National / International News

Moriarty in Wales World Cup squad

BBC - Mon, 2015-06-01 02:05
Wales pick Gloucester back-row Ross Moriarty and Exeter tight-head prop Tomas Francis in 2015 World Cup training squad.

T-mobile wants more beachfront spectrum

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-01 02:00

The Federal Communications Commission is going to auction off more of the airwaves next year, to wireless companies. All the phone companies want more spectrum, as we use more of those airwaves to stream stuff.  

And the spectrum the FCC is auctioning off is primo.

“Yeah, this is beachfront,” says Kathleen O’Brien Ham, T-Mobile’s Vice President for Federal Regulatory Affairs.

This beachfront property? It’s super spectrum, which can cover long distances and travel through buildings in a single bound. T-Mobile wants to expand its reach and compete more.  

“That competition is giving consumers great choice, great pricing,” says O'Brien Ham.

T-Mobile wants the FCC to set aside half the spectrum to be auctioned off - so only smaller companies can bid on it. But the FCC may not go for that, because it has to strike a balance.

“Between trying to promote competition versus generating ample competitive bidding revenues from the auction," says Robert Frieden, a professor of telecommunications and law at Penn State University.

Neil Grace, a spokesperson for the FCC,  says the spectrum speculation is premature.  “No decisions have been made.”

Startup tries to raise the dirt-cheap price of water

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-01 02:00

Here's a question for you: How much is water worth?

We aren't talking anything fancy here, just regular old tap water. The answer is pretty darn little — less than a penny a gallon in most places around the country.

That is even true in California, where there is a historic drought. It's become so bad that the state has mandated water cutbacks and is considering fines. One Bay Area company has a different idea to encourage conservation. It wants to change the value of water.

Many of us waste gallons and gallons of water. And that’s not talking about watering large lawns or weekly car washes, but simple things like letting the shower run to warm up. Yup, we just let all that water go right down the drain. But not Alice Green.

Green lived in California during the '70s when the state was in another drought. “I knew then that we didn't have water to waste,” she says.


Alice Green conserves water and could start earning rebate money with the startup MeterHero. (Sam Harnett)

Green started taking conservation measures back then. She saves “warm-up water” from her showers and uses it to flush her toilet. Instead of a lawn, she has planted drought-resistant native plants. 

Today, Green lives in a co-housing neighborhood, which is a kind of hippier version of a condo association. It has signed up for MeterHero, a startup that tracks your water usage and gives rebates if you conserve. It pays one dollar for every hundred gallons less used.

Green's neighbor, Raines Cohen, says the 14-house co-op has been working hard on conservation in the past year. It has cut back nearly a thousand gallons a day with things like landscape and irrigation improvements. That kind of conservation would net them $10 a day with MeterHero's rebates.

 “We will see if we can keep that up, but now we have a strong incentive because of rebates,” Cohen says.

The concept seems pretty straightforward. MeterHero offers a cash carrot to get you to cut back. But the end goal is bigger than that, says founder McGee Young. 

“We can't raise the price of water,” Young says, “but what we can do is put a value on water, and specifically a value on water conservation.”

The rebates effectively make the water worth more. You are a lot less likely to flush a cash rebate down the toilet than water. But how do we know what price-per-gallon will make people stop taking water for granted?

“We don't," Young says. "It's a big experiment. No one has tried to put a price on conservation.” 

To conduct this experiment, MeterHero needs money to fuel the rebates. Right now, it is using its own cash, but the plan is to get businesses to sponsor the rebates. Companies get some nice PR—save water, save the planet. It could also help sell products, like fake grass.

Brad Borgman is with Heavenly Greens, an artificial turf company that is working with MeterHero. Borgman sees the rebate as a pitch to potential clients.

“You know it never hurts to get a little money back when you're trying to do your best to conserve,” he says.

Borgman adds that the rebates help connect water-conscious consumers with companies like his. “It seems like an obvious mutual fit so far, a kind of win-win-win for everyone,” he says.

MeterHero is just getting started, and so far it has handed out about $5,000 in rebates. There is a long way to go before most of us start thinking twice about all that water we flush down the toilet.

In a homeless district, growing numbers raise tensions

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-01 02:00

In the last two years, Los Angeles County has seen a 12 percent increase in homelessness. One result is that homeless encampments are appearing across Los Angeles. But traditionally, homeless people and services for them have been concentrated downtown, on Skid Row, and the increase is changing conditions there, too.

