Windows only: If you've got extra monitor space to devote to up-to-the-minute news, FeedRoller can puts your RSS feeds right at the top of your screen.
Design-wise, it's just a black banner that scrolls, but FeedRoller has quite a few handy features. You can adjust the age of the news it displays, determine how long your cursor is auto-hid in the black news area before it appears again, and configure hot keys and colour schemes.
Those hot keys can accomplish nearly every function of FeedRoller's. You can pause the feeds, unpin it from the top of the screen, visit the article being displayed, and enter Do Not Disturb mode for a set period of time. When the ticker is paused, you can scroll with your arrow keys (or mouse wheel) to look back through the previous headlines.
FeedRoller is freeware, available as a portable application, and Windows only.