Business

Planet Money
7:40 am
Tue October 21, 2014

When Women Stopped Coding

Quoctrung Bui

Modern computer science is dominated by men. But it hasn't always been this way.

A lot of computing pioneers — the people who programmed the first digital computers — were women. And for decades, the number of women studying computer science was growing faster than the number of men. But in 1984, something changed. The percentage of women in computer science flattened, and then plunged, even as the share of women in other technical and professional fields kept rising.

What happened?

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The Two-Way
5:54 am
Tue October 21, 2014

CEO Of French Oil Giant Total Dies In Plane Accident

French energy giant Total CEO Christophe de Margerie, posing prior to a press conference held in Paris on Feb. 13, 2013.
Jacques Brinon AP

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 6:45 am

The CEO of French oil company Total, Christophe de Margerie, died when his plane collided with a snowplow Monday night at a Moscow airport. He was 63.

Total posted a statement on its website:

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Business
3:15 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Chinese Telecom Company Offers To Make Pockets iPhone-Sized

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Monkey See
2:59 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Winners And Losers Of The Fall TV Season Begin To Emerge

Debra Messing stars with Robert Klein in NBC's The Mysteries of Laura.
Will Hart/NBC

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 7:34 am

What's most amazing about this point in the TV season is what hasn't happened yet.

One month into the new season, no new fall TV show has yet been canceled.

(By this point last year, several shows had already been put out of our misery, including ABC's Lucky 7 and NBC's Ironside remake.)

Still, despite programmers' patience this year, there are still lots of clues about what's working this TV season and what isn't. Here's a peek at what we know so far about the current TV season.

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Business
5:48 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Unrest In Ferguson May Speed Up Decline Of Real Estate

Children watch from their home as people march about a mile to the police station to protest the shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 20, in Ferguson, Mo. Brown's shooting in the middle of a street by a Ferguson policeman on Aug. 9, sparked protests, riots and looting in the St. Louis suburb. Some people are ready to leave the troubled city. Others say they will remain no matter what.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 5:51 pm

A grand jury has yet to decide if it will indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., this summer.

Protests over Brown's death are ongoing in Ferguson, though they are calmer than the sometimes violent clashes that happened immediately after the shooting.

Still, many residents there are worried about public reaction once the grand jury announces its decision, and some say they've had enough. They're planning to move. That could accelerate an already existing trend in the region.

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All Tech Considered
3:01 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Tunisia's Emerging Tech Sector Hampered By Old Policies

Ramzi El-Fekih, CEO of Creova, stands in his server room in Tunis. He has built a mobile payments company, but because of banking restrictions, Tunisians can use his product only for domestic purchases.
Aarti Shahani NPR

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 5:24 pm

This Sunday, Tunisia — the country that gave birth to Arab Spring — will elect a Parliament. Millions of citizens will vote at the polls, and thousands will run for office.

It's a sea change since the days of ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. But behind the political gains, there is a sad fact: The new democracy is at an economic standstill. The technology sector — which many say could deliver jobs to unemployed young people — is victim to political inertia.

Startups In A Closed Economy

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The Two-Way
2:59 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Toyota Becomes Latest Automaker To Issue Recalls Over Faulty Airbags

Parts of pyro-electric airbag initiators lie in a production line at the international automotive supplier Takata Ignition Systems GmbH in Schoenebeck, Germany, Thursday, April 17.
Jens Meyer AP

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 3:33 pm

A massive auto recall on defective airbags was given fresh urgency on Monday, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encouraged the owners of nearly 5 million cars to get them fixed "immediately." Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton told our Newscast unit some deaths have been tied to the defect:

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The Salt
1:53 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Climate Change Has Coffee Growers In Haiti Seeking Higher Ground

A Haitian woman holds cherries from a coffee tree. Haiti's coffee trade was once a flourishing industry, but it has been crippled by decades of deforestation, political chaos and now, climate change.
Patrick Farrell MCT /Landov

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 4:57 pm

Haiti once produced half the world's coffee. The lush, shade-covered mountainsides provided an ideal environment for imported Arabica trees.

