Business

The Two-Way
11:53 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Safety Agency Opens Probe Into Tesla Fires

Tesla Motors Chairman and CEO Elon Musk (in driver's seat) and chief designer Franz von Holzhausen (in passenger seat) drive the new Tesla Model S all-electric sedan in Hawthorne, California on March 26, 2009.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has opened an investigation into battery fires in two Tesla Motors Model S sedans.

The fires — three reports in six weeks — have sparked concern about the safety of the electric cars. The New York Times reports:

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The Two-Way
11:36 am
Tue November 19, 2013

King Of Thrones: America's Best Restroom Is In Minneapolis

In the Game of Thrones, this is the winner: the fanciful restroom of the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis.
Varsity Theater

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 2:38 pm

It pays to be unique when you're going for the title of best restroom in the land. Design details are crucial, and so is the choice of materials. It also doesn't hurt if you serve drinks in a commodious chamber. Those are the strengths of the Varsity Theater, a concert hall in Minneapolis that has won America's Best Restroom Contest for 2013.

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Parallels
10:55 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Landlines, It Turns Out, Aren't Vanishing Everywhere

A Cambodian gambler talks on 18 cellphones at once at a boxing match in Phnom Penh in 2010. There are nearly 132 cellphones for every 100 Cambodians, but the country has also seen a surge in the number of landlines.
Tang Chhin Sothy AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 5:03 am

On All Things Considered, NPR's Martin Kaste reported Monday on U.S. landline infrastructure. One fact stood out: 96 percent of homes had landlines in 1998, and that number is down to 71 percent today.

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Economy
10:10 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Economic Recovery: Women Bouncing Back Quicker Than Men?

New figures show women have more jobs in the U.S. than ever before - but men are still struggling to pull out of the recession. Host Michel Martin speaks with NPR senior business editor Marilyn Geewax, and Ariane Hegewisch from the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

All Tech Considered
8:09 am
Tue November 19, 2013

March Of The Indies: The Punk Rockers Of Video Games

Independent developer Jonathan Blow's time-warping, mind-bending puzzler Braid turned a hackneyed plot — little guy rescues a princess — into a melancholy meditation on love and loss.
Microsoft AP

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 3:05 pm

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Business
2:23 am
Tue November 19, 2013

JPMorgan, DOJ Expected To Settle Over Mortgage Abuses

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 4:15 am

The Justice Department is said to be announcing on Tuesday a $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase. The deal centers on mortgage securities issued in the run-up to the financial crisis.

Business
2:23 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Anticipated China Announcement Fuels Certain Stocks

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 5:51 am

The Chinese government announced last week that soon families will be permitted to have two children — if one of the parents is an only child. They haven't announced when that policy change will occur. Still, on Asian markets, stock prices of baby formula, diaper and stroller companies all soared on Monday in anticipation.

U.S. Commutes: The Way We Get To Work
1:06 am
Tue November 19, 2013

'You Just Get Used To It': An LA Commuter's Diary

Neville Amaria's commute to work used to take up to 1.5 hours each way. He carpooled with colleagues including Stefanie McNally, Cristina Cooper and Bryan Kim. The gang passed the time by sleeping and snapping photos of unlucky commuters.
Courtesy of Cristina Cooper

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 6:50 am

For two years, Neville Amaria carpooled to his office in Los Angeles. That puts him in the same category as about 10 percent of American workers, who drive or ride to work in a car with two or more passengers.

Even still, Amaria's carpool stood out for its extremes. His mega-commute lasted two to three hours, round trip. And he did it with up to four co-workers squeezed into the car with him — most carpoolers only ride with one other passenger.

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All Tech Considered
1:03 am
Tue November 19, 2013

The Surprising Cultural Stamina Of Pokemon

Participants compete in the 2013 Pokemon World Championships in Vancouver, Canada, on Aug. 10. The Pokemon franchise has become a billion-dollar franchise since it debuted on American shores 15 years ago.
Sergei Bachlakov Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 11:57 am

Fifteen years ago, pocket-sized characters known as Pokemon arrived on American shores from Japan. The cute creatures were suddenly everywhere: television, video games, card games and a movie.

When the Pokemon cartoon theme song first hit American TV airwaves in 1998, "Gotta catch 'em all" became a mantra for kids. But few people imagined that in 2013 the stars of this cartoon would still be going strong.