In the shadows of skyscrapers, homeless encampments occupy the sidewalks. On one block after another, people sleep in tents and live on the streets, with constant activity 24-hours a day.

But on those same blocks, companies are doing business. 

“I would call it a war-zone down here,” says Mark Shinbane, president of Ore-Cal Corporation. It’s a seafood importer and distribution company that’s operated here since 1961.

The neighborhood has always had issues, but Shinbane says they’ve gotten much worse. “There’s a lot of thievery. We’ve had people break in to the property. They’ve stolen equipment – copper off the roofs.”

Homeless people have threatened and tried to assault his staff. Shinbane says the situation makes it hard to hire new workers, “because they see the area, they drive by and they keep on driving. So, we have to interview more people. I may have to offer higher wages in certain cases to get people to come down and work. It’s a real challenge.”

It’s also an issue for a school in the heart of Skid Row called Inner-City Arts. It has some students who are themselves homeless. But increasingly, the people living on the surrounding streets are more aggressive and potentially dangerous.

“For 25 years, we did not feel the need to have a security guard at our entry gate. And now we do. And that’s an increased cost for the campus that takes away from the free education we’re providing the students,” says the school’s CEO, Bob Smiland. 

Security and sanitation issues have forced businesses to chip-in to support the Downtown Industrial Business Improvement District, which pressure-washes sidewalks and employs a team of security guards.

Executive director Raquel Beard says members pay according to the size of their business. “Some can be as much as $20,000 or $30,000 a year.”

Beard has watched some companies move out of the neighborhood. But selling property on Skid Row isn’t very profitable. 

“You can’t get the money that you would get in other parts of downtown,” she says. 

Critics talk about gentrification driving the poor from downtown Los Angeles. But Beard says gentrification hasn’t come to Skid Row. And she doubts it ever will.

 

Start-up tries to raise the dirt cheap price of water

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-01 02:00

Okay, here's a question for you. How much is water worth?

We aren't talking anything fancy here, just regular old tap water. The answer is pretty darn little—less than a penny a gallon in most places around the country.

That is even true in California where there is a historic drought. It has gotten so bad the state has mandated water cut-backs and is considering fines. One Bay Area company has a different idea to encourage conservation. It wants to change the value of water.

Like many of us, you probably waste gallons and gallons of water. And that’s not talking about watering large lawns or weekly car washes, but simple things like letting the shower run to warm up. Yup, we just let all that water go right down the drain. But not Alice Green.

Green lived in California during the seventies when the state was in another drought. She says “I knew then that we didn't have water to waste.”


Alice Green conserves water and could start earning rebate money with the start-up MeterHero. (Sam Harnett)

Green started taking conservation measures back then. She saves “warm-up water” from her showers and uses it to flush her toilet. Instead of a lawn, she has planted drought-resistant native plants. 

Today, Green lives in a co-housing neighborhood, which is a kind of hippier version of a condo association. It has signed up for MeterHero, a start-up that tracks your water usage and gives rebates if you conserve. It pays you one dollar for every hundred gallons less you use.

Green's neighbor, Raines Cohen, says the fourteen-house co-op has been working hard on conservation in the past year. It has cut back nearly a thousand gallons a day with things like landscape and irrigation improvements. That kind of conservation would net them 10 dollars a day with MeterHero's rebates. Cohen says, “We will see if we can keep that up, but now we have a strong incentive because of rebates.”

The concept seems pretty straight-forward. MeterHero offers a cash carrot to get you to cut back. But the end goal is bigger than that says founder McGee Young. 

“We can't raise the price of water,” Young says, “but what we can do is put a value on water and specifically a value on water conservation.”

The rebates effectively make the water worth more. You are a lot less likely to flush a cash rebate down the toilet than water. But how do we know what price-per-gallon will make people stop taking water for granted? Young says, “We don't. It's a big experiment. No one has tried to put a price on conservation.”

To do this experiment, MeterHero needs money to fuel the rebates. Right now it is using its own cash. The plan is to get businesses to sponsor the rebates. Companies get some nice PR, you know. Save water, save the planet. It could also help sell products, products like fake grass.

Brad Borgman is with Heavenly Greens, an artificial turf company that is working with MeterHero. Borgman sees the rebate as a pitch to potential clients. He says, “You know it never hurts to get a little money back when you're trying to do your best to conserve.”

