Companies that collect and sell information about you are usually pretty secretive about what they have on you. But one of the biggest data brokers is now letting consumers have a peek.
Yesterday, the Acxiom Corp. set up a website where people can look themselves up. It's called AboutTheData.com. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, some of the first people to try it were the data industry's critics.
NPR's business news starts with car sales accelerating.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that buyers picked up new vehicles at a pace not seen since before the recession. According to the paper, Americans bought 1.5 million vehicles last month - about 17 percent up from a year ago. Low interest rates and continued job growth were primary drivers. Automakers have added work shifts and production capacity to keep up with demand. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Chevrolets are lined up in a field near the Lambrecht Chevrolet dealership in Pierce, Neb. Later this month, bidders will attend a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, many with fewer than 10 miles on the odometer.
Credit Nati Harnik / AP
The owner of the dealership wouldn't sell trade-ins or the previous year's model once the new ones came out, keeping most of the old inventory outside. He closed his dealership in 1996 and is just now selling off his collection.
Credit Ryan Robertson / NET News
Auctioneer Yvette VanDerBrink in front of a 1963 Chevrolet Impala and a 1958 Cameo pickup truck at the Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership.
Inside the Lambrecht Chevrolet Company in tiny Pierce, Neb., under layers of dirt, sit a dozen classic cars. A 1978 Chevrolet Indy Pace Car, black with racing stripes down the side. There's a '66 Bel Air sedan in a color called tropic turquoise, and a 1964 impala.
"If you wipe away the dirt, it's shiny underneath," says auctioneer Yvette VanDerBrink. Even though this car is almost 50 years old, VanDerBrink says, it's still brand new.
Later this month Lambrecht's will auction more than 500 classic cars, many with fewer than 10 miles on the odometer.
Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 4:59 pm
The U.S. economy held steady with "modest to moderate" growth between early July and late August, as Americans bought more cars and auto factories ramped up hiring.
The Federal Reserve's so-called Beige Book, comprising reports from 12 geographic districts around the country, showed that manufacturing activity "expanded modestly" and that several districts reported that "demand for inputs related to autos, housing, and infrastructure were strong."
Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 12:44 pm
U.S. competitiveness among global economies suffered after the 2008 global economic crisis. Four years after the crisis, the U.S. slipped in the World Economic Forum's annual competitiveness ranking. This year it's back up a bit: The U.S. rose to fifth position overall from seventh last year, in the forum's latest survey, which was released Wednesday.
One of the surprise movie hits this past weekend was almost entirely in Spanish. Instructions Not Included made an enormous amount of money per screen, more than $22,000, playing in fewer than 350 theaters. The boys in One Direction had the number one film, but they pulled in less than $6000 per screen. That's a huge victory for star Eugenio Derbez, a household name in Mexico, and for Pantelion films, which has been trying to find a Spanish-language hit in the U.S. film market for a few years now.
MONTAGNE: British Airways has announced a new non-stop service five days a week between London and Austin, Texas. The move comes as something of a surprise, considering the airline already serves Dallas and Houston.
The Downtown Container Park will set up budding entrepreneurs in repurposed shipping containers. The park will have 35 containers and a bunch of modular cubes like you'd normally see at a construction site — all to house local businesses.
Let's take a journey in the other direction - across the Pacific to Hawaii, where 15 percent of the energy comes from renewable sources. That's an impressive number. But the rest comes mostly from pricey oil imports. Several energy alternatives are being explored. A top contender is natural gas. But some worry that effort could derail the state's green energy momentum.
The next bed could cost you a lot if the hospital says you're there on observation.
Rosalie Winkworth spent four days in the hospital after a fall. After discharge, she went to a nursing home, but because the hospital considered her on observation status, her family had to pick up the bill.
If you're on Medicare and you're in the hospital for a few days, you may think you're an inpatient. The hospital may have other ideas. Increasingly, hospitals are placing older patients on "observation status." They may be there for days, but technically they're still outpatients.
This is a big deal for someone on Medicare because follow-up treatment in a nursing home isn't covered unless someone has been an inpatient for at least three days. That's leaving some seniors on the hook for thousands of dollars in nursing home bills.
Sergio Garcia speaks at The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) news conference on Aug. 27. Garcia, 36, is a law school graduate who passed California's bar examination, but he's living in the United States illegally. California State Bar officials have not issued him a lawyer's license because of his immigration status.
