Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 10:33 pm
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
If you go for a drive this morning, look around at the other cars. The average car on American streets is more than a decade old. A lot of people put off new purchases during the recession and are just now getting back to buying.
Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 5:42 am
Google Glass Phase 1 is officially over. The Google Glass team posted a statement with the news to Google+ today. But the announcement says that Glass is not dead, it's just going through a "transition," and that the Google Glass team is "continuing to build for the future." The first, "Explorer," version of Glass was, according to the team, an "open beta" version, or basically a big, public test of the new product. The team didn't give a timeline for future versions.
Fifteen minutes north of the iconic Vegas Strip is the economically depressed downtown Las Vegas, a much-forgotten part of town. It's also an area of tremendous change in recent years, since it's the heart of tech billionaire Tony Hsieh's ambitious Downtown Project — an effort that's part urban revitalization, part social experiment.
Three years in, it's not going as quickly as he expected.
Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 2:57 pm
Federal workers with a pressing need can take an advance of up to six weeks of sick leave under a new policy unveiled by President Obama on Thursday. The White House is urging Congress to make paid sick leave mandatory in the U.S.
The president signed a memorandum today instructing federal agencies to advance up to six weeks of paid sick leave to workers who need the time to care for a new child, a family member or for similar uses.
Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 6:56 am
In health insurance prices, as in the weather, Alaska and the Sun Belt are extremes. This year Alaska is the most expensive health insurance market for people who do not get coverage through their employers, while Phoenix, Albuquerque, N.M., and Tucson, Ariz., are among the very cheapest.
Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 6:39 am
Easter is still far away, but in the United Kingdom, the weeks after Christmas are when stores begin stocking Cadbury's iconic Creme Eggs — those foil-wrapped chocolates filled with gooey "whites" and "yolks" made of candy.
For many people there, the eggs aren't just sweets — they're "edible time capsules that take consumers back to their childhood with every mouthful," as the U.K.'s Telegraphput it.
Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 6:02 pm
In the U.S., roughly 10,000 people reach retirement age every day. And though not everyone who turns 62 or 65 retires right away, enough do that some companies are trying to head off the problem.
Dave Tobelmann, who for 33 years developed new products for General Mills, retired five years ago at age 57 — around the same time as a number of other colleagues. "Yeah, I went to a lot of retirement parties," Tobelmann says.
Losing veteran workers is a challenge, even for big companies like General Mills.
Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 10:59 am
Last Wednesday, a federal judge overturned California's ban on the sale of foie gras, the delicacy made from the livers of fatty ducks and geese that have often been force-fed. The ban was approved by California voters in 2004, and went into effect in 2012.
Since the ban was overturned, some chefs using foie gras in their menus have been receiving threats.
Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 6:17 pm
If you've traveled outside the U.S. recently, or sent your U.S.-made products abroad, you've probably noticed that the dollar is getting stronger. The stronger dollar is the sign of a healthier U.S. economy, but its strength has the potential to erode growth.
There are a number of factors behind the dollar's rise, says economist Jens Nordvig, a currency expert at Nomura Securities. The main one is the health of the U.S. economy.
Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:33 pm
A year ago, as part of our series on the Great Plains oil rush, we brought you the story of a 36-year-old father who had recently lost his job when one of the last major timber mills in the Northwest shut down. After several years struggling to find steady work and even after going back to school, Rory Richardson decided to commute 550 miles from his home in far western Montana, to a place where jobs are plentiful - the oil fields of North Dakota. But after a little more than a year, he and his family have decided the toll is just too great.
Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:33 pm
Every time there is a big new release of some Apple software or operating system, hackers get to work — finding a flaw in Apple's computer code can be very lucrative. Criminals and even governments are willing to pay top dollar for the ability to get inside our iPhones.
Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 1:41 pm
It was a heck of a Christmas for David Fairchild and his wife, Clara Peterson. They found out they were about to lose their new health insurance.
"Clara was listening to the news on Iowa Public Radio and that's how we found out," Fairchild says. They went to their health plan's website that night. "No information. We still haven't gotten a letter about it from them."
Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 7:45 am
It was a terrible Christmas season for stores in Brazil. For the first time in more than a decade — since 2003 — sales went down.
Roberta Pimenta owns a small shop selling children's clothes at the Butanta mall in Sao Paulo, which is aimed squarely at the middle-class shoppers who live in the area.
"It was the worst drop in sales since I've had this store," Pimenta says. "In seven years it was the worst year I had. And every year you have a 10 percent increase of employees' salary, 10 percent increase in the rent, 10 percent in everything, so it is horrible."
Monday night's game between Oregon and Ohio State was a hit with viewers, as the first-ever college football playoff championship turned in the highest ratings in the history of both ESPN and cable TV. The broadcast averaged 33.4 million viewers.
"That was a 21 percent increase over the ratings for last year's BCS National Championship between Florida State and Auburn, which was a far closer game," NPR's Nathan Rott reports.
Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 4:47 pm
Amazon has announced that Woody Allen will write and direct a new half-hour series for its video-streaming service — news that feels a little like hearing Mad Men's Don Draper just founded an Internet advertising agency.
Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 1:20 pm
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is trying to persuade his fellow OPEC leaders to reduce oil production as the price of crude continues to slide and hurt the Venezuelan economy, which depends on oil for 95 percent of its export revenue.
Maduro was in Qatar this week, seeking billions to shore up his economy.
Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 6:32 am
Though the United States is still leading the world in research related to diseases, it is rapidly losing its edge, according to an analysis in the American Medical Association's flagship journal JAMA.
If you look at biomedical research around the globe, the United States funded 57 percent of that work a decade ago. The U.S. share has since dropped to 44 percent, according to the study published online Tuesday.