate into movements in your mortgage rate?
Rather than talk about bonds, let’s talk about fruit. Imagine a big ol’ fruit market, full of consumers. There are all sorts of fruits for sale, but apples and oranges are the biggest sellers: People love 'em, and there is always plenty of demand. The market owner has loads of apples and oranges to sell, but he wants to make a bit more of a profit on them. His solution: Send in his nephews every afternoon to buy whole crates of the fruit. As supply dries up, he's able to mark the fruit up and make more money.
The Fed does something similar with bonds, both long-term treasuries and mortgage-backed bonds issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (so-called “agency bonds”). There are loads of those bonds for sale, and usually prices are low. But the Fed wants to make those bonds more expensive, and it does that, just like the market owner’s nephews, by stepping in and buying $85 billion worth of agency and long-term Treasury bonds every month. And just like shoppers in the fruit market, investors are left to fight over what's left.
Why does the Fed do this? Because it wants to create more demand for those bonds. And more demand equals higher prices. Remember bonds 101? Higher prices means falling yields, which means that new bonds issued by Fannie, Freddie and the government can be priced with lower interest rates.
Now stay with me here! Mortgage interest rates are set in large part by Fannie and Freddie: These agencies buy mortgages and package them into bonds, which they then sell to investors. The interest rates on the mortgages they buy – the mortgages for your house, and mine – depends on the interest rates they have to pay to the investors who buy Fannie's and Freddie's mortgage-backed bonds. So if they're able to cut the interest rate on those bonds, they can also cut the rate on our mortgage.
And that’s how QE can drive our mortgage interest rates down.
The state's parole board approved Thursday a posthumous pardon in the 1931 rape involving the three black men who were not pardoned in the infamous case. Nine black men were falsely accused of raping two white women on a train. All but one got the death penalty. Five convictions were overturned, and a sixth accused was pardoned before his death in 1976.
Seven EU countries said they would form a club to produce military drones. The European project would join drones made by the U.S., Israel and more recently China.
There’s no doubt 2013 has been a good year for black directors and their films that feature a predominately black cast.
Wesley Morris, film critic at Grantland, says it's true, but it’s not the first time Hollywood has celebrated a year with strong offerings from minorities, only to see that success fade the following year.
This time though, says Morris, is different from previous years.
"The difference is, you have more black producers and directors who have enough clout now to get these movies made more or less on their own terms," Morris says. And aiding in their success is that "there are more people at the studio level able to support this more ambitious film making."
Many of the films that opened this year like Lee Daniels's "The Butler" and "12 Years A Slave" appealed to audiences of different races. "In the case of these movies, the goal is to have it be equally as color-blind [as movies like Thor]," says Morris.
And that could be one of the reasons "The Best Man Holiday" did so well its opening weekend, bringing in over $33 million at the box office. "$30 million dollars is a bona-fide hit opening weekend," says Morris, "and it also says to the studios that there’s an audience out there for this sort of movie at this level."
And that could bring success for black filmmakers next year too, according to Morris. "The money can’t be discounted because it suggests that there’s an audience that demands that these things be seen."
What would it take for people to like using condoms? Inventors say it's all about the fit and feel. The 11 winners in a competition sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation include one condom made from beef tendons, and another that's heat-activated for a glove-like fit.
What would it take for people to like using condoms? Inventors say it's all about the fit and feel. The 11 winners in a competition sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation include one condom made from beef tendons and another that's heat activated for a glove-like fit.