South Florida-based Spirit Airlines is known for being cheap. It boasts "ultralow" base fares and then charges for items such as carry-on luggage or printing out your boarding pass at the airport.
That thrift carries over to Spirit's advertising. Even compared with other low-cost airlines, Spirit spends almost nothing on ads. And yet the company makes a surprising splash with its campaigns. A visit to Spirit headquarters reveals the secrets of its marketing.
Only days after Steve Ballmer said he's retiring, Microsoft moved swiftly to acquire Nokia's mobile phone business. The deal signals that Microsoft is committed to a future that relies on mobile devices at least as much as software. Whether that bet succeeds will depend largely on Stephen Elop, Nokia's CEO, who is returning to Microsoft and is being discussed as Ballmer's potential successor.
A civet cat eats red coffee cherries at a farm in Bondowoso, Indonesia. Civets are actually more closely related to meerkats and mongooses than to cats.
Credit Ulet Ifansasti / Getty Images
A coffee "bean" is actually the seed of a cherry-sized fruit that grows on the coffee plant. Civets eat the whole fruit. The seed is separated from the pulp in the digestive process.
Credit Paula Bronstein / Getty Images
Capitalizing on the fact that civet coffee can fetch a pretty penny, small producers have started farming it. That is, keeping civets in captivity and feeding them coffee fruits once a day.
Credit Paula Bronstein / Getty Images
Civet feces are collected and cleaned for the beans, which are naturally fermented during digestion.
Credit AFP/Getty Images
At a coffee shop in Indonesia, one cup of Kopi Luwak can go for around $9 U.S.
Credit Adek Berry / AFP/Getty Images
In captivity, civets don't choose what they eat. "It's unripe and it's robusto," says coffee connoisseur Oliver Strand, dismissing it: "That's of zero interest." Robusto coffee, he explains, is indigenous to Africa, and not what the animal would eat in the wild.
Credit Sonny Tumbelaka / AFP/Getty Images
In the wild, the civet "cat" is naturally drawn to the best, ripe fruits on the coffee plant; that's why, effectively, they would produce the best beans, in small batches.
Credit Paula Bronstein / Getty Images
Much ado about nothing? Left: civet poop coffee beans. Right: a cup of java brewed from the stuff.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 11:25 am
From gross to gourmet. That pretty much sums up civet poop coffee.
The beans are literally harvested from the feces of the tree-dwelling civet cat in Indonesia. The idea is that a trip through the animal's digestive tract partially ferments the beans and imparts a much-sought-after flavor to the coffee.
Update, Sept. 4: We added the audio for David Kestenbaum's radio obituary of Ronald Coase.
If you created the world as a simple economic thought experiment, companies wouldn't exist. Instead, everybody would work for themselves, and they'd be constantly selling their labor (or the fruits of their labor, or use of their tools, or whatever) to the highest bidder. Wages would rise and fall every day (every hour! every second!) depending on supply and demand. That's how the market works, after all.
An endless number of personal finance apps help consumers keep track of their money. Host Michel Martin speaks with Lisa Gerstner of Kiplinger's Personal Finance, about the different options for tracking savings and spending on mobile devices.
Continuing our conversation about personal finance, we just talked about apps like Mint and how people are using them to keep tabs on their personal finances, but Omar Green and his new software company want to take it even further to help you make good decisions about your money. And let's just say you might not need to call mom quite so often. We'll let him explain. Omar Green is the CEO and cofounder of wallet.AI and he's with us now to tell us more. Welcome, thanks so much for joining us.
The uncertain future of American military action in Syria is causing ripple effects in the world market. Host Michel Martin speaks with economic reporter Sudeep Reddy of The Wall Street Journal, about the relationship between the Syrian conflict and oil.
Nokia was once the largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world, the most valuable company in Europe and an icon in its home base of Finland. But the rise of Apple and Android smartphones knocked the company on its heels.
NPR News business news starts with Verizon in total control.
At least for the wireless network. Yesterday, we told you Verizon was on the way to approving one of the biggest deals in the history of the telecommunications business. And now we can tell you the deal is sealed. The company will pay $130 billion in cash and stock to the British company Vodafone to acquire Vodafone's share of their joint wireless venture.