Today, Haitian coffee barely registers in global surveys. Trade embargoes, deforestation and the rise of global coffee powerhouses such as Brazil and Indonesia are just a few of the reasons. And now, there's climate change.

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All Tech Considered
4:23 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Will Apple's Mobile Wallet Replace Your Leather Wallet?

Apple Pay is demonstrated at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 1:27 pm

On Monday, Apple is rolling out a new way to pay: a digital wallet called Apple Pay. Millions of people with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will be able to tap — rather than swipe — at the register.

The move could be a major change in how we shop. Or it could end up as a blip on the map that fades away, as other "mobile wallets" have in the past.

Here are some questions you might be asking:

I have a leather wallet in my back pocket. Am I going to have it a year from now, given this mobile-wallet revolution?

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The Changing Lives Of Women
2:23 am
Mon October 20, 2014

The Look Of Power: How Women Have Dressed For Success

A publicity still from the movie Working Girl, which prominently featured the beloved power suit.
20th Century Fox

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 5:22 am

Remember power suits? At the same time women were entering the corporate workplace in large numbers, the power suit began to pop up. It was usually a long jacket with the kind of big, padded shoulders Joan Crawford made famous, a straight skirt and, often, a floppy silk bow tie that Little Lord Fauntleroy would have been at home in. The 1980s power suit was designed to ignore a woman's shape so it didn't hinder her mobility as she worked her way up the corporate ladder.

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Business
3:32 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

Bucking The Fashion Trend, Converse Kicks Up A Fuss About Knockoffs

Nike-owned Converse, the company responsible for the Chuck Taylor All Star shoe, is suing to stop other shoemakers from copying what it says are distinctive elements of its design.
Grant Halverson AP

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 9:14 am

Nike-owned Converse, the company responsible for the Chuck Taylor All Star shoe, is suing to stop other shoemakers from copying what it says are distinctive elements of its design: the rubber toe cap, the rubber bumper and two thin, black stripes.

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Around the Nation
3:32 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

As Cattle Prices Climb, Ranchers Watch Out For Bovine Thievery

It's a bull market for cattle: prices are climbing across the U.S. In Tulsa, Okla., stockyards reported selling 4,500 head of cattle at record prices in a single day's sale last week.
Charles Osgood AP

Originally published on Sun October 19, 2014 5:10 pm

Across the country, cattle prices continue to climb. That means profits for some ranchers — and huge potential payoffs for cattle thieves.

Drought in states like Texas and Oklahoma caused the cost of feed to rise, forcing ranchers to sell off their cattle stock. Now that feed prices are back down this fall, ranchers are looking to replenish their dwindling herds — and since cattle supply is low, that demand is driving the cost way up.

In Oklahoma, Tulsa stockyards reported selling 4,500 head of cattle at record prices in a single day's sale this month.

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Book Reviews
3:32 am
Sun October 19, 2014

Amid The Chaos Of Debt Collection, 'Bad Paper' Offers A Riveting Roadmap

cover crop
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Outside a corner storefront in Buffalo, six men tumble from a parked Mercedes. Most of them are ex-cons, some of them are armed and one of them — the polygamist — is packing his machete, to be ready, in his words, "when I run out of bullets." Not one of them weighs less than 240 pounds, and they're all keyed up for a confrontation with a suspected crook — which, as it turns out, goes down in a small storage closet. (Don't worry: No one gets injured.)

