National News


Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-05-22 13:00

You may not know it, but we have an egg-tastrophe on our hands. Thanks to bird flu, an estimated 31 million chickens have been killed — that’s 10 percent of the country’s egg-producing poultry.

Randy Pesciotta, vice president of the egg department at Urner Barry, a commodity market news reporting service, says prices for wholesale eggs have almost doubled, and it's the wholesale market that's going to feel the pinch of higher prices first.

Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst for companies like McDonald's, which relies heavily on eggs, notes that the shortage may be difficult.

“About 25 percent of McDonald’s sales rest in breakfast," he says.

And it’s not clear where companies like McDonald's can turn for cheaper eggs. Certainly not from neighbors such as Canada and Mexico — those countries were already buying eggs from the U.S. While there is talk of getting egg-sports from the EU, Pesciotta says there’s a problem. In the U.S., producers wash and refrigerate eggs to protect against salmonella. But the EU vaccinates its chickens and says washing can damage shells, making eggs more vulnerable to bacteria.

Pesciotta says that unless the U.S. and the EU can agree on egg-zactly what makes eggs safe, we may have an egg-pocolypse.

“They produce to their set of rules. We produce to our set of rules," he said, "they’re different.”


Why do companies offer free stuff at the same cost?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-05-22 13:00

One of the questions we received from listeners as part of our "I’ve Always Wondered" series is about why companies give you extra for free.

Eileen Lee wrote us to ask: "Why is it that, every once in a while, my favorite brand of shampoo, food or drink gives me an extra 20 percent free?  Why would a company do this?”

Lee is a statistician and demographer who is finishing up and publishing her master’s thesis. She’s a very careful shopper, dissecting special offers and deals. And she’s very particular. For example, her chicken nuggets have to be dinosaur shaped. Why?

“I like biting the heads off,” she says.

Eileen and I are on a virtual shopping date. I’m at my favorite store in Wheaton, Maryland, just outside Washington. She’s at a store near Los Angeles, where she’s from. We head to the shampoo aisle. Eileen spots a get-more-free deal right away.

“Yeah, Organix – they have some oil of Morocco shampoo and it’s 50 percent more free,” she says.

So will she buy it?

“No, I’ve used their stuff before," she says. "I don’t like it. It makes my hair feel weird.”

Eileen’s got a brand of shampoo she likes, and sticks with. Ditto for toilet paper and detergent. We go down aisle after aisle, looking for a get-more-for-less deal she likes. We don’t find any. Hence her question.

“What made me ask the question was that I never fall for that," she says. "If I see an extra 20 percent, and if it’s not the same brand I’ve been using or the same particular series of brands, then I wouldn’t even think of  choosing it.”

So Eileen never goes for those deals. But, turns out, lots of other people do. That’s part of the answer to Eileen’s question.  

“It gives you an effective discount that’s very tangible and enables you to differentiate your product from the others on the shelf," says Ira Kalb, assistant professor of clinical marketing at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern Calfornia. "And it sways people to your brand.”

You want consumers to try it and get hooked on it. Pepsi was among the first companies to experiment with get-more-for-free in the 1930s.

“But they hit upon this idea that they would have a package twice the size but they’d sell it for the same price as the Coke, which was a nickel," says Robert Schindler, a professor of marketing at Rutgers University. 

Pepsi promoted the deal with this radio jingle:


Back in the grocery store, Eileen says I’ve answered her question. But she’s still not interested in the get-more-for-less deals. Now, manufacturer’s coupons? That’s different.

“Because then I can actually calculate if it’s actually cheaper," she says. "Whereas with the 20 percent free, I have to calculate, OK, what was the normal price and am I getting more product?”     

But that's an I’ve Always Wondered question for another day.

Cannes Film Festival disappoints critics

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-05-22 13:00

Grantland writer Wesley Morris is at the Cannes Film Festival and fills us in on what’s going on.

On the vibe at Cannes:

The vibe is, “What happened to the movies?” We saw "Mad Max" on the first day, and we’ve been trying to see "Mad Max" ever since. It is amazing. It is the best movie, and very little that we’ve seen since then has been as great, especially in the main competition.

On the artistic direction of the movies being shown:

The financing for these movies has really compromised some of the artistic choices that a filmmaker can make ... You have money coming from all over the world, and it dictates certain things. Like, if you’re a Greek director and you’re getting Irish money, then you have to take Colin Farrell with the money you get, which happened. It happened at a movie this year!

On making movies in different languages:

There are a number of other directors, maybe like six other directors, making movies for the first time or maybe the second time, not in their native language. And the results are kind of mediocre. You wonder if that has something to do with it.

On people getting turned away for not wearing the right thing:

It’s not the scandal that people are making it out to be. It’s not happening every night, but everybody’s got a story about how it happened to them or someone in their party …where you were denied entry because you were not appropriately dressed. It has caused a great deal of consternation and a greater deal of comedy. It is one of the pleasures of coming to this festival. You need some ridiculous thing to happen if you can’t get a great movie.

China dominates beer sales

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-05-22 13:00

Quick: what's best selling beer in the world?

I'm just going to go ahead and assume you didn't guess Snow.

Bloomberg ranked the top 10 selling beers in the world by market share, and apparently Snow is all the rage in China these days — up just shy of 600 percent in the past decade. Number two, Tsingtao, is also based in China.

Both can be tricky to find here in the states, so you'll have to settle for number three or four, Bud Light and Budweiser.

Weekly Wrap: Inflation, the Federal Reserve and minimum wage

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-05-22 13:00

Joining Kai to talk about the week's business and economic news are Leigh Gallagher from Fortune and the Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy. The big topics this week: the Consumer Price Index and inflation, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech in Rhode Island and Los Angeles increasing its minimum wage to $15.

A fashionable workout

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-05-22 13:00

In a fashion world trend known as “athleisure,” clothes that can work at the gym...can also make a fashion statement.

“Leggings and tank tops and sneakers are sort of taking over the style masses,” says Wall Street Journal reporter Elizabeth Holmes. “But you don’t actually have to work out in them. For a lot of people this is just sort of their everyday casual look.”

Popular brands such as Lululemon started making yoga pants outside-of-yoga-class stylish, and high-fashion brands put sneakers and sweatshirts on the runway.

“Suddenly all these different parts of the fashion food chain are participating in the same trend,” Holmes says. “So that’s sort of why we see this ‘peak athleisure' moment.”

Now this moment has become a big business — Bergdorf sells some leggings for more than $400.

“Women are justifying this purchase by saying 'Hey, this is not just something I’m going to sweat in, but it’s something I’m going to brunch in.'” Holmes says.

And it isn't just luxury brands; athletic brands like Under Armour and Adidas are capitalizing on athleisure.

“Every apparel brand out there sees a piece of this pie,” Holmes says. “So if you’re a performance-based company like Nike you can infuse a little more fashion and suddenly attract a broader customer base. Or if you’re a fashion brand, you think ‘Hey, I can make something in spandex!’"

What Archbishop Romero's Beatification Means For El Salvador Today

NPR News - Fri, 2015-05-22 12:29

Saturday's ceremony ends a long battle for recognition of the staunch defender of the poor assassinated in 1980. But some say the violence-wracked country is no better off now than it was then.

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Obama: Camden, N.J. Police A Model For Improving Community Relations

NPR News - Fri, 2015-05-22 12:26

"Wherever you walk around, there goes a cop," says one resident, who is happy with the changes in the city. But some critics still see evidence of old-school police tactics that they say don't work.

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How elite students get elite jobs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-05-22 12:08

When we think about the debate over inequality in this country, a central piece of American mythology comes to mind: anyone who works hard, regardless of social status, can get ahead.

But it's not that simple, and people from exclusive or affluent backgrounds often land the most prestigious jobs.

Lauren A. Rivera, an associate professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, has been looking at investment banks, consulting firms and law firms for the last decade for her upcoming book "Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs."

Rivera spent nine months as an ethnographer in one of these top firms, observing every aspect of the hiring process. She points out the firms may be missing out on top talent.

"If you want the best and the brightest regardless of social background, if you're not systematically looking at over half the best and brightest because they don't qualify in terms of social background, that is not necessarily an equitable or open process," she says.

The Future Of Cardiology Will Be Shown In 3-D

NPR News - Fri, 2015-05-22 11:41

The Living Heart Project aims to create a detailed simulation of the human heart that doctors and engineers can use to test experimental treatments and interventions.

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Thai Authorities Arrest Protesters On Anniversary Of 2014 Coup

NPR News - Fri, 2015-05-22 11:39

At least 13 people were arrested in the capital, Bangkok, and seven others in the country's northeast after they staged protests against Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha's rule.

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Vista Theatre is a one-screen wonder

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-05-22 11:08

There aren’t a whole lot of 92-year-old theaters left in the country. For the Vista Theatre in Hollywood, success means walking a fine line: adapt to the changing times while holding on to the motif from days gone by. With just one screen, there’s not a lot of room for error.

“You can’t make a lot of mistakes here,” owner Lance Alspaugh says. “You can’t book the wrong movie, or you’re gonna be slow for a week or two. It’s very important to always be right.“

If always picking a hit isn’t hard enough, Vista’s success is closely tied to the quality of the movies Hollywood puts out.

“[With] all of the technology, there are so many opportunities for people to not go here,” Alspaugh says. “It’s gotta be something unique that’s attractive to the audience, so they can’t wait to see it.” With its 50-foot screen and Dolby speakers, visually impressive movies tend to fare the best.

So, how’s business? Alspaugh says things could always be better, but there are frequent surprises: the theater’s recent screening of "Mad Max" was so wildly successful, they decided to keep it for an extra week, pushing back Disney’s "Tomorrowland."

Video credits: Produced by Preditorial Director and Editor: Rick Kent Cinematographer: Anton Seim

Father John Misty, song and dance man

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-05-22 10:43

Musicians play a lot of shows and festivals, and these festival gigs often come with contracts.

One common contract is called a "radius clause." A radius clause, in essence, gives the promoter a form of territorial exclusivity, making sure that the performer does not book concerts with competing promoters and venues in nearby areas, which can undermine ticket sales for their main event.

Father John Misty, also known as Josh Tillman, is the former drummer for Fleet Foxes. Tillman has toured on most major festival circuits and knows these clauses well.

"I ended up having to play a way smaller, basically unprofitable album release show because of a radius clause," he says.

"I Love You, Honeybear," his second full-length solo release since leaving Fleet Foxes in 2012, is out Feb. 10 on Sub Pop Records.

ISIS Affiliate Claims Responsibility For Suicide Attack In Saudi Arabia

NPR News - Fri, 2015-05-22 10:32

The bombing of a Shiite mosque killed at least 19 people. The claim of responsibility is a first for the extremist group involving an attack inside the kingdom.

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Your Wallet: The first thing you ever bought

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-05-22 10:26

On the next episode of Marketplace Weekend, we're looking at your money across the years.

We want to know: what's the first thing you ever saved up to buy?

Send us your memories of your first purchases, and how much they cost. 

Write to us here, visit the Marketplace Facebook page, or tweet us, we're @MarketplaceWKND

The art of keeping — or spoiling — a TV secret

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-05-22 10:11

We've all been there: you fall behind on a TV show, or you're late to catch on to a new streaming series. Someone mentions a plot twist, a character death... maybe you just checked Twitter in the three hours between the time a finale airs on the east and west coasts. Suddenly, it's ruined. Your experience has been spoiled.

In a time of media overload, it's hard to avoid spoilers. It can be equally hard to avoid spoiling things for someone else. It's enough of a cultural phenomenon that there are apps and plug-ins created to help people avoid leaks. Google even has a patent for a spoiler prevention tool.

But spoilers aren't always an accident. People are searching for them. According to Google Trends, searches for "Mad Men" spoilers spike every season:

The same holds true for long running shows, like "The Bachelor":

So maybe we don't hate spoilers as much as we claim? Researchers at the University of California San Diego found that people actually like spoilers — they ask people to read short summaries of stories and then read the real thing, and the results showed greater enjoyment of a story when one already knows the ending.

Still, networks and production companies guard secrets and spoilers about their shows ferociously. The secrecy surrounding the scripts for shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men is notorious, and in the world of reality television, the effort is even more acute.

No one demonstrates this more clearly than Kris Jenner, who has proven herself to be an incredibly adept manager of her family members' personal lives and connection to the media. as Bruce Jenner began transitioning to live as a woman, the Jenner/Kardashian family focused on preserving every possible exclusive story: Bruce's exclusive ABC interview with Diane Sawyer contained almost no Kardashian commentary — they were saving it for their own special episodes about Bruce to air on E!. And the "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" episodes related to Bruce's transition don't give away many details about the future — that'll be exclusive to Bruce's upcoming documentary.

ABC and other reality shows use the same anti-spoiler tactics employed by the Kardashians to keep the winners of shows like "The Bachelo" a secret, even as bloggers and fans scan social media and tabloids for clues as to what happened in shows that taped months earlier.

While the economic impact of spoilers on scripted or reality shows isn't quite clear — do people end up not watching? do spoilers actually generate more publicity? — it is clear that there's still a premium on preserving the exclusive, for both producers and consumers of content.

Who Let The Dogs In? We Did, About 30,000 Years Ago

NPR News - Fri, 2015-05-22 09:32

A new study suggests that canis familiaris split from wolves much earlier than the 11,000 to 16,000 years ago that was long assumed.

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State Department To Release Clinton Emails Today

NPR News - Fri, 2015-05-22 08:04

The department said it will release the first batch of 296 emails from the former secretary of state's email accounts, which were provided to the Select Committee on Benghazi in February.

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A Desk That Can Take A Ton Of Earthquake Rubble

NPR News - Fri, 2015-05-22 08:03

It's fairly light, costs $35 per student and could save lives in earthquake zones. But not everyone thinks this quake-proof desk is a good idea.

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Your Roommate In The Nursing Home Might Be A Bedbug

NPR News - Fri, 2015-05-22 07:14

If you're in a medical facility, bedbugs should not be on your worry list. But infestations of the bloodsucking insects in nursing homes and hospitals are on the rise.

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