Business

The Salt
1:23 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Kelp For Farmers: Seaweed Becomes A New Crop In America

Oyster fisherman Bren Smith on his boat, The Mookie. Smith decided to try his hand at seaweed farming, collaborating with ecology professor Charles Yarish.
Ron Gautreau Courtesy of Bren Smith

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 9:02 am

A new kind of crop is being planted in the United States, and it doesn't require any land or fertilizer. Farming it improves the environment, and it can be used in a number of ways. So what is this miracle cash crop of the future?

It's seaweed.

Charlie Yarish, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut, loves seaweed. In nature, he says, when seaweed turns a rich chocolate color, that means the plant is picking up nitrogen, a process called nutrient bioextraction.

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Planet Money
1:22 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Gangnam Style: Three Reasons K-Pop Is Taking Over The World

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:16 pm

Gangnam Style is, among other things, a high-tech, sophisticated export.

Yes, the video is totally crazy and awesome. But this is not some viral fluke. South Korea has been building up to this moment for 20 years.

Here are three reasons South Korean pop music is taking over the world:

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The Salt
2:23 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

How A Sleepy Pennsylvania Town Grew Into America's Mushroom Capital

Four hundred million pounds of mushrooms come from farms in Chester County, Pa.
Eliza Barclay NPR

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 3:13 pm

Here's an astonishing fact: Half of America's mushrooms are grown in one tiny corner of southeastern Pennsylvania, near the town of Kennett Square.

But why? It's not as though this place has some special advantage of climate or soil, the kind of thing that led to strawberry fields in Watsonville, Calif., or peach orchards in Georgia. Mushrooms can grow indoors. They could come from anywhere.

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Technology
11:50 am
Thu October 11, 2012

In Digital War, Patents Are The Weapon Of Choice

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 12:16 pm

If you don't think of patents as a particularly exciting or interesting field, consider a point Charles Duhigg makes in his recent New York Times article, "The Patent, Used as a Sword": According to an analysis done at Stanford: "In the smartphone industry alone ... as much as $20 billion was spent on patent litigation and patent purchases in the last two years — an amount equal to eight Mars rover missions."

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Business
9:10 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Beep If You Understand Veep Buzzwords

Wind turbines dwarf a church near Wilson, Kan. The White House wants to extend a federal wind energy credit, but the Romney campaign wants to let it expire.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 10:07 am

When Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Rep Paul Ryan face off during their only debate, tens of millions of Americans will tune in to hear them defend their running mates' records.

And that audience Thursday night also will hear lots of budget-related buzzwords, with meanings that may not be entirely clear. Those words are shorthand for policies that could have huge impacts on taxpayers and the annual $1 trillion budget deficit.

Brushing up on terms of the debate can help voters better understand what's really being said on the stage at Centre College in Kentucky.

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Thu October 11, 2012

U.S. Foreclosures Drop Dramatically, But The Picture Remains Very Mixed

An auction sign in front of a Salem, Ore., home on Feb. 23.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 8:38 am

RealtyTrac, an online industry group that follows the foreclosure market, says the number of foreclosed properties nationally dropped dramatically in September, down by seven percent from August. And the firm says since September 2011, foreclosures are down 16 percent — that's the lowest total since July 2007.

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Business
2:47 am
Thu October 11, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 4:54 am

In a Census Bureau report released Wednesday, it tallied up the median earnings for different bachelor degree holders. Engineers make an average of $92,000 a year. Some other majors at the low-end of the list: education, fine and visual arts and communications. Those all earn an average of $50,000 to $60,000.

Health
2:47 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Meningitis Outbreak Linked To Compounding Pharmacies

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 3:23 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We've been watching a deadly medical scandal unfold over the past week. A steroid commonly injected into people's spines to relieve back pain was apparently contaminated by an ordinary fungus.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

As a result so far, 137 people in 10 states have contracted a rare brain infection of fungal meningitis. Twelve people have died. The tainted drug apparently came from a pharmacy in Massachusetts that shipped nearly 18,000 doses to 23 states.

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Business
2:47 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Michigan Voters To Decide Renewable Energy Mandate

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 3:32 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

There are business effects to some of the more than 170 statewide ballot measures to be decided in next month's elections. In California, voters will determine if labels should be required on genetically-modified food. People in Arkansas will vote whether to increase taxes for highways and bridges. And one measure in Michigan is capturing attention - whether the state constitution should be amended to change how utilities get their electricity.