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All Tech Considered
3:41 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Is It The End Of The Line For The Landline?

A lineman grounds a line on a replacement pole in McNeill, Miss., after 2012 Christmas day storms downed both telephone and electric power lines and poles throughout the state. Upkeep on traditional landlines is expensive, and some are pushing for relaxing requirements that phone companies maintain these lines.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 12:35 pm

America's traditional phone system is not as dependable as it used to be. Just last month, the Federal Communications Commission told phone companies to start collecting stats on calls that fail to complete. According to one estimate, as many as 1 in 5 incoming long-distance calls simply doesn't connect.

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Digital Life
2:44 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Already Outpacing Movies, Gaming Industry Still Looks To Expand

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 4:27 pm

It's a big week for the video game industry; Sony just released the PlayStation 4 and Microsoft will release its new Xbox games console Friday. All Tech Considered is kicking off the week with a look at just how big the industry has become and who plays these days. Robert Siegel talks with industry expert John Davison. He's currently general manager of content and publishing for video game company Red Robot Labs.

All Tech Considered
2:44 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Calling The Shots: Realistic Commentary Heightens Video Games

Recently released sports video games are touting how their high-powered graphics portray players like the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant realistically. The realism extends to audio as well.
2K Games

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 9:16 am

A big selling point for new video game consoles is better graphics — how real something looks. But better computing power also means better sound.

Compare a real live basketball broadcast to video game audio. Can you tell the difference?

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Television
7:34 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Money-Making TV Reruns Are More Important Than Ever Before

Reruns used to mean watching the same network episodes over again, say during the summer. Years later, viewers could catch a favorite show on cable. These days, reruns are tucked in just before prime-time lineups. And now binge viewers can catch them online with services such as Amazon, Hulu and Netflix.

Business
4:09 am
Mon November 18, 2013

More LED Lights Used In Holiday Displays

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. In the movie "Christmas Vacation" Chevy Chase's character attaches thousands of Christmas lights to his roof with a staple gun. When the lights go on, utilities have to boost their power to avoid a blackout. That would not happen today. Stores are selling more LED lights this year, which use less energy.

Business
2:26 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Boeing's 777x Wins Multiple Orders At Dubai Airshow

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 4:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Dubai Air Show kicked off this weekend, a chance with people in the aviation industry to see and be seen, and show off technology and usually to announce a lot of the sales. In the first three hours of the show, more than $150 billion in airplane orders were announced. And the biggest beneficiary was Boeing. The Seattle-based company said it had orders for more than 350 of its new passenger jets. There's still a question of where those aircraft will be built. NPR's Nathan Rott reports.

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Television
2:00 am
Mon November 18, 2013

TV Reruns Are Cash Cows For Multiple Reasons

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 4:09 am

Reruns used to mean watching the same network episodes over again, say during the summer. Years later, viewers could catch a favorite show on cable. These days, reruns are tucked in just before prime-time lineups. And now binge viewers can catch them online with services such as Amazon, Hulu and Netflix.

Business
2:00 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Starbucks Doesn't Have Grounds To Stop Charbucks

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 4:09 am

An appeals court ruled last week that Starbucks can't block a micro roaster's use of the name Charbucks. The court says consumers won't be confused by a "blurring" of the brands.

Economy
2:00 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Examining U.S., European And Japan's Latest Economic Growth

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 4:09 am

Report cards are in for the world's biggest developed economies. The U.S. grew at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the third quarter, Japan at 1.9 percent and the eurozone at a measly 0.4 percent. Steve Inkseep talks to David Wessel, economics editor at The Wall Street Journal, about economic growth in the last quarter.

Business
2:00 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Mexico's Retailers Welcome Shoppers Over Bargain Weekend

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 4:09 am

Throughout Mexico, shoppers filled malls and department stores in hopes of snatching up deep discounts and pre-holiday savings. If that sounds like the Mexican version of Black Friday, it is. Shop owners and economists alike are hoping consumers spend big and give Mexico's sagging economy a much needed end-of-the-year boost.

Business
2:00 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 3:35 am

Steve Inskeep has business news.

