Business

Sports
2:52 pm
Sat August 4, 2012

That's No Swimsuit, That's A Racing System

Gold medalist Ryan Lochte swims in Speedo's Fastskin3 system, which incorporates two caps and custom-fitted goggles.
Courtesy Speedo

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 4:24 am

In 2008, Speedo got too good at making swimsuits.

Ninety-eight percent of medal winners that year wore the company's LZR Racer, a zip-sealed full-body suit that carried many top athletes — including Michael Phelps — to gold.

But after those games, the sport's international governing body changed the rules to outlaw the LZR by banning zippers and restricting mens' suit coverage from the navel to the knees. So Speedo went back to the drawing board and spent years developing what's now known as the Fastskin3 system.

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Americandy: Sweet Land Of Liberty
3:53 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Grand Ole Goo Goo Sweetens Fans Old And New

The Goo Goo Cluster, a classic gooey treat from Nashville, Tenn., celebrates its 100th birthday this year.
Melisa Goh NPR

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

No one's entirely sure where the Southern treat called the Goo Goo Cluster got its name.

The iconic candy from Nashville, Tenn., celebrates its 100th birthday this year. The confection of marshmallow, peanuts and caramel wrapped in milk chocolate may owe its longevity in part to another Nashville icon: the Grand Ole Opry.

Goo Goo Cluster sponsored the venue's radio broadcasts from 1966 until 2006. In one popular advertisement, stage performers crooned, "Go get a Goo Goo ... it's gooooooood!"

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Presidential Race
3:52 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Obama, Romney Each Read Jobs Numbers Differently

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

The stock market rallied on Friday's jobs report, with the Dow Jones industrial average jumping more than 200 points. But what do the numbers mean for the political stocks of President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney? That's harder to measure.

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Planet Money
4:49 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Episode 392: Keeping The Biggest Secret In The U.S. Economy

The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps monthly unemployment figures very safe.
Don Goldberg (DoGoLaCa) flickr.com

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 1:01 pm

  • Listen to the Episode

The monthly jobs numbers are important — really important. They tell everyone from manufacturers to stock traders how the economy is doing. Billions of dollars ride on the jobs numbers.

Get them early, and you'd have everything you need to make a quick fortune. And once — just once, as far as anyone knows — someone did get them early.

On today's show, we talk to the guy who got the numbers before everyone else. And we learn the crazy lengths the government now goes to in order to keep those numbers secret until it's time to release them.

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Technology
11:44 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Tech Giants Gear Up For Patent Battle

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 12:29 pm

A court battle between Apple and Samsung is underway in California, with each side arguing over intricate patent and trademark claims covering how the companies' phones and tablets work, look, and feel. Robin Feldman, professor at the UC Hastings College of the Law, explains some of the key issues in the court case and how it might affect the technology industry.

It's All Politics
10:27 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Latest Jobs Data Maintain Status Quo Of Obama-Romney Race

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 12:10 pm

(Revised @ 1:48 pm ET)

With only three monthly jobs reports left before Nov. 6, President Obama needs every piece of good economic news he can get to add to his argument for re-election.

Friday's employment report certainly provided some. The Labor Department reported that the economy added an unexpectedly strong 163,000 jobs in July. Forecasters had predicted that the economy would add as many as 100,000 jobs, so the report took most everyone by surprise.

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Planet Money
9:37 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Actually, The U.S. Lost 1.2 Million Jobs Last Month

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 1:02 pm

Everyone (including us) is saying this morning that the U.S. economy gained 163,000 jobs last month. Strictly speaking, this is a lie.

In fact, the U.S. economy actually lost 1.2 million jobs last month. There were 134.1 million jobs in June, and 132.9 million jobs in July. (The numbers are in this PDF.)

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The Two-Way
6:44 am
Fri August 3, 2012

163,000 Jobs Added In July; Unemployment Rate Rose To 8.3 Percent

A sign pointing the way to a career fair in San Mateo, Calif., last month.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 10:12 am

There were 163,000 more jobs on public and private payrolls last month, but the nation's unemployment rate edged up to 8.3 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

The jobs gain was the best in five months and was much better than the revised estimated of growth for June — a gain of just 64,000 jobs. But it wasn't good enough to keep the jobless rate from rising slightly. In June, it stood at 8.2 percent.

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The Two-Way
4:44 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Best Guess: 100,000 Jobs Added In July; Unemployment Stayed At 8.2 Percent

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 6:52 am

Update at 8:45 a.m. ET. Report Has Better Than Expected News:

"163,000 Jobs Added In July; Unemployment Rate Rose To 8.3 Percent"

Our original post:

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Business
3:30 am
Fri August 3, 2012

A Bad Day For The Royal Bank Of Scotland

RBS, the Royal Bank of Scotland, is already in a tough spot. It's among several banks being investigated for allegedly rigging the interbank lending rate known as LIBOR. As Steve Inskeep reports, Friday it warned that it faced several potential lawsuits over those allegations.

