National / International News

How The Supreme Court Could Reshape The Tech Patent Landscape

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-01 12:43

A fight over patents is unfolding between Apple and Samsung in a California courtroom. But a case before the Supreme Court could change the concept of intellectual property in information technology.

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Pogba accuses Man Utd of 'disrespect'

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-01 12:21
Juventus's Paul Pogba has accused former club Manchester United of "disrespect", claiming he was made to train alone.

Contagious Aphrodisiac? Virus Makes Crickets Have More Sex

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-01 12:11

Researchers have stumbled upon a virus that makes crickets horny before it kills them. Inducing your host to mate more is a great way for a virus to spread its own genes.

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Kerry Announces Progress Toward Peacekeeping Force In South Sudan

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-01 12:04

Secretary of State John Kerry is in Ethiopia on the first leg of a visit to Africa. He hinted at possible ways to end the conflict in South Sudan, saying that "terms and a timeline" for military intervention had been decided.

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In Rubble Of Middle East Peace Talks, Kerry Seeks Way Forward

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-01 12:04

Addressing the collapse of Middle East peace talks for the first time, Secretary of State John Kerry called for pause and reassessment. Meanwhile, he's under fire for comparing Israel's treatment of Palestinians to Apartheid.

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For Separatists, Ballots Are On Their Way — But Plans Are Still Pending

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-01 12:04

The self-proclaimed governor of the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk announced that preparations were underway for an independence referendum. Separatists' intentions there appear to be unclear, and their opponents feel angry and abandoned by the government in Kiev.

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With Few Answers On Missing Teens, Frustration Simmers In Nigeria

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-01 12:04

Activists and parents demonstrated in the Nigerian capital, hoping to force the government to do more to rescue nearly 200 abducted teen girls, who have been missing for over two weeks. There is still little reliable information about the situation.

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Experts Expect A First For Ford: A Painless CEO Transition

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-01 12:04

Ford Motor Company will soon have a new CEO: Mark Fields, who's currently the chief operating officer. Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports that Ford hopes this will quell doubts among investors.

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In Sex Assault Report, Pentagon Sees Progress — And A Long Way To Go

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-01 12:04

The Pentagon issued a study on sexual assault in the military, reports of which have jumped 50 percent in the past year. Defense Secretary Hagel says this is a positive sign of trust in the system.

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Effort To Force Treatment On Severely Mentally Ill Meets Resistance

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-01 12:04

An uneasy fact emerges from the two dozen mass shootings in this country over the past decade: The majority of those pulling the trigger have been severely mentally ill and not receiving treatment.

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VIDEO: Mantises fitted with 3D glasses

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-01 12:03
Scientists at Newcastle University have fitted praying mantises with 3D glasses using beeswax as part of a £1m research project.

Job Growth Trending Up, Survey Finds

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-01 12:00

The private sector added 220,000 jobs in April, which appears to signal an upward trend.

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Why Domino's is replacing pizza crust with chicken

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-01 11:56

Not too long ago, we mentioned that chicken was becoming a hot commodity because of rising beef and pork prices--so hot, in fact, that some restaurants are beginning to use them in just about anything they can think of.

"You can do a lot with it and flavor it in a lot of different ways," says Roxanne Swamba, pizza chef for Domino's Pizza. "So it's becoming more popular than it has been."

Thus, Domino's "Specialty Chicken" was born. Not the fried chicken-crust that some had initially thought, the dish consists of 12 bite-sized pieces of chicken, served with a blend of sauces and pizza toppings.

"You can top pizza however you like, but sometimes you don't want pizza," Swamba said. "This happened to be an idea that we tossed around and we started making for lunch a lot, and I came up with a variety of flavors."

Despite the high demand for chicken, Swamba says there haven't been any problems with obtaining the necessary ingredients.

"We work very closely with our supply chain center and find out what the availability is going to be for the year when we plan on launching it," she says. "We knew we could do it."

Senior Prank Gone Wild: Police Arrest 62 N.J. Students

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-01 11:21

Police say the students broke into their high school, urinated in the hallways, flipped desks and taped hot dogs to lockers. An alarm alerted police who searched the school with a K-9 unit.

