Did you know Ke$ha's song "Tik Tok" demonstrates a linguistic oddity? And we're not talking about her spelling. "Reduplicated" words contain repeated syllables, but with different vowel sounds. Puzzle guru Art Chung leads contestants in a game full of reduplicated word pairs, so quit your "chit-chat" and listen in!
The host of Radiolab never set out to create a wildly successful public radio show that tackles hard questions about life and the universe. But that's just one of the many happy accidents explored in this segment of Ask Me Another. Abumrad reveals how he broke into radio, ruminates on the overall story Radiolab tries to tell, and plays a game about unintentional scientific discoveries.
All eyes are on the players in this final round, led by puzzle guru Art Chung. Play along, and try to guess the words, phrases or proper nouns in which "i" is the only vowel. "I, I," Captain!
TV shows are sometimes based on popular films, and while some are successful (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) others...not so much (Spaceballs: The Animated Series). Host Ophira Eisenberg has a few of her own ideas in this game, where players must "adapt" movie titles into shorter series versions by removing a letter to form a new, more succinct title.
Guest troubadours Paul and Storm have emerged from their lab to share their latest experiment. To pay tribute to Thomas Dolby's 1982 New Wave classic "She Blinded Me With Science," the duo has reworked the lyrics to describe different scientific principles and discoveries. So put on your safety goggles and play along!
A long time ago, many people's surnames indicated their occupations. If your name was "Mason," you worked with stone, if your name was "Coleman," you worked with coal, and if your name was "Sanders," you ran a medieval chicken empire. Guest musicians Paul and Storm hint contestants to an occupational surname and a celebrity who bears it.
A Maryland man who recently died had received a kidney transplant. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it has determined that the donor had rabies and that the disease was transmitted to the Maryland man. Three other organ recipients are now receiving anti-rabies shots.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is the fifth richest man in the world. And he hasn’t been shy about spending his fortune, estimated by Forbes to be $43 billion.
He’s bought a yacht that's five stories high, his own Hawaiian island, and a tennis tournament that’s going on right now in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs.
At first, the tennis world saw Ellison and his bank account as a boon.
The Indian Wells, Calif., tournament was on the verge of moving to Doha or Shanghai four years ago when Ellison bought the event and the 54-acre facility where it's played. Ellison was hailed as a savior, a hero...even Santa Claus with a tennis racquet.
Since then, the BNP Paribas Open has become so popular it’s now known as the “Fifth Grand Slam,” and attracts close to 400,000 fans to the desert. Players like Rafael Nadal lavish praise on the tournament -- and Ellison.
“It means a lot for me, and especially for tennis, to have somebody like Larry who is supporting our sport,” Nadal said this week. “The players can say thank you for all his support.”
Ellison’s support has been more than just shouts of encouragement from his courtside seat. He wanted to give players a raise, a $1.6 million bump in prize money.
The Women’s Tennis Association quickly approved the increase. But the men’s tour -- the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) -- didn’t. The board, made up of half players and half owners, deadlocked.
Players, like Britain’s Andy Murray, were stunned that an organization that's supposed to represent them would allow money to be left on the table.
“Obviously everyone was disappointed with the decision," Murray said. “My opinion is that if a tournament wants to increase its prize money, it should be allowed to. I don't see why we should be blocking that.”
After months of delay, the head of the ATP cast the tie-breaking vote, approving the prize increase before the start of the two-week tournament. That was despite opposition from other owners who look at Ellison’s seemingly unlimited bank account with a mix of envy and fear.
“No one can stop Larry Ellison,” said Neil Harman, who writes about tennis for The Times of London. “It makes people very nervous. In these times of austerity, there isn’t the money there, so they’re saying, ‘We’re going to be in trouble if we’re trying to live up to what Indian Wells is doing. We can’t afford it.'’’
But the CEO of Indian Wells’ tournament, Raymond Moore, says other events are just being stingy.
His event just announced a $70 million expansion that includes building a second stadium, with a Nobu sushi restaurant courtside.
“I can name eight other tournaments off the top off my head who have the financial ability to increase the prize money if they wanted to,” said Moore. “They just choose not to.”
Moore says he doesn’t have a blank check from Ellison.
