Business

Energy
1:07 am
Thu March 7, 2013

BP Bows Out Of Solar, But Industry Outlook Still Sunny

As BP leaves the solar industry, Asian countries such as China are taking a lead role in production.
Xinhua News Agency AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 10:50 am

The solar energy business is growing quickly, but future growth will not include oil giant BP.

At the IHS CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, BP's CEO made it clear the company is done with solar.

"We have thrown in the towel on solar," Bob Dudley said after delivering a wide-ranging speech Wednesday.

"Not that solar energy isn't a viable energy source, but we worked at it for 35 years, and we really never made money," he added.

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The Sequester: Cuts And Consequences
1:02 am
Thu March 7, 2013

With Budget Cuts For Ports, Produce May Perish

Border security agents stop a truck at a checkpoint on the way to Nogales, Ariz. More winter produce enters the U.S. at the border crossing than at any other point of entry in the country.
Qi Heng Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 11:48 am

Budget-cutting from the government sequester that began March 1 could affect U.S. exports and imports, including what we eat.

Customs and Border Protection officers regulate trade at the nation's 329 ports of entry, in harbors, airports and on land.

One by one, drivers approach booths with Customs and Border Protection officers at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, Ariz. More winter produce enters here than at any other place in the U.S. Semis filled with tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers headed to grocery stores around the country.

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Planet Money
1:01 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Andrew Sullivan Is Doing Fine

Andrew H. Walker Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:24 am

Two months ago, the popular political blogger Andrew Sullivan left the comfortable world of big media and struck out on his own. His bold new plan: Ask readers to pay $19.99 a year or more to subscribe to his blog.

"It was either quit blogging, or suck it up and become a businessman," he told me.

The usual way bloggers make money (if they make money at all) is to sell advertising. But Sullivan figured he could get his devoted reader base to pay. Within the first week, he'd raised half a million dollars. By the end of about two months, the total had crept up to $625,000.

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Economy
3:58 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Time For The Fed To Take Away The Punch Bowl?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington last month. Some analysts wonder if he and other policymakers have kept interest rates too low for too long.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 9:49 am

The stock market's long climb from its recession bottom has some people concerned it may be a bubble about to burst — a bubble artificially pumped up by the Federal Reserve's easy-money policy. That's led to calls — even from within the Fed — for an end to the central bank's extraordinary efforts to keep interest rates low.

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Planet Money
3:15 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

If The Catholic Church Were A Business, How Would You Fix It?

Now that Pope Benedict XVI has officially gone into retirement, the next leader of the Catholic Church has a lot to consider, including finances.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 9:49 am

The next pope will be the spiritual leader of the world's Catholics. He will also be leading a multibillion-dollar financial empire. And from a business perspective, the Catholic Church is struggling.

We talked to several people who study the business of the church. Here are a few of the issues they pointed out.

1. Globally, the church's employees are in the wrong place.

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Business
2:30 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Dow's 'Record Highs' Misleading Without Including Inflation

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 9:49 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News . I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

And a record close. That's what we've been hearing both today and yesterday as the Dow Jones industrial average climbs upwards.

BLOCK: That may be an ear-grabbing headline after a recession and years of unimpressive growth. But we begin this hour with a different take from Adam Davidson of NPR's Planet Money. Hey, Adam.

ADAM DAVIDSON, BYLINE: Hey, Melissa.

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Television
2:30 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Online TV Shows A Treasure Trove For Data-Mining Viewer Habits

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 9:49 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Here are some of the new original shows hitting your small screen later this year.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "HEMLOCK GROVE")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (as character) There are things that look like you and me. (Unintelligible) beating heart, these things are only (unintelligible) hiding the creature beneath.

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The Salt
2:29 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Can Milk Sweetened With Aspartame Still Be Called Milk?

Morgan Barnett, 7, drinks from containers of 1 percent milk and chocolate milk during lunch at a school in St. Paul, Minn., in 2006.
Eric Miller AP

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 8:45 am

The dairy industry has a problem. Despite studies demonstrating milk's nutritional benefits, people are drinking less and less of it.

Even children are increasingly opting for water or other low-cal options — including diet soda and artificially sweetened sports drinks.

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The Two-Way
12:56 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Economy Growing At 'Modest To Moderate Pace,' Fed Says

There was "modest to moderate" economic growth across the nation as the year began, the Federal Reserve says in its latest "beige book" review of conditions around the nation.

According to the central bank, five of its 12 districts "reported that economic growth was moderate in January and early February." Those five: Dallas, New York, Minneapolis, Richmond and St. Louis.

