Business

The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Bill Allowing Americans To Unlock Cellphones Passes House, Heads To Obama

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 3:49 pm

Approving a bill that has already passed the Senate, the House of Representatives has given its consent to legislation that lets U.S. consumers "unlock" their cellphones, rather than having them remain linked to specific service providers.

President Obama says he will sign the bill into law, applauding Congress today for taking "another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cellphone carrier that meets their needs and their budget."

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The Salt
2:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Can Finishing A Big Bowl Of Ramen Make Dreams Come True?

At Yume Wo Katare, eating ramen is treated as a path to personal fulfillment.
Andrea Shea for WBUR

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 4:43 pm

You can find ramen, the Japanese noodle soup that's meant to be slurped, almost anywhere in the U.S. these days. Ramen shops continue to pop up, and you can find renditions on the menus of restaurants and gastropubs.

But there's a truly funky noodle spot in Cambridge called Yume Wo Katare that serves more than just ramen.

There aren't many restaurants where you get praised by everyone around you for clearing your plate or bowl. But that's exactly what happens at Yume Wo Katare.

"Everyone, he did a good job!"

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The Salt
2:44 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Key Chain Blood-Alcohol Testing May Make Quantified Drinking Easy

The BACTrack Vio keychain breathalyzer and app on the iPhone at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. A public health researcher says tools like this could help people make better decisions about alcohol use.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:36 pm

While testing whether a dash of yeast could keep you from getting drunk, we discovered that it's pretty entertaining — and revealing — to track your blood alcohol while drinking.

Using a device to test blood-alcohol levels, we watched the alcohol in our bodies soar as we drank two beers on empty stomachs. And we noticed there's a place on the curve — about 0.04 or 0.05 BAC — when the buzz is the sweetest.

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Planet Money
9:00 am
Fri July 25, 2014

When Do Chefs And Doctors Buy Generic?

Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 10:41 am

Pharmacists and doctors are more likely than the general public to buy generic medicine, as we reported last year. And chefs are more likely than the general public to buy generic food.

The economists who figured this stuff out recently published a new update (PDF) to their research, which caught our eye.

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Sports
5:13 am
Fri July 25, 2014

At Jaguars' New Stadium, Come For The Football Or The Swimming

Hi, Mom! EverBank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, recently installed a massive video display.
Courtesy of the Jacksonville Jaguars

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:59 pm

In Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, the Jaguars football team will unveil what it's calling the world's largest video display at a stadium. The team also has added luxury cabanas, where fans can watch the game poolside — improvements that are designed to get the beleaguered team's fans off their couches and into the stadium.

When team officials announced they were adding swimming pools to the stadium, some dismissed it as a gimmick. The Jacksonville Jaguars haven't been to the playoffs since 2007, and the team has been the butt of many a football joke.

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Business
5:09 am
Fri July 25, 2014

PETA Offers To Pay Detroit Residents' Water Bills If They Go Vegan

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 6:14 am

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

Business
5:09 am
Fri July 25, 2014

All Of The Major U.S. Airlines Report Strong 2nd-Quarter Earnings

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

Business
5:09 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Amazon Reports $126 Million Quarterly Loss

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 6:11 am

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

Planet Money
5:09 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Self-Published Authors Make A Living — And Sometimes A Fortune

The cover of Michael Bunker's self published book Pennsylvania Omnibus.
Michael Bunker

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 11:32 am

Five years ago, printing your own book was stigmatized and was seen as a mark of failure.

"But now," says Dana Beth Weinberg, a sociologist at Queens College who is studying the industry, "the self-published authors walk into the room, and they say, oh, well, 'I made a quarter million dollars last year, or $100,000, or made $10,000.' And it is still more than what some of these authors are making with their very prestigious contracts."

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The Salt
3:26 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

The Weird, Underappreciated World Of Plastic Packaging

Food companies spend a lot of time and resources coming up with the perfect plastic packaging to keep their products fresh.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 1:51 pm

Like it or not, plastic packaging has become an ingrained part of the food system.