“He didn’t get to be the fifth-richest man in the world by just throwing money out the window, said Moore. “These are calculated business decisions.”
Moore says the decision to increase prize money was made as a defensive measure.
There had been rumblings from players about wanting to shorten Indian Wells so they could play more tournaments, and pick up more paychecks.
“We’ve changed that conversation, said Moore. “The conversation is no longer about Indian Wells reducing the number of days. It’s ‘Why aren’t all the other tournaments like Indian Wells?’”
Exactly the conversation other tournaments feared.
Both the men’s and women’s winner of this weekend’s final will take home a million dollars. Ellison is considering making next year’s purse even bigger.
A British rail company says its archaeologists have discovered 13 skeletons they suspect died in the bubonic plague outbreak that killed millions of people, starting in 1347.
America runs on credit. We take out loans to buy expensive items like cars or houses. We borrow for little stuff using credit cards. And our credit history determines our ability to simply rent an apartment.
We often take credit for granted. You know who doesn’t? Immigrants. Especially undocumented immigrants living in the shadows. Without access to credit, undocumented immigrants are forced to get creative, even entrepreneurial.
In Alhambra, Calif., just east of Los Angeles, Mario Escobar, 35, juggles multiple jobs. With his two young daughters in tow, he comes to the post office every other day to mail books.
“This one is going to Lowell, Md. And this one is going to Milwaukee,” Escobar tells the postal clerk, handing him two packages.
Escobar runs a small business publishing other people’s books. Today he’s sending off copies of his own novel.
“It’s about the civil war in El Salvador. And the experience of migrating and carrying the personal traumas and how do you deal with it,” says Escobar.
Before he’s left the post office, Escobar gets a phone message related to his other job -- translating. He has two weeks to translate the work of an associate who has a potential book deal with Random House.
Escobar’s dexterity can be traced back to his experience as a student at UCLA.
“When I was an undergrad, I didn’t qualify for loans,” he says.
This was back before he was approved for political asylum, when he was still an undocumented immigrant.
“My grandpa used to say, ‘When people are hungry, they get creative,’” Escobar says.
Escobar was a starving student, but due to his undocumented immigration status, no bank would give him a loan. That forced him to get very creative.
“It went from being a janitor to cutting grass to tutoring,” Escobar says. “I was writing papers for people. People will say, ‘Wait a minute. Did you do that?’ Well, you know what? Unfortunately, we also had our own corner of Home Depot in academia. People didn’t want to write their papers. I needed money.”
Learn from immigrants... and test your knowlege There's a lot Americans can learn from immigrants to the U.S. That includes good personal finance behavior. Plus, test your knowledge about immigration with our quiz.
His experiences mirror those of other immigrants, like 25-year-old Jose Luis Zelaya.
“It’s been a very difficult journey,” says Zelaya. “Being homeless in Honduras and not being able to survive in my home country. Seeing my brother pass away because we didn’t have money to take him to the hospital.”
Living on the streets of Honduras, Zelaya saw an old woman doing crochet. He asked her to teach him. But she refused, telling him that it’s "woman’s work." Undeterred, he taught himself to crochet.
Zelaya kept at it even after he moved to Houston when he was 14.
“I had a crazy idea that I wanted to go to college, but I was faced with the obstacle of not being able to work, and being too afraid to work with fake documentation," says Zelaya. "I have never had a loan from a bank. I was not able to apply due to my immigration status. So I relied on crocheting and I started making a lot of beanies and scarves and headbands."
Zelaya sold his crochet beanies at flea markets.
Now he’s a grad student at Texas A&M.
And even though he’s been given a legal work permit through the Deferred Action program, he still sells his crochet online.
“It made life a bit more difficult, not being able to pay for school through loans. Or not being able to apply for a credit card," says Zelaya. "Through crocheting, I have been able to pay for my books. It has also paid for my rent. It has paid for my food. But it has also paid for my sister’s tuition, and all of her books.”
In Los Angeles, Miguel Carvente paid for his education at UCLA by holding raffles and throwing parties with a cover charge.
At the time, he was jealous of friends who got student loans. But now they owe as much as $60,000.