Business
3:30 am
Fri August 3, 2012

In N.Y.C., Private Sector To Invest In Social Issues

New York City officials are experimenting with a new way to fund social programs normally paid for with tax dollars. New York City officials say the prison intervention program could keep many of the nearly four thousand adolescent males that enter the jail system each year from returning. WNYC's Colby Hamilton reports Goldman Sachs is set to make a nearly $10 million investment in a social impact bond.

Business
3:30 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Women On The Board Make For Better Business

The last word in business: women's intuition. Research shows that the stocks of companies that include women on their board of directors do better than companies with all-male boards. Renee Montagne and Steve Inskeep explain the report.

Energy
3:14 am
Fri August 3, 2012

States Ask Detroit: 'Build Us A Natural Gas Car, Please'

Honda's CNG Civic is the only natural gas-fueled sedan currently available in the United States. With so few CNG passenger cars on the road, pumping stations are few and far between.
Tracy Samilton for NPR

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 3:31 am

More than 20 state governors are taking an unusual step to boost the natural gas vehicle industry. Independent of the federal government, they're asking Detroit carmakers to build them a new kind of car: a midsize sedan that runs on compressed natural gas instead of gasoline.

The governors are hoping to boost demand for natural gas cars with their collective buying power. Combined, the states say they could ultimately buy thousands of CNG vehicles to replace their current vehicle fleets — if those cars were available.

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Planet Money
1:30 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Keeping The Biggest Secret In The U.S. Economy

In one part of the BLS offices, a supervisor rings this bell to let employees know that it is officially 8:30 AM.
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 8:04 am

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All Tech Considered
4:39 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Its Financial Future In Question, Facebook Tries To Tell A Different Story

Mayank Sharma of New Delhi lost his memory. A video by Facebook shows how he used Facebook's "people you may know" feature to rebuild his life.
Facebook/Vimeo video screengrab

On its first day as a public company in May, Facebook's stock traded for more than $40 a share. On Thursday, investors could pick up a share for less than $20. Facebook has lost nearly half its value during its first few weeks on the Nasdaq. Institutional investors such as Fidelity are selling their stake. Facebook executives are now desperate to change the conversation about the company.

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The Salt
4:39 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Extreme Makeover, Potato Edition

Jane Greenhalgh NPR

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:12 am

The sizzle seems to be gone from America's long-term relationship with the potato. Consumers are eating fewer of them, especially the kind that's not fried in a vat of hot oil. But what if a new and different potato arrived in town? A stylish one, with colorful flesh that was good for you, too?

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Economy
2:01 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

What Can We Do To Fix The Economy?

Courtesy of Jared Bernstein

U.S. employment is stalled, growth is anemic, and the Federal Reserve has decided not to take action for at least another month.

Most economists weren't expecting the Federal Open Markets Committee, which sets the Fed's monetary policy, to announce another round of quantitative easing — a fancy term that basically means the central bank buys bonds to increase the money supply and make borrowing cheaper — at this week's meeting. Still, that's exactly what a number of them think is needed.

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Planet Money
12:26 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Can You Get A Patent On Being A Patent Troll?

A 15th-century depiction of the ouroboros, a serpent devouring itself.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 1:34 pm

The patent wars have been heating up. Apple and Samsung are duking it out in California.

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The Salt
8:35 am
Thu August 2, 2012

How Climate Change Is Changing The Oyster Business

Scientists blame higher levels of carbon dioxide in Pacific Ocean waters caused by global warming for the failure of oyster seeds to thrive in hatcheries.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 9:30 am

Austin Docter has worked at a shellfish plant in Shelton, Wash., for 18 years and has a lot of words to describe what he calls the flavor profiles of oysters: Minerally. Metallic-y. Sweet. Buttery.

"Wherever oysters are grown, they take on the characteristics of the algae and water that they grow up in," Docter says. "It's a lot like French wine."

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The Two-Way
6:52 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Jobless Claims Rose By 8,000 Last Week

The number of people filing first-time clams for unemployment insurance rose by 8,000 last week, to 365,000 from 357,000 the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

It adds that the "4-week moving average," which is supposed to give a slightly broader look at the trend in claims, "was 365,500, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average of 368,250."

But according to The Associated Press:

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Education
4:27 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Families Make Big Changes To Pay For College

Emily Macri looks over a college brochure with her mother, Maureen O'Brien, in Kingman, Ariz. Macri is transferring to Northern Arizona University so that she can pay in-state tuition.
Courtesy of Emily Macri

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 6:50 am

Maureen O'Brien told her daughter Emily Macri: dream big.

