Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 6:34 am
When you go to the Dead Sea for a float in its extraordinarily buoyant waters, signs warn you not to drink a drop. "Did you swallow water?" one Dead Sea do's and don'ts list asks. "Go immediately to the lifeguard."
Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 1:36 pm
In the flood of stories about Steve Ballmer's time at the helm of Microsoft, a troubling symbol of the company's office culture keeps emerging. It's called "stack ranking," a system that had corrosive effects on Microsoft employees by encouraging workers to play office politics at the expense of focusing on creative, substantive work.
Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 10:57 am
A week without water can easily kill the average person.
But a garden that goes unwatered for months may produce sweeter, more flavorful fruits than anything available in most mainstream supermarkets — even in the scorching heat of a California summer. Commercial growers call it "dry farming," and throughout the state, this unconventional technique seems to be catching on among small producers of tomatoes, apples, grapes, melons and potatoes.
The New York Times' website isn't working for us, and many other users, again this morning. As All Tech Considered reported Tuesday evening, the Times appears to be the victim of another hacking by the Syrian Electronic Army — a pro-Assad organization that has previously taken over the websites of other U.S.
As the Rim Fire rages on, thousands of houses are threatened; over 100 have already burned. One of them was the home and the family ranch that Corinna Loh grew up on. Now she's struggling to keep her bar, the Iron Door Saloon, one of California's oldest, up and running. Good morning to you.
CORINNA LOH: Good morning.
MONTAGNE: It sounds like it's been a harrowing week. Tell us what has actually happened to you.
That was roughly the reaction of Vermonters who read this magazine headline. Quote: "Autumn In Arizona and Why It's Better Here Than It Is In Vermont."
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
You see, leaf-peepers, those are the tourists who head north to look at the colorful foliage, are a huge part of the state's economy. An estimated 3.5 million people visit Vermont during the season, spending some $130 million.
NPR's business news starts with settling suits for big money.
U.S. authorities are pressing JPMorgan Chase to settle lawsuits over bonds backed by subprime mortgages. And the Federal Housing Finance Agency is looking in the range of $6 billion to settle those suits.
JPMorgan Chase is still negotiating with the government. But here's another eye-popping number: The bank has spent about five billion for legal costs in each of the past two years. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Yahoo yesterday announced a redesign of some of its major sites, the latest step in CEO Marissa Mayer's dramatic turnaround of the company. Since she took the helm last year, Yahoo's stock has surged. And a leading industry measure recently showed Yahoo topping Google in the number of website visits - which is something, since Marissa Mayer jumped to Yahoo after years of being a top player at Google.
Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 5:22 pm
In its first "Global Government Requests Report," Facebook has released details on the number of requests it has gotten from government agents for user data.
Facebook reveals that governments around the globe have made 38,000 total requests for user data in the first half of 2013, and the U.S. dwarfs the rest of the world in requests. Up to June 30, the U.S. government asked Facebook for access to accounts of between 20,000 and 21,000 users, the company said.
Facebook has more than 1.1 billion users globally.
Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 10:33 am
It's been a good year for Tesla Motors, the luxury electric car maker, particularly in California, where it's selling more cars than Porsche, Jaguar, Lincoln, or Buick. In 2013, the company has sold 4,714 cars in the state, according to the California New Car Dealers Association.
Things appear to be looing good on the economic front: The stock market is up over the past year, profits have been rising and the U.S. economy has been growing for four years. Yet, wages for many American workers have been stagnant. To find out why, Renee Montagne talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal.
Air conditioning is increasingly becoming a necessity, not a luxury, as the number of Americans living in the Sunbelt grows. In Arizona, many people are struggling to keep up with their utility bills. The federal government does have an energy assistance program, but funding is shrinking, and it favors cold weather states that need heating help.
From member station KJZZ in Phoenix, Jude Joffe-Block reports.
Across the High Plains, many farmers depend on underground stores of water, and they worry about wells going dry. A new scientific study of western Kansas lays out a predicted timeline for those fears to become reality. But it also shows an alternative path for farming in Kansas: The moment of reckoning can be delayed, and the impact softened, if farmers start conserving water now.
Rico Saccoccio is a junior at Fordham University in the Bronx. He's from a middle-class family in Connecticut and he spent the summer living at home with his parents, who cover about $15,000 a year in his college costs.
According to the U.S. government, Saccoccio is living in poverty. The $8,000 he earns doing odd jobs puts him well below the $11,945 poverty threshold for an individual. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that more than half of all college students who are living off campus and not at home are poor.
In May, the Housing and Urban Development agency closed for a day, as employees were placed on furlough. The HUD and other agencies were reportedly forced to take a fraction of the furlough days that had been threatened earlier in 2013.
Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 7:36 am
The threat of furloughs loomed large early in 2013, when mandatory budget cuts seemed certain to force federal workers to skip anywhere from 10 to 22 days of work without pay this year. A new tally by Federal News Radio shows that many agencies have taken fewer than half the days they had predicted.
Cubicle culture can be so confining that it's become a cliche. A line from the cult film classic Office Space sums it up:"I have eight different bosses right now," grouses bleary-eyed tech company employee Peter Gibbons. "So that means when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That's my only real motivation. It's not to be hassled."
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Muriel Siebert, the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, died over the weekend in Manhattan. She was 84. As NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, Siebert was a pioneer who broke down numerous doors in the male-dominated world of Wall Street.
Muriel "Mickie" Siebert bought a seat on the exchange in 1967 and was also the first woman to head one of its member firms. She died Saturday in New York at age 80. The cause was complications of cancer.
Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 4:06 am
The problems were triggered when the Federal Reserve said it would soon ease bond buying. Renee Montagne talks to Amy Kazmin, a correspondent for the Financial Times in New Delhi, about the troubles with India's economy.
We'll begin NPR's business news with collapsing currencies.
Over the past several months, the focus of financial markets has been the Federal Reserve's plan to phase out or taper some of the extraordinary measures it has taken to stimulate the economy.
Just the idea that the Fed might start dialing back on stimulus spending is rippling through financial markets overseas. For instance, investors who once poured money into emerging markets, like Brazil and India, are suddenly much more cautious.
If you've been to a fancy restaurant, you've probably seen a sommelier — those wine experts who make sure you get the best possible match for your meal. But what if you don't want a chardonnay or pinot? What if you want a nice cold beer?
A new program is working to bring this same level of knowledge to the world of malt and hops by turning out batches of certified beer experts known as Cicerones.
Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis Discusses ESPN's Decision On 'All Things Considered'
ESPN President John Skipper released a statement Friday defending the network's journalistic integrity after it pulled out of an investigation of the NFL.
ESPN had been a partner with PBS's Frontline on a forthcoming series about concussions in the National Football League. A trailer for the two-part investigation says Frontline "investigates what the NFL knew and when they knew it" regarding the lasting effects of head injuries.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 5:28 pm
An agreement has been reached to dismiss a sexual harassment and discrimination suit against Food Network personality Paula Deen and her brother.
The Associated Press reports that a document filed in U.S. District Court in Savannah, Ga., said the parties had reached agreement "without any award or fees to any party."
Lisa Jackson — a former employee of Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House, a restaurant owned by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers — charged that she suffered from sexual harassment and racial discrimination.