While it's clearly wasteful to buy salad, sandwiches and chips encased in plastic and then promptly throw that plastic away, we take for granted how it keeps so much of what we eat fresh and portable.

And behind many of those packages that allow us to eat on the go or savor perishable cookies or fish imported from the other side of the globe is a whole lot of science and innovation.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:25 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Labor Conflict May Lock Out Met Opera Workers

Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb has warned union workers of a lockout if a contract deal isn't settled by July 31.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 4:22 pm

The clock is ticking for the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The world's largest opera company may be headed for a shutdown. Most of the union contracts for the Met expire in a week. Yesterday, Met General Manager Peter Gelb sent a letter to the unions, warning them to prepare for a lockout if they don't come to terms.

For months now, the company and its unions have been at an impasse. Management has proposed cutting 16 percent of union members' compensation. Otherwise, Gelb contends, the company could go bankrupt in two to three years.

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Business
1:33 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

4 Theories About Why Wal-Mart Changed Its U.S. Chief

Bill Simon, head of Wal-Mart's U.S. division, is leaving the retail giant after being passed over for the company's top post.
Rick Wilking Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 2:23 pm

Bill Simon, head of Wal-Mart's U.S. division, is leaving the retail giant, the company said Thursday.

Any major shake-up at Wal-Mart is closely watched because the company is so important — it tops the Fortune 500 list with annual sales approaching a half-trillion dollars. So lots of people are speculating about what Simon's departure really means. Here are some theories:

The Simplest Explanation

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The Two-Way
6:19 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Book News: Amazon Exec Says Hachette Is Using Authors 'As Human Shields'

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 6:44 am

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

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Business
5:39 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Rural Startups, Often Overlooked, Are The Focus Of New Investment Programs

Copyright 2014 North Country Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/.

Business
5:39 am
Thu July 24, 2014

New Rules Proposed For Oil-Carrying Trains In Wake Of Fiery Crashes

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

Economy
4:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

How High Debt From The Housing Collapse Still Stifles Our Economy

An artist's installation shows pre-foreclosed homes in Newark, N.J., in July 2009 at the Queens Museum of Art in New York City.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 11:05 am

"Foreclosure, foreclosure, foreclosure."

Real estate broker John Susani drives down a Paterson, N.J., street where every third house seems to be abandoned or boarded up. During the boom years, money flooded into Paterson.

"The banking industry allowed everyone to be a homeowner; they gave mortgages to people [just because they were] breathing," Susani says.

In some cases, he says, home prices jumped as much as 50 percent. The homes on these streets aren't worth nearly that much anymore.

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The Two-Way
1:13 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

GM Recalls Nearly 718,000 Vehicles For 'Varying Safety Issues'

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 2:01 pm

Announcing six different safety recalls Wednesday, GM said it needs to fix problems that range from a turn-signal bug to an unpredictable loss of power steering. The flaws were found in vehicles from model years 2011 to 2015.

GM says no deaths and only two crashes have been linked to the recalls, which come in a year that has already seen the Detroit carmaker recall nearly 30 million vehicles worldwide. The company has "passed the 22 million vehicles recalled by all automakers last year," the AP says.

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Parallels
11:12 am
Wed July 23, 2014

After Two Disasters, Can Malaysia Airlines Still Attract Passengers?

Malaysia Airlines had been struggling even before two of its flights were lost this year. Analysts say the national carrier faces either bankruptcy or privatization.
Mohd Rasfan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 8:36 pm

The year 2014 is well on its way to being Malaysia Airlines' annus horribilis. Flight 17, shot down last week over eastern Ukraine, is the second Boeing 777 the airline has lost in the past five months, after MH370 disappeared, it's believed, somewhere over the Indian Ocean.

But even before the double calamity, Malaysia's national carrier was struggling to adapt to momentous shifts in Asia's aviation industry.

