Business

All Tech Considered
3:29 am
Sat November 1, 2014

Tech Week: Tim Cook's Reveal, Net Neutrality And Big Data Dishes

Although Apple CEO Tim Cook's sexual orientation wasn't public, it has been something of an open secret in business and technology circles.
Michael Graae Getty Images

Tim Cook is known for revealing new Apple products but the company's CEO made news this week by publicly acknowledging that he's gay. As NPR's Laura Sydell reported, Cook's decision may have a larger impact overseas than in the U.S.

And for other tech news highlights this week:

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Your Money
3:21 am
Sat November 1, 2014

Five Reasons Why Your Financial Outlook Just Got Better

Gas prices below $3 per gallon add up to big savings for consumers.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Look at your paycheck.

Chances are good you won't see much more there than you did in the summer of 2008 — just before the financial crisis hit. Average private-sector earnings are $24.53 an hour now, unchanged from 2008, after adjusting for inflation.

So most likely, you haven't felt yourself moving up for years.

Now, that may be changing.

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This Week's Must Read
4:34 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

A 19th Century Novel Explains Quantitative Easing

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 5:56 pm

Anthony Trollope was one of England's, and maybe the world's, greatest 19th century novelists. I say that even though I'm not especially a fan. Trollope's prose is determinedly, insistently flat and neutral. Reading him you sometimes get the impression that if he came upon a particularly brilliant phrase or image, he would take it out, on the basis that it distracted from the story.

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Business
4:08 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

'Frozen' Characters Holding Strong For Costume Of The Year

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 5:41 pm

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

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The Two-Way
1:28 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

After Mass Protests, Hungary Gives Up On Internet Tax

Thousands of participants march across the Elisabeth bridge during a rally against the government's plan to tax Internet usage.
Attila Kisbenedek AFP/Getty Images

Days after some 100,000 people took to the streets in protest, Hungary's government has given up on plans to tax Internet usage.

As we reported, opponents said the tax was the government's attempt to "create a digital iron curtain around Hungary."

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The Two-Way
1:05 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

1 Dead After Commercial Spaceship Crashes During Test Flight

The commercial space ship, pictured here in an earlier test flight, crashed in the California desert.
Mark Greenberg Virgin Galactic

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 3:28 pm

In what could be a major setback for commercial space tourism, a manned spaceship has crashed in California's Mojave Desert.

The Virgin Galactic Spaceship Two was on a test flight this morning, with two pilots aboard. Minutes after its rocket fired, the company announced on Twitter that spacecraft experienced an "anomaly."

Capt. Tom Ellison of Kern County Fire Department said that Spaceship Two had a malfunction shortly after it separated from White Knight Two, the rocket that gives Spaceship Two a lift up to 45,000 feet.

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Television
2:57 am
Fri October 31, 2014

In An Online, On-Demand Age, TV Reruns Are Redefined

A new digital platform called Simpsons World features all 25 years of episodes. FX says it is trying to cater to both old-fashioned TV fans and people who watch shows on other devices.
FOX

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 1:27 pm

Countless episodes of The Simpsons are built around goofball dad Homer's inability to understand anything online, including starting a home business with no declared purpose: Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net.

His reasoning: "Everybody's making money off the Internet, except us!"

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Parallels
2:57 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Why Deflation Is Such A Big Worry For Europe

A farmer protesting falling prices dumps cauliflower in front of the prefecture building of Saint-Brieuc in northwestern France as police look on Sept. 24.
Fred Tanneau AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 8:46 am

Growth is slowing all over the world right now, and that's especially true in Europe. Much of the continent is on the brink of another recession, and even the German economy is sputtering to a halt.

Some of the weakest countries, such as Spain and Italy, are actually experiencing deflation — a broad drop in incomes and asset values. It's a painful process that can be hard to reverse once it starts.

Europe's long, slow economic downturn has taken its toll on Javier Oroz Rodriguez, who owns a butcher shop in downtown Madrid.

