Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 8:03 am
Community supported agriculture shares are moving out of the crisper and into the pantry.
That's the hope, anyway, of a growing number of farmers and small processors who are marketing local goods under the CSA model.
In traditional a CSA, a farmer sells shares of their fruit and vegetable crop ahead of the growing season to generate cash flow for the year. The farmer then provides boxes of seasonal produce on a regular basis to shareholders during the harvest.
When we delved a little deeper into the numbers, we found that while bicycle sales remained steady in a six-year period that began in 2006 (the top chart), sales of electric bikes exploded (the second chart).
Roger Gordon (left) is offered a box of bananas from a worker who was throwing away the lightly speckled fruit at Mexican Fruits in Washington, D.C. Gordon's startup, Food Cowboy, works with truckers to divert edible produce from landfills to food charities.
Credit Serri Graslie/NPR
Boxes of unsold produce sit stacked outside Mexican Fruits, a discount grocer. A few loads will be donated to churches but the rest will be thrown away.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 1:19 pm
In an alley in Northeast Washington, D.C., hundreds of pounds of produce are piled haphazardly on pallets. Mexican Fruits, a discount grocer, can't sell the fruit and vegetables inside these boxes because the food has gone soft or is lightly bruised. Some will be donated, but most boxes are destined for a large, green Dumpster nearby.
You're on Amazon.com. You're buying, say, a toaster, and you're checking out the customer reviews. You assume the people writing these reviews are people like you — people who wanted a toaster, went online and bought one. As it turns out, a lot of reviews on Amazon are written by people who are nothing like you. They're written by elite reviewers who are sent free merchandise to review products. In other words, it's possible that the guy reviewing that toaster you're looking at wasn't in the market for a toaster to begin with and didn't pay a cent for it.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, (who we're sure was not intentionally making the "choke" sign) and Marilyn Tavenner, head of the HHS agency that oversaw the Obamacare website project.
Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 7:39 am
Good Tuesday morning, fellow political junkies.
As you go through your day, keep this in mind: at least you're not Marilyn Tavenner. When critics of the Obama administration's botched launch of the Affordable Care Act call for heads to metaphorically roll, Tavenner, the top official of the Health and Human Services agency that oversaw the ill-fated website project, is high on that list.
You probably know, or should know, that your cellphone is tracking your location everywhere you go. But whether law enforcement officials should have access to that data is at the center of a constitutional debate.
Matt Blaze, a professor of computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania, says location tracking is key to how the cell system operates.
Rae Padulo creates handmade ceramics, like these holiday ornaments, for her Etsy-based company, mudstar ceramics. She's disappointed with the site's new policy to allow outsourced manufacturing. "There's nothing wrong with factory-made," she says, but "that's not what Etsy started out to be."
Austin Newman, 10, of Menlo Park, Calif., is not allowed to play video games during the school week. His mother, Michelle DeWolf, says she had to take that step to keep her son focused on his homework during the week.
Apologetic signs posted at a gas station that ran out of gas on Nov. 1, 2012, in the Queens borough of New York.
Credit Julio Cortez / AP
People line up at a gas station waiting to fill up on Nov. 2, 2012, in Newark, N.J. In parts of New York and New Jersey, drivers lined up for hours at gas stations that were struggling to stay supplied.
Credit Jeff Brady / NPR
Paul Riggins, president of Riggins Oil Company in Vineland, N.J., was deluged with requests for fuel after Sandy and had to choose which shipments to prioritize.
One of the effects of Superstorm Sandy a year ago could be seen at service stations throughout New York City and surrounding areas: Motorists joined long lines outside the few stations that had both electricity and gasoline.
"People were fighting over here. People were fighting over there. People were coming through the wrong way. It was chaos," Jessica Laura said at the time. "Then the cops came, and they just started organizing it."
Since then, the oil industry and policymakers have been working to shore up the region's fuel supply system.
Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 6:52 pm
Update at 8:45 p.m. ET:
Kings Dominion spokesman Gene Petriello says the theme park is dropping the Miner's Revenge maze from its Halloween lineup in the future.
