Business

Health Care
3:07 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Here's What You Need To Know About Obamacare And Your Health Plan

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 4:00 pm

The latest complaints about the health law center around the question of whether you can keep your current health plan if you like it. There actually are rules associated with the law that try to protect that right. Here's a primer on those rules.

Economy
1:27 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Why The Fed Decided Not To Change Course

Citing continued signs of weakness, the Federal Reserve said it will keep aiming for low interest rates.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Look around. Do you see much inflation?

Gas prices are down more than 7 percent from last year. Grocery costs haven't budged lately. And — just in time for Halloween — the price of candy is down 2.3 percent from last year, according to the government's consumer price index released Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
12:56 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

For Now, Fed Will Stand Firm On Bond Buying

The Fed pointed to a somewhat weaker housing market in recent months.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 1:36 pm

The Federal Reserve's message, at least for now, is to take a wait-and-see approach to the economy before tapering off on its bond-buying program.

In a statement issued after Wednesday's meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee said that while it has seen signs of "growing underlying strength in the broader economy" it awaits "more evidence that progress can be sustained."

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All Tech Considered
12:01 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

To Keep Your Attention, Airline Safety Videos Up Their Game

Virgin America released a song-and-dance themed safety video this week.
Courtesy of Virgin America

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 1:03 pm

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Planet Money
11:44 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Confused About Health Insurance? Take Our Quiz!

Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 8:29 am

Any day now — assuming the government manages to fix HealthCare.gov — millions of people will start shopping for health insurance.

Will those shoppers know what they're doing? More to the point, if you're one of those shoppers, will you know what you're doing?

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The Two-Way
11:39 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Report: NSA Has Broken Into Google And Yahoo Data Centers

"The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world," The Washington Post reported at midday Wednesday.

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Around the Nation
6:45 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Hotel Construction Booms Across U.S.

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 3:24 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And as the economy has improved, more people are traveling for business and pleasure, causing a jump in hotel bookings nationwide.

And as Colorado Public Radio's Ben Markus reports, lower vacancy rates mean higher room prices and a push for developers to build more hotels.

BEN MARKUS, BYLINE: Business is good these days for commercial real estate agent David Gleason. And that means he's traveling for work again.

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The Salt
3:32 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Community Supported Canning Gets Locavores Through Winter

For $300, a share from Cheryl Wixon's Kitchen will get you 54 jars of pasta and pizza sauces, cranberry ketchups and fruit jams and butters delivered between November and April.
Courtesy of Andrea Hand

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 8:03 am

Community supported agriculture shares are moving out of the crisper and into the pantry.

That's the hope, anyway, of a growing number of farmers and small processors who are marketing local goods under the CSA model.

In traditional a CSA, a farmer sells shares of their fruit and vegetable crop ahead of the growing season to generate cash flow for the year. The farmer then provides boxes of seasonal produce on a regular basis to shareholders during the harvest.

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Parallels
12:25 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

3 Charts (And A Few Words) On The Rise Of Electric Bikes

Electric bikes made by French company Moustache are displayed during the Cycle Show 2013 in Paris last month.
Charles Platiau Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 2:49 pm

We told you last week about how bicycles are outselling new cars in almost every European country.

When we delved a little deeper into the numbers, we found that while bicycle sales remained steady in a six-year period that began in 2006 (the top chart), sales of electric bikes exploded (the second chart).

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The Salt
11:35 am
Tue October 29, 2013

A Japanese iPhone Gadget Teases The Tummy With Food Smells

Simply plug the Scentee device into your iPhone jack and let the scent of grilled meat waft your way.
YouTube

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 1:35 pm

Have you ever wished that your iPhone could bring you the smell of coffee, curry or steak?

No? Well, there's a gadget for that.

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The Salt
9:42 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Startups Try To Reroute Food Waste To The Hungry

Roger Gordon (left) is offered a box of bananas from a worker who was throwing away the lightly speckled fruit at Mexican Fruits in Washington, D.C. Gordon's startup, Food Cowboy, works with truckers to divert edible produce from landfills to food charities.
Serri Graslie/NPR

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 1:19 pm

In an alley in Northeast Washington, D.C., hundreds of pounds of produce are piled haphazardly on pallets. Mexican Fruits, a discount grocer, can't sell the fruit and vegetables inside these boxes because the food has gone soft or is lightly bruised. Some will be donated, but most boxes are destined for a large, green Dumpster nearby.

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Planet Money
9:41 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Top Reviewers On Amazon Get Tons Of Free Stuff

What's this?
Amazon

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 1:41 pm

You're on Amazon.com. You're buying, say, a toaster, and you're checking out the customer reviews. You assume the people writing these reviews are people like you — people who wanted a toaster, went online and bought one. As it turns out, a lot of reviews on Amazon are written by people who are nothing like you. They're written by elite reviewers who are sent free merchandise to review products. In other words, it's possible that the guy reviewing that toaster you're looking at wasn't in the market for a toaster to begin with and didn't pay a cent for it.