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Around the Nation
4:20 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

The Billionaire Who Remade Retirement Living On A Massive Scale

Gary Morse, with wife Sharon, in 1999. Morse transformed a mobile home park in Florida into The Villages, a retirement community of more than 100,000 residents.
Stephen M. Dowell Orlando Sentinel

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 4:41 pm

Gary Morse, a visionary property developer, transformed a Florida mobile home park into the nation's largest retirement community. The billionaire died Wednesday at the age of 77.

Under Morse's direction, The Villages, northwest of Orlando, redefined retirement living. It's a community that is remarkable most of all for its size — home to nearly 100,000 residents living in dozens of communities, spread over an area the size of Manhattan.

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The Two-Way
3:38 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Maker Of 'Body Cams' Used By Police Reports Spike In Sales

Washington, D.C., police officer Debra Domino wears a body camera at City Hall in September.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 5:31 pm

Taser International is reporting a big jump in demand by police departments for "body cameras." The company, one of the biggest providers of body cams to police departments, says 2014 sales of its "Axon Body" model are up 300 percent over last year, and sales of its more expensive "Axon Flex" camera have doubled.

And what's interesting is that this spike started well before the August shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Business
2:42 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Apple CEO Tim Cook Comes Out, Writing He's 'Proud To Be Gay'

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 11:03 am

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

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The Two-Way
10:37 am
Thu October 30, 2014

New Crash Test Dummy To Gain Pounds To Reflect Fatalities Among Obese

The new crash test dummy — not this one — will weigh 271 lbs and have a body mass index of 35. Automakers use the dummies to prove their vehicles are roadworthy.
Patrick Krost iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 1:07 pm

More than one-third of Americans are obese, and one recent study showed that obese drivers are more likely to die in a car crash. So the world's largest maker of dummies is making one that is obese.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Thu October 30, 2014

GDP Posts Strong 3.5 Percent Growth Rate In 3rd Quarter

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 5:18 pm

The U.S. economy grew at the solid pace of 3.5 percent for the third quarter, helped along by gains in business investment, exports and a big jump in military spending, the Commerce Department says.

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The Salt
10:04 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Apps Aim To Guide You On 'Sustainable Food' (Whatever That Means)

Confused about all the different sustainability ratings out there? The simplest option may be to shop at your local farmer's market.
iStockphoto

If you're reading The Salt, it probably comes as no surprise to you that consumers increasingly want to make food choices based on not just their health, but their ethics. A growing number of groups are coming up with technological solutions to help them.

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Business
9:23 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Apple's Tim Cook In Rare Company As Publicly Gay Chief Executive

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 12:25 pm

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

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All Tech Considered
7:28 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Moving Past The Password, But At What Cost?

Apps working with Digits, a new Twitter service, would simply ask for your phone number instead of a password.
Twitter.com

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 12:05 pm

People hate passwords almost as much as they hate being hacked. The problem with the traditional password is twofold: To be useful, they have to be complex and difficult to guess. And passwords become less secure the more often you use them.

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The Two-Way
7:04 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Apple CEO Tim Cook Comes Out As Gay

Apple CEO Tim Cook waves to a crowd before he is honored by the Alabama Academy of Honor at the Alabama state Capitol on Monday.
Brynn Anderson AP

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 2:15 pm

Tim Cook, the head of the world's most iconic technology company, has come out today in an op-ed on Bloomberg Businessweek, saying he's never denied his sexual orientation but "I haven't publicly acknowledged it either, until now.

"Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day," Cook writes.

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Business
4:17 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Record Those Work Hours, Get Some Beer

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 12:25 pm

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

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Business
3:03 am
Thu October 30, 2014

LA Manufacturing Industry Still Supported By Garment Workers

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 7:42 am

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

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Around the Nation
2:46 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Keep On Drillin'? Santa Barbara Prepares To Vote On Oil Future

A cow walks near oil pump jacks in Santa Maria, Calif. Oil production has long been a part of Santa Barbara County, but a new ballot measure could effectively shut down all new drilling operations there.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 12:25 pm

Think of California's Santa Barbara County and you might picture the area's famous beaches or resorts and wineries. But in the northern reaches of the vast county, oil production has been a major contributor to the economy for almost a century.

