National / International News

Is E3 actually mind-blowing?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 13:00

I came to E3, the video game industry’s annual convention, with the hope of having my mind blown. The tag line of this year’s event is "The Future Revealed." This is the year that the promise of virtual reality was going to be revealed.

Even before I entered the convention hall in Los Angeles, people were raving about VR goggles. “It’s crazy! You get a little bit of motion sickness, but wherever you look you are in the game,” said a very enthusiastic Skylar Harper.

I was excited to try on a pair of VR goggles, and I did, and it was cool, but it didn’t blow my mind, and I wasn’t alone.

“I think VR is really cool and closer to being a thing,” said Justin McElroy, managing editor of the gaming site Polygon. But he also found VR to be a little scary. His great fear of VR, and fear of video games in general, is that they can be an isolating experience.

“When I look at something like VR, it is not a social experience. Almost by definition you are closed out from the rest of the world, and there is a place for that in gaming sure, but I worry about the effect and the cost of that. I don’t know that we need to be more cut off from everybody and everything.”

Polygon managing editor Justin McElroy posing in his makeshift E3 work space with Paris Hilton and Brandy.

David Weinberg/ Marketplace

My next stop at the convention was a giant, 180-degree, wraparound movie screen. I was there to see the trailer for "Destiny," the most expensive video game ever made. At $500 million, its budget is nearly double that of "Spider Man 3," which holds the record for the most expensive movie ever made. The trailer had lots of cool alien monsters but nothing mind-blowing.

Afterwards I wandered over to a giant poster of Jesus holding an Xbox controller. It was an ad for gamechurch.com. “We really think that gaming is more than just a fun thing to do," said Gamechurch.com founder Michael Bridges. "It speaks to the human condition, and we’re speaking through a Christian lens, but we're not doing it in a judgmental way. We’re not the morality police.”

I asked him what he thought Jesus’s favorite video game would be. “Your favorite game,” he said without hesitation, “because he wants to play with you.  You know, he just wants to hang.”

David Weinberg/ Marketplace

After talking to Bridges I heard a rumor that the videogame "Gauntlet had a food truck" parked outside and was handing out free turkey legs. The rumor was true. I watched a man devour a piece of charred meat about the size of his head. Next to him, a life-size tank was rolling over a taxi cab.

It was kind of mind blowing.

Much of E3 now consists of watching other people play video games.

David Weinberg/ Marketplace

Thai Junta To Foreign Journalists: 'Don't Call It A Coup'

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:42

A spokesman for Thailand's new military regime says that the action by the army last month to topple the elected government "is totally different" from previous coups.

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Dinos neither warm nor cold blooded

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:41
A new study claims that dinosaurs fit into an intermediate class between warm and cold blooded animals, based on a survey of growth rates.

Call it 'protein', not 'meat'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:29

General Mills launched a new cereal: Cheerios Protein. The big selling point: It contains eleven grams of protein when paired with milk.

So what is it about protein that drives consumers to add so much of it into their diets -- and spend so much on it in grocery stores?

"Protein helps you feel full throughout the day and keeps you energized," says Venessa Wong, associate editor at Bloomberg Businessweek. "It actually works out in favor of food manufacturers," says Wong. "Consumers are so interested in protein and yet have no idea how much they’re supposed to consume a day."

No surprise there because in business, it’s all about the branding. For instance, meat companies, like Pilgrim’s Pride and Tyson, prefer to think of themselves as a "protein company" as opposed to a "meat company."

"Last year, a data company found that conversations that mentioned meats were highly negative on social media," says Wong. "Where as those that mentioned proteins were associated with positive things like good, delicious and healthy."

So will the protein popularity grow? Or is this just another fleeting food trend?

"It’s a hot trend," says Wong. "Several companies are making bets on the marketing power of protein to consumers."

Listen to our full interview with Venessa Wong in the audio player above.

5 examples when the word "protein" does not mean "meat"

Via Wikimedia Commons

1. Brussels Sprouts

Nobody ever wanted to eat them when they were kids, but these little miniature cabbages pack a solid three grams of protein in each 1-cup serving.

Aizar Raldes/AFP/Getty Images

2. Quinoa

It's not technically a grain (it's a seed), but it has as much protein as some other whole grains and then some. One cup of quinoa contains a whopping 24 grams of protein--nearly five times that of a cup of brown rice.

Via Wikimedia Commons

3. Pumpkin seeds

Might want to save the seeds from your next Halloween pumpkin. Also called "pepitas" in Spanish, pumpkin seeds boast a hefty 12 grams of protein per cup. There's a caveat, however, as nuts and seeds tend to pack a lot of calories and fat along with them.

David Paul Morris/Getty Images News

4. Ice cream

Again, the usual moderation caveats apply, but the National Dairy Council reports ice cream is not only a source of protein, but also calcium, riboflavin, and other vitamins and minerals. But don't use this to justify your consumption of it--while a half-cup of chocolate ice cream contains 2.5 grams of protein, it also comes with 7 grams of fat.