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Clarkson denies racist nursery rhyme

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-01 11:11
The Top Gear host says he "did not use the n-word" after a newspaper claims to have footage of him chanting a nursery rhyme.

Here's The Scoop On Jackfruit, A Ginormous Fruit To Feed The World

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-01 11:10

It's the largest tree fruit in the world. It's nutritious. And because it's pretty easy to grow, it has the potential to be a star in the developing world. But ... does it taste good?

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Looking for venture capital? Be careful what you wish for

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-01 11:08

The amount of venture capital money being pumped into start-ups is at its highest level since 2001, but it’s still nowhere near what it was like at the heyday of the tech bubble era. Raising money is hard to begin with, and it’s the lifeblood of a new business. On the other hand, you also have to be careful what you wish for. If you are one of the lucky companies who makes it to the level where big investors want a piece of you, then...you have a whole new problem to think about.

Wendy Nguyen and a couple of friends founded HealthyOut, an online and mobile app to help people find healthy restaurant food. As Nguyen puts it: “We want to get people healthy restaurant food in two clicks, to make that choice really convenient and easy to do every day."

Two years ago, Nguyen went from investor to investor trying to get money to make her dream happen. 

“Everyone says ‘maybe’ and ‘comeback later’ ... which is actually a 'no'.”

Eventually, Nguyen and her friends boot strapped, a.k.a. they used their savings and built the app themselves. It did well – very well, in fact – and investors started to notice. HealthyOut ended up raising $1.2 million.

While this was the break Nguyen desperately needed, for many businesses, it’s a moment that is fraught with tough decisions. 

“Venture capitalists exist ultimately for one reason – to make money for their limited partners,” explains Josh Lerner, professor at Harvard Business School. “The only way to make money is to exit their investments.” 

That translates to selling their stake and/or the company as a whole. So that could mean a startup company goes public one day. It could also mean the company gets packaged up and sold to Google or Yahoo, who may or may not actually do anything with it. It could mean changing a company’s target market or even fundamental things about what the company does. If the startup and the major investor aren’t on the same page with all of this, it’s not good. 

“The greatest fear is you pick wrong. And that venture firm, because they now have a large say in your company, directs your company in a direction you don’t think is right,” says Matthew Amsden, who helped start Proof Pilot, an online tool to launch and manage clinical trials and longitudinal research studies. 

Amsden is quick to add that any startup should be so lucky as to have the luxury of choice. 

All the same, getting money means giving up control, so when Amsden talks with investors, he tells them, “It’s dating, frankly. Getting investment is like dating. You’re looking for compatibility.”

Which means finding an investor with expertise in your field, whom you can trust as a mentor.

“It’s not only about the check,” says Amsden. “What else can that particular investor bring to the table?”

 And, just like in romantic dating, matches don't always go well.  Helena Plater-Zyberk is the CEO of SimpleTherapy, a company that designs online exercise therapy for people who can’t get to a clinic. She recalls instances where “I’ve been asked within the first two minutes of meeting someone what my endgame is.” In other instances she’s been “very pointedly told that the conversation doesn’t need to continue unless I have an exit strategy up front -- before they even understand what it is we’re trying to achieve and who we’re trying to help.”

Of course, sometimes the company founder really does need to rethink things. Like in relationships, they often have to ask, “am I the crazy one?”

Katie Rae, a veteran entrepreneur and chair of TechStars Boston as well as manager of a small venture seed fund called Project 11, says founders who haven’t gained a certain amount of perspective are likely to end up facing challenges getting the right funder. “Lots of teams hold back what they’re working on for a long time before showing people,” she says. “In my experience, the best founders don’t share with the public, but they do share with knowledgeable people their point of view, how they’re thinking, show them the product, and get active feedback.” 

“If you don’t talk to smart people, that’s a very tough mistake – it slows you down, you don’t learn as much, you don’t get as much feedback from smart people who would send you in a slightly different and better direction. They sometimes get funded by the wrong people with a very strong point of view opposite from your point of view.” 

