National / International News

Why you should watch FA Cup semi-finals

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-16 14:37
Semi-finals have long been the stage for memorable upsets, will there be two more this weekend?

Dyke continues to look at Rooney rule

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-16 14:36
FA chairman Greg Dyke reiterates his desire to see greater opportunities for black and ethnic minority players in football.

Use Of E-Cigarettes Triples Among U.S. Teens

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-16 14:19

Even as the use of traditional cigarettes and most other tobacco products dipped or stayed the same from 2013 to 2014, the use of e-cigarettes climbed among students in high school and middle school.

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Han Solo in new Star Wars trailer

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-16 14:02
Star Wars fans are given a first glimpse of Han Solo in the new trailer for The Force Awakens - the first film in the new series of the sci-fi franchise.

Florida Mailman Who Flew Gyrocopter Onto Capitol Lawn Charged

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-16 14:02

Douglas Mark Hughes, 61, made his initial appearance in court Thursday. He was released on his own recognizance. He says his flight was a political protest.

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Iraq's Leader Finds Friends In Washington, But Faces Battles At Home

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:50

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has a much better relationship with the U.S. than his predecessor. But he's still struggling to entrench his position in Iraq and defeat the Islamic State.

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Chelsea suffer most online abuse

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:36
Chelsea receive more social media abuse than any other Premier League club, a new study by Kick It Out shows.

Murs and Flack to host X Factor

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:30
Olly Murs and Caroline Flack are confirmed as the new presenters of The X Factor

VIDEO: Hague on 'coalition of chaos'

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:27
The Conservative Party's William Hague says the possibility of a combination of any of the opposition parties would lead to a "coalition of chaos".

VIDEO: Opposition leaders in debate clash

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:24
The leaders of Labour, SNP, UKIP, Greens and Plaid Cymru take part in a pre-election debate.

England push for West Indies victory

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:24
Gary Ballance's century and a stunning Chris Jordan catch set up England's bid for victory over West Indies in Antigua.

Smith into final on GB comeback

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:24
Louis Smith qualifies top for the European pommel final in his first GB appearance for Britain since London 2012.

Mad Cow Disease In Texas Man Has Mysterious Origin

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:20

It's only the fourth case of the deadly disease in the U.S. And it has doctors on an international hunt. How did a disease linked to contaminated beef in the U.K. more than a decade ago get to Texas?

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In pictures: Singapore in transit

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:16
Photographer captures Singapore in transit

We Might Welcome Robot Lawn Mowers, But Astronomers Aren't So Happy

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:12

The company that makes the Roomba vacuum is developing a lawn mower robot. But the frequency on which it would work is also used by radio telescopes. A mini-battle is being played out in FCC filings.

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The Most Corrupt State In The Country Is ...

NPR News - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:11

A new poll says Americans think New York is the most corrupt state in the country. But is it? There are lots of ways to calculate it.

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Waterman train sale makes £600,000

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:09
An auction of part of the model railway collection owned by record producer Pete Waterman raises more than £600,000.

The 'cursed' disabled boy and the people of the sea

BBC - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:09
The disabled boy struggling to find a role with the people of the sea

Confusion over computers in the classroom

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:08

The educational technologies sector has become a $13 billion industry, with a growing list of start-ups and big companies vying for school district funds. At the same time, a lot of school districts are having trouble keeping up with fast-moving changes.

This trend may have something to do with news that the Los Angeles Unified School District wants some of its money back, after halting a plan estimated to be worth more than a billion dollars to buy iPads loaded with educational software from Pearson. The LAUSD complains that the combo of Pearson's software and Apple's iPad has simply not delivered on its promise.

While there is a lot of money and growth in the educational technology sector, LAUSD's travails are signs of what education consultant Allison Bailey of Boston Consulting Group calls the "pitfalls" of fast change. Bailey says part of the problem is that while school districts have been spending money on new technologies, many haven't planned for additional resources needed to train teachers and implement technologies in the classroom. 

A lot of teachers are tech-savvy, Bailey says, just like many students, but "in order for things to be rolled out and fully implemented, we need all teachers to feel comfortable and to understand practically how to get ... best use out of technology."

There are other hurdles for districts, too. New technologies are often unproven by their very nature, so it also makes it hard for districts to figure out what will be useful for them and how to evaluate a product before purchase, Bailey says. 

"Because of the flood of offerings that are emerging in the market," she says, "It's a lot for school districts to actually think through and manage on their own." She says the kind of data that districts will need to make informed decisions will come in the years ahead, as technologies are used and assessed. 

Michael Moe, CEO of GSV Capital, says of the $400 million he manages, he's invested about 30 percent into educational technology firms. He describes the current trend as less of a flood, and more of an "explosion."

"Today, increasingly every teacher has a smartphone," he says, "mainly every school in America is connected."

That has created the right conditions for a lot of start-ups to want to enter into the educational technology arena, Moe says. Venture capital firms have been pouring a lot of money into education technology. Moe's firm runs a summit for ed-tech start-ups, which included about 30 firms five years ago. In the latest summit, says Moe, there were nearly 300 companies.

Big firms are also in the game. Google, Microsoft and Apple are all trying to grab a share of the ed-tech market, as are big educational publishers, such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Pearson. Stephen Baker of NDP Group, a market research firm, says two-thirds of Google's 2014 sales of Chromebook notebooks went to organizations, "and the market assumes that almost all of that has been into education."

Baker also uses the "explosion" word to describe the accelerating ed-tech trend. "What we've definitely seen in certainly the last two to three years is a real explosion of personal devices available ... for students in big educational institutions." 

Smile! We're analyzing how you're feeling using videos

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:05

The advertising world spends a lot of money trying to make you feel something. They want to make you laugh, cry, feel hungry even...anything to sell their products and build brand loyalty. However, tracking whether or not their commercials are working is hard to do. A company called Affectiva says it can help by using video footage to collect emotional data.

Co-founder and Chief Science Officer Rana El Kaliouby says, “Emotions influence every aspect of our life; from how we connect and communicate with each other and also how we make decisions. We feel that our emotions are missing from the digital world and our digital experiences.” Affectiva is trying to change that.

Their flagship program, Affdex, asks viewers to consent to be monitored, and then users’ facial expressions are captured while they watch advertisements. Affectiva has collected 2.7 million videos in 75 different countries. That data is aggregated to analyze how emotionally engaged users are with a service or ad. The program is able to detect smiles, confusion, brow furrow, even how wrinkles may move around an eye. Affdex is now able to understand smiles better than most people can.  

The program is being used primarily for advertising companies, but they are also working on real time video communication with multiple people in a conversation. It may be used to track engagement in online courses, webinars, business meetings, even job interview videos.

Kaliouby recognizes that there are some applications that blur the line, but Affectiva has stayed away from anything without a clear opt in. “We’re more focused on the ones where we feel we can bridge a communication gap,” says Kaliouby. 

Kaliouby’s background is in computer science. She says, “I spent many many hours with my computer and it really bugged me that it was very oblivious to my emotional state and that kind of inspired and motivated me to build an emotionally intelligent computer.”

Watch Kai test out Affdex below:

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