How The Holiday Shopping Season Is Changing

48 minutes ago

Cyber Monday may be giving way to Cyber Week, and Black Friday is losing its importance, as more retailers offer deals through the month of November and more shopping is being done online. Jill Schlesinger of CBS News speaks with Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson about the shift in the holiday shopping season.

Have you ever opened your closet and wondered why you bought that hideous sweater? Well, it turns out that maybe you weren’t responsible. Instead, the culprit may be science.

In a new article in The Atlantic, Eleanor Smith delves into the science behind many purchases, looking at 13 different scientific studies that add up to big bucks for retailers, particularly during the holiday season.

The number of people using bicycles to get to and from work has more than doubled since 2009. Take Washington D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. Recent census data show one out of every 10 work trips originating in Shaw is on a bicycle, leading to calls for better bike lanes there.

Amazon has released a glimpse of what its much-anticipated drone deliveries could look like, although it warns the service is still very much in a testing phase.

As the U.S. chowed down on turkey, stuffing and leftovers, Pope Francis visited Uganda, Kenya and the Central African Republic for a six-day trip, continuing his focus on the developing world.

There's a building in Mountain View, Calif., where energy-saving technologies of the future are being tried on for size.

Step inside, and the first thing you notice is the building is dead quiet: no noisy air whooshing through louvers.

That's because the building uses passive cooling instead of traditional air conditioning. Cool ground water passes through a system of small tubes running below the ceiling.

A court in Jerusalem has convicted two Israeli teenagers in the 2014 kidnapping and killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy, a crime that heightened tensions in the run-up to the Gaza war that summer.

The two teenagers, who were not named because they are juveniles, are expected to be sentenced in January.

As NPR's Emily Harris reports, a ruling on the accused ringleader, 31-year-old Yosef Haim Ben-David, has been delayed. She tells our Newscast unit:

As the United Nations summit on climate change got underway in Paris, protesters have gotten much attention.

A High Court judge in Belfast has ruled that Northern Ireland's abortion restrictions are incompatible with human rights.

Currently, abortion is permitted only when the life of the mother is under threat or her long-term health would be compromised by carrying the fetus to term. Monday's decision will put pressure on lawmakers to allow for the procedure in some other instances.

Judge Mark Horner said that banning the procedure in the case of rape, incest, and when the fetus has fatal abnormalities violates the European Convention on Human Rights.

The most intractable conflict in modern life is the battle between those who want society to be somehow pure — religiously, say, or racially — and those who see society as an ever-changing mix and actually prefer it that way. You could hardly find a more horrific example of this split than the Islamic State's terror attack on the proudly diverse city of Paris.

Historian Mary Beard has spent her career working through the texts and source materials of ancient Rome. She has written several books on the subject — including her most recent work, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome — but she doesn't feel like she's close to being done with the topic.

"One of the great things about history is that it sort of isn't a done deal — ever," Beard tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "The historical texts and the historical evidence that you use is always somehow giving you different answers because you're asking it different questions."

The Obama administration has announced some changes to the visa waiver program, which allows travelers from some 38 countries including France, Belgium and other European countries, to come to the U.S. without a visa.

The White House announced several steps, including attempting better tracking of past travel, fines for airlines that don't verify passport data, assisting other countries on the screening of refugees and with border security.

Cecile Richards is walking a fine line: She paints the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic as one of many attacks linked to "hateful rhetoric."

She doesn't specifically say that rhetoric motivated the attack Friday in Colorado Springs.

The president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America spoke with NPR on Monday morning about the attack that left three people dead: a mother of two children, an Iraq war veteran, a police officer.

Sophie Sartain had long worked in documentary filmmaking as a writer and editor. For her first film as a director, she turned the camera on her own family.

Tonight (Monday), ABC will air a special at 7 p.m. called It's Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown, to mark the half-century since A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired in 1965. Then at 8, it will air the special itself.

About seven months after Baltimore was rocked by a night of riots, the first police officer implicated in Freddie Gray's death is being put on trial.

As NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports, the case is being closely watched in the city, and residents believe that a lot is at stake.

Leaders from around the world will converge on Paris beginning Nov. 30 for the 2015 U.N. Climate Change Conference. The two-week event is designed to allow countries the chance to come to an agreement on stifling climate change.

Below are 10 questions and answers that should better prepare you for the conference and what to expect during and after its completion.

1. What's at stake and why should I care?

Saying his country will not apologize for downing a Russian warplane, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu struck a defiant note after meeting with his NATO allies.

The Associated Press reports that Davutoglu said his country was simply defending its airspace last week when two of its F-16s fired at a Russian Sukhoi SU-24.

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Nearly 150 world leaders are gathered near Paris for what is being billed as a last-chance summit to avoid catastrophic climate change.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports that this is the biggest diplomatic meeting in France since 1948. She filed this report for our Newscast unit:

A generation ago, a high school diploma could open doors, especially to well-paying manufacturing jobs. But today, with technology radically reshaping the U.S. economy, many of those doors have closed. The high school diploma is as important as ever — but as a stepping stone to a higher degree, no longer as a destination.

Negotiators and heads of state from nearly 200 countries are meeting for the next two weeks near Paris to craft a new treaty to slow global warming.

It's the 21st "Conference of the Parties" held by the United Nations to tackle climate change. One treaty emerged, in 1997, after the conference in Kyoto, Japan. That's no longer in effect, and, in fact, the Kyoto Protocol, as it's known, didn't slow down the gradual warming of the planet.

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



The ground is shaking near Cushing, Okla., home to the largest commercial crude oil storage center in North America.

This little patch of prairie in northwestern Oklahoma is one of the most important places in the U.S. energy market.

Oklahoma is on track to have a record year of earthquakes — more than 5,000 have already been recorded. And those quakes appear to endanger the very industry that created them.

Sixty years ago Tuesday, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Ala. A police officer made the arrest that set off the modern civil rights movement. Today police recruits in Alabama's capital city are being schooled in that history in a course designed to eliminate bias in policing.

In 2015, what's American made? The U.S. is known for manufacturing — it's part of our identity, though jobs have been lost. They've gone overseas. Technology has changed the way things are made.

Nevertheless, America is still making stuff.

And in terms of jobs, the Los Angeles area is the biggest manufacturing hub in the country. There are a few reasons why. There is plenty of space here to build things like factories and runways. That beautiful California weather? It's actually great for testing planes year-round.