National News

What's it worth to be in on the joke?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-11 07:24

How much is it worth to you to be in on a joke?

Nothing? $10? How about $40,000?

We’ve been contemplating that this week because, of course, of the remarkable story of what has to be the world’s most expensive potato salad

Short version: Guy makes a kickstarter to make potato salad, puts it on internet, it goes viral, and explodes in a hail of dollars.

What is it about things like this that makes us want to buy in?

New York Magazine’s blog The Science of Us wrote about the transitive property of internet humor - that these moments of virality bind us together in some type of hypermodern experiential campfire. I think that’s true, in part. But they also hit a sweet spot between cynicism (the modern world has ruined everything) and joy (we can contribute to something silly and whimsical). There is originality and connection in the world and we’re constantly discovering new ways to find it.

In our brunch segment this week on Marketplace Weekend, our contributor Jessica Pressler reminded me of the New York bus monitor whose video bullying by students went viral. That incident tapped into our altruistic financial impulses and she received some $700,000 in donations via Indiegogo.

Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I have this hope (stoked by our other bruncher, Joe Weisenthal), that someone will go looking for the potato salad, and stumble onto other Kickstarters. Maybe fund a classroom computer. Someone’s medical treatment. Food for a shelter. A pet rescue. Something else that binds us together when we are otherwise fragmented, pixilated, and far apart. 

A Surge In Concierges

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-11 07:11

Forget the self-help movement. The new way is to ask for help — and to consult a concierge.

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Weekly Wrap: The most interesting man at the Fed

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-11 07:07

Felix Salmon from Fusion and Jo Ling Kent from Fox Business sat down with Kai Ryssdal to recap the big events from this past week.

A major Portuguese bank is in trouble and while Kent believes the “U.S. market doesn’t seem to mind,” Salmon would argue, “ a big bank failure is always a problem.”

Plus, with dueling speakers at the Federal Reserve, Salmon believes we should listen to Ktochelekova. Why? Because: “he’s by far the most interesting guy,” at the Federal Reserve.

Listen to their full conversation in the audio player above.

Elephant Featured In Film 'Alexander' Killed By Thai Poachers

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-11 06:01

The 50-year-old Asian elephant, named Phlai Khlao, was apparently poisoned before his tusks were hacked off. Thai authorities are questioning a suspect who is a former elephant handler.

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Liverpool Unloads 'The Biter,' Sending Suarez To Barca For $128 Million

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-11 05:41

Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan punished for biting an opponent during the World Cup, is moving to Barcelona. The team reached terms with Liverpool in a transfer widely reported at more than $128 million.

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Why you might seeing English subtitles on Spanish-lanuguage TV ads

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-11 05:13

If you've been following the World Cup you may have seen Spanish language TV ads with English subtitles.

Coca Cola tried an ad using different languages during the Super Bowl earlier this year. It didn’t go over so well. But for advertisers the World Cup is a whole different ball game.

“One extreme is the Super Bowl, another extreme is the World Cup," says Mauro Guillen, a professor of international management and Director of the Lauder Institute at the Wharton School. He says one reason we’re seeing ads with English subtitles on American TV, from companies like Hyundai, Dish and JC Penney, is becasue of the growing economic clout of the Hispanic community in the U.S. 

JC Penney says it's received such a positive response to its commercial, "Pulse" that it's decided to air the spot, in Spanish, with English subtitles, on primetime networks, NBC, ABC and FOX for the duration of this week.

While Hyundai has been airing its Spanish language ad, "Boom", on ESPN.

The World Cup, notes Guillen, "is a unique opportunity. To experiment and to try out new things. Because not everybody is watching.”

Viewers, he says, are young and cosmopolitan -- they understand bilingual ads -- literally. 

Luis Miguel Messianu, president and chief creative officer of Alma, a multicultural advertising firm in Miami, says advertisers are smart to speak Spanish during the World Cup.

“Everybody realizes the power of having a SuperBowl that lasts one month,” he says. 

Soccer in America, notes Messianu, is no longer a niche sport. Instead, it’s alive and kicking. 

But sports aside, for advertisers, notes Marlene Morris Towns, a professor of marketing at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, "it really is a wise business move to look at who your audience is and speak to them, not just in terms of their lifestyle and culture, but litearlly in terms of their language." 

Germany Calls For 'Honest Foundation' In Relations With U.S.

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-11 04:47

The remarks by Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier follow fresh allegations of U.S. spying on Germany as well as Berlin's request that the top U.S. intelligence official in the country leave.

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Dozens Of Ukrainian Troops Reportedly Killed By Militants

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-11 04:39

Separatists in the east used a rocket-launching system in an attack that one officials said killed as many as 30 government troops. The strike comes after days of steady gains by Ukrainian forces.

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How A Fanny Pack Mix-Up Revealed A Medicare Drug Scam

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-11 04:07

Two secretaries in a doctor's office have pleaded guilty and a pharmacy owner faces charges in a scam that Medicare allowed to thrive for more than two years.

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Q&A: A Union Leader On Tenure, Testing And The Common Core

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-11 04:03

The American Federation of Teachers holds its annual meeting this weekend. Its president, Randi Weingarten, talks with NPR Ed.

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Israel And Hamas Keep Up Attacks, Ignoring Calls For Peace

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-11 03:38

In Israel, a rocket hits a gas station, setting it on fire and causing several injuries; in Gaza, the health ministry says 100 Palestinians have been killed.

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Economists Say Inflation Is Tame; Consumers Aren't Buying It

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-11 03:02

On paper, inflation has been low this year. But consumers buying food or fuel may disagree. Prices for beef, eggs, fresh fruit and many other foods are much higher than overall inflation.

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