The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn't track how many free gun locks it gives out or whether they're even effective. Rather, the devices are viewed as a stalling technique in the event a veteran picks up a gun in a moment of crisis.
The Dow posted another record high this morning. The surge came on the heels of a new report from the payroll processing company ADP, which showed that private employers added 198,000 jobs in February. Tomorrow, the Labor Department releases its February jobs report.
David Kelly, chief global strategist with JP Morgan Funds, joins Marketplace Morning Report host Jeremy Hobson to share his predictions on what's ahead for the Dow and the labor market.
With a hand-picked vice president now controlling the purse strings and opponents looking weak, NPR's Juan Forero says the controversial and charismatic leader's policies are likely to survive for at least a while. Chávez died Tuesday.
Remember the MiniDisc? Way better than a cassette. In the 1990s, Sony once hyped its format with ads starring supermodel Claudia Shiffer.Video of Claudia Schiffer in a bar: Jon Lovitz prank
The MiniDisc is a little optical disc in a cartridge the size of a thin pad of Post-it Notes. Sony has announced it is killing off the format this month.
"I think I was actually pretty close to the target, I was about 13 at the time," says Seth Fiegerman, writer for the website Mashable, who bought into the MiniDisc craze as an impressionable youth.
According to Michael Bierylo, Chair of the Electronics Production and Design Department at the Berklee College of Music, the MiniDisc was engineered to make imperfect copies in an effort to curb music piracy.
But the loss of the format makes life tough for musicians.
"A lot of the things I did in the 90s on a computer, the software that was used to make the production, the companies are no longer in business and modern computers won't run the software," says Bierylo.
Bierylo, who has boxes of old floppy disks from the 90s, says he jokes with his wife that he'd like to mount a exhibit of obsolete formats, like the consumer electronics version of the Island of Misfit Toys.
To hear more about the origin of the MiniDisc, click on the audio player above.
Controversial Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died yesterday, leaving the nation – and the world – to reflect on his legacy. Both critics and supporters of Chavez agree that he has changed the role of the poor in Venezuela. But how will Chavez's passing affect the economies of other countries in Latin America?
Stephen Keppel, economics editor for Univision News, joins Marketplace Morning Report host Jeremy Hobson to discuss Chavez's economic and political legacy abroad.
Winter storm Saturn, which has already left Chicago digging out from 10 inches, is expected to dump more snow on Maryland and Virginia.
Also: The influence of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables on Hugo Chavez; Jeb Bush's new book on immigration; and a 9-year-old saves himself and friends from quicksand after reading a survival guide.
Two car thefts, one in the U.S. and one in China, have transfixed many in China. In both cases, babies were in the vehicles. The American case ended happily when the thief phoned police to tell them where to find the child. In China, the suspect has confessed to killing little Haobo.
On Friday, the Labor Department will report its latest monthly jobs report, which will reveal how many jobs were added in February and whether the unemployment rate budged from 7.9 percent.
If you are hitting the job market, the one thing you'll need is a good resume. But how do you get yours to the top of the heap?
Paddy Hirsch, senior producer of personal finance at Marketplace, has these tips:
1. Create two resumes, a search-engine-optimized (SEO) version and a regular version. If you are applying through a search engine, such as Monster or Jobscore, a computer completes a first pass of all applicant resumes before a human ever reads them.
2. Make your SEO resume plain and include keywords. Use bold type sparingly. Format everything to the left side of the page. And make sure everything is spelled correctly. Search algorithms tally up the number of keywords in order to evaluate resumes. The easier you can make it for the computer to find keywords, the better.
3. Old resume rules still apply. After you've gotten past the computer review, your resume will be read by a human. Make sure it is clearly written, typo-free, and emphasizes relevant work experience.
Complaints are rife that the video game industry treats female employees and female players as outsiders or worse. But it wasn't always that way.
Laine Nooney, a doctoral candidate at Stony Brook University, has been looking at the contributions of Roberta Williams, who in the early 1980s co-founded one of the early video game companies, Sierra Online.
"[Williams] was actually the designer of the first home computer adventure game with graphics," says Nooney. The game was called Mystery House and was a murder mystery set in an abandoned Victorian house.
As adventure games took off in the early ‘80s, Sierra Online became one of the largest independent producers of home software in the country.
According to Nooney, at the time, developers and players did not see gaming as stictly a "guy's thing."
"[Williams] had a passion project about encouraging families to play together," says Nooney, who notes that Williams railed against the couch-potato stereotype of gamers.
To hear more about Roberta Williams and the early days of video games, click on the audio player above.
Teachers, here's one for your social studies students: According to new research from the Pew Research Center, Twitter is a bad way to predict public opinion. Turns out, just because a lot of people tweet something does not necessarily mean the public at large agrees. Tweets can run more conservative or more liberal than the general public.
But, one conclusion is clear: "Twitter is full of haters," says Slate tech blogger Will Oremus. "Haters" may be a bit strong. But the study shows that negativity rules in social media.
"When [President Obama] nominated John Kerry for Secretary of State, the reaction on Twitter was overwhelmingly negative. Everybody was making fun of Kerry, but the general public, Pew found, was actually rather supportive of the Kerry nomination," Oremus says.
To hear more about the relationship between Twitter and public opinion, click on the audio player above.
Global oil markets are steady this morning after the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Venezuela holds the world's second largest oil reserves.
For more on the economic impact of Chavez's death, Marketplace Morning Report host Jeremy Hobson speaks with the BBC's Irene Caselli in Caracas.
