Robert Smith http://krwg.org en These Days A Penny Doesn't Buy Very Much http://krwg.org/post/these-days-penny-doesnt-buy-very-much Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>And let's go from billions to pennies. The penny occupies a strange spot on the economic landscape: It's worth almost nothing, but not quite. Tomorrow and today, our Planet Money team will be reporting on the penny, starting with this report from Robert Smith and Jacob Goldstein, who set out on the streets of Manhattan with a simple question: Can you buy anything for a penny?<p>ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: We started with the guy who runs the fruit stand outside our office.<p>What if we wanted to buy one cherry?<p>UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No one cherry. Wed, 21 May 2014 09:22:00 +0000 Robert Smith 66566 at http://krwg.org Varying Auto Safety Standards Interfere With Trade Negotiations http://krwg.org/post/varying-auto-safety-standards-interfere-trade-negotiations The U.S. and Europe have different car safety standards. Some of them are small while others are more dramatic. All car makers agree that the different standards are a pain. So why the difference? Wed, 30 Apr 2014 11:19:00 +0000 Robert Smith 65132 at http://krwg.org Four Years Later And One Round Earlier, The Game Ends The Same http://krwg.org/post/four-years-later-and-one-round-earlier-game-ends-same Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish.<p>For the second day in a row, there was heartbreak in Sochi for American hockey. Yesterday, the U.S. women's team fell to Canada. Today, it was the men's turn losing in the Olympic semifinals. Canada now goes on to fight for the gold medal in men's hockey while Team USA can still get the bronze. Today's match was supposed to be an opportunity for the Americans to avenge their loss to Canada in the Olympics four years ago. Fri, 21 Feb 2014 21:00:00 +0000 Robert Smith 60485 at http://krwg.org Roundup At The Rink And On The Bobsled Track http://krwg.org/post/roundup-rink-and-bobslep-track Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>Now, a roundup of some of the big stories out of Winter Olympics in Sochi today. A Norwegian athlete became the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time. And there was a bruising loss for host country Russia. Its men's hockey team lost to Finland and is out of the Olympic tournament. Russian fans like Alexander Ustinov(ph) were devastated.<p>ALEXANDER USTINOV: You know, it's so bad because we lose. We lose. I can't believe it. It's so bad.<p>SIEGEL: NPR's Robert Smith has been following the tournament and joins us now from Sochi. Wed, 19 Feb 2014 21:19:00 +0000 Robert Smith 60311 at http://krwg.org In Bobsled, 'You Learn As You Go' http://krwg.org/post/bobsled-you-learn-you-go If there's one sport in the Winter Olympics you can do with your eyes closed, it's bobsled.<p>The bobsled brakeman does about five seconds of hard work, jumps in the sled and can then relax a bit. During the women's bobsled competition tonight in Sochi, we should keep our eyes open, because it's fun to watch.<p>The women call themselves brakemen — not brake women or brake person — in a nod to the fact that bobsled was an all-male sport until 2002.<p>Even now, the women only race two-man — not four-man — bobsled.<p>Elana Meyers is the No. 1 driver on the U.S. team. Tue, 18 Feb 2014 15:03:00 +0000 Robert Smith 60206 at http://krwg.org In Bobsled, 'You Learn As You Go' U.S. Women's Bobsled Team Features 2 Summer Olympians http://krwg.org/post/us-womens-bobsled-team-takes-center-stage Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>There is one sport in the Winter Olympics you can do with your eyes closed. To be precise, you have to do a few seconds of work, after which you can close your eyes and hope for a gold. I am referring to the brakeman in bobsled. That's the athlete who pushes the sled. Tonight, the woman's two-person bobsled starts in Sochi.<p>NPR's Robert Smith introduces us to the team.