She could pick any college she wanted and they would figure out a way to pay for it.

Macri chose the University of Vermont, which costs more than $49,000 in tuition and fees per year for out-of-state residents.

O'Brien and her daughter co-signed a private student loan from Sallie Mae for $24,000 and a $30,000 Parent PLUS loan, a federal loan program for parents. And that was just for Macri's first two years of college.

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National Security
4:25 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Drones: From War Weapon To Homemade Toy

In this Jan. 8, 2009, photo provided by the Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff's Department, a small Draganflyer X6 drone makes a test flight in Mesa County, Colo. with a Forward Looking Infrared payload. The drone, which was on loan to the sheriff's department from the manufacturer, measures about 36 inches from rotor tip to rotor tip, weights just over two pounds.
Mesa County Sheriff's Dept. AP

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 2:19 pm

Drones transformed the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan. But their use has been extremely limited in U.S. skies. The Federal Aviation Administration essentially bans the commercial use of drones, and government use is still highly restricted.

But that's changing.

For a long time, drones, which are formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, were exotic, expensive and out of reach for all but military users. Today, however, a clever hobbyist can have his own eye in the sky.

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Business
3:32 am
Thu August 2, 2012

After Revolution, Cinnabon Sweetens Libyan Capital

In Libya, now that the revolution is over, you can have a Cinnabon. That cinnamon smell that flavors the air in food courts and airports around this country is now wafting through downtown Tripoli, Libya's capital.

Technology
3:32 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Amazon Takes Entertainment Step With App Offerings

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Amazon is positioning itself to be a bigger player in the digital music and movie market. This week, the company announced that it would be offering its movie and music apps on more devices, including Apple's iPad.

NPR's Laura Sydell reports.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Netflix has been a dominant player streaming movies online, and its app is on almost every device, from Xboxes to iPads. Now, Amazon's added a movie and TV app to the iPad.

Should Netflix worry?

SARAH ROTMAN EPPS: Netflix should worry.

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The Two-Way
2:03 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day Brings Out Supportive Crowds

The line stretched into the parking lot today at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Wichita, Kan.
Travis Heying / Wichita Eagle MCT /Landov

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 3:13 pm

The call from conservatives such as former Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum to short support for Chick-fil-A and company President Dan Cathy's stand against same-sex marriage has produced long lines at the fast-food chain's restaurants today, judging from news reports:

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Federal Reserve Says Economy Has Slowed, But Leaves Policy As Is

While it does indeed appear that "economic activity decelerated somewhat over the first half of this year," the Federal Reserve also said in its policy statement this afternoon that it is not — as of yet — taking any news steps to give the economy a boost.

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Economy
12:10 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

One Job Seeker's Ruse To Check Out His Competition

Have you ever wondered who else is out there applying for the jobs you want?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 8:49 am

Eric Auld wants a full-time job. He completed a master's program in 2009 and has a part-time job as an adjunct lecturer, but that provides barely enough to cover the bills.

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Planet Money
11:57 am
Wed August 1, 2012

The Endlessly Disappointing Jobs Recovery

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 12:39 pm

Three years into the economic recovery, the unemployment rate is still disastrously high. So today's big economic question is whether the Federal Reserve will announce new measures to bring down unemployment when it releases its policy statement this afternoon.

Update: The new statement is out. The Fed isn't doing anything new right now.

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The Torch
11:26 am
Wed August 1, 2012

What's A Gold Medal Really Worth?

Plenty To Smile About: Weightlifter Maiya Maneza of Kazakhstan celebrates on the podium with her new 400-gram gold medal, matching the feat of her compatriot Zulfiya Chinshanlo. The Kazakh Olympians will each receive a $250,000 bonus.
Laurence Griffiths Getty Images

Weighing 400 grams, the Olympic gold medals that are being doled out at the London 2012 Summer Games are the heaviest ever, according to reports. But that doesn't mean they're the most valuable: at an estimated $620.82, they're nearly $590 short of the $1,207.86 value held by a gold medal from the Stockholm Games of 1912.

The discrepancy stems from the fact that the 2012 gold medals contain only 6 grams of gold; the rest is silver and copper. In fact, the London bling contains more copper than gold, which is only used to coat the medals with a plating layer.

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Planet Money
11:19 am
Wed August 1, 2012

How The Poor, The Middle Class And The Rich Spend Their Money

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 10:38 am

For a historic look at spending in America, see our post What America Buys. For more, see our Graphing America series.

How do Americans spend their money? And how do budgets change across the income spectrum?

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