“Now I find myself in the very privileged position of having very close to a Master’s degree and have zero debt,” says Carvente.
Others get around the lack of formal credit by participating in savings clubs. In Mexico, it’s known as a "tanda." In El Salvador, it’s called a "cundina." Either way, it’s the same idea. A group of people agree to contribute a certain amount of money to the collective pool every month. And over the course of a year, they take turns taking home that pool of cash.
Mario Escobar remembers his uncle buying a new pick-up truck for his gardening business. His uncle paid $8,000.
Escobar asked if he paid with credit. His uncle replied, “No, no, no. I paid in full. Now I only need to repay my friends in the ‘cundina.’”
Sometimes, undocumented immigrants get around restrictions on credit through, shall we say, "creative financing."
University of Southern California sociology professor Jody Agius Vallejo studies the Mexican-American middle class.
“They often times take out loans in their own names on behalf of their relatives, so that their relatives -- their parents, for example -- can purchase a car. So their parents can have money to fund their businesses,” says Vallejo.
But it carries big risks for the person borrowing on behalf of an undocumented relative.
“If that person fails to make that payment, or fails to pay you that car payment or the rent, then that is in your name and your credit rating can go down,” says Vallejo. “Your credit is ruined. You may not be able to buy another car. You may not be able to obtain any type of credit at all.”
Some who have survived without credit find it less attractive once it’s finally available.
“I simply want to take it back to the old-school. You have what you earn. And that’s it,” says Escobar.
He doesn’t believe in credit. Or handouts. He even says he’s proud to pay taxes.
“I personally do not believe in the welfare system,” says Escobar.
Welfare for him is similar to credit; he says they both drain a person of creativity. Escobar sees the need to pay the rent as a chance to kick-start inspiration.
The economic expansion of the so-called "Global South" is being driven by new trade and technology partnerships, according to a United Nations report. The UN predicts that over the next two decades, economic and political power will shift away from Europe and North America.
The new pope says Benedict's prayers fuel the church and calls on the prelates to find new ways to evangelize "to the ends of the Earth."
President Obama wants cars and trucks that don’t need oil to run. Today he proposed a fund to help make that happen, a fund with a $2 billion price tag. Which sounds like a lot, at least until you put it in context.
For one, it’s spread out over the next decade, so we’re talking about $200 million each year. And, the pool it’d be pulled from, the royalty revenue from offshore oil and gas drilling, was more than $5 billion last year. So, less than 4 percent.
The White House estimates those revenues will increase over the next several years. Which, Andy Radford, from the American Petroleum Institute, believes is likely. For one, he says, you’ve got rising prices. And, says Radford, “we’ve had some major discoveries in offshore that have been coming on line.” The more oil and gas that gets pumped, and the more it costs, the more the government takes in through the royalty program.
But why spend that extra cash on creating cleaner cars and trucks? Everyone in D.C. is talking about deficit reduction. Why not use it for that?
William Galston from the Brookings Institution says developing alternatives to oil is a public good, and “economists agree that there are certain kinds of what they call public goods that the market left to its own devices won’t supply enough of.”
And now the latest news from Espoo, Finland. Rovio, the company that makes Angry Birds, this weekend is launching a cartoon series based on its wildly popular app. Called "Angry Birds Toons," it's the latest addition to the burgeoning and profitable franchise.
The birds in Angry Birds should be happy. The game has gone from a 99-cent app on your phone to its own three-minute cartoons. The game, with many others, launched about 4 years ago when iPhones were just gaining popularity. But Evan Narcisse, a writer for Kotaku, a video game blog, says none of them have achieved the success of Angry Birds.
“There were other video games that launched alongside it, but I can’t name any of them,” he says.
Angry Bird’s success has created a store’s worth of merchandise deals. In a nod to popular culture, Narcisse says the game has become so popular, the Angry Birds T-Shirt is the new Bart Simpson T-Shirt. But remember Bart got his start on TV. As Angry Birds demonstrates, the digital age can produce mass-market sensations on the little mobile screen first.
And, says Mark Robichaux, editor in chief of Multichannel News, Angry Birds Toons is following a new migratory path to TV.
“In a traditional circumstance, Angry Birds might be a show on the Cartoon Network,” he says.
