A lot of parents start worrying about paying for college education soon after their child is born. After that, there's the stressful process of applying to colleges, and then, for those lucky enough to get admitted into a good college, there's college debt.
Sara Creech has grown dependent on farming. She started out planting an orchard of fruit trees: apples, peaches, cherries and pears. She added berry bushes and rows of vegetables.
And then she bought her first chickens.
"A lot of people call chickens the gateway animal," says Creech, who lives in rural North Salem, Ind. "Like once you have a chicken on the farm, then you end up getting sheep on the farm, and then you end up getting horses, and cows. And then it just explodes from there."
Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 12:40 pm
More than 1.3 million people are incarcerated in state prisons in this country, and keeping those prisons running requires tens of thousands of corrections officers. But right now, some states are facing major staffing shortages.
Much of this shortfall is because of the strong economy, but recruiters also are struggling with the job's cultural stigma.
Cadets at Wyoming's Department of Corrections Training Academy are practicing how they'll handcuff prisoners. In a few weeks this scenario will be very real, but right now everyone is pretty relaxed.
Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 10:19 am
In recent weeks, the price of gasoline has ticked up but regular unleaded still costs about a dollar less than it did a year ago. That's good for consumers, who have more money to spend. But in Houston, one way or another, the paychecks consumers depend on come from the oil business.
The world's three biggest oilfield service firms β Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes β have announced a combined 22,000 layoffs in recent months. Those job cuts are worldwide, but many are falling in Houston, where all three companies have headquarters.
Monopoly can be pretty addictive once you start playing it, right? Well, for author and journalist Mary Pilon, searching for the game's true origins proved just as consuming. She writes:
"In the process of reporting this story, I hacked off over a foot of hair in one anguished swoop, sold off many of my material possessions, was confronted by law enforcement for falling asleep in public places ... found Monopoly money in my linens when doing laundry, fretted about finances, [and] had nightmares about the various aspects of the story. ..."
Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 11:06 pm
Yesterday, Seattle began offering some commuters lower fares for public transit based on their income. Individuals making less than $23,340 a year and families of four making less than $47,700 annually now qualify for a program called ORCA LIFT, which will give users rates of $1.50 per ride, less than half of usual peak fares. [ORCA stands for "One Regional Card For All."]
Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 11:43 am
Board any city bus in Portugal's second-largest municipality, Porto, and you've got free Wi-Fi. More than 600 city buses and taxis have been fitted with wireless routers, creating what's touted as the biggest Wi-Fi-in-motionnetwork in the world.
Tinder, the immensely popular dating app that lets users pick a potential match with just the swipe of a finger, launched a paid version this week in 140 countries. But there's a catch: Your age will determine how much you pay.
Tinder told NPR that U.S. users will pay $9.99 for Tinder Plus if they're under 30, and $19.99 per month if they're 30 or older. U.K. users between the ages of 18 and 27 will be charged 3.99 pounds per month, and users 28 and older will be charged 14.99 pounds per month.
The Nasdaq composite index returned to territory it hasn't seen since the heyday of the dot-com boom, closing above the 5,000 mark Monday. The index hit the mark nearly 15 years to the day since it surpassed the 5,000 mark on March 9, 2000.
We'll note that the index didn't have far to rise from Friday's close of 4,963.53.
When you ask people what impacts health you'll get a lot of different answers: Access to good health care and preventative services, personal behavior, exposure to germs or pollution and stress. But if you dig a little deeper you'll find a clear dividing line, and it boils down to one word: money.
At 2.5 percent, Lincoln, Neb., has one of the lowest jobless figures in the country. But that's nothing new β the city has ranked at or near the top of the nation, with one of the lowest unemployment rates for years, even during the Great Recession.
But on a recent visit, it's clear that Lincoln is not resting on its laurels. It's working hard at keeping and drawing talent to this city of nearly 300,000.
Foodies have long savored the cheeses of the Italian Alps. Dairy farmers still make it by hand, but unless you live in the region or can travel there, you'll have a hard time getting your hands on it. Much of this precious cheese isn't exported.
As you might imagine, this has not been good for business and the Alpine cheese makers have been slowly disappearing. That is until some farmers banded together β with the help of the Internet β and came up with an unusual adoption program called Adopt A Cow.
Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 12:25 pm
In a string of meetings and press releases, the federal government's health watchdogs have delivered a stern message: They are cracking down on insurers, hospitals and doctors offices that don't adequately protect the security and privacy of medical records.
"We've now moved into an area of more assertive enforcement," Leon Rodriguez, then-director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights, warned at a privacy and security forum in December 2012.
Originally published on Sun March 1, 2015 12:54 pm
This week marked National Adjunct Walkout Day, a protest to gain better working conditions for part-time college instructors. Why are college professors from San Jose State University to the City University of New York taking to the streets like fast-food workers?
Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 3:12 pm
The Obama administration is creating new protections for Americans saving and investing for retirement, but industry groups say the new rules could hurt the very people the president says he wants to help.
If you're building a retirement nest egg, big fees are the dangerous predators looking to feast on it. The White House says too many financial advisers get hidden kickbacks or sales incentives to steer responsible Americans toward bad retirement investments with low returns and high fees.
Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to regulate access to the Internet as it would a public utility, under something called Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Critics of the FCC say it's an old, dusty law meant to apply to phone service, not the complexities of the modern Internet. But there are some parallels to the days when Title II was enacted.
Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 7:42 pm
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
The Federal Communications Commission voted today to regulate Internet access more like a public utility, the vote split 3-2 along party lines. As NPR's Joel Rose reports, the vote reflects deep divisions over the future of the Internet.
Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 4:27 pm
The Federal Communications Commission approved the policy known as net neutrality by a 3-2 vote at its Thursday meeting, with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler saying the policy will ensure "that no one β whether government or corporate β should control free open access to the Internet."
The Open Internet Order helps to decide an essential question about how the Internet works, requiring service providers to be a neutral gateway instead of handling different types of Internet traffic in different ways β and at different costs.
"Today is a red-letter day," Wheeler said Thursday.
Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 2:04 pm
Buying health care in America is like shopping blindfolded at Macy's and getting the bill months after you leave the store, Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt likes to say.
But an online tool that went live Wednesday is supposed to help change that, giving patients in most parts of the country a small peek at the prices of medical tests and procedures before they open their wallets.
Got a sore knee? Having a baby? Need a primary-care doctor? Shopping for an MRI scan?