"At the completion of each season, all Halloween attractions are reviewed to allow for new themes," Petriello says. "As part of its regular rotation, Kings Dominion does not intend to operate the Miner's Revenge Halloween attraction next year."
In England today, one of the highest profile criminal trials the country has seen in years got underway. Eight people are on trial, most notably Rebecca Brooks, a former top executive for Rupert Murdoch's UK newspaper empire, and Andy Coulson, former News of the World editor. Coulson also served for a while as Prime Minister David Cameron's communications chief.
The case grew out of a scandal over allegations that staff at the News of the World hacked into thousands of voicemails, including celebrities, politicians and crime victims.
A Norfolk Southern train pulls oil tank units on its way to the PBF Energy refinery in Delaware City, Del. As U.S. oil production outpaces its pipeline capacity, more and more companies are looking to the railways to transport crude oil.
On a quiet fall morning in the Delaware countryside, a lone sustained whistle pierces the air. Within moments, a train sweeps around a broad curve, its two heavy locomotives hauling dozens of white, cylindrical rail cars, loaded with 70,000 barrels of crude oil.
Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 9:52 am
When you sit down at Chef José Andrés' tapas restaurant, Jaleo, in Washington, D.C., and ask to see the beverage options, as I did recently, you're in for a surprise. Instead of a traditional leather-bound menu, I was handed an iPad.
Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 12:06 pm
Oh, what a job. You've got $3 billion to address society's most intractable problems. So what do you do?
If you're philanthropist Howard G. Buffett, son of famed investor Warren Buffett, you set a deadline: 40 years.
And you move at "fast-forward" speed (that's the way Warren describes his son's pace) to steer the most vulnerable people on Earth towards a future where food production is efficient, plentiful and affordable.
President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr in Russia in September in happier times before revelations that the NSA electronically eavesdropped on U.S. allies.
Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 8:54 am
Good morning, fellow political junkies.
It's the last week of October. That means the administration has just a month to meet its self-imposed deadline to have the Affordable Care Act website running as efficiently as it and millions of Americans had originally envisioned.
But the first item in our Monday political mix of some of the more interesting tidbits that caught my eye this morning indicates why setting such a deadline might be easier than meeting it.
Amazon's business is built on three basic concepts: faster delivery, greater selection, and cheaper prices.
In service of that, it has built enormous warehouses staffed largely by robots that shuttle around, pulling goods out of bins at remarkable speed. It can take just a matter of minutes to go from order to shipment.
And lately it's pursuing a program where Amazon goes directly into manufacturers and manages their logistics and online retailing.
As recently as 25 years ago, there were more than 100 self-described feminist bookstores in the U.S. — stores focusing on books written by and for women. Like most independent bookstores, though, their numbers have dropped dramatically over the years.
Chicago's Women and Children First is among the few feminist stores still standing, and one of the largest. The store opened 34 years ago in 1979. Now, after a long, successful run, the store's owners say they're ready to retire — and they're looking for a buyer to continue the store's mission.
The federal government's beleaguered health care exchange site, HealthCare.gov, shares little in common with the e-commerce sites consumers use every day. On most e-commerce sites, prices are simple to find. Not so on HealthCare.gov. That may be one of the reasons relatively few visitors to the site have actually enrolled. (This story originally aired on Morning Edition on Oct. 22, 2013.)
Originally published on Sat October 26, 2013 7:38 pm
Last month, I got hit by a drone. No, it was not a giant surveillance robot, or a sinister armed device. It was a cute little quadcopter about the size of a coconut, operated by a professor who built it for fun.
France's government has taken legal steps to protect the country's independent booksellers from behemoths like Amazon. It already prohibits discounts of more than 5 percent on books. Now it's considering a law that would not allow online retailers like Amazon to offer both a 5 percent discount and free shipping.
Credit Eleanor Beardsley / NPR
Jean-Paul Collet, owner of two independent bookshops in Paris, says his stores never would have survived without French legislation that bars discounts of greater than 5 percent on books.
Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 1:37 pm
A subcontractor that built a portion of the HealthCare.gov website that's now working relatively well is being promoted to oversee a thorough revamping of the entire glitch-prone portal, and work will be done by the end of next month, the White House says.