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The Two-Way
10:43 am
Wed July 23, 2014

FAA Extends Ban On Flights To Tel Aviv For Another 24 Hours

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 11:42 am

The Federal Aviation Administration has extended its ban on U.S. flights to and from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel.

As we reported, the agency first issued a ban Tuesday after a rocket landed about a mile from the airport. In a statement today, the FAA said:

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Economy
10:24 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Part-Time Work, Unpredictable Schedules: What's The Fix?

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

All Tech Considered
7:34 am
Wed July 23, 2014

A Plan To Untangle Our Digital Lives After We're Gone

A proposed law might determine what happens to our online accounts when we die. But the tech industry warns the measure could threaten the privacy of the deceased.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 8:42 am

Ancient peoples sent their dead to the grave with their prized possessions — precious stones, gilded weapons and terracotta armies. But unlike these treasures, our digital property won't get buried with us. Our archived Facebook messages, old email chains and even Tinder exchanges will hover untouched in the online cloud when we die.

Or maybe not.

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Business
3:59 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Happy 30th Birthday, PG-13!

Ruth Black iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 10:21 am

The PG-13 movie rating celebrates its 30th birthday this month. Until 1984, the Motion Picture Association of America rated films as G, PG, R or X. But that year a couple of gory scenes in PG-rated movies raised concerns.

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Business
3:56 am
Wed July 23, 2014

5 Managers Detained In Shanghai Expired-Meat Scandal

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 5:51 am

Chinese regulators suspended operations at Shanghai Husi Food, owned by Illinois-based OSI group. State media reported that stale meat was packaged for sale under "tacit approval" of senior managers.

Business
3:24 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Don't Make Me Come Back There: Toyota's New Parent-Friendly Options

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 5:51 am

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

Business
3:23 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Atlantic City's Casino Crisis: A Cautionary Tale

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 5:51 am

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

Business
2:45 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Taking Stock Of 2 Tech Giants: What's Next For Apple And Microsoft

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 5:51 am

Microsoft's new CEO is getting a lot of love from Wall Street, but the company is struggling to stay relevant. And Apple has found its footing again, mostly through a massive stock buyback program.

Politics
2:45 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Congress And Biden Aim For Job Training That Actually Leads To Jobs

Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, greets Enis Sullivan, 101, during a visit to XMA Corp. in Manchester, N.H., on March 25.
Jim Cole AP

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 10:05 am

Something pretty remarkable happened Tuesday afternoon in a small windowless auditorium next door to the White House. President Obama signed a new law: the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

It streamlines and updates the nation's job training programs and was 11 years overdue. The bill got overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

"Folks in Congress got past their differences; they got a bill to my desk," Obama said at the signing ceremony. "So this is not a win for Democrats or Republicans; it is a win for American workers."

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Middle East
2:45 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Airlines Cancel Service To Israel Amid Heightened Aviation Safety Concerns

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 5:51 am

A number of major airlines have suspended service to and from Tel Aviv as the fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza intensifies. That's leaving passengers to find other arrangements.

The Salt
3:11 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Glass Or No Glass? That Is The Grill Lid Question

A still from a video showing a glass top grill.
Schott Home Tech/YouTube

We love cooking on our grills, especially in the summertime. Keeping the house cool and avoiding the dish pile up are two major draws – not to mention the flavor of food cooked over fire.

When we saw a glass-topped grill, shining like Cinderella's slipper in a YouTube video posted by commercial glass maker SCHOTT, we were intrigued. But, we wondered, how the heck do you clean it?

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Economy
2:39 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Inflation Came In Low Again, But Are There Bubbles?

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies before the Senate Banking Committee on July 15. She said the Fed is likely to keep interest rates low "for a considerable period" since inflation remains so tame.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Want to borrow money for a car or a home this fall?

Oddly enough, the interest rates available months from now for big-ticket items may be determined by the prices you pay today for everyday consumer goods. When store prices are rising rapidly, policymakers start pushing interest rates higher, too.

But for the moment, at least, inflation appears mild enough to keep interest rates low for a long while.

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