National Partners

Stories from our program partners, including NPR, APM, and PRI.

BP leak in Alaska fuels debate on future drilling

Apr 17, 2017

Three things that no one wants to hear together: BP, oil and leaking. A BP well sprung a leak in the Alaskan Arctic this past Friday. Reports say crude oil is no longer spraying from the leak, but natural gas is still venting out. This will surely prompt a new round of questions about whether to drill in the northern-most stretches of the planet. The Trump administration appears all-in on arctic oil, even if the current market doesn’t need the extra supply.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Things are heating up on the Korean peninsula, you may have heard. A senior official told the BBC that North Korea will test missiles weekly. South Korea has doubled down on a missile defense system that China finds threatening. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has said all options are on the table to contain North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. What, short of war, can the U.S. do?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Why a former Chanel CEO purged her closet

Apr 17, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Bridget Bodnar

Last year, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, sales of personal luxury goods like designer clothing and accessories declined for the first time since the depths of the recession in 2009. Maureen Chiquet has had a front-row seat to changes at the very top of the retail food chain. After working for iconic brands like L’Oreal and Gap, she spent nine years running French luxury retailer Chanel.

Erika Beras

Rita Green has been driving Pittsburgh roads for decades and still struggles when she’s coming out of one of the city’s two main tunnels.

“It's very confusing, and you can just see the jockeying of the different cars and people cutting each other off,” she said. “It's insane.”

That’s because at the end of the tunnels, there are about a dozen options for which way to go and just a few seconds to pick one. Even if you’re using a GPS, it doesn’t matter — just about every system dies in a tunnel. Which compounds that chaos.

“We depend on our phones so much,” Green said.

Ben Bergman

It’s been just 18 months since a gas well broke, causing tens of millions of pounds of natural gas to spew into the air in Porter Ranch, on the outskirts of Los Angeles. It ranks as the worst methane leak in U.S. history. The leak was capped, but residents continue to complain about getting sick from the gas field. But even with all this, the housing market there is booming, especially on the high end.

New Google-Adobe font makes Asian scripts consistent, and that's a big deal

Apr 17, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Sean McHenry

Earlier this month, Google and Adobe released something that might just make the world a bit more, well, Google-able: a brand new font that manages to make a consistent typeface for Chinese, Korean and Japanese scripts. The Noto serif CJK is the second such font to emerge from the Google/Adobe partnership, and it could have big implications for web designers the world over.

Marketplace

Things are heating up on the Korean peninsula, you may have heard. North Korea will reportedly test missiles weekly, and South Korea has doubled down on a missile defense system China finds threatening. Vice President Mike Pence said all options are on the table to contain North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. What, short of war, can the U.S. do? We'll look into it, Then, Google Adobe have font makes Asian scripts consistent, and that's a big deal. Plus: Why a former Chanel CEO purged her closet

04/17/2017: The problem with a cocoa surplus

Apr 17, 2017

Coming off Easter weekend, let's look at some key economic data we may have missed. On Friday, data on core inflation in the U.S. came in much weaker than expected. Why is that important? It means that the Fed may not have to be aggressive with  interest rates. Next, we'll explore how demographic surveys on the homeless population can lead to more funding for certain groups, and how a cocoa surplus in Ivory Coast is negatively affecting farmers. 

Live vs. on demand: the battle ahead

Apr 17, 2017

Netflix will report earnings when the market closes on today. As ever, analysts will be keeping a close eye on subscriber numbers. They’ll also be considering all the new players jumping into streaming TV. But these are mostly new services planning to offer livetelevision over the internet. Will that hurt Netflix?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Annie Baxter

Seventy percent of cocoa comes from West Africa, mostly Ivory Coast and Ghana. The supply can swing way up or down depending on political instability and the weather there. 

“At times coca prices' annualized volatility can be as much as 20 to 25 percent,” said James Butterfill, head of research and investments with ETF Securities. 

This year, favorable weather in Ivory Coast is contributing to a surplus, and prices have fallen steeply. That forced the government to lower the price it guarantees cocoa farmers.

