National / International News

Jay Z Or Jay-Z? Buzzfeed Tells You When To Hyphenate

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:56

The AP Style Guide and Chicago Manual of Style are the gold standards for questions about capitalization, grammar, or usage. But what if you need to know how to properly write Jay Z's name? Buzzfeed's Copy Editor Emmy Favilla discusses the website's style guide for the Internet.

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Why "No One is Running With the President in Missouri"

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:56

Washington, D.C. is digging out from the snow, but Congress is already long gone on a two week recess. Host Michel Martin speaks with Christopher Ave of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Corey Dade of The Root, about the latest political news.

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London Market Report

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:54
London Market Report

10 things we didn't know last week

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:48
The brain reacts to :-) like a face but not to (-: and more nuggets

VIDEO: How two friends started a hashtag race row

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:45
How two friends started a hashtag race war

Report: 'Pattern Of Harassment' Led Dolphins Player To Quit

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:45

Jonathan Martin abruptly left the NFL team last season. He said teammate Richie Incognito had made his life miserable. Investigators say Martin and two others were the targets of racial slurs and other taunting.

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A brief history of snow removal

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:34

This winter has been one of the coldest, snowiest, and most expensive in recent history. Last month the airlines cancelled 39,000 flights, the most since Hurricane Sandy. The weather likely factored into the reasons the January jobs report was so weak.  States are turning to beet juice and cheese brine to combat dwindling supplies of rock salt. Perhaps most tellingly, snowed-in Northeasterners demanded that Netflix release 'House of Cards' a day early so they could stay inside and binge watch.

But as snow plows navigate the roads of weather-weary Northeast, it's important to remember that winter wasn't always this easy. That's right, before the introduction of modern snow plows, people had to use horse drawn plows, train snow blowers, and shovels to move the snow away from where they wanted to go. 

Before the mid-1800s, there wasn't really any effort to get snow off roads. Just imagine no snow removal during the "The Great Snow of 1717," when New England was left with four feet of snow, and drifts of up to 25 feet high. Or "The Washington and Jefferson Snowstorm" of 1772 that trapped both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in their homes, with snow up to three feet thick.

No, before 1862, people didn't use snow plows, they used snow rollers. The way people travelled through snow was by attaching skis to their horse-drawn carts and carriages. Snow rollers were huge, horse-drawn wheels that would flatten out the snow, making it easier for the carts with skis to move through the winter roads.

But by the mid-19th century, as cities were rapidly growing in population, city streets needed to be entirely clear of snow for the business of the city to continue. And with this, came snow plows. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, they were first used by the city of Milwaukee in 1862. Early snow plows were horse-drawn, and would deposit the compacted snow in huge piles on the city's streets and sidewalks. Not all cities used plows though. Some just used shovels. In New York, clearing the snow was the responsibility of the Police Department, so on winter days, you might have seen policeman excavating thoroughfares.

At least until 1881, when it was made the charge of the Department of Street Cleaning.

Finally, during the Blizzard of 1888, cities got serious about snow removal. The blizzard covered the Northeast in four feet of snow. Carts were abandoned in the middle of the street, people were trapped in their homes for up to a week, and over 400 people died. However, this massive blizzard did force cities to change their tactics regarding snow removal. Cities increased the numbers of plows they had, and divided the cities into sections so they could more easily be tackled. And where before cities had waited until the storm was over to clear the roads, they now removed snow throughout the storm.

 

As horses gave way to cars and trains, so too did snow removal start to get mechanized. In Chicago, trams were affixed with plows, though most snow removal still had to be done with shovels and horse-drawn cart. (Being Chicago, this did lead to a 1907 scandal where workers, who were paid by the cart-full of snow they dumped into the lake, would only dump part of their load, thereby having to make more trips and get paid more money.) And a Canadian dentist named J.W. Elliot invented the snow blower to toss snow away from train tracks.

But the main development was in the motorized snow plow and the motorized salt spreader. As more and more cars came on the road in the early 20th Century, drivers demanded that roads be entirely free of snow. People had objected to the use of salt before (it damaged shoes and clothing), but now cities used it by the ton.

And car mounted snow plows, invented in the 1920s, started to become widely used, leading to snow removal we would recognize today. True, a huge snow plow might be less romantic than a snow roller clearing the way for horse-drawn carriages, but it (usually) enables most people to get to work on time.