The Two-Way
12:03 am
Mon November 18, 2013

2 Killed, 20 Injured In Colorado Mining Accident

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 8:01 am

Two men are dead and 20 have been sent to hospitals following an accident in a Colorado gold and silver mine Sunday.

The Ouray County coroner's preliminary report says the men died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Investigators with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration are still trying to determine exactly what happened inside the Revenue Virginius Mine.

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All Tech Considered
4:41 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

Is The Internet Domain Land Rush A Land Rush At All?

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, ICANN, president and chief executive Rod Beckstrom, speaks on expanding the number of domain name suffixes during a press conference in London in 2012.
Tim Hales AP

Originally published on Sun November 17, 2013 5:07 pm

There's a land rush going on right now. At least that's how everyone seems to be describing the opening up of vast amounts of Internet real estate with so-called top-level domains.

Pretty soon, there's going to be a lot more than .coms out there, and a lot of big companies and a few upstarts are bidding huge amounts to get the new Internet addresses.

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Technology
5:30 am
Sat November 16, 2013

Advertisers Try To Grab Online Eyes

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 9:22 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Don Gonyea. Some news this week got us thinking about how radically our viewing habits are changing. The broadband service company, Sandvine, released a study that shows that Netflix and YouTube now account for more than half of the data we consume on fixed networks, which is to say at home or work. It's just one more bit of evidence that Americans are increasingly turning to online video sources for news and entertainment, rather than TV, which mean advertisers have to do the same.

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The Two-Way
4:10 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

JPMorgan Will Pay $4.5 Billion To Investors Of Toxic Securities

JPMorgan Chase & Co. says it will pay a $4.5 billion settlement to investors over mortgage-backed securities.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 4:15 pm

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay $4.5 billion to settle claims from investors who lost money on mortgage-backed securities that went sour as the U.S. housing market imploded.

The settlement is with 21 institutional investors and is separate from the $13-billion-dollar agreement reached last month with the Department of Justice to settle civil charges related to wrongdoing by some of JPMorgan's units.

In Friday's deal, Reuters says:

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All Tech Considered
2:46 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Cellphones As Radios: Immigrants Dial In To Native Stations

Boubacar Sanogo from Mali drives a cab in New York City and listens to ZenoRadio on his smartphone — though it can also be accessed using a more basic model.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 6:07 pm

A year and half ago, Baruch Herzfeld, an entrepreneur in New York City, had a novel idea: connect immigrants in the U.S. with radio stations in their home country using nothing more than a cheap cellphone.

The result is ZenoRadio.

ZenoRadio employee Atif Enin, who's from Egypt, points to a list of countries, each with a U.S. phone number.

"This is for a local Egyptian station; this is for Lebanese, Moroccan, then Syrian, Yemeni, Algerian, Iraqi and Somali," Enin says.

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The Two-Way
2:25 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

U.S. Tech Firms May Be Feeling Bite From NSA Spying Reports

Recent disclosures about NSA surveillance have affected U.S. relations with allies and tainted America's image around the world. Now the fallout seems to be creeping into the U.S. tech sector.

Cisco Systems, which manufactures network equipment, posted disappointing first-quarter numbers this week and warned that revenues for the current quarter could drop as much as 10 percent from a year ago — partly as a consequence of the NSA revelations.

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All Tech Considered
1:45 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Tech Week That Was: Sharing Economy, The New PS4 And Snapchat

The sharing economy was the feature of our All Tech theme week.
Are You Gonna Eat That Flickr

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 4:27 pm

It's time for your week in review. In case you missed any of the technology and culture coverage on the airwaves and around the Internet this week, here's a look back:

ICYMI

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Parallels
1:30 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Google's India Strategy: One Teardrop At A Time?

A screen grab from Google's ad about two friends separated by history and reunited through the Internet.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 3:21 pm

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All Tech Considered
11:37 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Will New PlayStation, Xbox Click Beyond The Hard-Core Gamer?

The Sony PlayStation 4 sells for $399.
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 6:07 pm

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All Tech Considered
10:34 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Internal Emails Reveal Warnings HealthCare.gov Wasn't Ready

Henry Chao, the project manager of HealthCare.gov, is sworn in to testify before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 2:42 pm

HealthCare.gov could barely function on the day the health insurance marketplace debuted, and internal emails show at least some top health officials could see the failure coming.

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