KTEP - El Paso, Texas

David Kestenbaum

Note: This episode originally ran in 2015.

Spreadsheets used to be actual sheets of paper. Sometimes, a bunch of sheets of paper taped together.

Any calculation made on a spreadsheet was done by hand, and these could take days to complete for an accountant or bookkeeper. It was tedious. One little adjustment to these calculations meant a whole day of erasing and filling the same boxes out again.

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Now we have the story of information you get from your doctor as well as information you do not.

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The online furniture company Wayfair is now one of the most shorted stocks. Our Planet Money team talks to its CEO about what it's like to be running a company when some investors are betting on your fall.

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On January 1, 20 states raise their minimum wage and several states have additional increases planned in the coming months. Yesterday, we learned that Walmart will raise its base pay to $9 an hour this April.

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A lot of people buy stocks, hoping they will go up in value. But it is possible to bet in the opposite direction. You can bet against a stock, hoping it will plunge. It's called "shorting" a stock.

Most people don't short stocks, and we wondered why. So we decided to short something ourselves.

We had no idea what to short, or how to do it. So we asked the well-known short seller Andrew Left of Citron Research for advice. He interrupted me before I could finish explaining our plan.

"Don't do it," he said.

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College textbooks are expensive. You probably already know this. A new biology or economics book can cost $300.

And prices have been soaring, doubling over the past decade, growing faster than the price of housing, cars, even health care.

But, surprisingly, the amount students actually spend on textbooks has not been rising. In fact, the best data we could find on this shows students have been spending a bit less over time.

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