In less than a year, Google has bought more than a half-dozen robotics companies, setting the industry abuzz. But when I ask Google what it's up to with all these robots, the company won't say a thing.
"They are very careful — they haven't disclosed what they are doing," says Richard Mahoney, the director of the robotics program at SRI International, a nonprofit technology accelerator in Menlo Park, Calif. Mahoney also served on the board of Redwood Robotics, one of the companies Google bought.
Already in the news for a recall involving 1.6 million small vehicles with faulty ignition switches, General Motors on Monday added 1.2 million SUVs and nearly 400,000 other vehicles to its list of models with problems that need fixing.
Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 11:53 am
Attorneys general from 28 states are urging drugstores and large retailers to stop selling tobacco products. In letters sent to Kroger, Wal-Mart, and other store chains, the officials ask companies to follow the example of pharmacy chain CVS, which announced last month that it's going to stop selling tobacco products.
Earlier this month, President Obama flew to Miami to take the stage in front of a gymnasium full of high school seniors. He came to Coral Reef High School to address a subject near and dear to his audience: better access to higher education.
And the Chinese Internet giant Alibaba says it plans to launch an initial public offering in the United States. Alibaba is known as the Chinese Google. and the IPO could be one of the biggest offerings in the history of the technology sector.
As NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, buying shares in the company brings some risk.
And it's out with the old and in with the new for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. After 45 years of using the same model for its fleet of blimps, Goodyear is preparing for its new generation of helium filled airships. The tire company holds a test flight this morning in Akron, Ohio with the first of three new airships it plans to build. This first new blimp is longer and faster, it has more room for ads and even a bathroom with a window.
Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 4:32 pm
The math is clear: College pays off.
Among Americans ages 25 to 32, college graduates earned $17,500 more than high school graduates in 2012 — the largest pay differential ever, according to Pew Research. When it comes to earnings, "the picture is consistently bleaker for less-educated workers," the Pew study concluded.
Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 4:41 pm
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has filed a lawsuit against 16 of the world's biggest banks, accusing them of fixing the London interbank offered rate and costing smaller, failed American banks money.
Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 12:20 pm
UBS, which was fined $1.5 billion in 2012 for what regulators said was "routine and widespread" rigging of the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, has been censured for trying to do the same thing with Hong Kong's benchmark rate between 2006 and 2009.
As the slump in newspaper advertising revenue continues, publishers are trying to hold on to one line of stable cash - the legal notice in print. In Connecticut, municipal leaders are pushing for a change in state law that would cut back on those legal notices.
Jeff Cohen from member station WNPR has this report on the pushback from newspapers.
Today, March 14th, 3-14, is Pi Day. In case you didn't know, it's actually a national holiday - certainly an important day for math lovers. In Austin, festivities started early - with skywriting. A company called AirSign tried to write the long famous ratio across 100 miles of sky. It turned out writing Pi in the Sky was a little easier.
NPR's business news starts with BP doing business in the Gulf.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: The petroleum company is once again allowed to seek oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday lifted a ban that kept BP from bidding on new federal contracts. The suspension had been in effect since 2012, when regulators determined that BP had not corrected problems that led to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill two years before.
Scott Clapham peers down into a cavernous dry dock at the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. He points to massive pieces of steel, some covered with a light dusting of snow. When assembled, they will form a 115,000-ton oil tanker.
Late last year, during the holiday season, hackers somewhere in Europe stole 40 million credit and debit card numbers and tens of millions of other pieces of personal information from Target customers in the United States. As reported by Bloomberg Businessweek's Michael Riley, the malware attack wasn't particularly sophisticated or unique, and Target's security systems were extensive and ready for such an attack — and yet Target missed the early security warnings.
Things can take off fast on Twitter. And that's what happened when a couple of writers expressed how much they like riding trains, Amtrak specifically. It started with an idea: Wouldn't it be great if Amtrak would offer writers a chance to ride the rails for free and do some writing along the way? Soon, the idea was being tweeted and retweeted, and Amtrak replied: Sure.
Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 5:50 pm
Flanked by a cadre of salaried workers, President Obama signed a memo directing his labor secretary to rewrite the rules governing overtime in the country.
"Americans have spent too much time working more and making less," Obama said during comments preceding the signing ceremony.
Obama's proposal would rewrite a commonly used exemption in which a salaried worker designated as "executive, administrative and professional" is denied overtime if he or she is making more than $455 a week.