In Venezuela, some are mourning, and some are not, for Hugo Chavez, the country’s polarizing president, who died yesterday. Supporters see him as a champion of the poor. Critics say he ruined the country’s economy. Chavez’s economic legacy is a mix of both.
If you consider the impact of Hugo Chavez by traditional economic benchmarks, like inflation, he ended on a low note.
Javier Corrales is a political science professor at Amherst College.
“He’s leaving the country in the midst of a serious economic crisis. A very large fiscal deficit. A devaluation was announced that is going to have enormous inflationary effect, as well as productivity declines everywhere,” says Corrales.
The country’s economy is less diversified than when Chavez took control. Venezuela is now almost totally reliant on oil revenues.
But, for a long time, oil profits worked in his favor, allowing Chavez to invest heavily in his populist agenda. Corrales says other Latin American leaders had mounted similar progressive campaigns in the past, but always ran out of money.
“What Chavez was able to do was to sustain that much longer than any other Venezuelan president or Latin American president simply because the oil windfall that Venezuela enjoyed between 2003 and today has been enormous,” says Corrales.
At the same time Chavez depended on the oil industry, he also undermined it. When oil industry administrators went on strike early in Chavez rule, he fired 18,000 industry workers. Oil production levels fell.
“Large numbers of its revenues were going, rather than to reinvestment in the industry, were going directly to fund social programs,” says Alejandro Velasco, assistant professor of Latin American Studies at New York University. “The criticism is that an oil company shouldn’t have as its major focus social missions. It should have as its major focus the production of oil.”
But from the perspective of the poor, Chavez was seen almost like a god. He focused the country’s oil wealth on improving the lives of the dispossessed.
“It’s meant a tremendous amount both in economic assistance. But more significantly, I would say, it’s meant more in terms of how people imagine their roles in society. No longer cast aside. No longer marginalized,” says Velasco.
The poor have been empowered, both economically and politically.
“It’s really undeniable. And even the opposition has had to come to terms with, that no longer can you sort of take for granted the voices of those who were economically marginalized. Now they have formed sort of an integral part of peoples' political calculus,” says Velasco.
But by starving the private sector, Chavez may have also worked against the interests of the unemployed in Venezuela.
“Chavez has hurt the poor by making sure that the private sector in Venezuela underperforms. The job growth, the investments that you see in the private sector are very weak. They’re not generating job growth,” says Corrales.
Corrales says that reforming the country’s oil industry would not only help the economy, but would also help the poor in the long run.
The inside of a Harley-Davidson factory looks a lot like what you’d expect -- workers in jeans, black T-shirts and bandanas.
But there's no soundtrack in the background. At least, not anymore.
Citing safety concerns, the company announced that music would no longer be allowed on the assembly line -- no tunes piped-in through speakers and no portable radios at its manufacturing plants.
“We love the fact that Harley-Davidson is associated with cool things like music," says Harley spokesperson Maripat Blankenheim. "However, when it comes to our plants, safety is a priority. Music is not.”
The idea, she says, is to eliminate distractions and improve performance.
“These are folks working on a line, they work in teams, so it’s really important to be able to hear what’s going on in the work around you,” Blankenheim says.
There are federal rules for how loud a workplace can be, but no specific rules about music in factories. So individual companies have to decide whether it’s safe, and how music impacts the bottom line.
At the Milwaukee company Helios Solar Works, employees make solar panels while listening to Internet radio. Line worker Josh Drane says it helps him get through what can be a pretty monotonous day.
“We tend to perk up when we hear one of our songs played. But beyond that it’s just nice to have ambient background music instead of just the very mechanical sounds of the line operating,” Drane says.
Managers at the Helios Solar Works plant believe music makes employees more productive. And there’s plenty of research to support that idea. Teresa Lesiuk is a music therapy professor at the University of Miami. She surveyed information technology professionals and found they overwhelmingly reported positive effects of music in the workplace.
“It was calming to them or it provided some excitement when they were needing it. For some others, it was more nostalgia to the music, and somehow that was helpful to them in their work,” Lesiuk says.
But Lesiuk does say that for some factory jobs, like driving a forklift, music would certainly be a distraction. And even a danger.
This final n...on the way o... damn you, Dubner.
Okay, I'll think of something new. But anyway in the interests of equal time, this note today from the Speaker of the House John Boehner.
"While I'm disappointed the White House has chosen to comply with sequestration by cutting public tours," Boehner says, "I'm pleased to assure you that public tours of the United States Capitol will continue."
As well, I'm sure will the sequestration tit-for-tat.
As the fresh snow falls in New Mexico's ski resorts and mild temperatures welcome visitors into the region, new ski enthusiasts are making their way to the mountain tops. Some ski resorts now offer lessons to people with disabilities, and owners say not only is it a great equalizer, it's also increasing business.
House Speaker John Boehner is getting things done at times in spite of his Republican majority. Three major pieces of legislation that passed the House this year did so without the support of the majority of his party's lawmakers.
John Kerry's first trip as secretary of state took him to Europe — where he spent time growing up as the son of a diplomat. Kerry, who also had stops in the Middle East, says he can't speak as freely now as when he was a senator.
Forest elephants in central Africa are being slaughtered in record numbers for their ivory tusks, a decade-long study finds. The U.S. government and wildlife advocacy groups are struggling to slow the killings as poaching is overcoming laws and treaties intended to protect the species.