Here's Rebecca Williams of Michigan Radio.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHIP HORN)

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Business
2:47 am
Thu October 11, 2012

WAL-Mart's Off To A Good Start With Holiday Shopping

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 12:22 pm

Wal-Mart is thriving despite the shaky economy, protests from union supporters and allegations of bribery at its Mexican unit. The company's stock price hit an all-time high Wednesday, and holiday layaway sales are off to a sizzling start. It's also introducing a low-cost, pre-paid debit card.

Business
2:47 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 4:59 am

Lenovo shipped 13.8 million units in the third quarter, according to the research firm Gartner. That robs a struggling Hewlett-Packard from a title they'd long enjoyed: the world's No. 1 PC vendor. The firm's data also suggests a worldwide dip in PC sales of about 8 percent over the past year.

Fiscal Cliff Notes
1:24 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Could Hit Civilian Pentagon Workers First

A Marine Corp F-35B Joint Strike Fighter lands at Patuxent Naval Air Station in Maryland in 2011. Analysts say that if mandatory Pentagon budget cuts are imposed next year, fewer new planes could ultimately be ordered.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 12:23 pm

Unless Congress acts, the Defense Department faces some $55 billion in cuts after the first of the year. The cuts are part of what's known as sequestration — automatic across the board spending cuts to both defense and nondefense government spending set in motion by last year's debt-ceiling fight.

Salaries for uniformed personnel are the one major thing that's protected. Otherwise, it's about a 10 percent cut to everything from Pentagon civilian staff to the acquisition of multimillion-dollar aircraft, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

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Music News
1:53 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

You, Too, Can Print Your Own Guitar

Industrial engineer Scott Summit made this guitar out of nylon powder.
Courtesy of Scott Summit

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 4:57 pm

Though it's been around for three decades, 3-D printing has finally started to take off for manufacturing and even for regular consumers. It's being used for making airplane parts on demand and letting kids make their own toys. One designer is pushing the limits of 3-D printing by using it to make an acoustic guitar.

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The Two-Way
10:21 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Counterfeit Airbags Pose Surprise Hazard To Motorists

If the airbag in your car was replaced sometime in the past three years, and it wasn't done at an auto shop attached to a car dealership, there is a small possibility the part could be fake.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to issue an alert today telling consumers whether they should have their vehicles checked for the real McCoy. More than 100 types of vehicle airbags could be involved.

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It's All Politics
9:45 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Marketing Of The Presidential Race Continues, Nationally And Locally

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 10:18 am

JetBlue is hedging its bets on the presidential election.

The New York-based airline says it plans to give more than 1,000 free flights to raffle entrants who back the losing candidate in the Nov. 6 contest between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.

The company's promotion promises: "If things don't go your way, don't worry. Here's your chance to get a free flight out of the country." It's a round-trip ticket, by the way.

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The Two-Way
6:14 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Jack Welch Says He Was 'Right About That Strange Jobs Report'

Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch.
Thomas Lohnes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 6:52 am

When former General Electric CEO Jack Welch tweeted on Friday that the drop in the unemployment rate last month was "unbelievable" and that President Obama and his campaign aides "will do anything ... can't debate so change numbers," he aligned himself with conspiracy theorists who were asking if some sort of "October surprise" had been pulled.

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Economy
2:59 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Greeks Protest German Chancellor's Athens Visit

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 4:48 am

Tens of thousands of angry Greeks protested eurozone-imposed austerity measures as German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived for her first visit to Greece since the debt crisis erupted three years ago. Merkel struck a conciliatory tone but Greeks carried banners reading: Merkel out, Greece is not your colony.

Business
2:57 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Wells Fargo Sued Over Bad Mortgage Investements

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 5:06 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with another bank sued.

Wells Fargo has become the second major American bank to be sued over its conduct during the housing boom. The U.S. Attorney's office in New York alleges that Wells Fargo approved hundreds of millions of dollars in bad housing loans during the 10-year period leading up to the financial crisis.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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Around the Nation
2:41 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Chicago Mayor Emanuel To Present Proposed Budget

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 4:48 am

Chicago continues to wrestle with a massive budget gap and severely underfunded pensions. Fresh off a negotiating tussle with the city's teachers and a school strike, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday presents his proposed 2013 budget to the City Council.