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All Tech Considered
12:26 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Spring Break For Geeks: SXSW Interactive Starts Friday

At SXSW 2012, the app "Highlight" was touted but failed to break out like Foursquare or Twitter in years prior.
Jack Plunkett AP

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 1:01 pm

Every year, the South By Southwest music, film and interactive festival gets larger, and navigating the blur of panels, parties and shows gets more daunting. The girth of it all is enough to keep many SXSW old-timers away from Austin this year.

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The Two-Way
10:29 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Europe Hits Microsoft With $731 Million Fine Over Browser Options

Microsoft Corp CEO Steve Ballmer speaks during a keynote address at the 2013 International CES in January.
David Becker Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 10:37 am

Some sloppy coding on an update to Microsoft's Windows 7 two years ago has cost the computer giant a $731 million fine to the European Commission.

Microsoft said Wednesday it would not contest the fine, imposed for what the commission said was the company's abuse of its market dominance to stifle competitors' Web browsers.

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Politics
9:55 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Exit Interview: US Trade Representative Ron Kirk

Look around your kitchen table and you'll see the work of Ambassador Ron Kirk. He's the United States Trade Representative, which is a cabinet-level position, and he's negotiated trade deals all around the world. Host Michel Martin talks to him about why he's choosing to step down from his post and the importance of U.S. trade.

All Tech Considered
8:51 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Why The Library Of Congress Has A Lock On Your Phone

A law designed to protect copyrights on music and movies put digital locks on all sorts of things.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 9:56 am

What it means to own something in the digital age is being re-negotiated.

Few of us own the music we listen to or the movies we watch in exactly the same way we did a decade ago. And today if you buy a smartphone from a cellphone company, what you can legally do with it — how and where you can use it — may be proscribed even if that phone is fully bought and paid for.

I keep a lot of music on my phone. I have the Stones, Janis Joplin and OK Go.

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Wed March 6, 2013

198,000 Jobs Added In February, Report Shows; January Growth Revised Upward

The scene at a job fair in New York City on Feb. 28.
Lucas Jackson Reuters /Landov

There were 198,000 jobs added to private employers' payrolls in February, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report — a privately produced snapshot of the employment picture that's sometimes a signal of what the Bureau of Labor Statistics will say when it releases its data from the same month.

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Business
5:48 am
Wed March 6, 2013

E.U. Hits Microsoft With $732 Million Fine

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 9:18 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR business news starts with a big fine for Microsoft.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Business
3:01 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Martha Stewart Testifies About J.C. Penney Deal

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 9:18 am

Martha Stewart took the stand Tuesday in a lawsuit that involves her company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Macy's and J.C. Penney Co. Macy's is suing J.C. Penney and Stewart's company for breach of contract.

Research News
2:45 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Deciphering Hidden Biases During Interviews

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 9:18 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Benjamin Franklin said the only certain things are death and taxes. Let's add a third thing: Interviews. At many points, starting with school admissions or a new job, you're going to sit down before someone else and answer their questions.

Which is what NPR's Shankar Vedantam is about to do with us because he's got some new research relating to this topic. Hi, Shankar.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: And let's begin this interview. What's the new research about?

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Business
2:45 am
Wed March 6, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 9:18 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It may seem like the tech company is squeezing every cent out of you, but our last word in business is the story of a man who let some money go. A University of Delaware student stepped up to an ATM and asked for $40 - two 20s, that's what would normally come out.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Two bills arrived but there were hundred dollar bills, and then more bills arrived, and more. Devon Gluck received $1,800.

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Business
2:45 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Digital Locks Limit Access To Copyrighted Works

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 9:18 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

What it means to own something in the digital age is being re-negotiated. Few of us own the music we listen or the movies we watch, in the same way as we did a decade ago. And today, if you get a smartphone from a cell phone company what you can legally do with it - how and where you can use it - may be restricted, even if that phone is fully bought and paid for.

NPR's Steve Henn explains. And we'll also find out a little bit about his music taste.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "INVINCIBLE")

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NPR Story
2:39 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 9:18 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR business news starts with markets on fire.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

U.S.
1:46 am
Wed March 6, 2013

With Adaptive Skiing, Disabled People No Longer Left Out In The Cold

Tilghman Logan and his instructor, Craig Stagg, do some practice turns using sit skis. Some ski resorts have created opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in snow sports.
Carrie Jung KUNM

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 9:18 am

March means spring break is just around the corner, and for New Mexico it means mild temperatures and fresh snow — perfect conditions for visiting area ski resorts.

A growing number of resorts are now offering programs that cater to vacationers with disabilities, and resort owners say it has proved to be a boost for business.

At a Taos Ski Valley chairlift, Barbara and Philip Logan prepare their son, Tilghman, for his first day of ski lessons.