<p>ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Let's get this out of the way. The women call themselves brakemen. Tue, 18 Feb 2014 10:18:00 +0000 Robert Smith 60195 at http://krwg.org Bronze In Bobsled For A Team Of Steves http://krwg.org/post/bronze-bobsled-team-steves Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>At the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Team USA has been struggling to win gold. There were some hope today. Two pairs of American athletes went into their events as the best in the world. And we're going to hear now how they did, starting with two-men bobsled. America driver Steve Holcomb and his brakeman Steve Langton sounded like this on the bobsled course.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF SHOUTING)<p>CORNISH: The Steves were going 82.7 miles per hour. The Russian sled, piloted by Alexander Zubkov, sounded like this...<p>(SOUNDBITE OF SHOUTING)<p>CORNISH: All right. Mon, 17 Feb 2014 21:13:00 +0000 Robert Smith 60160 at http://krwg.org U.S. Looks To Bobsledder Steve Holcomb To Add To Medal Count http://krwg.org/post/olympic-update-sochi Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>Let's check in on the Winter Olympics now. It's been a rough time so far for team USA. They have only won four gold medals in ski and snowboard slope style and in women's snowboard half pipe. The U.S. has struggled in the more traditional sports of the Winter Olympics. That could, though, change today. The U.S. has the best bobsledder in the world, Steve Holcomb. And he races the two-man today.<p>NPR's Robert Smith joins us from the Sanki Sliding track in the mountains above Sochi. Robert, good morning.<p>ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Good morning. Mon, 17 Feb 2014 10:17:00 +0000 Robert Smith 60126 at http://krwg.org Emotions Run High For Olympic U.S.-Russia Hockey Game http://krwg.org/post/emotions-run-high-olympic-us-russia-hockey-game Transcript <p>SCOTT SIMON, HOST: <p>This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The big event today at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi is the U.S.A.-Russia men's hockey game. It is already underway in the Bolshoi Ice Dome. The U.S.A. or Russia can lose and still make the finals but the emotional stakes of these two old rivals meeting today in Russia is huge. NPR's Robert Smith is at the game. He sent us a list of how he prepared for the big event.<p>ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: You need five things to properly gird yourself for a U.S.A.-Russia hockey match. Sat, 15 Feb 2014 14:54:00 +0000 Robert Smith 60037 at http://krwg.org Head First In Sochi, An American Takes Second http://krwg.org/post/head-first-sochi-american-takes-second Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel. At the Sochi Olympics today, the women raced the skeleton. That is the terrifying sled event in which an athlete plunges headfirst down the track. An American from Utah went into the race a favorite to medal. Here's NPR's Robert Smith with her story and how she did today.<p>ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Noelle Pikus-Pace was having a very fast day. Going into her final run, she was already in second place. She needed one more perfect run. Fri, 14 Feb 2014 23:10:00 +0000 Robert Smith 60011 at http://krwg.org Between U.S. And Russian Hockey, A Different Kind Of Cold War http://krwg.org/post/between-us-and-russian-hockey-different-kind-cold-war Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.<p>For a lot of Russians, the true start of the Olympics was today. Team Russia took the ice in men's hockey. At the very same time, Team USA also had their very first game. We sent a reporter to each game to see how the two rivals stack up against each other and they sent his report.<p>ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: I'm Robert Smith at the Team USA game here in Sochi. It's the red, white and blue against the red, blue and white: Slovakia. Thu, 13 Feb 2014 21:22:00 +0000 Robert Smith 59912 at http://krwg.org In Front Of A Home Crowd, Russia Has Hockey History On Its Mind http://krwg.org/post/us-mens-hockey-team-faces-slovakia-preliminary-round There is a weird contradiction in Olympic hockey: On one hand, these professional players from the NHL arrive in a small town like movie stars.<p>They show up a week late, trailed by TV cameras and Russians begging for autographs.<p>And then they have to go back to basics. Early Thursday, members of Team USA were on the ice, doing the kind of simple drills that you'd see in a peewee hockey league.