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Economy
5:46 am
Sat October 18, 2014

European Slowdown Drives Roller-Coaster Week In Markets

Originally published on Sun October 19, 2014 5:33 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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The Salt
3:44 am
Sat October 18, 2014

Once A Year, Farmers Go Back To Picking Corn By Hand — For Fun

The Illinois State Corn Husking Competition is one of nine competitions happening during harvest season all across the Midwest.
Abby Wendle NPR

Originally published on Sat October 18, 2014 10:01 am

Frank Hennenfent is a typical Illinois farmer. At this time of year, he spends countless hours in an air-conditioned, GPS-equipped combine – an enormous machine that can harvest as many as 12 rows of corn at a time.

But in late September, Hennenfent was going back to the basics. He was a top competitor at the 34th annual Illinois State Corn Husking Competition.

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All Tech Considered
3:36 am
Sat October 18, 2014

Tech Week: Egg Freezing, Gamergate And Online Giving

Apple and Facebook's decisions to pay for female employees to freeze their eggs sparked a lively debate on the message it sends to women.
iStockphoto

How will technology and gaming need to change to be welcoming for women? We've been exploring the issue for years. This week, the debate rages anew with a development out of Silicon Valley, and a new chapter in the still raging Gamergate controversy.

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Business
4:26 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

As Gas Prices Drop, Hybrid Sales Shift Into Low Gear

Sales of traditional hybrids, plug-ins and all-electric cars are down about 5 percent in 2014 — while truck and SUV sales have jumped.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 19, 2014 5:25 pm

The recent drop in gas prices may be good for consumers, but it's not such good news for hybrid car sales.

Even before gas prices started to slide, hybrid sales were falling — all while sales of trucks, SUVs and luxury sedans have been on the rise.

That relationship between gas prices and sales is "rather remarkable," says John Krafcik, president of the website TrueCar. "During months when gas prices are low, less fuel-efficient cars tend to take a greater share of the market and vice versa. It's a fairly one-to-one relationship."

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Economy
2:04 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Drop In Unemployment Raises Debate On Optimal Rate

A notice in a store window in New York City announces a retail job opening. Now that unemployment has slipped below 6 percent, there's renewed interest in what the Federal Reserve's target for joblessness should be.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 4:26 pm

The U.S. unemployment rate has been falling steadily over the years. Down from the recession peak of 10 percent in 2009, it reached 5.9 percent in September.

That's getting close to what economists call the natural unemployment rate — the normal level of joblessness you'd expect in a healthy economy.

But a lot of economists are asking whether the old rules about full employment still apply.

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Analysis
2:00 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

In Forcing Out Senior Executive, New CEO Mohn Puts Stamp On NPR

Jarl Mohn, a veteran of radio and television, became NPR's CEO in July.
Jim Tuttle for NPR

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 6:27 am

The ouster earlier this month of NPR's chief content officer, Kinsey Wilson, did little to stir outcry or concern among public radio listeners.

Yet because of Wilson's prominent role in seeking innovative ways for the network to flourish as the audience's habits shift, the announcement generated much attention and consternation inside the circles of digital journalism.

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Around the Nation
9:07 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Fiesta Fan Photos: Your Dishes On Display

A Fiesta plate in its "natural environment" with other dishes.
luluqlou Instagram

Create a Venn diagram of NPR listeners and fans of Fiesta dishware, and there's likely to be a huge intersection of the two. We know this from our recent callout for photos of the brightly colored dishes. NPR listeners threw open their kitchen cabinets and showed off their collections: stacks of mix-and-match plates, favorite mugs, signature colors, family heirlooms.

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Business
7:27 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Predictions Of 'Peak Oil' Production Prove Slippery

Workers drill for oil in the Bakken shale formation outside Watford City, N.D., an area experiencing an oil boom.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 18, 2014 10:52 am

The dustiest portion of my home library includes the 1980s books — about how Japan's economy would dominate the world.

And then there are the 1990s books — about how the Y2K computer glitch would end the modern era.

Go up one more shelf for the late 2000s books — about oil "peaking." The authors claimed global oil production was reaching a peak and would soon decline, causing economic chaos.

The titles include Peak Oil and the Second Great Depression, Peak Oil Survival and When Oil Peaked.