Instead, in the U.S., Angry Birds will initially bypass the TV networks. Players can download the cartoons on their phones, allowing the company to keep advertising profits which would otherwise get funneled to a TV channel.
The cartoons feature the same characters as the game -- birds which are angry at pigs that steal their eggs. There’s violence, but more like a scene from the Smurfs than Call of Duty.
“I’ve seen a teaser for the cartoon, this is not highbrow entertainment,” Robichaux says.
Tim Calkins, who teaches marketing at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, says the lack of the scary content is a big reason the brand is so successful.
“They’re not just reaching gamers, they’re just huge numbers of people,” he says.
Rovio is a private company, so it's value isn't publicly known. But the CEO dropped some details last year that it made a profit of $67.6 million on sales of more than $100 million in 2011. Analysts estimate the company is worth several billion dollars.
It's a fairly safe bet that if you're hungry for a particular dish from your home country, you'll be able to find it in the cultural fondue pot that is the United States. But does that mean immigrants never get homesick for a particular morsel or ingredient? I hit the streets of downtown Los Angeles to ask some foreign-born folks about what they miss most from their native cuisine.
What lengths would you go to get your favorite food? How much would you spend for a taste of home? Leave a comment for us below and let us know about the dish you miss most.
Senate investigators are holding a hearing today on JPMorgan’s estimated $6.3 billion losses connected to a London trader known as the 'Whale.' New evidence from internal emails and phone calls suggests the blame may lie with even bigger fish in company.
You're forgiven if you think all the President does is deal with the budget, since squabbling between the White House and Congress has been much in the news lately. But the presidency is more than that. One other big issue facing the administration is energy. On Friday afternoon, President Obama will address that at an event at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.
Later today, 33,000 aspiring doctors will find out where they’ll be doing their residencies for the next three to seven years. In medical circles, they call it "Match Day." In the last few years, doctors and hospitals have begun adapting the on-the-job training residents receive, so they can better succeed in today’s tumultuous health care world. But the past is never far from view.
Prices rose overall by 0.7 percent. The major factor: a 9.1 percent surge in gasoline. Since February, though, gas prices have retreated. So economists do not think the latest report changes the inflation picture.
Deborah Gilmore is a realtor with Harry Norman Realtors. She's been selling homes in the Atlanta area for more than two decades. Gilmore says people should move to Atlanta because of its fabulous weather, diversity and the wide variety of housing -- everything from a condo to a castle. She says Atlanta's housing market is recovering.
"We do have a heartbeat now. We had flat line for quite a while, but we are beating. That's good news," says Gilmore. "Certain areas of Atlanta, where high-end is predominant, there are people buying."
Gilmore says a three bedroom, two bath home in Atlanta can be found for around $150,000-200,000. While the same type of home in other parts of the county -- depending on whether it's in foreclosure or on short sale -- can cost around $90,000-150,000. In one of her recent sales, Gilmore says she sold a house to a new couple who were thrilled with their new home.
"They got so excited about the house, we got close to closing. And the buyer called and said that he wanted to go and cut the grass. I said that's so very nice. I said we have one problem. He said, 'What?' I said you don't own the house. It's not your house yet. You haven't bought it, so you can't just show up on the property and start cutting the grass and trimming the bushes. That's just one example. Excitement of people that when they want to buy and they have a good experience with the process and they can't wait to get the property, that's what I like," she says. "[If] they have cartwheels from the front door, you know they love the house."
But how are the bankers down South? Are they as hospitable as the people and likely to throw loans at potential buyers?
"Nobody's throwing loans, I'm sorry. You have to check with a lender bank first to see if you're credit worthy. People love to look at the pretty stuff -- the house and dream about where they want to live, but the restrictions are much different now than they were five or six years ago," says Gilmore. "They're looking at credit scores and pattern of payment. This has to be really good and clean."CLICK HERE TO VIEW AN INTERACTIVE MAP OF HOW MANY MORTGAGES ARE UNDERWATER IN YOUR STATE
Passengers stranded in St. Maarten aboard the Carnival Dream are to be flown home, while Carnival Legend limps back to Tampa after a "technical issue" in one of its propulsion units.