National / International News

SXSW by the numbers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-03-09 02:00

This week, Marketplace heads down South to SXSW, the Austin-based conference and festival that spans film, music, and technology. We'll kick off our coverage with SXSWedu, a four day event looking at where innovation meets education. Then, it's on to SXSW Interactive, where some of the greatest minds in tech converge to talk about trends in the industry and to preview some of their newest wares. But before we get started on our breakfast tacos, here's a look at the numbers behind SXSW.

Click the media player above to hear more about SXSWedu and the future of the classroom.

SXSW by the numbers:

5 years old

This year, SXSWedu turns 5 years old. While just 800 people attended the first 'edu' conference and festival, last year's conference saw 5,933 participants from 35 different countries. Since 2012, attendance has tripled.

32,798

That's how many people attended the SXSW Interactive conference in 2014. Participants came from 82 different countries, and had 1,100 panels to choose from.

2,136,236

That's the total number of SXSW mentions on social media during the week of SXSW Interactive 2014 alone. Among the top trending topics were Edward Snowden, Lady Gaga, and the NSA.

60,450 room nights

2014 saw 13,990 individual hotel reservations in Austin by SXSW attendees. All told, that adds up to 60,450 room nights. And that doesn't even account for bookings on Airbnb, which the service claims reached 11,000 SXSW-related bookings.

$315.3 million

SXSW brings a lot of people, and therefore a lot of money, into Austin. By the festival's estimate, $315.3 million was pumped into the city's economy during last year's festival.

370

SXSW is more than just panels and expos ... it's also parties. Side parties, to be specific. And this year's festival has a lot of them: 370 side parties ranging from a pet adoption happy hour to a karaoke night for tech lovers.

2015 college graduates face best job market in years

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-03-09 02:00

The job market has been steadily improving over the past few years and is now better than it’s been since the Great Recession for young college-educated entrants into the workforce. This is evident in the internship- and job-search situation today’s college students face:

• Hiring of college graduates this year (2014-15) will be up by 16 percent over last year. The leading sectors are: information services (up 51 percent), finance and insurance (31 percent), business and scientific services (24 percent), government (24 percent), manufacturing (17 percent) and nonprofits (16 percent), according to a survey by Michigan State University.
• More than half of employers are offering signing bonuses for new college-graduate hires, the highest percentage in five years, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).
• Engineering graduates will earn the highest average starting salary among all graduates in 2015, at $63,000 (petroleum engineers top out among engineering bachelor's degree recipients, at $80,600). The lowest-paid BA recipients, in humanities, will average $45,000 to start (NACE).

At a “Life After College” event for upperclassmen and their families at the University of Portland, alumni from the past decade were on stage sharing their experiences and advice. Many of them hit the job market in the Great Recession.

The alumni speakers told the soon-to-be-graduates in a packed auditorium that even as the job market improves, they will still need to keep ‘upping’ their game to succeed. Jessica Whittaker graduated in the early 2000s and has mapped out a successful career in communications and marketing at a leading sportswear company in Portland. She often sits down for information interviews with young alumni.

“That basic Times New Roman resume, it really doesn’t cut it anymore,” says Whitaker. “You really need an infographic resume, a full portfiolio, a website, and if you have one, a short video talking about who you are and what your brand statement is.”

Junior Elizabeth MacNamara is a business major, and she’s feeling reasonably confident about the job market. She’s lining up an internship for the summer at a major regional retailer. “My goal is to get into a job immediately that I’m really happy with,” MacNamara says, “and to be able to stay there and move throughout the company.”

It’s not very likely: average job tenure is declining in America, and today’s young people will likely switch jobs every three or four years on average, says Dan Finnigan at recruiting website Jobvite.

Working for multiple employers early in her career suits fellow business major Kelsea Orren, though: “I honestly think I’ll probably jump around. You usually start pretty low in a company, so building your resume and getting higher jobs in other companies is more what I’m looking for.”

