National / International News

Microsoft's new holographic headset augments reality

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:44

Meet Microsoft's HoloLens:

Microsoft unveiled its new headset which will layer elements of virtual reality onto the real world. It will use holograms to facilitate fully immersive gaming, enhance conferences, and help with day-to-day tasks.

Author Jessi Hempel got to try them on herself for a preview in Wired Magazine. “This is a little bit like virtual reality … except nothing like it, because it takes all the best elements of virtual reality and layers them into the real world,” she says.

For instance, she used the goggles to fix an electrical issue while on a video call with an electrician. From his screen, the electrician circled the pieces Hempel needed to work on, and the drawings appeared directly on the wires. Likewise, this device allows wearers to digitally interact with the physical world. Hempel describes wearing the glasses, “I’ll see the room around me but I might also be able to reach out and draw a circle on the wall that looks like a real circle on the wall.”

Microsoft is not the first to create holographic goggles, but Hempel says that the HoloLens surpasses beta versions like Google Glass.  The goggles probably won’t hit the market until next year, so we’ll have to wait. But the good news is they’ll probably be affordable.

States Continue Push To Ban Abortions After 20 Weeks

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:33

Although the Republican-led House decided not to vote to ban abortions after 20 weeks, 10 states already have such measures and more states are considering them.

» E-Mail This

Chicago artist wins Artes Mundi

BBC - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:30
Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates wins the coveted Artes Mundi 6 award in Cardiff.

EU stimulus to 'reinforce' inequality

BBC - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:25
The billionaire investor George Soros has warned that the aggressive stimulus policy rolled-out by the European Central Bank could "reinforce inequality" in the EU.

Patriots' Coach 'Shocked' At Allegations Of Deflated Footballs

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:23

The New England Patriots' coach and quarterback are weighing in on the controversy surrounding the deflated footballs used in the playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts.

» E-Mail This

Obama Takes His State Of The Union Messages To YouTube

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:23

President Obama is pitching his State of the Union proposals on a campaign-like trip and on YouTube.

» E-Mail This

Yemen In Chaos Amid Reports Of Government's Collapse

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:23

U.S. military advisers are keeping a low profile in Yemen after Huthi rebels staged a near coup. Sources tell NPR that U.S. special operations forces are still doing operations, but nothing to antagonize the Huthis. Meanwhile, White House officials are meeting to see what the changes mean for the counter-terror fight that President Obama lauded as a success only five months ago.

» E-Mail This

House Republican Leaders Drop Effort To Ban Some Abortions

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:23

House Republican leaders had planned to pass a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision and coinciding with the annual protest march by abortion opponents. But with Republican women balking at that measure, they instead passed a bill prohibiting the use of taxpayer money for abortions, something that's been in spending bills for years.

» E-Mail This

Atomic Scientists' 'Doomsday Clock' Ticks Forward

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:23

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board is warning that "the probability of global catastrophe is very high" unless quick action is taken.

» E-Mail This

Will Netanyahu's Congress Visit Help His Election Prospects?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:23

Robert Siegel speaks with Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., about whether he thinks Netanyahu's address to Congress in March will help him with his election a few weeks afterwards.

» E-Mail This

Google Could Provide Relief To Sprint, T-Mobile With Wireless Deal

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:23

Google plans to enter the wireless phone business, according to published reports. By purchasing capacity on the T-Mobile and Sprint networks, Google could sell mobile service directly to customers, a move that would shake up the wireless industry.

» E-Mail This

Prosecutor's Mysterious Death Grips Argentina

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:23

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez says she believes Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center, was murdered.

» E-Mail This

Netanyahu Accepts Republican Invitation To Address Congress

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:23

Lawmakers say the Obama administration is "stiff arming" Congress, keeping them away from diplomacy with Iran. The House Speaker is fighting back, inviting Israel's tough talking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress soon.

» E-Mail This

No Federal Charges Expected Against Darren Wilson

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:23

Mayors and police chiefs are asking how they can rebuild trust with minority communities. The question comes as a Justice Department investigation of a white police officer in the shooting death of a black man in Ferguson, Mo., is winding down.

