Ground staff at Lufthansa, Germany's biggest airline, walked off the job Monday on a one-day strike that prompted the company to cancel most of the day's scheduled flights.
The BBC's Steve Evans joins Marketplace's Stacey Vanek Smith to discuss the disruption and why Lufthansa's workers are striking.
Jamie Kitman, New York editor of Automobile Magazine, is driving a $240,000 McLaren sports car across the country in the hopes of meeting as many interesting people as he can. Last week, Kitman spoke with Marketplace after he stopped off at Local Motors, a car company in Arizona that crowd-sources auto design.
Today, Marketplace Tech host David Brancaccio checks in with Kitman from Montgomery, Alabama to discuss the market for classic sports cars.
Researchers at the University of Texas are working on a way to produce mass quantities of nanocellulose -- a non-toxic construction and engineering material that's strong, saves trees, and could help reduce greenhouse gases.
Generating nanocellulose involves altering the genes of bacteria that produce vinegar or kombucha tea. Sunlight goes in and what comes out is a goop-like material that can be made into houses, cargo ships, you name it -- if they can perfect the process.
"People don't realize the strength of cellulose," says researcher R. Malcolm Brown, Junior, professor of plant cell biology at UT Austin.
Brown says nanocellulose could be applied to a variety of area, from medicine to electronics.
"I've even proposed that we make our rocket casings [out of it] when we send our astronauts to Mars," says Brown. "Cellulose can be digested, and if you break it down, the component is called sugar -- the astronauts would go to Mars, and they could live off of their rocket casings."
Though Brown adds edible rockets would make it difficult to travel back to Earth.
To hear more about nanocellulose, click on the audio player above.
Monday is the first big travel day at American airports since the FAA began furloughing air traffic controllers over the weekend. The agency needs to cut nearly $640 million from its budget in response to the federally mandated sequestration. That could lead to delays that the industry is not happy about.
"Air traffic controllers should not be furloughed -- period," says Lee Moak, who heads the Air Line Pilots Association. His group has joined Airlines for America in a lawsuit that would stop the FAA from cutting back what they call essential airport personnel.
"These furloughs will impact airports coast-to-coast every single day," Moak says.
The FAA would not comment for this story. But the agency said last week that it will furlough 47,000 employees through September. Worst case, the FAA predicts travelers in Atlanta could see flight delays of more than three hours; Chicago O'Hare, two hours plus.
Charlie Leocha directs the Consumer Travel Alliance. He says right now all customers can do is show up at the airport and hope for a smooth trip.
"That's basically the only recourse we have," Leocha says. "So far, airlines have not agreed to allow passengers to rebook flights or change their flights for no cost."
A spokesman for New York area airports says extra customer service reps will be deployed this week, and information about delays will be posted online.
Today Dutch group Mars One is set to announce details about its plan to fund a human colony on Mars -- by turning the process into a reality TV show. That's a reach, and it made us wonder whether the once fast-growing, profitable reality TV machine -- here on Earth -- is sputtering.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, TLC: The series, which began in 2012, consistently drew over 2 million viewers.
Poggi says there’s a lot of reality TV out there because “reality in general is just cheap to make.”
But the genre has been underperforming in the TV world. Revenue growth for the companies that make reality TV has been slower than for other types of shows.Video of Duck Dynasty - Pizza Vs. Toast
Duck Dynasty, A&E: About people who make duck calls, the show has 8 million viewers.
Agata Kaczanowska, with IBISWorld, says that trend is going to accelerate. During the next five years, she predicts, “TV production revenue is forecast to grow [annually] at 4.9 percent, compared to 2.8 percent for reality TV.”
Kaczanowska says reality TV production revenue should inch up to $36 billion this year. Not paltry, but it may be that reality TV has lost its former sheen.
A.J. Marechal, who writes for Variety magazine, believes reality TV is still going strong, “becoming part of the cultural vernacular. Whether it’s 'Buckwild', 'Honey Boo Boo', or 'Jersey Shore', these shows serve as reference points in media or even Halloween costumes.”
And while there is plenty on the lower budget end of reality TV, big network productions like NBC's "The Voice" earn $240,ooo for a commercial, almost as much as sitcom "Two and a Half Men", according to Ad Age. Even, A&E’s "Duck Dynasty", a show about people who make duck calls, has eight million viewers.