<p>Derek Stepan of the New York Rangers was practicing his passes with Justin Faulk of the Carolina Hurricanes. Thu, 13 Feb 2014 10:09:00 +0000 Robert Smith 59857 at http://krwg.org In Front Of A Home Crowd, Russia Has Hockey History On Its Mind Shaun White Misses The Medal Stand As 'I-Pod' Gets The Gold http://krwg.org/post/shaun-white-misses-medal-stand-ipod-gets-gold Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>Now to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, where American snowboarder Shaun White attempted a three-peat today. He was trying to be the first three-time gold medal winner in the half-pipe competition, actually the first American man to win three consecutive golds in any Winter Olympic event. And NPR's Robert Smith watched the action today and joins us now from outside the half-pipe venue. Robert, how did things turn out for Shaun White?<p>ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Well, at first it was set up exactly the way he wanted it. Tue, 11 Feb 2014 21:52:00 +0000 Robert Smith 59729 at http://krwg.org The Norwegian Athlete Who's One Medal Away From History http://krwg.org/post/norwegian-athlete-whos-one-medal-away-history On Monday, Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen came a ski-length away from winning a 13th Olympic medal and becoming the most decorated athlete ever at the Winter Games.<p>The biathlon pursuit Olympic event — cross-country skiing with rifle shooting — is a pretty devious race. The fastest man goes first, and then everyone else in the race tries to catch him before the finish line. And in Monday's competition, Bjoerndalen went first.<p>Just to make clear: Bjoerndalen is 40. The guys chasing him are in their 20s. Tue, 11 Feb 2014 00:19:00 +0000 Robert Smith 59668 at http://krwg.org The Norwegian Athlete Who's One Medal Away From History X Games Show The Olympics What The Kids Want http://krwg.org/post/x-games-show-olympics-what-kids-want <a href="http://www.teamusa.org/News/2013/January/01/Go-For-The-Gold-Home/Go-For-The-Gold-Nick-Goepper">Nick Goepper</a> is headed off to the Olympics in a couple of days, but he's not taking it easy: He spent the weekend hurtling through the air on ESPN at the X Games.<p>The sport is slopestyle. If you've watched any extreme skiing on television, you'll know it well: Skiers hit rails and walls and massive jumps; they seem to spend more time in the air than on the snow.<p>It's old hat for kids, but brand new for the Olympics. Tue, 28 Jan 2014 00:24:00 +0000 Robert Smith 58684 at http://krwg.org X Games Show The Olympics What The Kids Want Aerial Skiing Is A Game Of Skill — And Strategy http://krwg.org/post/aerial-skiing-game-skill-and-strategy During the Winter Olympics, seeing an aerial skier perform is unforgettable.<p>It's like gymnastics in the air. And, like gymnasts, aerial skiers get points for doing a harder routine and for sticking the landing. But there's a crucial difference between the two sports.<p>In the final few rounds of aerials, you can't use the same trick twice. Tue, 21 Jan 2014 22:40:00 +0000 Robert Smith 58261 at http://krwg.org Aerial Skiing Is A Game Of Skill — And Strategy For A Better Bobsled, Team USA Turns To Race Cars http://krwg.org/post/better-bobsled-team-usa-turns-race-cars When you meet bobsled driver Steve Holcomb, he doesn't talk about his Olympic gold medal — the one he won with the four-man team at the <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124170290" target="_blank">Vancouver Olympics in 2010</a>. Instead, he talks about the one that got away.<p>Four years ago, his two-man bobsled started the Olympic run with a great push. "I was actually winning the race in Vancouver," Holcomb says. But then he "made a driving mistake, and we went from first place to sixth place in two turns."<p>Holcomb blames himself. Thu, 16 Jan 2014 08:25:00 +0000 Robert Smith 57898 at http://krwg.org For A Better Bobsled, Team USA Turns To Race Cars A Locked Door, A Secret Meeting And The Birth Of The Fed http://krwg.org/post/locked-door-secret-meeting-and-birth-fed In 1907, the U.S. economy was in the grip of a financial crisis. Unemployment was up. The stock market was down.<p>People started panicking. They were lining up overnight to pull their money out of healthy banks. This can be deadly for an economy: Healthy banks have to shut down, businesses can't get credit, they lay people off, and the economy gets worse.