National / International 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.


Bin lorry driver faint 'discrepancy'

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Circus Tent Collapse Kills 2 During Storm In New Hampshire

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"We lost two lives – a father and a daughter – at an event that was supposed to be fun," Gov. Maggie Hassan says.

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Play Hard, Live Free: Where Wild Play Still Rules

NPR News - 1 hour 22 min ago

A California playground embraces the value of wild play.

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McIlroy recovery 'progressing well'

BBC - 1 hour 24 min ago
Rory McIlroy's ankle injury is progressing well but there is no word yet on whether he will defend his US PGA title next week.

So You Flunked A Racism Test. Now What?

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Scientists are working on ways to train our brains away from deeply held prejudices — including hacking your subconscious while you sleep.

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Bonobos' clue to speech evolution

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A study finds that wild bonobos use a single high-pitched call in a variety of contexts, showing a linguistic flexibility that was thought to be uniquely human.

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Mexico condemns journalist's murder

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Mexican officials say there will be no impunity in the case of five people, including journalist Ruben Espinosa, who were found murdered on Friday.

Monsoon Flooding Kills Dozens In Myanmar, Prompting Calls For Help

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More than 200,000 people have been displaced by floods and landslides, with at least 46 deaths reported.

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Greek bank shares continue to fall

BBC - 2 hours 42 min ago
Shares in Greek banks fall for a second day in Athens, but non-financial shares fare better.

Obama plan 'hope' for Paris deal

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The UK government welcomes President Obama's plan to cut greenhouse gases and boost clean power.

Heath investigated by abuse police

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The Met Police are investigating late ex-PM Ted Heath as part of their inquiry into historical child sex abuse claims, the BBC understands.

Angry Birds gamers mad at in-app purchases

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The sequel to the hit game is free to download but in-app purchases are making some gamers angry.

Thousands back holocaust hero stamp

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More than 67,000 people back a campaign for Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved hundreds of children during the Holocaust, to be immortalised on a postage stamp.

VIDEO: Farmers clear milk shelves in protest

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Dairy farmers stage protests over fears that they could go out of business because of poor prices they are paid for supplying supermarkets.

Malema corruption case thrown out

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A court in South Africa throws out fraud and corruption charges against left-wing opposition leader Julius Malema.