Ukraine frees remaining protesters

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:30
The last of 243 jailed protesters walks free in Ukraine, prompting the opposition to ease its blockade of Kiev city centre.

Sexually Transmitted Food Poisoning? A Fish Toxin Could Be To Blame

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:29

Tropical fish, like red snapper and grouper, can accumulate one of the most poisonous toxins on Earth. People who eat those fish could get ciguatera, an illness with strange neurological effects, such as painful intercourse. And doctors say there's a chance it spreads through sex.

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Sexually Transmitted Food Poisoning? A Fish Toxin Could Be To Blame

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:29

Tropical fish, like red snapper and grouper, can accumulate one of the most poisonous toxins on Earth, known as ciguatera. A few bites of an infected filet can trigger strange neurological effects: painful intercourse, reversal of how you feel temperature and the sensation of your teeth falling out. And doctors say there's a chance it spreads through sex.

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Live flood warning map: England and Wales

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:22
Live summary of flood warnings across England and Wales from the Environment Agency.

Italy tipped to have its youngest PM

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:22
The mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, is widely expected to be asked to form a new Italian government after the resignation of PM Enrico Letta.

Week in pictures: 8-14 February 2014

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:21
Some of the best news pictures

It's tax time! What should I do with my refund?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:21

It's income tax season. As taxpayers prepare for filing, we've got some practical advice on how you should prepare your taxes and what you should do with your refund (if you get one). We also took a closer look at the psychology behind filing tax returns.

Most taxpayers fill out their forms early to get their money back quicker. However, if you're writing a check and not collecting one, you'll probably want to wait as long as possible before filing your taxes. But how does a person decide how to set up their tax withholdings? It's nice to get a big refund once a year, but wouldn't you rather get more money from each paycheck?

Do you like your tax refund to be...

Kelly Phillips Erb is a contributor at Forbes and runs the blog Taxgirl.com. She said it really all depends on where a person is at financially. Erb said that conventional wisdom tells us that we shouldn't get a big refund, because you don't get interest with it. Erb says that historically, if someone received a big refund they were looked at as doing something wrong. She said now, more taxpayers are under the gun financially and are looking at a refund as a forced savings account.

"A lot of taxpayers are now holding onto this big hope that they're going to get a big check and they're going to use it to pay off credit cards or they're going to use it to pay rent," said Erb.

Erb said she has always advised against getting a big refund, but she says that given the current economic climate it makes to sense to bank on that big chunk of money.

But once you get your refund, what should you actually do with it? CNBC personal finance correspondent Sharon Epperson said it should go towards retirement first.

"That might seem really kind of crazy. Especially if you're in your twenties and you've got this money and you really just want to go to Cabo and you really just want to have a great vacation and get out of this weather," said Epperson.

Epperson said the best advice she can give is to put it in a Roth IRA, since contributions you put into it can be taken out free of penalty.

Epperson said that paying off long term and high interest debt is also a priority.

"I'm just hoping that people are not getting this huge refund and getting a ton of credit card debt," said Epperson.

We asked folks on Twitter how they're going to spend their tax returns. Here's what we got:

[<a href="//storify.com/Ketchcast/how-will-you-spend-your-income-tax-refund" target="_blank">View the story "How will you spend your income tax refund?" on Storify</a>]

Follow Sharon Epperson on Twitter @sharon_epperson. Kelly Phillip Erb is on Twitter as @taxgirl.

Kenyans get condom delivery service

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:14
A Kenyan businesswoman launches a condom delivery service to help tackle Aids, saying many people are too embarrassed to buy them.

In pictures: Sochi Olympics Day 7

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:01
Action from the 2014 Winter Olympics

Arsenal slides into pre-tax loss

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:00
Premier League football club Arsenal made a loss of £2.2m for the six months to the end of November, latest financial results show.

UK backs huge US neutrino plan

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 08:00
US researchers argue the case for a giant experiment that would fire ghostly neutrinos through 1,300km of rock under the American Midwest.

Woman's photos posted on sex website

BBC - Fri, 2014-02-14 07:57
A Northern Ireland woman whose private photos appeared on a website for prostitutes is to receive £28,000 in damages, the High Court rules.

Sochi Games 'Better Than Expected'; Swiss Wins Super Combined

NPR News - Fri, 2014-02-14 07:52

The IOC says it's pleased with how the games have turned out so far. Meanwhile, Sandro Viletta of Switzerland took gold Friday in men's super-combined slalom, a sport American Ted Ligety had been expected to dominate.

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