<p>At the time, the U.S. government had no way to deal with the panic. There was no institution that could step in to stop the run on healthy banks. So the job of stopping the panic fell to one man: J.P. Mon, 23 Dec 2013 08:43:00 +0000 Robert Smith & Jacob Goldstein 56431 at http://krwg.org A Locked Door, A Secret Meeting And The Birth Of The Fed In A City With Terrible Traffic, A Gridlock Economy Emerges http://krwg.org/post/jakarta-traffic-jam-world-commerce Jakarta, Indonesia, has some of the worst traffic on the planet. For some local entrepreneurs, all those people stuck in their cars are potential customers.<p>In a middle of one Jakarta traffic jam, a guy pushes his chicken cart through the cars, clanging his pots. Men walk down the center lane selling nuts, crackers as big as your head and other treats. They're all trying to make eye contact with the drivers.<p>There is a whole world of commerce inside a Jakarta traffic jam, and the shrewdest businessmen are the teenage boys. Fri, 13 Dec 2013 12:52:00 +0000 Robert Smith 55793 at http://krwg.org In A City With Terrible Traffic, A Gridlock Economy Emerges Planet Money Spins A Yarn And Makes A 'Perfect' T-Shirt http://krwg.org/post/planet-money-spins-yarn-and-makes-perfect-t-shirt NPR's Planet Money team has manufactured a T-shirt. All this week we're following its journey around the globe. Today, the T-shirt makes a detour in the Pacific Ocean. Cotton from America gets shipped to a factory in Indonesia where it gets transformed into yarn. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2013 NPR. Tue, 03 Dec 2013 10:13:00 +0000 Robert Smith 55067 at http://krwg.org Planet Money Spins A Yarn And Makes A 'Perfect' T-Shirt Photos: The Planet Money T-Shirt Goes To Indonesia http://krwg.org/post/photos-planet-money-t-shirt-goes-indonesia <em>This week, Jess Jiang and Robert Smith visited the factory in Indonesia where U.S. cotton was spun into yarn for the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/05/15/184208123/were-making-t-shirts-lots-and-lots-of-t-shirts" target="_blank">Planet Money T-shirt</a>. (They also visited several other factories.) Here are some of the pictures Robert posted to our <a href="http://seedtoshirt.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">T-Shirt Tumblr</a>.</em><p>Other than this woman spot checking some of the cotton, no human's hands touch the yarn. Wed, 28 Aug 2013 21:57:00 +0000 Robert Smith 48494 at http://krwg.org Photos: The Planet Money T-Shirt Goes To Indonesia Bodies On The Boardwalk: Murder Stirs A Sleepy Jersey Shore http://krwg.org/post/bodies-boardwalk-murder-stirs-sleepy-jersey-shore When writer Chris Grabenstein plots his mysteries, the murders happen in the corny nooks of New Jersey's Jersey shore. After all, there's something delightfully cheesy about a beach town.<p>"I guess I'm a cheesy guy. I like this kind of stuff," Grabenstein says. "Ever since I was a kid I loved tourist towns."<p>The author points out shop names as we walk along his stretch of the shore. There's the Sunglass Menagerie, an ice cream shop called Do Me A Flavor, Shore Good Donuts and How You Brewin' coffee. Thu, 01 Aug 2013 07:01:00 +0000 Robert Smith 46638 at http://krwg.org Bodies On The Boardwalk: Murder Stirs A Sleepy Jersey Shore What Actually Happens At The End Of 'Trading Places'? http://krwg.org/post/what-actually-happens-end-trading-places It's been 30 years since <em>Trading Places</em> came out. And, to be honest, I never really understood what happened at the end of that movie. Sure, Louis Winthorpe (Dan Aykroyd) and Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) get rich, and the Duke brothers lose all their money. But what actually happens? How does it work?<p>I recently talked to Tom Peronis, a guy who has spent years trading OJ options. He walked me through every step of Winthorpe and Valentine's plan.<p><strong>1. Fri, 19 Jul 2013 20:14:00 +0000 Robert Smith 45836 at http://krwg.org What Actually Happens At The End Of 'Trading Places'? How To Sell Coke To People Who Have Never Had A Sip http://krwg.org/post/how-sell-coke-people-who-have-never-had-sip For years, there were only three countries in the world that didn't officially sell Coca-Cola: Cuba, North Korea and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.