Business

Business
3:02 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Blue Shield Of California Loses Its Tax-Exempt Status

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 4:03 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Technology
3:02 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Companies Worried About Hackers Turn To Cyber Insurance

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Business
1:33 am
Thu March 19, 2015

More Americans Opt For Risky Long-Term Car Loans

Nearly a third of new auto loans now last 74 months or longer, which alarms some analysts.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 5:05 pm

There comes a day in every car owner's life when she knows, it's time. For Carolyn Ballard of Atlanta, that was on a hot day last July, while driving her SUV with misfiring cylinders.

"I drove to the dealership with the car literally chugging along," she says. "I mean, in traffic on the interstate. I was just sweating, thinking I've just got to get to the dealership so I can get rid of this, before I put any more money into it."

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The Two-Way
7:39 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Microsoft Is Phasing Out Internet Explorer

The logo of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, the Web browser due to be phased out in the next version of Windows.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 7:41 am

Clippy will soon get a roommate in Microsoft heaven or hell, depending on your perspective. This week, Microsoft announced that it will phase out Internet Explorer, its much-maligned Web browser, beginning with Windows 10.

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All Tech Considered
3:24 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Premera Blue Cross Cyberattack Exposed Millions Of Customer Records

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 6:28 pm

Another big health insurance company has revealed it has been the target of a massive cyberattack.

Premera Blue Cross says hackers may have taken up to 11 million customer records. Those records include credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, even information about medical problems. This news is just coming out but Premera issued a statement saying it discovered the breach on Jan. 29. That's about the same date that Anthem, another Blue Cross company, told the FBI that it was breached.

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Business
3:24 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

More Storefront 'Roommates' Splitting Space, Customers

Toni Riffel, the coffee guy, and Sarah O'Brien, the pastry lover, didn't know each other before they came together to share this space in Atlanta's Grant Park neighborhood.
Tom Nguyen Flickr

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 4:08 pm

More businesses across the country are teaming up to share space and customers. And while the economic marriages of convenience can have real advantages, they also come with some some stresses.

Sarah O'Brien is the owner of the Little Tart Bakeshop in Atlanta and shares a space with Octane, a local coffee roaster. She describes the relationship like having a roommate.

"We have to split our bills, we have to split the cleaning duties. It's just like having a roommate, you know, without the chore chart," she says.

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Economy
3:24 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Federal Reserve Says Job Market Conditions Have Improved

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 4:27 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Race
3:24 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Starbucks Faces Criticism Over 'Race Together' Campaign

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 4:27 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

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The Salt
3:24 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Pain From The Grain: Corn Belt Towns Languish As Prices Drop

With corn production expected to remain high, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting that prices will continue to fall well into next year.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 4:27 pm

On a recent snowy afternoon on a farm in central Illinois, Dan Byers parked his pickup at the end of a dirt road and looked over some of his fertile land. A few years ago, high grain prices earned farmers here about $400 per acre for their corn and soybean crops. This year, it's possible that every acre Byers farms will cost him $50.

"It just takes a certain amount of fixed money to put a crop in and raise it," says Byers. "At today's prices, not much of anything works right now until there's a rebound."

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The Salt
2:00 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

This Spanish Pig-Slaughtering Tradition Is Rooted In Sustainability

Pig farmer Armando Escaño stands with his Iberian pigs on his farm on western Spain's dehesa. Escaño raises pigs for jamón ibérico, Spain's most prized ham.
Lauren Frayer for NPR

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 6:51 pm

In Spain, an age-old way of surviving the winter is getting some new attention from foodies worldwide. It's called la matanza — literally, the killing of a pig. It's an ancient ritual in danger of dying out, amid an influx of commercial abattoirs and modern supermarkets. But Spain's matanza is now getting renewed interest from farm-to-table food enthusiasts.

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The Two-Way
12:06 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Fed Sends Clear Sign On Raising Rates, But Says Hike Unlikely In April

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, seen Feb. 25 on Capitol Hill.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 3:42 pm

Updated at 2:47 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve moved a step closer toward ending its zero interest rate policy. In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the Fed dropped a pledge to be "patient" before raising rates. But, the Fed's Open Market Committee said, it is unlikely to raise rates in April.

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Economy
3:38 am
Wed March 18, 2015

The Fed's Next Move Is A Delicate One

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 4:05 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Business
3:38 am
Wed March 18, 2015

A Nuclear Deal With Iran Could Increase Global Oil Glut

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 8:09 am

It's not just Benjamin Netanyahu and other world leaders who are scrutinizing the Iran negotiations. Oil traders are, too. That's because there's already an oil glut, and an Iran deal could lift sanctions and mean even more oil.

"Even the thought that Iranian oil could be unleashed on the global market is, you know, getting people to sell first and ask questions later," says Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst and oil trader at The Price Group in Chicago.

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U.S.
1:24 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Kentucky Right-To-Work Battle Shifts To Counties

A Teamsters union from Lexington, Ky., was on hand as Warren County became the first county in the U.S. to pass a local right-to-work law.
Lisa Autry WKU Public Radio

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 5:21 am

This past January, the Republican-led Kentucky Senate did what it does just about every year: It passed a statewide right-to-work bill.

Keeping with tradition, when the bill arrived at the Democratic-controlled House, it died.

For decades, Democrats have rejected efforts to allow employees in unionized companies the freedom to choose whether to join a union.

Now, the battle has shifted from the statehouse to individual counties.

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Environment
1:22 am
Wed March 18, 2015

After Toxic Ash Spill, Energy Company And Locals Struggle Over Solution

The abandoned Cherokee Clay and Brick Mine in Lee County, N.C., may become a landfill for coal ash.
Dave DeWitt WUNC

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 10:23 am

When utility companies burn coal to make electricity — and it generated 39 percent of U.S. energy in 2013 — it leaves behind ash that can contain arsenic, selenium, boron and many other toxic substances.

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The Two-Way
3:22 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

European Allies Defy U.S. In Joining China-Led Development Bank

Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, and Asian leaders approved an agreement on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in Beijing in Oct., 2014. European countries are beginning to sign up too.
Takaki Yajima AP

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 3:33 pm

Four key European allies have broken ranks with the U.S. to join a major new development bank created by China. Germany, France, and Italy today agreed to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Last week, the U.K., one of America's staunchest allies, became the first Western nation to join the new bank.

The Obama administration opposes the AIIB, due to open later this year, and has pressured allies such as South Korea, Japan and Australia not to join the new bank. The administration says there's no need for another international lending institution.

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U.S.
2:58 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Sex Discrimination Trial Puts Silicon Valley Under The Microscope

Ellen Pao, a former partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, says women were excluded from all-male meetings at the company and denied seats on boards. The firm says she was fired for poor performance.
Robert Galbraith Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 6:18 pm

When the venture capital firm that funded Google and Amazon fired Ellen Pao in 2012, it said it let her go because she didn't have what it takes.

Pao disagreed — and sued her former employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, for gender bias and retaliation. The trial, now underway in San Francisco, is providing a rare look into allegations of sex discrimination and the world of venture capital.

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The Salt
11:47 am
Tue March 17, 2015

To Eat Authentically Irish This St. Patrick's Day, Go For The Butter

Butter labels from Irish creameries operating in the 1970s.
Roland Paschhoff Cork Butter Museum

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 12:11 pm

As scholarly buzzkills have long told us, corned beef isn't really Irish. So what to do if you want a taste of the Emerald Isle on St. Patrick's Day? Instead of green, maybe look for yellow — a pat of Irish butter. Although most Americans are familiar with images of Ireland's rolling green hills, few realize that those hills are the secret to a deliciously buttery empire.

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Science
1:17 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Are Humans Really Headed To Mars Anytime Soon?

Mars, anyone? Six researchers from the Mars Society sport their best space duds during this 2014 simulation of the conditions that explorers of the Red Planet might face. (From left) Ian Silversides, Anastasiya Stepanova, Alexandre Mangeot and Claude-Michel Laroche.
Micke Sebastien Paris Match via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 7:15 am

With recent news headlines proclaiming that dozens of people have been selected as finalists for a Martian astronaut corps, it might seem like a trip to this alien world might finally be close at hand.

But let's have a little reality check. What are the chances that we really will see people on the Red Planet in the next couple of decades?

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U.S.
3:36 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

FEMA's Appeals Process Favored Insurance Companies Almost Every Time

Doug Quinn's ranch house in Toms River, N.J., was heavily damaged by flooding during Hurricane Sandy. His insurance company gave him half the value of his home and when he appealed, FEMA sided with the insurance company.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 1:15 pm

FEMA has taken the unprecedented step of reopening all Superstorm Sandy flood claims because thousands of homeowners said insurance companies intentionally lowballed damage estimates.

Similar allegations surfaced in 2004 after Hurricane Isabel struck the Mid-Atlantic. To answer critics then, FEMA formalized an appeals process.

That appeals process has gone against Sandy victims almost every time, statistics show.

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Technology
3:36 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

What Cockroaches With Backpacks Can Do. Ah-mazing

An attempt to build the perfect cockroach cyborg.
Carlos Sanchez, Ph.D. student of Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 6:01 pm

Cockroaches are widely despised. They're attracted to filth. They frighten people, even give them nightmares.

But for a team of scientists at Texas A&M University, the roach is a hero: the first animal that humans might successfully transform into a robot, a hybrid of insect and machine that we can send anywhere to be our eyes and ears.

The Perfect Roach

Professor Hong Liang opens the door to a small laboratory with hundreds, maybe thousands, of cockroaches. It's not for the faint of heart.