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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Consumer Confidence Fell Sharply This Month; Shutdown Blamed

A "For Sale" sign outside a home in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago on Monday.
Scott Olson Getty Images

The 16-day partial shutdown of the federal government and the wrangling in Washington over the nation's finances combined to shake consumers' confidence sharply in October, the private Conference Board reported Tuesday morning.

Its widely watched consumer confidence index dropped to 71.2 from 80.2 in September.

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It's All Politics
6:45 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Tuesday Political Mix: Obamacare Official In The Batter's Box

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, (who we're sure was not intentionally making the "choke" sign) and Marilyn Tavenner, head of the HHS agency that oversaw the Obamacare website project.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 7:39 am

Good Tuesday morning, fellow political junkies.

As you go through your day, keep this in mind: at least you're not Marilyn Tavenner. When critics of the Obama administration's botched launch of the Affordable Care Act call for heads to metaphorically roll, Tavenner, the top official of the Health and Human Services agency that oversaw the ill-fated website project, is high on that list.

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Business
3:59 am
Tue October 29, 2013

New Fries Help Burger King To A Whopper Of An Earnings Boost

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 5:49 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with lots of hamburgers.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

All Tech Considered
12:56 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Who Has The Right To Know Where Your Phone Has Been?

Cell towers are constantly tracking the location of mobile phones. And that data, federal courts have ruled, is not constitutionally protected.
Steve Greer iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 5:49 am

You probably know, or should know, that your cellphone is tracking your location everywhere you go. But whether law enforcement officials should have access to that data is at the center of a constitutional debate.

Matt Blaze, a professor of computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania, says location tracking is key to how the cell system operates.

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All Tech Considered
12:55 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Etsy's New Policy Means Some Items Are 'Handmade In Spirit'

Rae Padulo creates handmade ceramics, like these holiday ornaments, for her Etsy-based company, mudstar ceramics. She's disappointed with the site's new policy to allow outsourced manufacturing. "There's nothing wrong with factory-made," she says, but "that's not what Etsy started out to be."
Courtesy of Rae Padulo

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 5:49 am

Under online marketplace Etsy's new policies, vendors can now use an outside manufacturer to help make their goods.

That is not going down well with some longtime sellers, who are calling the new policies a turnaround from the site's original mission.

"Their moniker is, you know, a place to buy handmade. It doesn't say a place to buy factory-made," says Rae Padulo, a potter who began selling dishes and ornaments on Etsy in 2009.

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All Tech Considered
12:54 am
Tue October 29, 2013

How Video Games Are Getting Inside Your Head — And Wallet

Austin Newman, 10, of Menlo Park, Calif., is not allowed to play video games during the school week. His mother, Michelle DeWolf, says she had to take that step to keep her son focused on his homework during the week.
Michelle DeWolf

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 10:21 am

This week on All Tech, we're exploring kids and technology with posts and radio pieces about raising digital natives. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments, by email or tweet.

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U.S.
12:53 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Fuel Supply System Fixes Pick Up Gas After Superstorm Sandy

Apologetic signs posted at a gas station that ran out of gas on Nov. 1, 2012, in the Queens borough of New York.
Jason DeCrow AP

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 5:49 am

One of the effects of Superstorm Sandy a year ago could be seen at service stations throughout New York City and surrounding areas: Motorists joined long lines outside the few stations that had both electricity and gasoline.

"People were fighting over here. People were fighting over there. People were coming through the wrong way. It was chaos," Jessica Laura said at the time. "Then the cops came, and they just started organizing it."

Since then, the oil industry and policymakers have been working to shore up the region's fuel supply system.

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The Two-Way
5:03 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Theme Park Called 'Insensitive' For 'Miner's Revenge' Attraction

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 6:52 pm

Update at 8:45 p.m. ET:

Kings Dominion spokesman Gene Petriello says the theme park is dropping the Miner's Revenge maze from its Halloween lineup in the future.

"At the completion of each season, all Halloween attractions are reviewed to allow for new themes," Petriello says. "As part of its regular rotation, Kings Dominion does not intend to operate the Miner's Revenge Halloween attraction next year."

Petriello would not comment further.

Our original story continues:

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Europe
3:56 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

'News Of The World' Phone Hacking Trial Gets Started In London

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 10:15 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In England today, one of the highest profile criminal trials the country has seen in years got underway. Eight people are on trial, most notably Rebecca Brooks, a former top executive for Rupert Murdoch's UK newspaper empire, and Andy Coulson, former News of the World editor. Coulson also served for a while as Prime Minister David Cameron's communications chief.