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Working Late: Older Americans On The Job
1:42 am
Wed March 6, 2013

For Midwife, 71, Delivering Babies Never Gets Old

Colorado midwife Dian Sparling, 71, meets with Lisa Eldridge and her baby, Colton James.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 12:30 pm

Increasingly, people are continuing to work past 65. Almost a third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 70 are working, and among those older than 75, about 7 percent are still on the job. In Working Late, a series for Morning Edition, NPR profiles older adults who are still in the workforce.

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Business
4:20 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

As Construction Picks Up, American Truck Makers Race

Ford unveils the F-150 Atlas concept pickup during January's North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Experts say the boom in construction will boost pickup sales.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:34 pm

Economists look at many tea leaves as they try to determine the health of the economy. One of the most important surrounds vehicle sales, and more specifically pickup truck sales, which are tied to the construction industry. And as last month's sales rose 18 percent, the auto industry is betting big on a real estate rebound.

It's arguable that the Ford F-150 is the most important vehicle to come out of Detroit since the Model-T. It's also built where many parts for the old Model-T were made in Dearborn, Mich.

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Technology
3:45 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Lithium Ion Battery Makers Have Trouble Marketing Them After Boeing Incidents

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 4:20 pm

Federal stimulus money has helped cut the high cost of lithium-ion batteries, but not nearly enough to make electric cars affordable. Now there's an abundance of advanced battery manufacturers and not enough major companies to buy them. Many plants in the United States, South Korean, Japan and China that got government subsidies aren't producing many batteries, if at all. Three years ago Michigan's governor touted the state as the new battery capital of the world. There were five new advanced battery plants in the works, all of which were to get major tax breaks and some federal grants.

U.S.
3:45 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Dreamliner's Battery Woes A Deja Vu Moment For Aviation Industry

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 4:20 pm

Lithium-ion batteries sparked a crisis for Boeing's Dreamliner 787 — but the crisis is not an unprecedented one. Four decades ago, a very similar transition to new battery technology in airplanes yielded similar problems. Audie Cornish describes what happened then — and what lessons might be learned as lithium-ion batteries become the next generation that power planes.

The Salt
1:11 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Who Grew Your Pint? How Craft Brews Boost Local Farmers

Throwback Brewery in New Hampshire is one of almost 20 New England breweries using malts from Massachusetts' micro-malt house Vally Malt.
Courtesy of Throwback Brewery

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 3:27 pm

Brent Manning is a maltster on a mission. The co-founder of Riverbend Malt House in Asheville, N.C., wants people to be able to taste local grains in North Carolina's beers, just as vino aficionados can identify the provenance of fine wines.

"In the wine industry ... they will tell you that the No. 1 Syrah grape grows on this hillside over here because it's a bit rockier," Manning explains. "It's that very same connection to the soil and the underlying geology that creates these nuances in flavors."

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The Two-Way
10:32 am
Tue March 5, 2013

VW Introduces 'World's Most Efficient' Car At Geneva Motor Show

Two new Volkswagen hybrid XL1 model cars are displayed during a preview of Volkswagen ahead of the Geneva Car Show in Geneva.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

At the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday, Volkswagen introduced a futuristic-looking car that the company says is the "world's most efficient."

VW's XL1 is a two seater, plug-in, diesel hybrid that the company says gets 261 miles per gallon "with an all-electric driving range of a little over 30 miles," CNN reports.

CNN adds:

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Planet Money
10:19 am
Tue March 5, 2013

The Dow Isn't Really At A Record High (And It Wouldn't Matter If It Were)

Related: The floor of the New York Stock Exchange is increasingly irrelevant to the stock market. But a picture of a room full of computers would be super boring.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 4:28 pm

Just a quick, cranky reminder: Despite what you may have read, the Dow Jones industrial average did not hit a new high today in any meaningful sen

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Your Money
9:39 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Financial Advisors Selling Bogus Advice?

Skipping $4 lattes will save you some money — but buying into bogus financial advice won't. Finance journalist, Helaine Olen says many of the so-called 'financial experts' are selling you advice to make themselves rich. She discusses her book, Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry with host Michel Martin.

Planet Money
9:02 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Ask A Banker: Shadow Banking Is Like Banking, Only Shadier

Not just an empty suit.
Paul Goyette Flickr

Hi! It's Ask a Banker! Once again, I'm a former banker, current Dealbreaker editor and occasional answerer of questions here. Send more questions to planetmoney@npr.org with "ask a banker" in the subject line, or ask on Twitter (@planetmoney). This week's question comes from Ellen in Minneapolis and I think you'll like it:

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