So it's no surprise that the oil industry there is feverishly organizing to fight a local ballot initiative — Measure P — that would ban controversial drilling methods such as hydraulic fracturing. What is turning heads, however, is the sheer volume of money flooding into this local race, mainly from large oil companies.

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Business
2:46 am
Thu October 30, 2014

The Independent Oil Producer You Usually Don't Hear From

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 12:25 pm

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

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The Two-Way
5:45 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

FTC Says AT&T Misled Customers About 'Unlimited' Data Plans

An AT&T Wireless store in Philadelphia.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 5:52 pm

The Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint in federal court against AT&T over just how unlimited the company's unlimited data plans are. The FTC says that by "throttling," or slowing down, the data of high-volume users, AT&T in fact was not giving users unlimited data. This throttling would sometimes reduce users' data speeds by 90 percent.

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The Two-Way
5:34 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Online Dating Site Used Fake Profiles To Get Members To Upgrade Service

A screen grab of one of JDI Dating's fake profiles.
Courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 7:00 am

An online dating service has agreed to stop luring the lovelorn with bogus profiles of prospective dates. JDI Dating Ltd. made the settlement, announced today, with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC said FDI was computer-generating alluring, yet fake folks who would get people to upgrade to paid memberships.

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The Two-Way
4:21 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Close To 100,000 Hungarian Demonstrators Protest Internet Usage Tax

Thousands participants march accross the Elisabeth bridge during an anti-government rally against the government's plan to tax Internet usage.
Attila Kisbenedek AFP/Getty Images

Some 100,000 people took to the streets of Budapest, Hungary, on Tuesday to protest a proposed plan to tax Internet use.

The New York Times reports Balazs Gulyas, 27, a former member of the country's socialist party, set up a Facebook page, which spurred the protests. Gulyas told the paper that Prime Minister Viktor Orban's plan is an attempt to "create a digital iron curtain around Hungary."

The Times adds:

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Economy
3:29 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Janet Yellen Brings A Different Leadership Style To The Fed

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 4:16 pm

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

The Salt
2:49 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Monsanto Hired This Guy To Help It Win Over Millennials

The headquarters of Monsanto, near St. Louis, Mo. Monsanto is the world's largest seed supplier.
Juliette Michel AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 9:08 am

As I scrolled through tweets about a panel on agricultural entrepreneurs at the SXSW Eco conference earlier this month, one caught my eye. The sender was Vance Crowe, Monsanto's director of millennial engagement.

Corporate America is currently caught up in a torrid infatuation with millennials, who befuddle and torment the companies who want their dollars.

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Energy
2:45 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

T. Boone Pickens On The Plummeting Price Of Oil

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 4:16 pm

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

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Business
2:30 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Is The 'Skills Gap' Really A Thing?

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 7:41 am

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

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The Two-Way
12:04 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Federal Reserve Stays The Course, Ends Most Recent Stimulus Program

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 5:35 pm

When the Great Recession kicked off in 2008, the Federal Reserve announced a stimulus program that bought up bonds by the trillions.

In a symbolic move that underlines the confidence the Fed has in the U.S. economy, today the Federal Open Market Committee said it was staying the course and ending the third round of economic stimulus, known as quantitative easing.

In a statement the FOMC explained:

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The Two-Way
8:38 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Book News: Young Adult And Kids' Lit Boost E-Book Revenue

It's partly because of bookshelves like these — and their digital equivalents — that publishers have had a positive open to 2014.
Blackred iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 7:19 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

E-book sales are standing on the shoulders not of giants, but of a much smaller set. According to new statistics released by the Association of American Publishers, the first seven months of 2014 showed marked growth in e-book revenue — largely thanks to young adult and children's literature.

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