National / International News

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. 

Avoiding the 'regulatory capture' trap

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

Another day, another Senate hearing on the financial industry.

The man in the hot seat today: New York Fed President William Dudley. He was grilled about something called "regulatory capture," the idea that regulators can be "captured" or overly influenced by the people and companies they're supposed to oversee. Dudley said the banking system is safer now than six years ago, but separately, the Fed has announced a review of its bank supervision programs.

Sid Shapiro, a professor at Wake Forest University, cautions if regulators are too cozy with their charges, banks might get away with things they shouldn’t. Regulatory capture isn’t a problem unique to the Fed, says Dan Carpenter, who studies the regulatory agencies at Harvard. But its impact there can be especially dangerous. Lawrence Baxter,  a professor at Duke University School of Law, says the Fed should be more transparent and draw fewer of its employees from Wall Street. 

The logistics (and costs) of moving an NFL game

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

The Buffalo Bills were supposed to play a home game this weekend against the New York Jets, until a snowstorm blew through this week dumping more than six feet of snow.

The NFL has moved the game to Monday night in Detroit. And the Buffalo Bills were scrambling Friday with last-minute travel arrangements, before their departure from their snow-burried hometown earlier this afternoon. 

Next stop, Detroit! ✈️

— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) November 21, 2014 The costs of the last-minute change are likely adding up for the Bills: from refunding tickets to short-notice hotel bookings.

In fact, the team is likely paying as much as a 30 percent premium on travel costs, says Kevin Green, director of football operations for the University of Kansas, where sports programs boast big budgets.  

Green says, when traveling, he typically has to account for anywhere from 100 to 170 people between players, coaches, staff and others. Typical travel arrangements are made well in advance, Green says: a year in advance for hotel reservations, several months in advance for flight charters, and a week advance for food preparation. 

And teams have very specific needs. Not just any hotel will do. And not just any food will do. 

“The hotel has to have conference space available for meetings, that typically limits those hotels to Hiltons, Marriotts, traditional business hotels,” Green says. "The food is very specific to individual players, positions. You’re looking for specific cuts of meat, proteins, carbs. That usually has to be ordered a week in advance.”

So, vendors are likely benefiting from the Bills’ sudden venue change. And if fans make sudden travel plans, too, the city of Detroit could see a windfall. 

“We foresee the direct spending to be around $3 million,” says Deanna Majchrzak of the Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau. “That will benefit our local hotels, restaurants, bars and other retailers.”

The Bureau is basing that figure on an estimate that some 30,000 fans will visit Detroit for the game. In 2010, when Detroit was last host to an unscheduled game, some 46,000 fans showed up to see the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants play, Majchrzak says.

Professional cuddlers for hire in Portland

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

A woman in Portland, Oregon, named Samantha Hess has opened a new business called Cuddle Up to Me. It is, just like it sounds, a professional cuddling establishment.

For $60, Hess says you get "the level of human contact that we want or need in order to be our optimal selves," according to People magazine. The session includes an hour of spooning, hair strokes, hand-holding and an assortment of positions. Hess maintains that her shop is not "adult oriented."

Call it commentary on the lack of human contact in today's society. Call it a ludicrous endeavor.

I call it entrepreneurship. Hess told her local Fox affiliate she's gotten as many as 10,000 emails in the first week. 

Hamilton 'like a kid at Christmas'

BBC - Fri, 2014-11-21 10:57
Lewis Hamilton says his "spectacular" Mercedes is the best F1 car he has driven as he builds up to the title-deciding Abu Dhabi GP.

Man jailed for raping boy in toilets

BBC - Fri, 2014-11-21 10:57
A man from Wigan is jailed for raping an 11-year-old boy in the toilets at Manchester Arndale shopping centre.

Sheff Utd 'angry' over Evans U-turn

BBC - Fri, 2014-11-21 10:34
Sheffield United co-chairman Jim Phipps is "angry" they have had to deny convicted rapist Ched Evans the chance to train.