In other cases, a startup’s founder may not have the background for approaching investors. That was the case for Helena Plater-Zyberk’s company, Simple Thearapy. She’s serves as the CEO, but she wasn’t the original CEO.

“Our service wasn’t conceived as a money making endeavor,” she says. “Our team of doctors created these therapeutic exercises as a result of patient need.” 

In other words, the doctors were thinking about patients, not how to grow the business. Which is why Plater-Zyberk was brought in as the new CEO. “We want to be able to balance that type of value system with the needs of an investor who is looking for a return in a set time frame; It’s a difficult conversation to have," she says.

It’s a conversation that Wendy Nguyen, with the Healthy Out App, had to have as well. Before landing the big the $1.2 million investment, she had to answer big questions for investors with big expectations. “Are you guys going to be a $50 million company in five years? Because that’s the type of return that a venture capitalist is looking for,” says Nguyen. If you’re not prepared to go big, then go home. Or at least to a smaller investor than a venture capitalist.

Nguyen thought about it, and considered the fact that the money would cost her a degree of control over her company. She trusted her funders, “and so we said...let’s do this!”

Nguyen and colleagues in New York with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Courtesy of Wendy Nguyen

HealthyOut is expanding its model, branching out to help people design personal detox diets now, and is trying to bring its ordering service beyond New York City.

 As with all startups, it’s not just about the idea, and it’s never just about the money – it’s about where you get the money, and what you do with it.

Scotland 'likely to get 'A' rating'

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-01 11:03
Scotland would likely hold a lower credit rating than the rest of the UK immediately after independence, according to the ratings agency Moody's.

Time to mourn the minibar

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-01 11:00
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 05:58 Wikimedia Commons

Good-bye, midnight Snickers bar. Adios, Pringles cylinder. Sayonara, bourbon nightcap.

They may never go away completely, but the hotel minibar can certainly be considered a rare and endangered species.

Why are minibars vanishing?

"In Las Vegas, a little bottle of vodka can cost you more than $14. And in Washington D.C., if you want a bag of peanuts, be prepared to pay over $7," says Kevin Carter with the travel planning website TripAdvisor.

A recent TripAdvisor survey found just 7 percent of U.S. travelers even remotely care about a minibar in the room. Not surprisingly, PKF Hospitality found that between 2007–2012 minibar revenue fell by nearly 30 percent.

Disappearing minibars is just one of several changes in modern-day U.S. hotel rooms. Woodworth says what hotels lose in certain antiquated amenities, companies hope to make up in room rates.

"If I can get you to pay an extra dollar for your room tonight, about 90 cents of that is pure profit," says Woodworth. "The energies and management focus has been really optimizing room revenues."

TripAdvisor found travelers want a lot of stuff that starts with the word "free": Free wifi. Free breakfast. Free parking.

Oh, and we want outlets – lots and lots of electrical outlets.     

5 more "amenities" disappearing from your hotel room

PKF Hospitality President Mark Woodworth says hotels are recalculating what makes them money. Here are five services on the chopping block: 

1. Dry cleaning.

There will still be ironing boards, but you'll have to push them yourself.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

2. Telephone services. 

Perhaps wake up calls will be rerouted to cell phones.

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

3. Renting movies on hotel TVs. 

Enough guests prefer their own screens. 

Jimmy Sime/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

4. Room size.

The smaller the room, the bigger the hotel's profit. And the closer you are to your cell phone, which is what you care about anyway. 

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

5. Coffee makers.

For now, the coffee makers are still there -- but you have to pay for anything you brew

Hulton Archive/Getty Images Marketplace Morning Report for Friday May 2, 2014Why do luxury hotels charge for Wi-Fi, but cheap hotels don't?Hotels seek added revenue in service feesHow does a $25 room service burger not make money?by Dan GorensteinPodcast Title Time to mourn the minibarStory Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Shock over US killing of German teen

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-01 10:55
The father of a German exchange student shot dead in Montana while trespassing in a garage says the US cannot continue to "play cowboy" with guns.
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