Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:23 am
You may have heard that dollar bills harbor trace amounts of drugs.
But those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They're teeming with life.
Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface, scientists have found. Most are harmless. But cash also has DNA from drug-resistant microbes. And your wad of dough may even have a smudge of anthrax and diphtheria.
In other words, your wallet is a portable petri dish.
INSKEEP: Our tech reporting team has its head in the cloud this week. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in a case concerning over-the-air television being stored in the cloud. A start-up company called Aereo lets customers access broadcast TV shows through computers, smartphones and tablets. Protesters say they're stealing content.
Whether they like it or not, libraries in some cities serve as homeless shelters. People come off the streets to find quiet and warmth. If libraries want to do something about this, they have some choices: They can put homeless visitors back out on the street. San Francisco libraries want to get them back on their feet.
President Obama has called repeatedly on Congress to help states pay for "high-quality preschool" for all. In fact, those two words — "high quality" — appear time and again in the president's prepared remarks. They are also a refrain among early childhood education advocates and researchers. But what do they mean? And what separates the best of the nation's preschool programs from the rest?
This week, our tech reporting team is exploring cloud computing — the big business of providing computing power and data storage that companies need, but which happens out of sight, as if it's "in the cloud."
Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 5:46 am
People who qualified for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act aren't necessarily locked into the plan they chose. And that can be good news for people whose income fluctuates during the year. Here's our response to the latest reader questions on coverage through the health exchanges.
NPR's business news starts with the rising cost of Netflix.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: The online video provider will raise the price of its subscriptions by one or two dollars over the next few months. This only affects new subscribers for now. Current subscribers won't see a rate hike for at least a year.
CEO Reed Hastings says the higher fees will increase the number of TV shows and movies Netflix offers and improve video streaming. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 7:42 am
Bruce Springsteen may have been ahead of his times with his song "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)," released in 1992. These days there are hundreds of channels, and whether you like it or not, you get most of them in your basic cable package. On Tuesday, that economic model is being challenged in the Supreme Court in a high-stakes legal battle between the broadcast television networks and a tiny startup, or at least tiny by broadcast standards.
The issues focus on copyright law, but the outcome could alter the face of broadcasting in the United States.
Two important cases will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court today. One of them involves a high-stakes, high-tech battle that has raised the possibility of major TV networks no longer broadcasting over the air. The other case involves the future of lying in political campaigns. Here's NPR's legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.
INSKEEP: Actually, it's cat cafe. There's been a bit of a cat fight over which city would host the nation's first cat cafe, meaning a place where patrons can cozy up with a latte and also a feline in need of a good home and hopefully adopt that cat.
The Food and Drug Administration is trying to decide whether to approve a powerful new prescription painkiller that's designed to relieve severe pain quickly, and with fewer side effects than other opioids.
While some pain experts say the medicine could provide a valuable alternative for some patients in intense pain, the drug (called Moxduo) is also prompting concern that it could exacerbate the epidemic of abuse of prescription painkillers and overdoses.
From the outside, Jan Cole's recreational marijuana store in Boulder, Colo., just feels welcoming. Big glass windows let in natural light, and the walls are painted in soothing earth tones. Cole used her background in spa management to build a "warm and inviting" pot shop that puts customers at ease.
In fact, the store's name, The Farm, is so inconspicuous, "we have a lot of people who come in think that we might be an organic food grocer or something," she says.
The skirmish continues between Sriracha and Irwindale, Calif. Irwindale's city council declared that owner David Tran must curb his hot sauce factory's smelly fumes or they'll do it themselves. Tran is considering relocating, and he has already received several offers.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. A court case in Silicon Valley has brought some juicy emails to light. The correspondence involved some of the valley's biggest stars including the late Apple founder and CEO, Steve Jobs. Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe are accused in a class action suit of suppressing the wages of their developers and engineers.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. You might have been hearing about the Heart Bleed bug over the past couple weeks. And if you haven't, you might want to check it out. It's important. That is the security flaw the researchers say could have compromised up to half a million websites. So maybe you changed your passwords for your online accounts by now.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. This spring, along with NPR's Morning Edition, we're helping you navigate the higher education money maze with our "Paying for College" series.
We've heard about how college got so expensive and how families and students are taking on massive loans to pay for it. But today, we want to talk more about an effort to make college not just affordable, but free.
INSKEEP: The Beijing Auto Show is underway and among the big announcements is this: General Motors says it will boost its production in China. GM said yesterday it will be able to produce five million cars per year by the end of 2015. It sold just over three million vehicles in China last year.
Argentina and its teetering economy will be affected by case being heard today by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case goes back more than a decade and could have wide implications, not just for Argentina's economy, but also to relations with the U.S.