National / International News

VIDEO: House of Commons

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 02:12
The Ministry of Justice is criticised over delays in responding to written questions.

US concern over China-Vietnam clash

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:59
The US voices concern over "dangerous conduct and intimidation" in the South China Sea, after ships from Vietnam and China collide in disputed waters.

Is a UK rate rise good or bad?

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:51
Is a UK interest rate rise good or bad?

Racist abuse 'deters would-be MPs'

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:36
A Tory MP tells how he has faced "vile" anti-Semitic abuse and death threats.

Jonny Greenwood's radio moves

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:36

Yeah, I'll admit it. I'm a Radiohead fan

We're a devoted lot, and because of that, we're pigeon-holed, stereotyped, etc. But everybody should have that one band they love, right? And because "The Bends" came out when I was in high school, Radiohead was that band for me.

I actually liked the later stuff better -- "Hail to the Thief" is my favorite album, the peak before the band's lesser works of recent years. But even better than the recordings were the live shows. Somehow, here was a group of musicians that was doing stadium rock without the Aquanet and tights.

A Radiohead live performance was truly odd and yet still had mass appeal. But I saw guitarist Jonny Greenwood do something in the early 2000s that really blew my mind. It gave me a new understanding of both improvisation and the art of making every performance unique. 

Greenwood pulled out a radio at the beginning of the song "National Anthem" and just started madly switching channels. Static spat, voices barked, music played over his brother Colin Greenwood's driving bassline -- it was awesome. And the beauty of it was that every time he pulled the move it was different.

In Germany, it was German radio. In Japan, the voices chirped in Japanese. Here's an example. 

 

Jonny Greenwood's move was part of the inspiration for this week's Marketplace Tech series Playing With Machines. Musicians are great ambassadors and early adopters of technology. Unless you're a staunch classicalist or a virtuoso on an acoustic instrument, you're always trying to figure out ways to make new sounds or bring forth new ideas.

That can mean picking up an instrument you don't understand, or trying to push an instrument you know to the limit for a surprising result. It can mean something as simple as playing to a metrinome, or something as complex as composing music for a robot guitarist with 78 fingers.

Like most artists, good musicians are a wonderful mix of technical ability and whimsy. So the way they think about and interact with technology is a treat to witness. 

VIDEO: Space scientist Colin Pillinger dies

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:34
British planetary scientist Colin Pillinger, best known for his 2003 attempt to land a spacecraft on Mars, has died aged 70, his family have said.

Better care plan for neuro patients

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:34
A plan to offer better care and treatment for 500,000 patients living with neurological conditions in Wales is being launched.

Lotto winners condemn indyref smears

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:30
A couple who won £161m on the Euromillions lottery call for an end to the "smears" which they say are blighting the Scottish independence debate.

VIDEO: Episodes returns for season three

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:29
Episodes first hit screens here and in the US three years ago, and in that time it has managed to do something rare, make both British and American audiences laugh.

Nintendo says 'No' to gay characters

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:28
Nintendo says it will not allow gamers to play as gay characters in its life-simulation game Tomodachi Life.

VIDEO: Journalists destroy desk in TV row

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:19
A Jordanian television discussion on the crisis on Syria has descended into chaos, with the participants destroying part of the set.

Women On Capitol Hill Reach Across Party Lines To Get Things Done

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:15

There's an assumption that women are more likely than men to collaborate. But as the number of women in Congress has increased, so has the partisanship and gridlock. Does a woman's touch help?

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'Skull Cracker' still in custody

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:14
A serial armed robber nicknamed the "Skull Cracker" is still being quizzed by police after going on the run from a Kent open prison.

Computers are jerks: a conversation with Dan Deacon

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-08 01:00

If you're going to see a Dan Deacon show, chances are the composer and electronic musician won't ask you to put your cell phone away. In fact, he'll probably encourage you to keep it handy. That's because having a smartphone loaded with Deacon's app turns the audience into a makeshift light show.

It looks something like this (skip to :55 to see the start of the show):

The app, made in conjunction with Wham City Lights, reacts to a tone which then syncs your phone to the next song in the set. It blurs the line between audience and performer in a way that Deacon enjoys -- rather than just going to see a show, attendees contribute to the performance. The app also invites smartphones into a concert setting, an area in which it is usually strictly banned. It's part of Deacon's M.O.: to use technology in a way that enhances his vision of what a Dan Deacon show should look and sound like.

This in spite of the fact that he also refers to the computer as "the biggest jerk I've ever worked with."

It overheats, it is unreliable, and it quits unexpectedly. Deacon points out, though, that it also has a right to be as fickle as it is, seeing as its advanced capability allows him to do so much with his compositions.

He also feels that technology is putting the music world on the precipice of its next big change:

"The last 100 years saw such an insane change in music, it's almost impossible to think about the next 100 years having any less. There was a time before music, there was a time before opera, and there was a time before what we're about to enter into."

Planetary scientist Pillinger dies

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 00:56
Professor Colin Pillinger, best known for his Beagle-2 Mars mission, has died aged 70 following a brain haemorrhage, his family says.

British Gas: No price rise in 2014

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 00:51
British Gas owner Centrica says it expects to leave household energy prices unchanged for the rest of the year, despite a squeeze on profits.

Thousands waiting longer in A&E

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 00:39
The number of patients waiting longer than the four hour target in accident and emergency departments has nearly tripled, says Audit Scotland.

Stabbed children out of hospital

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 00:36
A baby girl aged 16 months and a seven-year-old boy are released from hospital after being treated for stab injuries following an incident in a house in Newport.

VIDEO: 'They'll frack just 300m from my home'

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 00:35
The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has said regulated fracking should be an "urgent national priority" for the UK despite concerns from environmental campaigners

Lineker backs Stones for England

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-08 00:34
Everton's John Stones could be worth a gamble in England's World Cup squad, according to former skipper Gary Lineker.
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