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Parallels
1:23 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Excitement Over Mexico's Shale Fizzles As Reality Sets In

A platform owned by Mexico's state-run oil company Pemex is seen off the Bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico. The country has recently opened up its energy sector to foreign investors.
Victor Ruiz Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 6:01 pm

The prolific shale formation that has made people rich in South Texas doesn't stop at the Rio Grande, as U.S. maps seem to indicate.

"The geology doesn't change when you cross that little 20-foot-deep river," says Brandon Seale, president of San Antonio-based Howard Energy Mexico. "What goes on 10,000 feet under the river is the exact same."

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The Two-Way
11:51 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Elton John Leads Boycott Against Dolce & Gabbana Over 'Synthetic Children' Remarks

Stefano Gabbana (left) and Domenico Dolce, seen here during the recent Milan Fashion Week, are being criticized for remarks about same-sex families, sparking a boycott led by musician Elton John.
Daniel Dal Zennaro EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 11:43 pm

Fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are locked in a very public argument with musician Elton John over their recent remarks condemning in vitro fertilization and saying same-sex couples should not raise children.

After John called for a boycott of the designers' clothes, Gabbana defended his right to air an opinion and urged people to shun the singer, responding to John's Instagram post by commenting, "Fascist!!"

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The Salt
10:24 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Looks Matter: A Century Of Iconic Food Packaging

Ariel Zambelich/NPR

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 11:49 am

We take the packaging our food comes in for granted. Yet many of the boxes, bags and bottles that protect our edibles were once groundbreaking — both in their design and in how they changed our perception of what's inside. Sometimes, packaging is so distinctive, it transforms food from mere consumer product to cultural icon. As Stephen Heller, author of more than 100 books on design and popular culture, says, "Coca-Cola is not a bottle of soda — it's Coca-Cola."

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All Tech Considered
9:12 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Pew: Nearly One-Third Of Americans Hide Information Online

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 2:30 pm

Almost a third of Americans have taken steps to hide or shield their information online since Edward Snowden publicized National Security Agency surveillance practices.

But as a country, we're deeply divided — nearly 50-50 — over whether to be concerned about massive government surveillance. And while there are signs that privacy is a partisan issue, it's not partisan in the way you might think.

All that is according to the latest privacy study by the Pew Research Center.

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Architecture
1:09 am
Mon March 16, 2015

With Sunny, Modern Homes, Joseph Eichler Built The Suburbs In Style

After World War II, developer Joseph Eichler built well-designed and well-crafted tract homes that dotted California suburbs.
Stephen Schafer

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 7:04 pm

In Palm Springs, Calif., a $1 million home was just built — with plans resurrected from 1951. The original sold for about $15,000, and was called an Eichler, after developer Joseph Eichler, who offered well-designed, well-built tract homes to the masses a half-century ago.

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Business
5:57 am
Sun March 15, 2015

Airlines Are Not The Best At Estimating Flight Times

Originally published on Sun March 15, 2015 9:03 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Fifty-two.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: 11:53.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Twenty-five.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #3: 6.115

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Business
3:29 am
Sun March 15, 2015

Smell Something Different At The Gym? It Might Not Be What You Think

The weight training center at Anytime Fitness in Michigan in December. The company started using scent marketing four years ago.
Danielle Duval MLive.com/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 11:06 am

Eric Spangenberg knows he's too old for Abercrombie and Fitch. He knows as soon as he smells it.

The store's signature fragrance, Fierce, is a mixture of citrus and musk. It's a combination that Spangenberg, 55, says is clearly targeted toward a specific demographic: a young one.

It's called scent marketing — when a business chooses a specific scent to attract customers and boost sales, and it has become widely popular in the last several years, he says.

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The Salt
3:24 am
Sun March 15, 2015

The Fate Of The World's Chocolate Depends On This Spot In Rural England

Rows of potted cocoa plants from around the world. Before a cocoa variety from one country can be planted in another, it first makes a pit stop here, at a quarantine center in rural England.
Courtesy of Dr. Andrew J. Daymond

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 11:49 am

Walk into a row of greenhouses in rural Britain, and a late English-winter day transforms to a swampy, humid tropical afternoon. You could be in Latin America or sub-Saharan Africa, which is exactly how cocoa plants like it.

"It's all right this time of year. It gets a bit hot later on in the summer," says greenhouse technician Heather Lake as she fiddles with a tray of seedlings — a platter of delicate, spindly, baby cocoa plants.

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The Seams
6:25 am
Sat March 14, 2015

How The Luxury Fashion Industry Became All Business

Models walk the catwalk in March 2009 during one of Alexander McQueen's last shows, Ready-to-Wear Autumn/Winter 2009, in Paris. McQueen was one of several fashion designers elevated to prominence by Bernard Arnault, the French tycoon who transformed the business of high fashion.
Pascal Le Segretain Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 4:31 am

Fashion Week looks glamorous, but as it drew to a close in Paris last Wednesday — following shows in New York, London and Milan — it became clear that the runway has become a racetrack.

The pace of the multibillion-dollar fashion industry has changed in recent years from luxurious to laborious. Even the seasons have accelerated.

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