Every weekday on Marketplace, Kai Ryssdal hosts a lively and unexpected exploration of the day’s business and economic news from Wall Street to your wallet.
It’s cold in some places and hot in others and that does funny things to tan lines, foliage and the economy. Plus: Without regulation, the rail industry has resorted to using pricing to impact how oil and natural gas are delivered by train. And: A check-in on the fifth year of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, iPads in schools, and those sleeved NBA jerseys.
President Obama’s aid for Western states hurt by drought shows the limits of what can be done without… rain. His main point, buried in his plan, is to look forward to continued climate change and prepare communities and industries to be “resilient” in the face of new conditions. Plus, the latest digital area of intense competition is messaging apps, which provide wide-ranging communication services that will challenge not only instant messaging, but also companies like Skype. Later, Pandora uses what it knows about our musical taste to lure political advertisers. The promise and the peril. And finally: The debut of the second season of the smash hit House of Cards doesn’t just mark the success of Netflix – it’s also an indicator of the enormous changes wrought in the televisual entertainment business.
Comcast’s merger with Time Warner cable will create the biggest cable company in the nation – if not the world. If it goes through, it would leave few competitors for Comcast in the cable business. Plus, how "seasonally adjusted" works in economic statistics – since this winter season is adjusting a lot of economic behavior in much of the country. Finally, Verizon has responded to the competition by cutting prices, adding more data and international texting with a new "More Everything" plan. As smartphones become ubiquitous – are mobile companies forced to focus less on bringing in new users and more on picking off customers from competitors?
A very significant study is out that sheds considerable doubt on the value of regular mammograms. We look at how this might affect the industry and the machine that has sprung up around the screening test. Next, the subject of Sports Illustrated ’s swimsuit issue is…. Barbie. How did this happen? Who is going to be excited about this publishing event? Finally, legislation in New York would make NY the first state to ban microbeads used as scouring devices in facial creams and toothpastes, catching up to studies showing the beads are entering the aquatic food chain because they’re too small to be filtered out by water treatment systems.
Behold the new Era of Good feelings on Capitol Hill? Well, maybe not quite. The latest on the state of play, as well as an assessment of whether the government has finally managed to get out of its own way and create the certainty that markets, investors and business leaders say they need. Also: The College Board's AP tests have become a highly successful product line -- more students are taking the tests, which don’t come cheap. Finally, New York may be the first state to ban microbeads used as scouring devices in facial creams and toothpastes, catching up to studies showing the beads are entering the aquatic food chain because they’re too small to be filtered out by water treatment systems. Some companies have pledged to switch to natural materials.
The non-profit makes a deal with Getty to stock more pictures of empowered women. We look at how stock photos have taken over the image world, what the move can mean, and what it can’t do (change needs to come from the demand side, and not just the supply side). In other familiar pictures, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is in the news again, having delivered yet another mea culpa related to his fast mouth and poor choice of words. How many passes does the man get before he loses his job? And, in medical news, rather than getting paid based on how many tests they do, but on whether their patients get better and stay better. So healthcare providers are looking for comparatively inexpensive ways to improve outcomes. Enter the “lay community health worker.”