National / International News

Peers try to revive 'snooping law'

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-23 09:30
UK net firms have criticised attempts to revive a "snoopers' charter" by adding it into draft legislation currently before the House of Lords.

10 things we didn't know last week

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-23 09:27
Women are almost two thirds more likely to believe in God than men, and other nuggets.

Who Is The New Saudi King?

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 09:24

King Salman, 79, presided over the dramatic transformation of Riyadh with a record for good governance, but he is not viewed as a reformer and is unlikely to change the course of Saudi politics.

» E-Mail This

Ebola victim on Reddit: 'Only me and my father survived'

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-23 09:15
Boy who recovered from Ebola tells all on Reddit

Bell 'deserves' England ODI record

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-23 08:53
Paul Collingwood says opener Ian Bell "thoroughly deserves" to overtake him to become England's highest ODI run-scorer.

Man 'told grave was for cat and dog'

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-23 08:52
A teenager accused of helping his brother bury his murdered ex-girlfriend was told they were burying "a cat and dog", a court hears.

VIDEO: 'Dogs barely recognisable after abuse'

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-23 08:50
The RSPCA has launched an inquiry after nine dogs were found abandoned on a roadside caked in mud and dirt.

Your Wallet: Financial Crash

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 08:42

What goes up must come down. Or hit a brick wall. We're talking crashes.

If you have a story about about a time your personal economy crashed, tell us. What happened? How did you make it through?

Send us an email, or reach us on Twitter, @MarketplaceWKND

In pictures: Saudi King Abdullah mourned

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-23 08:40
Ceremony hours after Saudi King's death

Ofsted to inspect academy chains

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-23 08:33
Ofsted is to be allowed to inspect but not judge academy chains, Education Nicky Morgan has said.

Baby rape sailor jailed for 14 years

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-23 08:32
A former Royal Navy sailor has been jailed for 14 years for a series of horrific child sex offences including the rape of a baby.

Will Greek voters make a great leap?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 08:21

Greek voters are about to make a great leap. Maybe.

Polls suggest that elections this Sunday could bring to power a hard-left party called Syriza

which wants to end the so-called “austerity measures” – the swingeing curbs on public spending rigorously enforced by the outgoing government for years.

Syriza also wants to renegotiate the terms of a bailout Greece got from the IMF and EU.

Quite a shift from the policy of the outgoing government led by the center-right New Democracy Party, which has been careful to play nice with Greece’s creditors.

Lizzie O'Leary spoke to Marketplace’s Stephen Beard in Athens. 

The leap second, deep space and how we keep time

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 08:12

You may have heard on the news or the internet about a very, very small leap that's coming. It's the leap second. Yeah, not year. Second.

On June 30th, all clocks around the world will add one second to their time. Why? The short version is that it brings clocks into sync with the movement of the earth.

For centuries we've measured time based on how the earth revolves around the sun. But the way our planet moves is weird. Earth wobbles, and sometimes solar time gets strays from the much more precise, human-made measurement: atomic time.

The solution? Every few years add or subtract a second on atomic clocks to bring everything back into alignment. The Paris Observatory, home to the International Earth Rotation and References Systems Service, determines when a leap second will be added -- when atomic time is .6 seconds or more off from solar time on earth. Since 1972, there have been 25 leap seconds.

To most people, a leap second is a pretty small thing. But for machines and computers, it can cause big problems... when all of a sudden there's an extra second in a minute, a computing clock's entire world can be thrown out of whack. In 1998, the leap second caused cell phone outages. In 2012, it lead to crashes on websites that ran on Linux and Java -- Mozilla, Reddit, Foursquare, Yelp, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon all reported leap second-related issues. 

Some critics worry about problems with navigation, or energy. But it turns out that if you prepare for a leap second, it's fairly manageable. Google planned for the 2012 second with a workaround that it called a "leapsmear," introducing the leap by the millisecond so that it wasn't even noticable. Apple seems to have fared similarly well.

And for NASA, a company for which time, down to the second, and even the nanosecond, is crucial, the leap second is no big deal. At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories in California, researchers spend a lot of time thinking about, well, time. Robert Tjoelker, co-investigator on NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock Mission, says that their master clock system is "carefully designed to accommodate the leap second."

Their enormous master clock in California, one of three around the world, even has a box to mark the leap second. Once the leap second is initiated, the clock will add time, nanosecond by nanosecond, so there's no change in the timing system's continuity.

"Atomic clocks on the GPS satellites have to be very reliable, and have to be very accurate, because you're building a navigation system that is used everywhere on the earth," Tjoelker says, "similarly, in space, we could not track our spacecraft if we didn't accommodate the leap second."

In unexplored areas of deep space, like the places the deep space atomic clock will eventually go, these second, and teeny, tiny fractions of seconds, make a big difference. 

"There are no signposts when you travel in deep space, and so the only mechanism, really, for navigation, is sending signals back and forth between the spacecraft."

NASA wants to launch atomic clocks into deep space to improve their navigation systems and communications between earth and space. The deep space atomic clock that they're building at JPL is advanced enough to speed up communications times by double, because instead of sending signals back and forth, it will send them directly from the spacecraft to earth.

And even that clock, one of the most sensitive, accurate clocks in the universe, will account for the leap second. 

There's still some pushback about the leap second, but Tjoelker says that as long as changes to universal time are transparent and widely known, there shouldn't be any problems. It's not necessarily the leap second throwing computer systems off, it's preparedness. 

Tjoelker says that for his team at JPL, whether or not the leap second is abolished doesn't matter too much, as long as everyone is aware. "This was an arbitrary definition based upon international agreements, it is just a construct of time, just as time zones are, daylight savings time... the actual offset of time is relative and the main goal of time synchronization is that everybody's clocks are ticking together."

Police station fire woman dies

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-23 08:05
A woman who apparently set herself on fire in the reception area of a Clydebank police station two weeks ago has died.

Why tyrants are afraid of art and beauty

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-23 08:02
Why tyrants are afraid of art and beauty

Syria air strike 'kills dozens'

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-23 07:57
More than 30 people are killed in air strikes by Syrian government warplanes near the capital Damascus, activists say.

Quiz: New majority in public-school classrooms

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-01-23 07:55

More than half of children in public schools come from low-income families, according to the Southern Education Foundation.

var _polldaddy = [] || _polldaddy; _polldaddy.push( { type: "iframe", auto: "1", domain: "", id: "new-majority-public-school-classrooms", placeholder: "pd_1422032694" } ); (function(d,c,j){if(!document.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;;pd.src=('https:'==document.location.protocol)?'':'';s=document.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);}}(document,'script','pd-embed'));

Young Women And Men Seek More Equal Roles At Work And Home

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 07:54

Young couples would prefer to share responsibilities equally at work and at home, a study finds. But they realize that workplace policies and child care can make that a tough go in real life.

» E-Mail This

Week in pictures: 17-23 January 2015

BBC - Fri, 2015-01-23 07:51
News photos from around the world

Goodbye, Garden Yeti: In-Flight Catalog SkyMall Files For Bankruptcy

NPR News - Fri, 2015-01-23 07:49

The kitschy catalog fell victim to online shopping and the growing ubiquity of in-flight WiFi, according to the company's Chapter 11 filing.

» E-Mail This