» E-Mail This

Finding Crime Clues In What Insects Had For Dinner

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:18

Forensic scientists can find crime-solving evidence in the tiniest details, such as the insects that arrive at the scene to feed on the decomposing corpse.

» E-Mail This

Doing the numbers on the super rich

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:16

The collective wealth of the world's 80 richest people matches the wealth of the poorest 50 percent of the population. That's according to new data from Oxfam, which says the super-rich are getting much richer. In 2010, it took 388 of the richest people to match half of the global wealth.

It is a powerful comparison but can also be abstract. Indeed. Oxfam has been criticized for the way it calculates global wealth. What does all this money actually look like? We pulled the top names off Forbes' billionaire list to see if we could come up with equivalents that could help you picture their net worth.

The Walton Family: $160.2 billion

The heirs to Wal-Mart founders Sam and Bud Walton are four of the 15 richest people in the world, with more than $160 billion split between Christy, Rob, Alice and Jim Walton. That's as much as Apple's notoriously large cash reserves.

Bill Gates: $80.6 billion

The Microsoft founder has donated much of his personal wealth via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He could still buy Uber twice, but just barely.

Warren Buffet and Carlos Slim: About $73 billion apiece

They're neck-and-neck for second place on Forbe's rich list. If they joined forces, they could level out the hit Russia's economy took this fall from sanctions and dropping oil prices.

Another fun fact: Buffet earned $13.5 billion in 2013 alone, meaning it took him just two minutes to earn $51,900, the median household income in the U.S. This tool from Penny Stocks Lab calculates how long it took Buffet to earn your wage:

Amancio Ortega: $61.4 billion

The fashion tycoon hails from Spain, but his net worth is equal to the GDP of the Dominican Republic.

Koch Brothers: $41 billion each

Charles and David Koch are known for running Koch Inudstries, one of the largest privately held companies in the world, as well as for their political activism and charitable donations. With their personal fortunes, the brothers could both cover the costs of every major national election from 1998 to 2014 and still have several billion left over.

Larry Elison: $54.5 billion

His daughter is producing Oscar-winning movies, but with his personal wealth, Larry Elison could buy every team in the NFL plus half of the teams in the MLB.

Liliane Bettencourt: $38 billion

If the 92-year-old L'Oreal heiress wanted, she could fund the European Space Agency for about a decade, or NASA for two years.

Michael Bloomberg: $35 billion

The media mogul was mayor of New York, but his personal fortune almost exactly matches the Gross Metropolitan Product of Tuscon, Arizona.

 And that's just the start: there are 67 more billionaires in that top 80, adding up to a net worth of $1.9 trillion. 

Obama's Big Bid To Change Sick-Leave Laws May Hinge On Small Business

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:16

The president's call for mandatory paid sick days starred in his State of the Union address. But forget the big speech: It may be small businesses — and state lawmakers — that decide this debate.

» E-Mail This

The euro is dropping, but airfares aren't

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:11

Your dollar may go further in Europe these days — but you'll have to get there first.

Airlines know that a weak euro will boost tourism, and they're raising the price of tickets from the U.S. to Europe, Asia and South America accordingly. On the flip side, airlines are cutting prices on flights originating in Europe to ensure demand remains high.

As fuel prices hit record highs over the past decade, many airlines ditched gas-guzzling jumbo jets for smaller aircraft with fewer seats. A drop in fuel prices may mean that some of those larger carriers return to the skies. That should — and the key word is should — lead to a drop in prices.

VIDEO: Comet shows off its 'goosebumps'

BBC - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:11
Scientists working on Europe's Rosetta probe, which is tracking Comet 67P, say they may have found evidence for how such icy objects were formed.

Debate: Is Amazon The Reader's Friend?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-01-22 12:01

Two teams of editors and writers, including best-selling author Scott Turow, face off over Amazon's influence over the publishing industry, in the latest debate from Intelligence Squared U.S.

» E-Mail This

Pages