Via Wikimedia Commons

5. Silk pupae

Called beondegi in Korean--which translates to "pupa" or "chrysalis"--steamed and lightly seasoned silkworm pupae are often sold by street vendors in Korea. Canned silk pupae can contain up to nine grams of protein.

Starbucks Makes Itself More Addictive With Wireless Phone Charging

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:29

If you have a capable device, no more cords or outlets required to charge your smartphone — not at Starbucks locations, anyway.

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VIDEO: 'Dazzle Ship' recreated in Liverpool

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:19
During World War One, some 2,000 warships were painted in bright colours to confuse the enemy. Now the technique's been recreated.

A famous London bookstore hits back at digital trends

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:04

Amazon and the e-book have spelled doom for many bookshops, especially in the U.S. and the U.K. Hundreds have closed. But tomorrow in London, one of the world’s best known bookstores defies the trend: Foyles on Charing Cross Road is officially opening a new $60 million flagship store. Can it survive the digital onslaught?

“Some people think we’re mad. Some people think we’re very brave. Some people think we’re now going to reverse the trend back towards physical books and bricks and mortar book retailing, ” says Christopher Foyle, grandson of one of the store’s founders and the current chairman.

The early signs are encouraging. Even before the official opening, the new, four story bookshop was full of book-loving customers.

"I do love the atmosphere of bookshops... the calmness,” says Nina Muehlemann. "I feel it’s a luxury spending time here."

Simon Shaw said shopping in a book store is far more satisfying than doing it online. “It’s the serendipity of coming across something that you didn’t know you were looking for,” he said.

And Lila Burkeman spoke of her preference for the printed word: “I love books,” she said. “ I do have a computer, but there’s nothing like holding a book in your hands.”  

Some publishing industry observers claim that these physical book lovers are a vanishing breed, and that eventually e-books will command a 95 percent share of the market. But Patrick O’Brien of Verdict Retail research isn’t so sure.

“We are seeing that the e-book market is really starting to mature already.” he says. “ So we do not believe that it’s going to destroy the physical book market in the near term. We think it could end up with a 50/50 split”

Foyles is calling its new flagship store “ the traditional bookshop of the future”. Ironically, since digital technology has been eating into its business, the company has equipped the new store with state-of-the-art digital equipment – including a smartphone system for guiding customers to the book they’re looking for. Christopher Foyle believes that high-tech and tradition will prove an irresistible combination, although there is one tradition he is eager to stamp out. Such was the chaos and the clutter of the old store, such was its status as a national institution , that book stealing became endemic and even respectable.

“I’ve even got a letter in the archive from one academic gentleman who bitterly resented being prosecuted for stealing vast quantities of books. He thought it was his right – as a poor academic – it was his God-given right to steal as many books from us as he possibly could,” says Foyle.

The new store is bristling with the latest security and surveillance equipment. Technology – a threat to physical books and bookshops – is fully deployed throughout the store to combat theft.

Brazilians Greet The World Cup Kickoff With Protests And Tear Gas

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

In Brazil, thousands of protesters clashed with police just hours before the World Cup opening ceremony. The streets of Sao Paolo were filled with tear gas and concussion grenades.

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The Majority Leader Has Lost. Long Live The Majority Leader

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

Shortly after Rep. Eric Cantor's surprise defeat in the Republican primary, Cantor announced his plans to step down soon from his position as House majority leader. This will leave a void in the GOP leadership, an open spot that's sure to attract plenty of interest.

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As Iraq Comes Apart At The Seams, Washington Weighs What To Do

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

Grave questions face the Iraqi government, and U.S. officials are scrambling to decide what to do. The U.S. helped shape the country; is there anything it can — or would — do to keep it together?

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Baby delivered after mother stabbed

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 12:01
A baby whose pregnant mother was stabbed while it was still in the womb is in a critical condition in hospital.

As Militants Sweep South Across Iraq, A View From The North

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

A shift in power is underway in Iraq, where the jihadi group ISIS has captured several cities in a recent offensive. Jane Arraf is a reporter for Al Jazeera America, and she comments on the violence.

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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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Paraplegic kicks off World Cup

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 11:57
A paraplegic man has made the first kick of the World Cup using a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton.

Firms fined after girl's gate death

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 11:33
Two firms are fined a total of £110,000 after a five-year-old girl was crushed to death by an electric gate.

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

Baby ashes scandal report submitted

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 11:07
The work of the infant cremation commission has been handed over to the Scottish government and is set to be published on Tuesday.

England semi-final 'not about revenge'

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 11:03
Captain Barry Middleton says England are not thinking of revenge against Netherlands in the Hockey World Cup semi-finals.
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