Borgman adds that the rebates help connect water-conscious consumers with companies like his. He says “It seems like an obvious mutual fit so far, a kind of win-win-win for everyone.”

MeterHero is just getting started. So far it has handed out about $5,000 in rebates. There is a long way to go before most of us start thinking twice about all that water we flush down the toilet.

The happiest (and most expensive) place on earth

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-01 01:59
$99

That's the price for a one-day pass to Disneyland, but soon that could be the cheapest of a three-tiered ticketing system, the LA Times reported. Disney is reportedly weighing a system that would charge more for tickets on peak weekends and holidays.

$16.7 billion

That's how much Intel has agreed to pay for Altera Corp. An earlier attempt at the deal fell apart in April. But as reported by the Wall Street Journal, Monday's successful purchase means Intel can utilize Altera's ability to build specialized chips—a process that is not as cost effective for larger companies to invest the time and effort into developing for themselves.

3.66 seconds

That's the average time it took articles to load via links on Facebook, according to web performance firm Catchpoint Systems as reported by the Wall Street Journal. The service's new "Instant Articles," on the other hand, take between zero and 300 milliseconds to load.

12 percent

That's about the portion of police officers nationwide that are black, about 1.2 percent smaller than the African-American portion of the U.S. population. That's remained mostly unchanged since the late nineties, and many say those numbers belie the diversity of some local police departments where representation is much further out of proportion.

12 percent

That's the increase in homelessness seen in Los Angeles County just in the last two years. We took a closer look at businesses in Skid Row—an area of downtown L.A. where both the homeless and services directed towards helping them having typically congregated—and how they have been affected as tensions rise in the neighborhood. 

VIDEO: Should women have babies younger?

BBC - Mon, 2015-06-01 01:57
Women wanting a family should start trying for a baby by the time they turn 30 rather than delay it, a leading fertility doctor has suggested.

Vieira on Newcastle shortlist

BBC - Mon, 2015-06-01 01:49
Former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder Patrick Vieira is on a shortlist to take over as Newcastle boss.

Gemili runs 100m in under 10 seconds

BBC - Mon, 2015-06-01 01:39
Britain's Adam Gemili runs 100m in under 10 seconds but fails to make the record books because of wind-assisted conditions.

Semi-detached homes drive price rise

BBC - Mon, 2015-06-01 01:36
The price of semi-detached homes in England and Wales rose at the fastest rate of any property type in the year to the end of April, Land Registry data shows.

Hollywood 'antiquated' towards women

BBC - Mon, 2015-06-01 01:17
Hollywood's ageist attitude to women is "antiquated, backward and discriminatory", Jurassic World actress Bryce Dallas Howard says.

Italy vote threatens Renzi reforms

BBC - Mon, 2015-06-01 01:14
Results from Italy's local elections show right-wing gains and some erosion of support for Matteo Renzi's ruling centre-left.

VIDEO: Underwater robots aim to mimic nature

BBC - Mon, 2015-06-01 01:07
European researchers have been working on underwater robots that aim to mimic the behaviour of animals and fish.

FM backs more powers for islands

BBC - Mon, 2015-06-01 00:58
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants the country's island communities to have more devolved powers to "grow their economies".

Extra free childcare: Who benefits?

BBC - Mon, 2015-06-01 00:52
The prospect of a free 30-hours-a-week of childcare sounds like a fantastic offer - but what will it achieve?

VIDEO: Bad Weather grounds Solar Impulse

BBC - Mon, 2015-06-01 00:48
A zero-fuel solar-powered plane's first attempt to fly around the world has been postponed due to bad weather. Peter Gibbs explains.

Warning of gales and heavy rain

BBC - Mon, 2015-06-01 00:48
Forecasters are warning of an unseasonable spell of severe weather affecting large parts of Scotland.

VIDEO: 'I fix my broken tooth with superglue'

BBC - Mon, 2015-06-01 00:20
A new BBC TV show, The Truth About Your Teeth, aims to examine the state of people in the UK's teeth and discover if we are storing up problems for the future.

Malaysia Airlines is 'bankrupt'

BBC - Sun, 2015-05-31 23:43
Malaysia Airlines is "technically bankrupt", its chief executive says, as he announces a restructuring programme and plans to cut around 6,000 jobs.

Solar Impulse forced to land in Japan

BBC - Sun, 2015-05-31 23:40
Poor weather forces solar-powered plane Solar Impulse to make unscheduled stop in Japan en route from China to Hawaii.

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