Only days after Steve Ballmer said he's retiring, Microsoft moved swiftly to acquire Nokia's mobile phone business. The deal signals that Microsoft is committed to a future that relies on mobile devices at least as much as software. Whether that bet succeeds will depend largely on Stephen Elop, Nokia's CEO, who is returning to Microsoft and is being discussed as Ballmer's potential successor.
It was 20 years ago that Samuel Huntington's essay on what he termed "the clash of civilizations" was first published in the journal Foreign Affairs. The essay predicted the next frontier of global conflict would occur along cultural cleavages — most prominently between the Islamic world and the West. Foreign Affairs editor Gideon Rose and Robert Siegel discuss how perceptions of the essay have changed over time.
San Francisco's Bay Bridge is open again, after being closed over the weekend to allow the last phase of a retrofitting project to finish up. While commuters are celebrating the bridge's return, the project was a lesson in cost overruns and delays.
Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 5:14 pm
President Obama cleared one of the most important hurdles Tuesday in his effort to win support in Congress for taking action against Syria: Both of the top Republican House leaders — Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia — said they would support such a resolution.
Beginning next year, the Boy Scouts of America will allow openly gay youth to join as members. But the policy change doesn't go far enough for Democratic lawmakers in California. They're on the verge of passing a bill that would strip tax breaks for the Boy Scouts and any other group that discriminates against gay, lesbian or transgender members.
Known as the "Carpet Capital of the World," Dalton, Ga., has struggled and lost 17,000 manufacturing jobs over the past decade.
But now, Engineered Floors is investing $450 million in two new manufacturing facilities and a distribution center in the area. The Dalton expansion is part of a resurgence in manufacturing in Georgia and it reflects an optimistic outlook for manufacturing across the Southeast.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 11:25 am
From gross to gourmet. That pretty much sums up civet poop coffee.
The beans are literally harvested from the feces of the tree-dwelling civet cat in Indonesia. The idea is that a trip through the animal's digestive tract partially ferments the beans and imparts a much-sought-after flavor to the coffee.
Allegations that U.S. agents spied on Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto when he was a candidate during last year's campaign have led Mexico to summon U.S. Ambassador Anthony Wayne and demanded "a thorough investigation."
Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 8:40 am
The United Nations' Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says if his inspectors find that chemical weapons were used in Syria, it would represent a "serious violation of international law and an outrageous war crime."
"Our common humanity compels us to ensure that chemical weapons do not become a tool of war or terror in the 21st century," Ban said before departing for a G-20 meeting in Russia. "Any perpetrators must be brought to justice. There should be no impunity."
Would there be a troll under the new Bay Bridge that links San Francisco and Oakland?
That seemingly silly question was being taken pretty seriously by some in California until Monday evening, when the official Twitter page of the San Francisco-Bay Bridge put out the word that, yes, there will be a little fellow under the new span. He'll be there to "protect" travelers.
At some point in the coming weeks, users of Apple iPhones and iPads will wake up to an alert that there is a new version of the company's mobile operating system, known as iOS, for them to install.
If users follow historical patterns, within a few days of the launch of iOS 7, almost all of them will install the updated software and, just like that, more than 500 million phones and tablets will be made new. Never before has a technology industry launch come close to matching the scale and speed of this switch.
Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 4:24 pm
Two alligators, each weighing more than 720 pounds, were caught in Mississippi this past weekend, setting a new state record for heaviest male alligator. Both animals measured more than 13 feet in length; it took hours to get the trophies into the hunters' boats.
The huge reptiles were brought down on the same day, setting a state record that stood for less than two hours before it was broken again.
It didn't take long for people to figure out that Facebook could be a great place to connect with other people dealing with the same health problems. But public health officials have moved cautiously, lest their efforts backfire. Do you really want to "like" STDs?
But there is now evidence the social media approach can help, even when the health condition is sensitive. Facebook can play a role in persuading people at high risk of HIV/AIDS to use a home HIV test kit, a study finds.
Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 2:20 pm
If you eat fish on a regular basis, chances are some of it is coming from Thailand. The Asian country is the world's No. 3 exporter of seafood (after China and Norway), and the U.S. is its top destination.
The Thai fishing industry has grown dramatically, and it is now coming under increased scrutiny. A new report details "deceptive and coercive labor practices, and even forced labor and human trafficking within" the Thai fishing sector.
Update, Sept. 4: We added the audio for David Kestenbaum's radio obituary of Ronald Coase.
If you created the world as a simple economic thought experiment, companies wouldn't exist. Instead, everybody would work for themselves, and they'd be constantly selling their labor (or the fruits of their labor, or use of their tools, or whatever) to the highest bidder. Wages would rise and fall every day (every hour! every second!) depending on supply and demand. That's how the market works, after all.
An endless number of personal finance apps help consumers keep track of their money. Host Michel Martin speaks with Lisa Gerstner of Kiplinger's Personal Finance, about the different options for tracking savings and spending on mobile devices.
Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 12:30 pm
President Obama's call for Congress to give him the go-ahead to strike targets in Syria has put House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on the same side of an important issue for one of the few times in recent years.
Calling Syrian President Bashar Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons "a barbarous act," Boehner emerged from a meeting at the White House to say he supports Obama's request.
Finally, we want to end today's program on an inspiring note. We want to talk about Diana Nyad. The 64-year-old recently became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. That's a distance of 110 miles. This was Nyad's fifth try at completing the swim, and you might remember we spoke with her in July 2010, just before her second try, and she told us what got her thinking about it.
Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 10:51 am
The Space Fence is down. That's the message we get from the SatWatch site, following up on our report last month that the U.S. Air Force was poised to shut down the radar system that tracks thousands of objects orbiting Earth. It had been in operation since 1961.
While President Obama is trying to convince members of Congress that action is needed in Syria, one Washington-based group is already aiding opposition forces. Host Michel Martin talks with Dan Layman of the Syrian Opposition Group about their efforts to fund the Free Syrian Army.
Continuing our conversation about personal finance, we just talked about apps like Mint and how people are using them to keep tabs on their personal finances, but Omar Green and his new software company want to take it even further to help you make good decisions about your money. And let's just say you might not need to call mom quite so often. We'll let him explain. Omar Green is the CEO and cofounder of wallet.AI and he's with us now to tell us more. Welcome, thanks so much for joining us.
The uncertain future of American military action in Syria is causing ripple effects in the world market. Host Michel Martin speaks with economic reporter Sudeep Reddy of The Wall Street Journal, about the relationship between the Syrian conflict and oil.
At 60, New York City-based composer John Zorn is wiser, sure, but no less prolific, thoughtful and antagonistic than before. His oeuvre is fantastically wide, from cutthroat jazz improvisation and pummeling noise-rock to gorgeous chamber music and, believe it or not, a genuine Christmas album.
Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 9:25 am
The White House is working with congressional leaders to shape a resolution that authorizes the type of military action that would send a "clear message" to President Bashar Assad and cripple the Syrian leader's "capability to use chemical weapons not just now but in the future," President Obama said Tuesday.
Sitting with leaders from both major parties, the president also said he is confident lawmakers are "going to be able to come up with something that hits that mark."
By "taking out Bashar Assad's delivery capabilities of chemical weapons" the U.S. can make it much harder for the Syrian leader to wage war against his people and perhaps level the fighting field or turn it in favor of Assad's opponents, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Tuesday on Morning Edition.