Business
2:32 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Showbiz Daily 'Variety' Sold To Penske Media

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 5:21 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And staying here in California, our last word in business is lights, camera, sold.

The sale of Variety is officially a wrap. The venerable 107-year-old show biz daily has been bought for $25 million by Penske Media, the owner of Variety's upstart online rival Deadline.com. Like its longtime competitor, the Hollywood Reporter, Variety has had trouble making the switch to digital media, but it still turns a profit. So in the language that Variety helped make famous, Penske seems to believe this deal will be boffo and not a flopola.

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Business
2:32 am
Wed October 10, 2012

California's Gas Prices Begin To Stabilize

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 4:48 am

Motorists should be seeing some relief from the recent record spike in gas prices. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded hit $4.67, according to AAA. That price hike sent elected officials scrambling. Some are calling for a federal investigation, while others are taking emergency steps to increase supply.

Author Interviews
1:15 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Virgin's Richard Branson Bares His Business 'Secrets'

Richard Branson is the founder and chairman of Virgin Group.
Paul Morigi Invision/AP

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 6:53 am

Richard Branson is not your average entrepreneur. He dropped out of school at 15 and, despite suffering from dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, went on to found Virgin Group, a business empire that includes airlines, cellphone companies, banks, hotels, health clubs and even a space travel business.

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The Two-Way
3:24 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

U.S. Government Sues Wells Fargo In Mortgage Case

Wells Fargo.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. government filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo & Co., today, saying the bank was reckless when it issued federally guaranteed mortgages.

Bloomberg reports:

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Business
2:51 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Wal-Mart, American Express To Debut New Card

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:10 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Your Money
10:34 am
Tue October 9, 2012

How To Avoid Sticky Financial Situations

Writer Sybilla Nash agreed to help out a friend by co-signing a mortgage. But after her friend neglected to make payments, Nash's credit score dropped 200 points. Nash wrote about the ordeal for The Huffington Post. She joins host Michel Martin and consumer education expert John Ulzheimer to talk about how to avoid sticky financial situations.

The Two-Way
7:10 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Risks Of Global Economic Slowdown Are 'Alarmingly High,' IMF Warns

In China's Anhui province, a worker unloads steel bars at a factory. A slowdown in China and other major nations threatens to pull the global economy into recession, the International Monetary Fund warns.
AFP/Getty Images

Saying that the global economic recovery "has suffered new setbacks, and uncertainty weighs heavily on the outlook," the International Monetary Fund today warned that the probability of "recession in advanced economies and a serious slowdown in emerging market and developing economies" next year have gone up.

The fund said its research indicates the risk of those things occurring in 2013 "has risen to about 17 percent, up from about 4 percent in April 2012."

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Books
4:58 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Google, Publishers Settle Digital Book Dispute

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:25 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And now for another chapter in the collision between digital media and old-style books.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Economy
4:49 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Gobal Economy Outlook Looks Grim

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:25 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Finance ministers and central bankers from around the world are on their way to Tokyo for their annual get-together, sponsored by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. The mood, at the moment, about the global economy, is worried. In fact, the IMF has just called the risk of a worldwide slowdown alarmingly high.

To find out more, we turn, as we often do, to David Wessel. He's economics editor of The Wall Street Journal.

Good morning.

DAVID WESSEL: Good morning, Renee.

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Books
4:49 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Publisher Sues Authors Who Don't Produce Manuscripts

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:25 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A lot of would-be professional writers dream of someday getting a book contract that includes an advance, enough money, paid upfront, to let them quit their day job and write full time.

Of course, those advances do come with an expectation that an author will actually write the book. The Penguin Publishing Group recently filed suit against a dozen authors who failed to produce manuscripts after getting an advances.

NPR's Lynn Neary reports.

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Business
4:49 am
Tue October 9, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:25 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is a race at the drive-through. When it comes to fast food, Wendy's is winning the drive-through speed test. That's according to a new study from an industry magazine.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Wendy's customers wait an average of two minutes and 10 seconds for their meals, 20 seconds faster than the runner-up, Taco Bell.

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