Management professor Peter Cappelli, director of the Human Resources program at the Wharton School, says it's true that employers are working harder to find qualified employees than in the past seven or eight years. That’s a clear effect of the economy improving. But Cappelli says employers are not yet doubling down on salary or benefits to land and keep the best candidates. 

“It’s cheaper and smarter,” says Cappelli, “to spend your initial efforts with greater recruiting, before you start having to raise your pay or raise your perks.”

Cappelli says the labor market is still not tight like it was in the late 1990s when unemployment fell to 4 percent and no one who could work stayed on the sidelines. Today, he says, employers remain very selective in their hiring. Many will still hold out for the perfect candidate, even if it means leaving positions vacant for a while. He says employers want to find someone who already knows the job, has meaningful experience, and won’t need a lot of training before delivering to the bottom line. And, unless the job candidate is in one of a few high-demand professions—such as engineering or computer science—they had better be willing to take the salary that's offered.

Google’s new Googley Office

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-03-09 02:00

A Ringling Brothers circus on steroids. That’s how Will Oremus, a senior technology writer at Slate, describes Google’s recently unveiled blueprint for its new headquarters in Mountain View, California.

“The whole thing will just be as Googley as you might imagine,” says Oremus, who looked over the plans recently. By that he means a series of dome-like structures made of transparent glass, modular offices with roofs that can be moved, bike paths, creeks and plenty of greenery.

Fitness, of course, is a huge part of Google’s work culture, and that too finds a place in these plans. Oremus remembers seeing a schematic of a group of people practicing yoga. "They have the sweeping view of the bay,” he says. “It’s like they are on display to the entire world. Just showing how fit and healthy and really utopian Google employees’ lives are.”

The reason Google and other Silicon Valley companies invest so much in what their offices look or feel like, Oremus says, is they want this to be their employees’ “first home.”

“It’s just a way to try and wring as much productivity out of these employees as they can,” says Oremus. All these perks that come with the job are also selling points, he adds, given the current demand for engineers and developers in Silicon Valley.

But the city of Mountain View is not buying into Google’s “utopian” headquarters that easily. Community leaders have already expressed concerns over what this new development will do the suburban city.

“These cities have seen what happens with this tech boom and bust cycle,” says Oremus.

That is, when it goes bust, the city if left with built up office space, and a depressed economy. And, when things are going great, they have to deal with the rising property prices and the increased activity—including traffic—that a company this large would bring.

Oremus thinks the city of Mountain View won’t give up without getting some concession out of Google.

“I don't think you’ll end up seeing quite the utopian vision Google has come to reality in Mountain View,” he says.

Cybersecurity bill splits companies

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-03-09 02:00

A new Senate cybersecurity bill would make it easier for companies to share information on cyberattacks with the federal government. 

“I think it has to be done in a way that does respect the privacy and trust of the users,” says Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Rotenberg is especially concerned because any customer information companies shared with the Department Of Homeland Security would also go to the NSA. 

“If I’m using Google search or Facebook I don’t think my information should be going to the NSA,” he says.

This is a big problem for tech companies like Google.

“For some companies that have a lot of internet users, it would be really hard to get behind this bill,” says Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology.

But other firms that don’t interact so directly with the public like the Senate bill. Among them? Defense contractor Lockheed Martin. It signed onto a letter sent to lawmakers last week, in support of the bill.

Ads shown before YouTube ISIS video

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-03-09 02:00

Procter & Gamble and Anheuser-Busch are in damage control mode after ads from those companies appeared before an ISIS video on YouTube.

YouTube has 300 hours of content uploaded to its site per minute. So the process that links ads to certain videos on the Google owned site is automated.  

“Google’s very good at figuring out what you’re interested in even if you don’t realize it,” says Andrew Stephen, who teaches marketing at the University of Pittsburgh. 

Except when it’s not, like in this instance. The algorithms YouTube uses are complicated, but basically they figure out who’s watching certain videos, and slap on ads for things these people might like. 

Ari Lightman, who teaches digital media and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University says a company like P&G spends a lot of money cultivating this wholesome family-friendly image.