<p>Now, after 60 years, Coke is back in Myanmar. Sanctions were lifted last year on the country. Just this week, Coca-Cola opened its new bottling plant outside of Yangon. Now all the company has to do is figure out a way to sell all that Coke to people who may not remember what it tastes like.<p>The Myanmar people missed out on billions of dollars of worldwide advertising during those 60 years. Fri, 07 Jun 2013 07:34:00 +0000 Robert Smith 42810 at http://krwg.org How To Sell Coke To People Who Have Never Had A Sip In A Single ATM, The Story Of A Nation's Economy http://krwg.org/post/single-atm-story-nations-economy Nan Htwe Nye works at an elementary school in Yangon, Myanmar. She started trying to use ATM machines a few months ago, and things haven't been going so well.<p>The machines are often broken, she says. "But," she adds, "we hope it will better in the future." This is, more or less, the story of ATMs — and of banking in general — in Myanmar.<p>She's visiting the headquarters of CB Bank, at the first ATM in the country that was connected to banks all around the world.<p>The lobby of the bank is packed with people, many of whom have brought cash from their businesses in giant rice bags. Tue, 28 May 2013 21:44:00 +0000 Robert Smith 42103 at http://krwg.org In A Single ATM, The Story Of A Nation's Economy Can This Man Bring Silicon Valley To Yangon? http://krwg.org/post/can-man-bring-silicon-valley-yangon Like a proud father, Nay Aung opens up his MacBook Air to show me the Myanmar travel website he has built. But we wait 30 seconds for the site to load, and nothing happens.<p>"Today is a particularly bad day for Internet," he says. This is life in Myanmar today: Even an Internet entrepreneur can't always get online.<br /> Fri, 24 May 2013 06:54:00 +0000 Robert Smith 41828 at http://krwg.org Can This Man Bring Silicon Valley To Yangon? Why (Almost) No One In Myanmar Wanted My Money http://krwg.org/post/why-almost-no-one-myanmar-wanted-my-money When you arrive in Myanmar, you can see how eager the people are to do business. At the airport in Yangon, new signs in English welcome tourists. A guy in a booth offers to rent me a local cellphone — and he's glad to take U.S. dollars. But when I pull out my money, he shakes his head.<p>"I'm sorry," he says.<p>He points to the crease mark in the middle of the $20 bill. Fri, 10 May 2013 07:12:00 +0000 Robert Smith 40844 at http://krwg.org Why (Almost) No One In Myanmar Wanted My Money The Trick To Selling Fancy Wine From New Jersey: Don't Say It's From New Jersey http://krwg.org/post/trick-selling-fancy-wine-new-jersey-dont-say-its-new-jersey Halfway between the New Jersey Turnpike and the Atlantic City casinos is a little slice of France: Amalthea Cellars. There's an old farmhouse, and a field full of grapevines.<p>Lou Caracciolo, who founded Amalthea, is walking through the field. "Here's something I put in the ground in 1976," he says. "You have to have a feel for it, and after 30 years I have a pretty good feel for it."<p>Caracciolo calls himself a hopeless romantic. Fri, 29 Mar 2013 07:07:00 +0000 Robert Smith 37961 at http://krwg.org The Trick To Selling Fancy Wine From New Jersey: Don't Say It's From New Jersey At A Trade Show, Power Tools Fit For The Amish http://krwg.org/post/inside-amish-trade-show The Buckeye Tool Expo in Dalton, Ohio, is held in a massive hall filled with bearded men in black hats and women in white bonnets. A few horses and buggies are tied up outside.<br /> <br />The Amish have chosen to forgo many of the delights of the modern world, but they still need to drill, sand and cut wood. This trade expo shows off all the loopholes that let the Amish get their hands on power tools.<br /> Fri, 22 Feb 2013 08:46:00 +0000 Robert Smith 35646 at http://krwg.org At A Trade Show, Power Tools Fit For The Amish Should The U.S. Import More Doctors? http://krwg.org/post/should-us-import-more-doctors People around the world want the same thing from their doctors. First, do no harm. Second, take a look at this weird bump and tell me if I should get worried.<p>The job is basically the same in many countries around the world. But the pay is wildly different. The median salary for U.S. doctors is about $250,000 a year. In Western Europe, it's less than half that. Fri, 15 Feb 2013 20:18:00 +0000 Robert Smith 35247 at http://krwg.org Should The U.S. Import More Doctors?