National / International News

Inside the not-so-invisible primary

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 09:02

Sure, it's April 2015, but the 2016 election is well underway. Just this week, the Koch brothers, the billionaire conservatives, signaled that they may put their money behind Governor Scott Walker. 

The time when candidates who may or may not run amass money and buzz is often called the "invisible primary," or the money primary. It is crucial to campaigns — it's the time when candidates gather funds and experts to back their campaigns. And, the invisible primary is getting longer.

Rick Wilson, a Republican media consultant based in Florida, says he hasn't signed on to any particular campaign — yet. But that's likely to change.

Wilson says he's been talking about the 2016 election on a professional level since two days after the 2012 election.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.

The biggest, baddest black markets in the US

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 09:00

Landfills, Star Wars, abstinence and breakfast cereal — just a few of the numbers the website Statistic Brain tracks.

There's also a tally on the value of black markets. Overall, Statistic Brain says there is about $625 billion of illicit trade in the U.S. every year, and 1.8 billion jobs are created by the black market globally.

Product counterfeiting tops out as one of the most lucrative categories, at a U.S. market value of $225 billion.

CEO Seth Harden says some of these numbers can be hard to come by, but here's a quick snapshot of some value of goods for sale on the black market, according to Statistic Brain:

Average U.S. Street Value for Illicit Items Street Value AK-47 Price $400 Cocaine Price $174.2 per gram Ecstasy Price $35 per tablet Heroin Price $200 per gram Marijuana Price $20 – $1,800 per ounce Meth Price $3 – $500 per gram

 Listen to the full interview in the audio player above to hear more.

Life inside the cloister

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 09:00

In the hills of Hollywood, California, a cluster of uniform, nondescript white buildings with red-tiled roofs isn't eye-catching from the street, especially behind high cement walls. But this is home for Dominican nuns, cloistered inside this Catholic monastery.

Author Maura Weiler researched cloistered nuns for her new book "Contrition," a fictional tale about two sisters separated at birth — one, a talented artist, who is a cloistered nun with a vow of silence.

Inside the Hollywood monastery, Sister Mary Pia explains what life is like as a real cloistered nun at the Monastery of the Angels.

Listen to the full story using the audio player above.

From human trafficking victim to survivor

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 09:00

For several years, Rama was virtually invisible to the outside world.

In 2003, she was sold by her late husband's family in southern India to work for a doctor in California. She was effectively housebound, working without pay for more than three years, with no real idea where she was.

"Every day I would hear, 'You don't have papers, we could do anything to you,'" she says.

She was eventually able to escape, working a series of other jobs below minimum wage in other doctors' homes for a few more years.

In 2012, she got help from the South Asian Network, or SAN. That's when she was able to get her T Visa, for victims of trafficking.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above to hear Rama's story.

From human trafficking victim to survivor

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 09:00

For several years, Rama was virtually invisible to the outside world.

In 2003, she was sold by her late husband's family in southern India to work for a doctor in California. She was effectively housebound, working without pay for more than three years, with no real idea where she was.

"Every day I would hear, 'You don't have papers, we could do anything to you,'" she says.

She was eventually able to escape, working a series of other jobs below minimum wage in other doctors' homes for a few more years.

In 2012, she got help from the South Asian Network, or SAN. That's when she was able to get her T Visa, for victims of trafficking.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above to hear Rama's story.

Dynamic camouflage will let soldiers hide like a squid

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:56

Some of the newest technology and development in camouflage is inspired by a 60-million-year-old creature: squid.

In a lab at UC Irvine, chemical engineering professor Alon Gorodetsky and his team are making synthetic squid protein using bacteria. The lab is recreating a protein called Reflectin — it's what allows squid to change color and disappear into their surroundings by manipulating light — in the hopes that it could someday be used by the military as part of more effective camouflage.

Gorodetsky is working on taking the purified protein to coat tape, stickers and other materials in an effort to use the natural camouflage properties outside the ocean. His work is part of a larger movement towards dynamic camouflage — camouflage that responds to external stimuli and adapts. 

The early versions of Reflectin-coated stickers appear to change color and reflect light in unique ways. A piece of shiny, coated material that normally has a metallic blue color will appear red if placed on a red piece of paper. The coating can take on colors across the spectrum, and can even reflect back infrared light, which most things can't. 

The Department of Defense and the Department of Energy have taken note of the animal-inspired research. Squid-protein coating could potentially help soldiers be less vulnerable to thermal or infrared detection, and could be used to create distinct tags or patterns so that team members could recognize one another in the dark, thus preventing friendly fire. 

The squid protein has multiple uses — Reflectin could also be used in clothing to help regulate body temperature to keep cool during a workout or to keep warm with a very thin jacket. That's what has the DOE and clothing company Under Armour so excited. Gorodetsky says the defense and energy applications for Reflectin complement each other.

"[They are] two sides of the same coin, whether you're working to control radiative emissions for energy applications or whether you're working to make it harder for someone to detect you, the technology will be quite similar," he says.

Gorodetsky says color-changing clothing could be on the way in the next decade, even further out to 30 or 40 years from now, camouflage could become even more adaptive.

"You could have a shirt that looks more like formal wear in one situation and then changes to look more like an informal T-shirt in another situation," he says.

Even though this type of research is in very early stages, Gorodetsky says the future of camouflage is dynamic.

"That's is really the exciting area to go into," he says. "Using natural systems and animals for inspiration, because the things that they can do in terms of camouflage are far beyond anything that we've been able to do artificially."

10 things we didn't know last week

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:46
The taste of shipwrecked champagne, and other news nuggets.

Couch and Barrow win bronze in Kazan

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:42
Great Britain's Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow claim bronze on day one of diving's World Series in Kazan.

London set for 'greatest ever race'

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:34
Defending champion Wilson Kipsang and world record holder Dennis Kimetto will go head-to-head at Sunday's London Marathon.

Man guilty of two-year punch killing

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:34
A nightclub bouncer is found guilty of the manslaughter of a man who died more than two years after he felled him with a single punch.

Go Figure: The week in numbers

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:20
The week's big numbers, visualised.

Appeal over 'dangerous' missing man

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:14
Police appeal for help in tracing an ex prisoner whom they have described as potentially dangerous.

'Bali Nine' Ringleaders Could Face Indonesian Firing Squad Within Days

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 08:00

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the heroin-smuggling ring, are expected to get execution dates on Saturday. Indonesian law requires they receive 72 hours notice.

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Malawians boycott South African shops

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:55
South African-owned shops in Malawi stay closed after calls for a boycott from activists angered at recent xenophobic attacks.

VIDEO: Prince Charles' Gallipoli tribute

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:55
At a ceremony marking its centenary, the Prince of Wales pays tribute to those who fought in Gallipoli, one of World War One's bloodiest campaigns.

Poland bars Putin-backed bikers

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:44
Poland refuses entry to the pro-Kremlin biker group Night Wolves, saying it cannot ensure security for the gang on its WW2 commemorative ride.

Sexy, Simple, Satirical: 300 Years Of Picnics In Art

NPR News - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:36

From Goya to Banksy, artists through the century have tackled modernity and its discontents through depictions of eating outdoors.

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Hartlepool fans 'should not black up'

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:34
Hartlepool fans set to dress up as Bob Marley for a game at Carlisle should avoid "blacking up", says Kick it Out.

Man in court over student murder

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:31
A man appears in court for a second time charged with murdering Irish student Karen Buckley.

Saudis say 'killer' was IS agent

BBC - Fri, 2015-04-24 07:31
Saudi Arabia says a young man arrested for the murders of two police officers has confessed to acting on orders from the Islamic State jihadist group.

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