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Business
4:25 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Sustained Lower Gas Prices Could Drive Economic Growth

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 6:53 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's talk next about the economic effects of oil prices. We've been reporting this week on oil prices that seem to drop measurably day by day. Eventually, that translates to cheaper gas. We asked NPR's Chris Arnold just how much that matters.

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Business
4:23 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Why Has There Been So Much Turmoil In Financial Markets Lately?

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 6:53 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

National Security
3:03 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Privacy Advocates Don't Buy FBI's Warning About Encryption Practices

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 10:08 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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StoryCorps
1:22 am
Fri October 17, 2014

For Father-And-Son Locksmiths, The Key Is Hard Work

When Phil Mortillaro dropped out of school in eighth grade, he started work as a locksmith. Now he and his son, Philip Jr., run their own shop in Manhattan.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 6:53 am

Phil Mortillaro and his son, Philip Jr., run Greenwich Locksmiths in Manhattan. The elder Mortillaro has been practicing the trade since he dropped out of school after eighth grade.

"I was one of those kids who would show up when school first started," Phil tells his son on a visit to StoryCorps in New York. "Then they would see me again around Christmastime. And then they would see me in June to tell me that I had to do the grade over again. So dropping out of school was — it was inevitable."

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All Tech Considered
1:21 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Silicon Valley Companies Add New Benefit For Women: Egg-Freezing

A technician opens a vessel containing women's frozen egg cells in April 2011 in Amsterdam.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 6:54 am

In the Silicon Valley arms race to lure the top talent with the best benefits, Facebook and Apple are adding egg freezing for female employees. The two companies may be the first to pay for the procedure for women who choose it to delay childbearing.

The addition of egg-freezing to the benefits plan comes as tech companies face mounting pressure to hire more women. And it's a perk that some women may find attractive.

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Business
2:47 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Airbnb, New York State Spar Over Legality Of Rentals

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 7:24 am

Airbnb has a problem. The website for short-term room rentals is growing quickly. But in many cities, these rentals are illegal. Now, New York's attorney general has documented the extent of the illegal activity, by delving into the company's business records.

Almost three-quarters of New York City bookings appear to break the law, he says.

Thousands of these bookings happen every day in buildings all over New York, like the studio that Irene rents out on Manhattan's Upper East Side. (Irene asked that her full name not be used.)

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All Tech Considered
12:21 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Your Car Won't Start. Did You Make The Loan Payment?

A borrower enters a code into a starter interrupt device installed in a car in Limerick, Pa.
Rick Smith AP

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 1:19 pm

For borrowers in default, the repo man is no longer the one to fear — it's Big Brother. Growing numbers of lenders are getting tech savvy, remotely disabling debtors' cars and tracking customer data to ensure timely payment of subprime auto loans. The practice has created problems for consumers and raises privacy concerns.

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The Two-Way
11:24 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Citigroup's Mexican Unit Fined $2.2 Million For Shoddy Oversight

A Banamex bank sign in Mexico City.
Gregory Bull AP

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 12:54 pm

Mexico's banking regulator has slapped a nearly 30 million peso ($2.2 million) fine on the Citigroup subsidiary Banamex, for failing to provide sufficient accounting controls. The regulator said the lack of oversight allowed the Mexican firm Oceanografia to allegedly dupe the bank out of $400 million.

Banamex had lent the money to Oceanografia, an oil services firm contracted by the state petroleum monopoly, PEMEX, based on invoices that turned out to be fake.

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Planet Money
11:23 am
Thu October 16, 2014

The Most Common Jobs For The Rich, Middle Class And Poor

Quoctrung Bui/NPR

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 2:38 pm

We've written a lot about how income has changed (or not) for the rich, middle class and poor in the U.S. We've written much less about what the rich, middle class and poor actually do for work.

To remedy that, we made this graph. It shows the 10 most popular jobs in each income bracket. Click on each job to see where it appears in different income brackets.

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