The whole beauty of fantasy sports is that you can manage teams of pro athletes without ever leaving your couch. The process of drafting teams, betting on the success of individual players and trash-talking with your similarly obsessed friends takes place on Web and mobile platforms, and that makes the fantasy sports pastime about more than just bragging rights. It's become a billion-dollar business.
Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 2:46 pm
It's mostly the usual suspects on the latest Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans: Bill Gates tops the list for the 20th consecutive year, with a net worth of $72 billion, followed by investor Warren Buffett and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.
The Koch brothers, Charles and David, tie for fourth place, while Walton family members with an interest in retail behemoth Wal-Mart occupy positions 6 through 9.
Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 3:39 pm
A decade ago, Atkins was undeniably the fad diet of the moment: Back then, nearly 10 percent of Americans said they were either on the low-carb weight-loss plan or had tried it.
But after Dr. Robert Atkins, its namesake and mastermind, died of a head injury in 2003, the brand went downhill fast. Nutritionists berated the plan for promoting saturated fats and cholesterol-rich foods. Sales of Atkins books and food products dropped precipitously. And Atkins Nutritionals filed for bankruptcy in 2005.
Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 2:35 pm
By taking his name out of consideration for the Federal Reserve chairmanship this weekend, Lawrence Summers became a metaphor for the difficulties President Obama has had in pursuing his economic agenda.
And the end of Summers, at least as Ben Bernanke's potential successor, signaled that the president's inability to get traction on his economic agenda is likely to get worse, not better. Now even lawmakers in his own party are willing to break with him on high-profile economic decisions.
Financial markets rallied Monday, a day after Lawrence Summers took himself out of the running to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. Summers had been seen as a front-runner to replace Ben Bernanke, whose term expires in January.
His exit improved the odds for his chief rival for the position — Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen — as well as those of Donald Kohn, the former vice chairman of the Fed board.
South Korean managers are heading back to their factories at a complex located just north of the Demilitarized Zone. They're teaming up with North Korean workers to test-run idle assembly lines. The complex has been closed for five months because of political tensions between the two countries.
A 60-foot section of pipe is lowered into a trench during construction of the Gulf Coast Pipeline in Prague, Okla., in March. The Gulf Coast Pipeline, a 485-mile crude oil line, is part of the Keystone XL project and will run from Cushing, Okla. to Nederland, Texas. Although this southern stretch of the pipeline is nearly finished, the northern stretch is still under study.
Five years ago this week, a Canadian company proposed building a pipeline to send heavy crude oil from Alberta to U.S. refineries. Although the Obama administration's answer on the Keystone XL pipeline is not expected anytime soon, politicians in Washington and Canada are ramping up the pressure for the project, while environmentalists are pushing hard against it.
Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has withdrawn from consideration as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. He cited a potentially divisive nomination hearing. Summers was widely thought to be President Obama's top choice to replace Ben Bernanke next year.
Chili's Grill & Bar is leading the way in digital dining. The restaurant chain is installing table-top computer screens to allow customers to place orders and swipe their credit card, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Carlos Mesquita (left) and Filipe Preto invented Vem aí a Troika (Here Comes the Troika), a satirical card game that pokes fun at Portugal's economic crisis and its creditors.
Credit Lauren Frayer
The dreaded troika card, decorated with a caricature representing the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. In Vem aí a Troika, the game ends when the troika card is played.
In a typical cafe in downtown Lisbon, old men play cards or dominoes over cups of milky coffee or cold glasses of vinho verde and commiserate about the economy.
One of their favorite ways to do this is through a new card game that's all the rage in Lisbon these days. Vem Aí a Troika, or Here Comes the Troika, is a satirical cross between Monopoly and Old Maid, in which players try to stash away savings in offshore accounts, win elections — and avoid the dreaded troika card.
Last week, Apple introduced two new iPhones with new features, including fingerprint recognition on one model, and extra password protections. But the new technology is up against a sophisticated black market that has had years to grow and adapt to meet the world's desire for smartphones.
To call smartphone-related crime an epidemic is not an exaggeration. By one estimate, more than 4,000 phones are stolen every day in the United States.
With the launch of new health insurance exchanges just about two weeks away, many of the questions in this month's mailbag focused less on the big picture and more on exactly how the law will operate for individuals.
We can't answer every question we get. But here is a sampling of questions that were really popular, or that would apply to a lot of people.
Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 9:01 am
Larry Summers has removed his name from the running to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. The former Treasury secretary informed President Obama of his decision in a phone call Sunday. The withdrawal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
The housing bust started in 2006. The recession started in 2007. But it was in September, 2008 – five years ago this month – that the financial crisis hit its most intense moments. Here's a look at how U.S. households have fared since then.
Correction: The headline initially said "four charts." Thanks to the commenter who pointed out that there are, in fact, five charts in this post.
Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 11:46 am
Saying that the goal is to balance its budget in fiscal year 2015, NPR announced late Friday morning that it will soon offer "a voluntary buyout plan across the organization that reduces staffing levels by approximately 10 percent."
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. It is Friday and back in the day this was payday for most people, so we thought this was as good a day as any to talk about wealth, wages and poverty. In a few minutes we will hear about how poverty seems to be affecting the health of white women in a dramatic way.
A Bangladeshi woman holds a photograph of a relative missing in the Rana Plaza building collapse, as she participates in a protest in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Friday. Protesters demanded a minimum monthly salary of $103 and compensation for the victims and injured in the building collapse in April that killed more than 1,000 people.
Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 9:20 am
Families and survivors of the Rana Plaza garment factory disaster in Bangladesh in April who are waiting for compensation from Western companies will have to wait a little longer.
A meeting Thursday of retailers and brands in Geneva, Switzerland, facilitated by the U.N.'s International Labor Organization, ended with only one company announcing measures for the victims: Primark said it would give the families of victims three months' salary.
Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 8:03 am
The tech industry's sometimes sexist "brogrammer" culture came into focus at least twice this week, making it as good a time as any to highlight the running conversation about how to constructively change the systemic, entrenched issues that allow for offensive apps like Titstare, which was presented at a tech industry hackathon.
Twitter announced via Tweet Thursday that it's launching its long awaited initial public offering. It will be the most high profile IPO since Facebook went public last year. But Twitter hopes to avoid the mishaps that's marred Facebook's stock market debut.
Now, the future shape of the economy will be influenced, in part, by negotiations in Congress this month. What could possibly go wrong? If Congress doesn't act by the end of this month, there will be a partial government shutdown and then in October a fight over the debt ceiling looms. Some Republicans want to rerun a tactic they used in 2011, refusing to borrow to pay for commitments Congress previously made unless the White House agrees to Republican budget demands. NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith has the latest.
California is seeing its first increase in the state's minimum wage in six years - a 25 percent increase this time around. Yesterday, the state legislature voted to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016. Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign that bill into law.
Sunday marks the 5th anniversary of the collapse of one of the nation's leading banking institutions Lehman Brothers. The failure of the bank triggered a global financial crisis and led to the deepest recession in decades. Renee Montagne talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal.