National News

King Kong Out To Crush Bigfoot's Claim To Fame As First Monster Truck

NPR News - Sat, 2014-12-27 03:43

Bigfoot 4X4 is a legend in the monster truck world, but another truck is challenging its claim as first car crusher. The bragging rights are big deal in what has become a multibillion-dollar industry.

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Thousands Expected To Attend Funeral Of Slain New York City Officer

NPR News - Sat, 2014-12-27 03:42

NPR's Eric Westervelt talks with WNYC's Ilya Marritz about Saturday's funeral for Rafael Ramos, one of two New York City police officers killed by a gunman who was targeting law enforcement.

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Ebola Survivor: The Best Word For The Virus Is 'Aggression'

NPR News - Sat, 2014-12-27 02:59

Dr. Ian Crozier was Emory University Hospital's sickest Ebola patient; his kidneys failed and he was on life support. He made a miraculous recovery and says the illness made him a better physician.

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With Each New Upheaval In Iraq, More Minorities Flee

NPR News - Sat, 2014-12-27 02:08

"We like Iraq, but Iraq doesn't like us," says a displaced Christian man. He's just one of example of religious minorities who have been dislodged from parts of Iraq where they have ancient roots.

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Body Of Catholic Priest Found In Southern Mexico

NPR News - Fri, 2014-12-26 12:31

Rev. Gregorio Lopez Gorostieta's body was recovered after his abduction earlier this week in the southern state of Guerrero, where 43 students disappeared in September.

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Military Policy Impedes Research On Traumatic Brain Injuries

NPR News - Fri, 2014-12-26 12:26

The U.S. military set up a bank to collect brain tissue samples to better understand battlefield brain injury. But a law that prevents tissue donations from U.S. troops has severely hampered efforts.

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Donations Stream In For Slain New York City Police Officers

NPR News - Fri, 2014-12-26 12:26

A foundation that supports first responders killed in the line of duty says it will take over the mortgages of the two New York City police officers killed last week as donations begin to come in.

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In The Nation's Capital, A Signature Soup Stays On The Menu

NPR News - Fri, 2014-12-26 12:26

For 110 years, Senate bean soup has been offered every day but one in the U.S. Senate cafeteria. But few staffers have actually tasted the traditional soup of the "world's greatest deliberative body."

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For Iran And The West, A Rocky Year For Nuclear Diplomacy

NPR News - Fri, 2014-12-26 12:26

Next year could be a make-or-break moment for efforts to ensure Iran can't acquire a nuclear weapon. But experts said the same about 2014. Instead, two deadlines came and went with no progress.

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For Russia's President, A Year Of Costly Triumphs

NPR News - Fri, 2014-12-26 12:26

Vladimir Putin's popularity soared after the Winter Olympics and the annexation of Crimea. But his year is ending on a bitter note, with Russia in a deep recession and isolated internationally.

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One More Reason To Reach For A Paper Book Before Bed

NPR News - Fri, 2014-12-26 12:26

Using an E-Reader before trying to nod off may disrupt sleep more than reading a paper book, a study suggests. Scientists suspect the screen's blue light is messing with a sleep-inducing hormone.

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Doubts Persist On U.S. Claims On North Korean Role In Sony Hack

NPR News - Fri, 2014-12-26 12:26

Some cybersecurity researchers continue to voice skepticism about the FBI's claim that North Korea was behind the attack on Sony Pictures. That's not unusual in a crime that often uses misdirection.

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Businesses Buzz With Anticipation In Wake Of U.S.-Cuba Thaw

NPR News - Fri, 2014-12-26 12:26

The U.S. economic embargo on Cuba is still solidly in place. But the president's executive action opening relations with the island has set off a frenzy of speculation about a new era of U.S.-Cuba commerce.

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Already Bleak Conditions Under ISIS Deteriorating Rapidly

NPR News - Fri, 2014-12-26 12:26

Liz Sly of The Washington Post speaks with Audie Cornish about how the so-called Islamic State's attempt to govern and administer services like a state is breaking down, with food and power shortages.

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Doubts Grow Over U.S. Claims On North Korean Role In Sony Hack

NPR News - Fri, 2014-12-26 12:26

Some cybersecurity researchers have begun to voice skepticism about the U.S. government's claim that North Korea was behind the recent attack on Sony Pictures.

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Addicted to TV Obsessions: Erin Mallory Long

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-12-26 11:37

This is the time of year that holiday-themed movies... even ones you seen dozens of times before, can feel like they're on an endless loop on TV.

For author Erin Mallory Long, The Muppet Christmas Carol is one story among many that she watched, indulged in, and maybe was obsessed with, time and again.

Erin is a regular contributor to Hello Giggles and has had work appear on CrackedxoJanetheKnowThe Toast,Thought Catalog and her own blog.

Your Wallet: New Year, New Job

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-12-26 10:34

At the beginning of the new year we tend to reflect on our career. Are you planning to jump start your job search?

We want to hear your story. How do you plan to stand out to potential employers in 2015?

Send us an email, or reach us on Twitter, @MarketplaceWKND

 

Wake Held For Slain NYPD Officer

NPR News - Fri, 2014-12-26 10:21

The ceremony for officer Rafael Ramos comes nearly a week after he and partner Wenjian Liu were shot and killed in their patrol car by 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley.

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The science and art of stocking holiday shelves

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-12-26 10:07

Just a few days before Christmas, the once fresh-looking holiday aisles at a Target store in Portland, Oregon, were already picked over, complete with clearance signs.

So how did Target decide on these exact toys and holiday decorations? Not to mention how many of them the store should carry?

“It is to a large extent a science combined with an art," says Akshay Rao, a marketing professor at the University of Minnesota. Every year, retailers face this classic problem where they try to determine how much to order without fully knowing the demand, he says.

“You look at historical data, you look at trends, you look at stated preference in the marketplace through some sort of market research, and you come up with an estimate of what’s going to be hot,” he says.

For many retailers, Rao says, that’s just the first step.

“The other side of that equation is attempting to influence that demand," he says.

Retailers use tools like social media to steer customers toward certain products. They also use discounts or emphasize features, like a phone with a fancy new camera, to entice customers to buy, he says.

At the end of the day there’s still plenty of guesswork involved.

“And people who guess right are considered geniuses and are often lucky, and people who guess wrong are left holding a fair amount of inventory that then goes on sale the day after Christmas," Rao says.

But stores have a new challenge, says David Raffo, a business professor at Portland State University. Consumers are waiting longer to make decisions about what to purchase. And that’s making it harder to predict holiday sales.

“The way it use to be is that people would get signals, like Black Friday, what’s hot, what’s not, and then they’d try and get it on their shelves, more of it or whatever, as fast as possible," he says. "What are the sizes? What are the colors? What are the toys that people are wanting?”

But it’s better for retailers to have too much inventory than not enough, Raffo says.

“The cost of not having the product is lost sales," he says. "It’s not just the sale of that product, but if a retailer doesn’t have what you want, you may go to another store and do all your other shopping at that other store.”

And besides, without that extra stuff, how else would retailers be able to offer those great after-Christmas deals?

The science and art of stocking holiday shelves

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-12-26 10:07

Just a few days before Christmas, the once fresh-looking holiday aisles at a Target store in Portland, Oregon, were already picked over, complete with clearance signs.

So how did Target decide on these exact toys and holiday decorations? Not to mention how many of them the store should carry?

“It is to a large extent a science combined with an art," says Akshay Rao, a marketing professor at the University of Minnesota. Every year, retailers face this classic problem where they try to determine how much to order without fully knowing the demand, he says.

“You look at historical data, you look at trends, you look at stated preference in the marketplace through some sort of market research, and you come up with an estimate of what’s going to be hot,” he says.

For many retailers, Rao says, that’s just the first step.

“The other side of that equation is attempting to influence that demand," he says.

Retailers use tools like social media to steer customers toward certain products. They also use discounts or emphasize features, like a phone with a fancy new camera, to entice customers to buy, he says.

At the end of the day there’s still plenty of guesswork involved.

“And people who guess right are considered geniuses and are often lucky, and people who guess wrong are left holding a fair amount of inventory that then goes on sale the day after Christmas," Rao says.

But stores have a new challenge, says David Raffo, a business professor at Portland State University. Consumers are waiting longer to make decisions about what to purchase. And that’s making it harder to predict holiday sales.

“The way it use to be is that people would get signals, like Black Friday, what’s hot, what’s not, and then they’d try and get it on their shelves, more of it or whatever, as fast as possible," he says. "What are the sizes? What are the colors? What are the toys that people are wanting?”

But it’s better for retailers to have too much inventory than not enough, Raffo says.

“The cost of not having the product is lost sales," he says. "It’s not just the sale of that product, but if a retailer doesn’t have what you want, you may go to another store and do all your other shopping at that other store.”

And besides, without that extra stuff, how else would retailers be able to offer those great after-Christmas deals?

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