Let's do the numbers: Reality TV edition
Preacher's Daughters, Lifetime: The series, which premiered in March of this year, averages just over a million viewers an episode.
Video of Kendra Backs Out - Splash
Splash, ABC: Like contestant Kendra, Splash viewers backed off the series, which had one of the strongest reality TV debuts of the year with over 8 million viewers.
Video of Ax Men - Swampman Shelby
Swamp People, History Channel: The series Season 4 premiere in February beat out the NBA and took the top Thursday night cable TV spot with 4.4 million viewers.
Video of Whisker Wars Trailer
Whisker Wars, IFC: Whisker Wars, a show about the world of competitive facial hair growing, did well enough for IFC to renew it for a second season.
Video of Double Divas Premieres January 10
Double Divas, Lifetime: Double Divas' series sneak peak came in second to the network's reality TV hit Dance Moms, with 1.5 million viewers in January of this year.
You know that big immigration bill that they're working on in Congress? Well, the bigger the bill, the easier it is to stuff it with...pork. (Literally, in some cases.)
Among the pet provisions you can find buried in that 844 pages of legislation? More visas for foreign workers for the American meat industry -- that was Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina. New York Sen. Chuck Schumer's put in for an extra 10,500 visas for Irish workers. And Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado threw in a provision making it easier to hire foreign ski instructors.
Law enforcement agencies are reporting an increase in health insurance scams across the country. Many of the scammers seem to be preying on the public's confusion over the massive changes taking place in the nation's health care system.
Law enforcement agencies are reporting an increase health insurance scams across the country. Many of the scammers seem to be preying on the public's confusion over the massive changes taking place in the nation's health care system.
The Bullitt Foundation's new Seattle headquarters, billed as the world's "greenest" building, is designed to be entirely self-sustaining. The developers hope it can inspire others to build this way.
Coffee is social stimulant, solitary pleasure, intellectual catalyst. It also connects us to far corners of the globe. From small specialty farms in Guatemala to large, industrial operations in Brazil and unexpected corners of the world, like Vietnam, the world's morning cup of Joe makes quite a journey.
In the U.S., 3 percent of the CEOs at top companies are women; in India, that figure is 14 percent. Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett says women in India and other emerging economies, like China and Brazil, are surpassing their American and European counterparts. They're "pointing the way," she says.
Landslides and congested roadways are hindering rescuers' progress as they make their way to rural communities in Sichuan Province. The earthquake Saturday, which killed at least 186, is a test of the new leadership's response to natural disaster.
When the only known poem Winston Churchill wrote as an adult went up for auction in London recently, it was expected to fetch a pretty penny. But the poem failed to fetch a buyer, and now its fate is unknown. New Yorker Poetry Editor Paul Muldoon takes a critical look at "Our Modern Watchwords."
Joysticks in hand, participants played what was perhaps the world's biggest video game on the side of the 29-story Cira Centre in Philadelphia. The interactive light display kicked off a week of events for the annual celebration of the local tech scene.
The Antares rocket launch is back on Sunday afternoon, as engineers and spectators look for the rocket to lift off from a launch pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. The mission had been postponed twice this week, due to high winds in one case and a loose cable in another.
Towns in Missouri, central Illinois and at least four other Midwestern states are under a flood warning, as heavy spring rains swell the Mississippi and other rivers to dangerously high crests.
"What has changed?" That is the question echoing through Delhi on Sunday. Public frustration over sexual crimes against women is erupting again, this time over a gruesome sexual assault of a child.
Residents of the Boston area gathered Sunday to pray, to sing and to pay tribute to the victims of bombs and other violence in the city this week. They also proclaimed themselves free from the anxiety that gripped the area during an intense manhunt for two brothers that ended Friday night.
Artist Brendan O'Connell's paintings find beauty in a cathedral of American consumerism. His thoughtful, unironic paintings of life inside Wal-Mart stores reflect on our relationship to brands and the search for "transcendence" in a shopping cart.
In the coming decade, another 1 billion women will enter the global workforce, with most moving from farms to service jobs. The workplace is changing women — and they are changing the world.