We don't know a whole lot about the upcoming season of Orange Is The New Black, but Netflix put out three images today that might give you something to at least chew on. It certainly appears that we'll be picking up where we left off, in a very immediate sense.
The nation's entire power grid could be blacked out for months if as few as nine of the nation's 55,000 electric substations were put out of commission by saboteurs, The Wall Street Journal writes, citing a "previously unreported" study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The Journal's report follows accounts of what happened last April at a power station near San Jose, Calif.
As we reported here and here, snipers apparently fired at the station's transformers. Seventeen of the transformers were knocked out by the shots. Officials avoided a local blackout by rerouting power around the site. No one has been arrested in connection with the incident.
That attack led former FERC chairman Jon Wellinghoff to tell NPR and other news outlets that there's a dangerous lack of security around key parts of the nation's power grid. He called for "mitigation measures" including the placement of concrete barriers in front of transformers so that they can't be shot at from outside power stations.
Now, there's word from the Journal that the FERC study concludes "that coordinated attacks in each of the nation's three separate electric systems could cause the entire power network to collapse, people familiar with the research said." Such attacks would be especially damaging if they came on day when the power grid is already under stress — such as a hot summer day when demand for air conditioning is especially high.
The reason such attacks could do so much damage, the Journal writes, is that "a small number of the country's substations play an outsize role in keeping power flowing across large regions." Regulators believe that "knocking out nine of those key substations could plunge the country into darkness for weeks, if not months," the Journal says.
Thirty substations are considered "critical," according to the Journal, which notes that it "isn't publishing the list." FERC has told power companies they have until June to come up with new, tougher security standards.
Movie trailers have changed a lot, and if you show a teenager now a trailer from (for instance) 1997, it will seem almost comedically anachronistic and corny.
But this is how, for many years, we got excited about the movies. And these growly narrations — which were recently the subject of Lake Bell's fine comedy In A World — were a big part of that excitement.
Along with guys like Don LaFontaine, who died in 2008, Hal Douglas provided a lot of those voices — including the one for Con Air, above, as well as Forrest Gump and Lethal Weapon. The New York Times reports that he died last Friday at the age of 89.
So take a moment and appreciate this big voice that many of us heard so very many times. The lines were so cheesy, and the delivery was so satisfying.
NPR Music Staff
For most of Wednesday, NPR Music's team in Austin, Texas had our eyes on the stage at Stubb's BBQ, where we presented our SXSW showcase featuring sets by Damon Albarn, St. Vincent, Kelis, Eagulls and Perfect Pussy. But near the end of the night, we started hearing news of a terrible accident involving dozens of people outside another venue.
At about 12:30 a.m., two people were killed and 23 others injured after a suspected drunk driver, now in police custody, drove a car through barricades on Red River Street in Austin and and struck pedestrians near The Mohawk. You can read more about the incident at NPR News and at KUT, NPR's member station in Austin, where they're updating the story as it develops.
It's difficult to turn back to music after hearing about awful news like this. You can hear a little bit about how the whole night felt to the All Songs Considered team by listening to the podcast in the audio player on this page. As our own Ann Powers puts it, "In the midst of this joy, you never know what's going to happen, and that's why the joy is all that more precious."
We'll have more coverage from SXSW all week on NPR Music.
There were 315,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment benefits last week, the Employment and Training Administration says.
That's down 9,000 from the previous week and marks a three-month low.
So, for the second straight week, there's at least modestly good news to report about the labor market.
Last Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said there were 175,000 more jobs on employers' payrolls last month than in January — better growth than had been expected.
Reuters says the news about jobless claims suggests some "strengthening" in the labor market. Bloomberg News looks a little ahead and writes that "faster gains in hiring will help to boost consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, after harsh winter weather weighed on everything from retail sales to home purchases earlier this year."