National / International News

Haile Gebrselassie: From athletics to the boardroom

BBC - Fri, 2014-11-21 13:00
Haile Gebrselassie on his move from athletics to the boardroom

The Christmas 0% credit card rush

BBC - Fri, 2014-11-21 13:00
Are 0% interest credit card deals a good idea?

An Ebola Clinic Figures Out A Way To Start Beating The Odds

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 12:49

Staff members at a clinic in Sierra Leone were told to minimize treatments and expect few survivors. But they refused to follow that plan and came up with a safe way to boost the survival rate.

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Poo Power: New British Bus Runs On Human Waste

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 12:46

Touting the use of renewable energy, the Bath Bus Company says the Bio-Bus runs cleaner than a bus powered by a traditional diesel engine.

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Texas Education Panel OKs New History, Social Studies Textbooks

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 12:46

The 10-5 vote in the Republican-controlled panel was along party lines. The outcome is significant because Texas with it 5 million students has a large impact on the national textbook market.

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Harlequins 12-16 Sale

BBC - Fri, 2014-11-21 12:45
Dan Braid scores the only try of the game as Sale beat Harlequins in the Premiership for the first time since 2010.

In Southwest, New Immigration Policies Bring Frustration From All Sides

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 12:22

Anger and disappointment with Obama's executive action has been swift, and isn't just being voiced by anti-illegal immigration groups. Some immigrant rights supporters call the moves inadequate.

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Texas Hits The Books

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 12:22

For the first time in more than a decade, the Texas State Board of Education has adopted new social studies textbooks. But the process came with a few hiccups.

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Last 'Angola 3' Inmate's Conviction Should Be Thrown Out, Court Says

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 12:09

Albert Woodfox has spent about 40 years in solitary for the 1972 murder of a prison guard. A federal appeals court's unanimous decision could set him free, if the state decides not to challenge it.

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A Closer Look At Obama's Immigration Plan: What's In It, Who's Affected

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 12:05

The actions announced Thursday touch are complicated and will lead to many changes in immigration policy. Here we try to explain it plainly.

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The psychology of a title showdown

BBC - Fri, 2014-11-21 11:56
As Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg prepare for one final battle, Andrew Benson finds out how each driver may be feeling.

VIDEO: Stray firework hurts eight in Salisbury

BBC - Fri, 2014-11-21 11:55
Eight people have been injured by a stray firework that fell in to the crowd during a display to switch on the Christmas lights in Salisbury.

England must end suffering - Rowntree

BBC - Fri, 2014-11-21 11:21
England must end a "horrible" week and a winless run of five games when they face Samoa, says coach Graham Rowntree.

Thanksgiving, Frozen: A 6-Day Guide To What To Cook Ahead, And When

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 11:16

You don't have to leave all the cooking for Thursday. We offer tips for getting most of the meal ready in advance so you can sleep in a little later on the big day.

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Serial killer's stab victim dies

BBC - Fri, 2014-11-21 11:15
A man who was stabbed 40 times by serial killer Joanna Dennehy dies.

To Stay Energy Efficient As You Age, Keep On Running

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 11:13

People in their 60s who run for exercise use energy as efficiently as much younger people. That wasn't true for older people who walked instead.

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Good at video games? That could land you a job.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-21 11:10

Workplace personality tests are a multi-million-dollar business for the companies that make them. Basically these are screening tools: online tests a candidate takes before they get to the interview stage.  They’re designed to find out what makes you tick. But as they’ve gotten more popular they’ve also come in for criticism – some candidates have even sued, saying the tests discriminate.  

Recently New Yorker Jorli Peña interviewed for a job at a startup out of state. Before the company flew her out to meet with them, she was asked to take a couple of short online tests.  The second test asked her to assess the way others saw her, and how she saw herself. She had to pick from a bunch of adjectives, and spent a few minutes on the task.

Soon the results came back. Peña was shocked.

“I started scanning it and I just thought…this isn’t me,” she says.

Peña, normally an outgoing marketing specialist, was described as ill-at-ease in social situations, formal and reserved. She was afraid she wouldn’t land an interview.  But maybe because she knew the company’s founder, she did. Others have fallen at that first hurdle.

These tests have been around a long time, says Barbara Marder with HR consulting firm Mercer. She says they may be adequate indicators for some jobs, but for others, it may be much more important to look at a candidate’s cognitive makeup.

One way to do that is through gaming. Marder says when someone plays a game, you can see his or her potential through studying what they do during play.

“You’re really figuring out how someone thinks,” she says, “how they make decisions, how they problem solve.”

Her company recently created a prototype 3-D video game for the oil and gas industry. In this game, the candidate has to simulate their role on an offshore oil rig. At one point, an alarm on the rig goes off and the candidate has to work out what caused the alarm and how to respond to the emergency. All the while, their potential employer is judging their performance.

Simulation is one route to an employee’s potential. But there are plenty of other ways games can reveal your strengths and weaknesses, as I found when I began to play a bunch of games designed by a startup called Pymetrics.

One game measures how well I read other people’s emotions just from looking at the expression in their eyes. I have to pick the word that best describes what they’re feeling. It was quite tricky but also fun.

MIT graduate Frida Polli is Pymetrics’ CEO. She says these games are aimed at millennials.  

“We’d like to be the Netflix of careers,” she says. "Where you play the 12 games, maybe at some point we add some additional data about you, and then we really give you a very tailored, very precise and very good set of recommendations for what you could be good at.”

Pymetrics works with candidates to compile profiles based on their play, and lets them know which companies are looking for people like them.  It then tells the companies, "Hey, check this person out – they have the kinds of qualities you’re looking for."

And Polli says these games can help companies diversify their workforce.

“There are a lot of companies in that realm," she says, "but they don’t know exactly how to solve that problem."

She says the algorithms behind the games can help, because they make the platform blind to race and gender.

But perhaps they’re not blind to an aging brain. Some of the games I play have me sweating as the clock ticks down. In one game I barely have time to register the direction of an on-screen arrow before it disappears.

If I’m being judged on this game, I fear for my employment prospects.

Polli says I shouldn’t worry.

“The main point of this is there is no right or wrong,” she insists.

She says I look skeptical, which I do, and assures me she’s totally serious.

Well, my test results did did tell me I was 70 percent skeptical, which I think is quite appropriate for a journalist.

Playing this hiring game may just take a bit of practice for some of us.

Lavillenie and Adams win awards

BBC - Fri, 2014-11-21 11:09
Pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie and shot putter Valerie Adams named male and female World Athletes of the Year for 2014.

Pub bombings 40th anniversary marked

BBC - Fri, 2014-11-21 11:02
A service is held marking the 40th anniversary of bomb attacks on two Birmingham pubs which killed 21 people.

The economic impact of Obama's immigration reform

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-21 11:00

Stymied by a Congress that has been unable to pass comprehensive immigration reform, President Obama issued a set of executive actions on Thursday.

Its centerpiece is a new program providing protection from deportation and a possible work permit for unauthorized immigrants who have lived in the United States for at least five years who have children who are citizens or have green cards. 

Patrick Oakford at the Center for American Progress says this will impact all the sectors of the economy where unauthorized immigrants work, from construction to restaurants.

Economist Giovanni Peri says work permits will allow workers to apply for higher-wage jobs, and give employers a larger pool of workers.

The White House's Council of Economic Advisors says this could generate an increase in productivity that will boost GDP by 0.2% over the next decade. But that depends on employers and employees alike having confidence that the temporary status will be extended. Kristi Boswell at the American Farm Bureau Federation says it doesn't go far enough.