National / International News

Facebook attacks data use criticisms

BBC - 5 hours 11 min ago
Facebook has reacted angrily to a report that said it may be in breach of EU privacy laws over its tracking policies.

Amazon Dash and the internet of things thing

On Tuesday, Amazon announced Amazon Dash for Amazon Prime members.

Introducing Amazon Dash Button. Press it to get it. #DashButton

— Amazon (@amazon) March 31, 2015

They're tiny little sticker things with a button on it that come branded with various household products ... Tide detergent, for instance, or Gatorade.

The idea is that you put 'em in your pantry, or your laundry room, they connect through your wifi network at home, and if you need a re-supply, you just push the button and presto, order made.

I get the whole "internet of things" thing but ... I just don't know.

HP files $5.1bn Autonomy lawsuit

BBC - 5 hours 20 min ago
HP sues Autonomy co-founder Mike Lynch and ex-finance officer Sushovan Hussain, as Autonomy's former management says it will launch a counter-claim.

Dutch royals to return Nazi art

BBC - 5 hours 21 min ago
The Dutch royal family says it will return a painting believed to have been confiscated from Jewish owners during World War Two.

Why a rising dollar (sometimes) means cheaper oil

Oil prices took another dip today on Monday, a barrel of U.S. crude was back down under $48 as of Monday afternoon. 

There are all sorts of reasons why the price of oil is falling. There's the fact that global demand is low; there's the worry that Iran may start pumping its oil into the market; there's the fact that we may be running out of room to put all the oil we have in the market right now.

And then there's the strong dollar.

This may sound a bit counterintuitive. Why would a strong dollar put pressure on oil prices? Surely a strong dollar gives American companies more purchasing power, which, given the size of the U.S. economy would mean more activity, which would translate to more demand, which would lead to an increase in the price of oil. I mean ... surely!

Yes. But...

The oil business does business in dollars. Which means everyone who wants to buy (or sell) oil has to do it in dollars. Why dollars? Because they're readily available, anywhere in the world, and it makes life easy to do business in just one currency when you're dealing in such an important global commodity.

The problem is, in order to do business in dollars you have to buy dollars. And right now, dollars are expensive. In January, a barrel of Brent crude would have cost me about $50. It would have cost my cousin Brendan, in Ireland, about 40 euro. In March, a barrel of Brent crude will cost me ... about $50, but Brendan, because he has to buy dollars with his euro before he can buy the oil, ends up paying about 45 euro for that barrel.  Now, 5 euro doesn't sound like much, but the people who by oil by the barrel usually buy hundreds of thousands of barrels at a time, and pretty soon that adds up to real money.

In other words, the price of oil may not be rising in dollars, but it's certainly rising in euro and rubles and yen. And the higher it rises, the less the Europeans and Russians and Japanese are willing to buy. So demand falls. And as demand falls, producers find they have a surplus. And to reduce that surplus, they cut the price.

Ad that's why, if the dollar continues to rise, the price of oil could continue to fall.

Safety fears over Windsor Park stand

BBC - 5 hours 36 min ago
Club and international matches at Windsor Park could be in doubt because of possible subsidence in the West Stand.

Iraqi forces in 'major Tikrit push'

BBC - 5 hours 38 min ago
Iraqi forces have made major advances against Islamic State (IS) in Tikrit - retaking the government headquarters, officials say.

Indiana to 'fix' law on religion

BBC - 5 hours 41 min ago
The governor of Indiana has said that he wants state lawmakers to "fix" a religious freedom law that has created a national outcry by the end of this week.

Girls' PE lessons give 'nightmares'

BBC - 5 hours 52 min ago
Less cross-country in "knickers and polo shirt" and improved facilities in schools would improve PE for girls, says Victoria Pendleton.

Brave new world for EU dairy farmers

BBC - 5 hours 59 min ago
A new era is dawning for European dairy farmers as the EU lifts milk quotas, the BBC's Laurence Peter reports.

If Drones Make You Nervous, Think Of Them As Flying Donkeys

NPR News - 6 hours 16 min ago

In Africa, where there aren't always roads from point A to point B, drones could take critical medicines to remote spots. But the airborne vehicles make people uneasy for lots of reasons.

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Major Power Outage Darkens Dozens Of Cities In Turkey

NPR News - 6 hours 19 min ago

The outage halted public transportation and shuttered business across much of Turkey. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the country's blackout, the biggest in 15 years.

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VIDEO: Cumberbatch reads 'moon disaster' letter

BBC - 6 hours 32 min ago
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch reads a letter from 1969 by presidential speechwriter William Safire, on Newsnight.

Meet The Bacteria That Make A Stink In Your Pits

NPR News - 6 hours 41 min ago

Scientists say they've IDed the bacteria that emits that rank smell after a hard workout. Future deodorants might target that bad actor rather than blocking sweat glands or nuking all bacteria.

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TV channel 'sorry' over on-air curse

BBC - 6 hours 42 min ago
A local TV channel apologises after a presenter uses a sexually explicit swearword to describe a colleague.

Ashcroft quits the House of Lords

BBC - 6 hours 43 min ago
Conservative Lord Ashcroft says he is standing down as a UK peer

'Nightmare PE lessons must change'

BBC - 6 hours 43 min ago
Less cross-country in "knickers and polo shirt" and improved facilities in schools would improve PE for girls, says Victoria Pendleton.

Yemen 'on verge of total collapse'

BBC - 6 hours 45 min ago
The UN's human rights chief warns Yemen is "on the verge of total collapse", as Saudi-led coalition aircraft bombard Houthi rebels.

U.S. Promises To Cut Greenhouse Gases By A Quarter Of 2005 Levels

NPR News - 6 hours 58 min ago

The new target was submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Tuesday. Part of a plan for a new international treaty, it would give the U.S. 10 years to reach its goal.

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LHC fixes glitch, prepares for beams

BBC - 7 hours 3 min ago
The short circuit delaying the restart of the Large Hadron Collider has been fixed, after a blast of high current melted the culpable metal particle.