The case grew out of a scandal over allegations that staff at the News of the World hacked into thousands of voicemails, including celebrities, politicians and crime victims.

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Business
2:06 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Trains Gain Steam In Race To Transport Crude Oil In The U.S.

A Norfolk Southern train pulls oil tank units on its way to the PBF Energy refinery in Delaware City, Del. As U.S. oil production outpaces its pipeline capacity, more and more companies are looking to the railways to transport crude oil.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 4:00 pm

On a quiet fall morning in the Delaware countryside, a lone sustained whistle pierces the air. Within moments, a train sweeps around a broad curve, its two heavy locomotives hauling dozens of white, cylindrical rail cars, loaded with 70,000 barrels of crude oil.

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The Salt
1:50 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Goodbye Paper Menus? Restaurants Test The Water For Tablets

A restaurant customer tries out the Aptito app on a digital menu.
Courtesy of Aptito

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 9:52 am

When you sit down at Chef José Andrés' tapas restaurant, Jaleo, in Washington, D.C., and ask to see the beverage options, as I did recently, you're in for a surprise. Instead of a traditional leather-bound menu, I was handed an iPad.

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The Two-Way
9:31 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Deficit Hawks 'Have No Monopoly On Morality,' Summers Says

Clinton-era Treasury secretary and former Obama economic adviser Lawrence Summers last week in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images
  • Lawrence Summers on deficit reduction, investment and morality

Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and others from the GOP have spoken with NPR in recent years about why they believe the federal debt is the nation's "No. 1" problem.

And in Ryan's view, as he told us in 2011, lawmakers have "a moral obligation ... to put up solutions to fix this problem."

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The Salt
8:06 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Buffett Family Puts Money Where Their Mouth Is: Food Security

Warren Buffett (left), Howard G. Buffett (center) and grandson Howard W. Buffett collaborated on a book about the challenges of feeding more than 2 billion more mouths by 2050.
Scott Eells/Bloomberg Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 12:06 pm

Oh, what a job. You've got $3 billion to address society's most intractable problems. So what do you do?

If you're philanthropist Howard G. Buffett, son of famed investor Warren Buffett, you set a deadline: 40 years.

And you move at "fast-forward" speed (that's the way Warren describes his son's pace) to steer the most vulnerable people on Earth towards a future where food production is efficient, plentiful and affordable.

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It's All Politics
6:05 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Monday Morning Political Mix: Obamacare Site Hits Another Snag

President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr in Russia in September in happier times before revelations that the NSA electronically eavesdropped on U.S. allies.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 8:54 am

Good morning, fellow political junkies.

It's the last week of October. That means the administration has just a month to meet its self-imposed deadline to have the Affordable Care Act website running as efficiently as it and millions of Americans had originally envisioned.

But the first item in our Monday political mix of some of the more interesting tidbits that caught my eye this morning indicates why setting such a deadline might be easier than meeting it.

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Business
3:59 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Halloween Is For The Dogs

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 6:00 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business a canine costume. Forget about what you or your kids may be wearing for Halloween. The big question is how to dress up your pets.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Business
1:42 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Moving In With Manufacturers, Amazon Delivers A New Approach

Faster delivery is the new frontier of Internet competition.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 9:58 am

Amazon's business is built on three basic concepts: faster delivery, greater selection, and cheaper prices.

In service of that, it has built enormous warehouses staffed largely by robots that shuttle around, pulling goods out of bins at remarkable speed. It can take just a matter of minutes to go from order to shipment.

And lately it's pursuing a program where Amazon goes directly into manufacturers and manages their logistics and online retailing.

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Arts & Life
3:07 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

One Way For An Indie Bookstore To Last? Put Women 'First'

Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 3:59 pm

As recently as 25 years ago, there were more than 100 self-described feminist bookstores in the U.S. — stores focusing on books written by and for women. Like most independent bookstores, though, their numbers have dropped dramatically over the years.

Chicago's Women and Children First is among the few feminist stores still standing, and one of the largest. The store opened 34 years ago in 1979. Now, after a long, successful run, the store's owners say they're ready to retire — and they're looking for a buyer to continue the store's mission.

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Digital Life
3:19 pm
Sat October 26, 2013

Where HealthCare.gov Fell Short Of Other E-Commerce Sites

The federal government's beleaguered health care exchange site, HealthCare.gov, shares little in common with the e-commerce sites consumers use every day. On most e-commerce sites, prices are simple to find. Not so on HealthCare.gov. That may be one of the reasons relatively few visitors to the site have actually enrolled. (This story originally aired on Morning Edition on Oct. 22, 2013.)

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