“And then to have it next to ISIS is just very contrary to what they’re trying to go after,” he says. But when you’re dealing with huge amounts of data, he says, these things are bound to happen.

SXSW by the numbers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-03-09 02:00

This week, Marketplace heads down South to SXSW, the Austin-based conference and festival that spans film, music, and technology. We'll kick off our coverage with SXSWedu, a four day event looking at where innovation meets education. Then, it's on to SXSW Interactive, where some of the greatest minds in tech converge to talk about trends in the industry and to preview some of their newest wares. But before we get started on our breakfast tacos, here's a look at the numbers behind SXSW.

SXSW by the numbers:

5 years old

This year, SXSWedu turns 5 years old. While just 800 people attended the first 'edu' conference and festival, last year's conference saw 5,933 participants from 35 different countries. Since 2012, attendance has tripled.

32,798

That's how many people attended the SXSW Interactive conference in 2014. Participants came from 82 different countries, and had 1,100 panels to choose from.

2,136,236

That's the total number of SXSW mentions on social media during the week of SXSW Interactive 2014 alone. Among the top trending topics were Edward Snowden, Lady Gaga, and the NSA.

60,450 room nights

2014 saw 13,990 individual hotel reservations in Austin by SXSW attendees. All told, that adds up to 60,450 room nights. And that doesn't even account for bookings on Airbnb, which the service claims reached 11,000 SXSW-related bookings.

$315.3 million

SXSW brings a lot of people, and therefore a lot of money, into Austin. By the festival's estimate, $315.3 million was pumped into the city's economy during last year's festival.

370

SXSW is more than just panels and expos ... it's also parties. Side parties, to be specific. And this year's festival has a lot of them: 370 side parties ranging from a pet adoption happy hour to a karaoke night for tech lovers.

Is the Treasury prepared for the next crash?

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-09 01:57
How ready is the Treasury for the next great crash and recession?

Ex-UUP leader James Molyneaux dies

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-09 01:51
Former Ulster Unionist Party leader James Molyneaux has died aged 94.

American Sniper top 2014 US release

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-09 01:50
Clint Eastwood's American Sniper beats The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 to become the highest-grossing US release of 2014.

SA rapper 'killed by girlfriend'

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-09 01:50
South Africa police arrest a woman for allegedly stabbing and killing a well-known local rapper, Nkululeko Habedi, popularly known as Flabba.

Merkel raises war recovery in Japan

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-09 01:48
German Chancellor Angela Merkel begins a Japan visit by saying "facing history squarely" is the best way to move on from World War Two.

Too few young apprentices, say MPs

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-09 01:41
An MPs' committee says there are still too few teenagers taking up apprenticeships despite £1.6bn government investment.

Are Rwandans healthier than the English?

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-09 01:30
Can Rwandans expect a longer healthy life than people in parts of England?

Park promises Rangers cash probe

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-09 01:30
Director Douglas Park says Rangers' new board will study closely the previous regime's contracts and deals.

Treasury sells £500m of Lloyds shares

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-09 01:19
British taxpayers' stake in Lloyds Banking Group has fallen to below 23% following the latest share sales, which have netted about £500m for the Treasury.

Australia 'sick of lecturing by UN'

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-09 01:11
PM Tony Abbott defends Australia's controversial treatment of asylum seekers, saying the country is "sick of being lectured" by the UN.

HSBC - where does responsibility lie?

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-09 01:10
The head of the British Chambers of Commerce tells the BBC that for all businesses, the buck stops at the top

The art of science - Wellcome Images 2015

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-09 01:10
Intricate scientific images up close and colourful

Warning of severe gales for Scotland

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-09 01:08
The Met Office issues a yellow 'be aware' warning for Scotland and forecasts winds reaching speeds of 80mph in some places.

Man in pyjamas in fire escape-leap

BBC - Mon, 2015-03-09 00:59
A man is forced to jump to safety from a first-floor window after he was woken by a fire which engulfed a block of flats.

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