LA homeless survey helps service groups plan and budget

Apr 17, 2017
Catherine Green

Larry Dunn was standing on a corner in Skid Row, the iconic neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles that’s home to thousands of homeless people, including Dunn. He was being interviewed for Los Angeles County’s annual homeless count.

“So you’re a young man, huh?” the surveyor asked him.

“Sixty-three,” he replied. “Younger than you, and you, and you, and you and you.”

Marketplace

Cybersecurity experts are combing through data released by hackers who claim to have infiltrated the National Security Agency. The info makes it look like the NSA hacked into financial service providers in the Middle East. We'll delve into how the security community is responding to the leak. Afterwards, , we'll examine how much of a threat the growing live-streaming TV business poses to Netflix. And finally, we'll chat with Congressman Ro Khanna about his book "Entrepreneurial Nation," which looks at why manufacturing is still important in American society. 

 

Marketplace

Reports indicate that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to change Obama-era internet rules by having service providers regulate themselves. Michael Beckerman, CEO of the Internet Association, joins us to discuss why he thinks the existing rules are important for consumers. Afterwards, we'll look at the war for autonomous car talent, which has led to lawsuits, talent poaching and absurd salaries.

The mathematician who’s using geometry to fight gerrymandering

Apr 16, 2017

After every new US census, states have to redraw their congressional districts to divide up their populations fairly. But in practice, these districts don’t always end up equal: Federal judges recently ordered Wisconsin lawmakers to redraw maps of the state’s legislative districts, after finding the districts had been shaped to favor Republican candidates.

What kind of interior secretary will Ryan Zinke be?

Apr 16, 2017

When it comes to the federal government’s stewardship of the environment, there is perhaps no more important official than the secretary of the interior. Ryan Zinke, a former Montana Republican congressman, recently took on the job, and he is being watched closely by organizations on both sides of the political divide.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the new US energy secretary. It’s an ironic choice: During his 2012 presidential bid, Perry said the Energy Department could easily be abolished — and some observers have suggested Perry didn’t actually understand the job he was taking when it was offered to him.

The dinosaur family tree isn't quite what we thought it was

Apr 15, 2017

Since the 1880s, we’ve classified dinosaurs into two major groups, based on the shapes of their hips — the Saurischia are “lizard-hipped,” and the Ornithischia, “bird-hipped.”

Sensing Steps, And Perhaps Your PIN

Apr 15, 2017

Physics Is Untying Your Shoelaces

Apr 15, 2017
Courtesy of Korean Central News Agency

The possibility of a military confrontation with North Korea is producing some alarming headlines around the globe.

"North Korea: A potential train wreck in motion" blares the LA Times. "China warns of likelihood of war at any moment" cautions the Irish Times.

One place where there doesn't seem to be a lot of hysteria? Neighboring South Korea.

Heidi Levine

On Good Friday, down the ancient warren of cobblestone streets inside the walls of the Old City, Christians from every corner of the world process along the Via Dolorosa, or “The Way of Sorrow.”

Good Friday, which comes before the celebration of Easter Sunday, marks the holy day of remembrance when Christian faith holds that Jesus was sentenced to death and crucified.

Lucas Jackson

When human rights activist Noorjahan Akbar heard Thursday that the US has dropped its biggest non-nuclear bomb in eastern Afghanistan, she took to Twitter.

“Nangarhar is [one] of the most beautiful parts of Afghanistan," she wrote, "People say it is “always spring” here. The environmental cost alone will be tragic.”

Cayla, the connected doll, is a spy and must be destroyed

Apr 14, 2017
Jana Kasperkevic

Sitting on a shelf in a store, Cayla looks like a typical doll. Her hair is blond. Her eyes are blue. Her mouth is smiling. Once purchased, Cayla is supposed to be your child’s friend, a trusty doll companion. Except Cayla is not just any doll. Cayla is “connected,” allowing parents to listen in on their children via Bluetooth microphone and an app.

The problem? Parents might not be the only ones privy to those conversations.

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