When it comes to getting ahead in the world, a lack of savings can be a big hurdle, especially for low-income families. Most don't have enough money set aside for emergencies, let alone for college or a house. Some people think the answer is to make savings more fun, like the lottery, with the chance to win big prizes.
It's called prize-linked savings, something that's been available in Great Britain for decades. Now, it's starting to catch on in the United States.
Short selling a stock - betting that it will go down instead of up - is common on Wall Street. But what about placing a bet against a company and then trying to get the government to do things that would drive down the company's share price?
Spring 1958, the poet Edward Estlin Cummings, or E.E. Cummings as most of us know him, was a passenger in writer John Cheever's car. Cummings had just spoken at the school of Cheever's teenage daughter and she was sitting in the back seat. Well, that day kicked off a fascination that led to Susan Cheever's recent biography "E.E. Cummings: A Life." Alan Cheuse reviews the book and shares the origins of his own fascination with Cummings.
Rebecca Weld of Potsdam, N.Y., makes her living as an architect. But during her free time, she's hunched over the kitchen counter, like an alchemist, dripping food coloring drop by drop into icing to achieve the perfect color.
"I use rich colors for that dated, antique feel," Weld says.
Antique? Perhaps. But certainly not old school. Weld's cookie designs are astonishingly intricate — including a scene from an Adirondacks lake that looks like you could dive right into it.
Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 12:19 pm
Our bodies may help us remember our lives, fixing experiences in place. By using virtual reality, scientists can make people feel like they're outside their own bodies. And when they do, the brain struggles to remember what happened.
Every year Bob Boilen, NPR Music's Stephen Thompson and I prepare for South by Southwest by listening to songs from roughly 1,500 artists. And when you go through that many bands you start to see trends in the names. The two most commonly occurring words are always — always — "black" and "DJ." In addition to those two, this year we noticed that "white" appears an awful lot, too, as does the name John. Michael, Paul and Jesse are also pretty popular. Go figure.
Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 11:08 am
Making foods portable has long been a focus of food engineers. Gogurt did it for Yogurt, the McLeash made it easier to drag all your favorite McDonald's foods along with you. And now, by turning the open-faced sandwich closed and upping the viscosity of its Hollandaise, Dunkin' Donuts has brought portability to Eggs Benedict.
Miles: The full name is Eggs Benedict Arnold, because this sandwich is a traitor to everything breakfast should stand for.
Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 12:38 pm
Ukraine appears rather helpless in the face of the Russian intervention in Crimea. But what if Ukraine still had nuclear weapons? The confrontation might look rather different, and perhaps much scarier.
When Ukraine gained independence in the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, it inherited a nuclear arsenal that included some 1,800 warheads, making it the third largest in the world, trailing only Russia and the U.S.