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The bananas you find in the average U.S. grocery store are pretty much the same: They're the genetic variety known as Cavendish.

In the market in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, though, you have choices.

The obvious candidates for word of the year are the labels of the year's big stories — new words like "microaggression" or resurgent ones like "refugees." But sometimes a big theme is captured in more subtle ways. So for my word of the year, I offer you the revival of "gig" as the name for a new economic order. It's the last chapter in the life of a little word that has tracked the rise and fall of the great American job.

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At the Detroit Auto Show, a lot to celebrate. 2015 was a record year. Detroit sold more cars and trucks than ever before. Here is someone not celebrating.

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It's the showdown at the Supreme Court Corral on Monday for public employee unions and their opponents.

Union opponents are seeking to reverse a 1977 Supreme Court decision that allows public employee unions to collect so-called "fair share fees."

Twenty-three states authorize collecting these fees from those who don't join the union but benefit from a contract that covers them.

How $220M Changed A Lottery Winner

Jan 10, 2016

NPR's Rachel Martin spoke with Brad Duke a few years ago about his $220 million lottery win in 2005 (you can read and listen to that interview below). We called him back this week because numbers for the biggest Powerball jackpot were drawn Saturday.

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San Diego Stumped On How To Stop The Stink

Jan 10, 2016
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One number has everybody's attention this afternoon. But why stop at one?

Here's the prize jackpot, plus a few other lottery stats worth knowing:

$900,000,000

The eye-popping, record-breaking Powerball jackpot value, as of Saturday afternoon. If no one wins tonight, the jackpot could crack a billion.

That's based on a single winner selecting the annuity option, which pays out over three decades. Alternately ...

When I met up with Palmer Luckey this week at CES, the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, the founder of virtual reality company Oculus VR had some explaining to do. Oculus had just announced the price of its highly anticipated consumer model of the virtual reality headset Rift: $599.

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Episode 675: The Cost Of Crossing

Jan 8, 2016

In the last few years, the face of undocumented immigration to the U.S. has changed and so has the business of human smuggling. Make no mistake, sneaking people across the U.S.-Mexico border is a well established, booming business. Today on the show, we meet a businessman and a client in the evolving industry of human smuggling.

TV is usually a place where the beautiful people shine. But last night, it was time for the uglies to step into the spotlight — ugly fruits and vegetables, that is.

Evan Lutz of Hungry Harvest, an organization that's trying to turn uglies into a business, appeared on ABC's Shark Tank show Friday night. He wanted to sway the show's deep-pocketed gurus to pour their money into Hungry Harvest's model.

The fight over genetically modified food, or GMOs, has long resembled battles on the Western Front in World War I. Pro-GMO and anti-GMO forces have aimed plenty of heavy artillery at each other, but neither well-entrenched side has given much ground.

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There's a game many of you may be playing in your heads right now, fantasy lottery.

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UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Across the country, it's time for America's favorite jackpot game. Get ready everybody. This is Powerball.

After a week of gloomy news about China, the U.S. economy came shining through on Friday, offering a surprisingly bright jobs outlook for 2016.

The U.S. economy is on track for "higher productivity, good job gains — and the supply of potential workers expanding fast enough" to allow companies to grow in 2016, IHS Global Insight said in its analysis. "Optimism is a good way to cap off a solid year and start a new one."

Top law enforcement and intelligence officials were in Silicon Valley on Friday to meet top brass at tech companies. The topic: counterterrorism. The government wants the biggest Internet brands to weed out ISIS recruitment online, and even help run advertising campaigns against ISIS.

The meeting came as the Obama administration announced the creation of a task force of federal agencies to counter violent extremism.

Promising workers lower health insurance premiums for losing weight did nothing to help them take off the pounds, a recent study found. At the end of a year, obese workers had lost less than 1.5 pounds on average, statistically no different than the minute average gain of a tenth of a pound for workers who weren't offered a financial incentive to lose weight.

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A couple of years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack did an online video chat with personal finance writer Helaine Olen. The topic was how regular people get steered into bad investments by financial advisers.

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At the end of every year, U.S. meteorologists look back at what the nation's weather was like, and what they saw in 2015 was weird. The year was hot and beset with all manner of extreme weather events that did a lot of expensive damage.

December, in fact, was a fitting end.

Panic-driven stock selling. Financial turmoil. Commodity price crashes. Layoffs.

Sound familiar?

Those were among the troubles piling up as the economy was tanking in 2008.

And today, many of those same phrases are turning up in headlines: Stock prices are plunging; China is devaluing its currency; prices for oil and other commodities are tumbling; and miners and drillers are losing jobs all over the world.

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The car industry just had it's best year ever. Trucks were clearly the stars, and hybrids took a hit. That's not all bad news for hybrids. Even as the companies are making a boatload on trucks, they're investing tens of billions in new technology. NPR reports on how tomorrow's hybrid is brought to you by today's pickup truck.

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Netflix was also a big thing at the Consumer Electronics Show. Here is CEO Reed Hastings speaking at the show yesterday morning.

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