It's quiz time on Marketplace Tech. $27, 27602, 3 friends, 4 stories: Can you guess what these numbers mean?
We put Jonathan Strickland, host of the Tech Stuff podcast, to the test for our latest edition of Silicon Tally. Click on the audio player above to play along.
Prime Minister David Cameron says the U.K. could issue Islamic bonds as early as next year. The country is already the biggest Islamic finance center outside the Muslim world, and Islamic financing was used to build the Olympic Village. But most important, the sector is expected to grow threefold globally by 2017.
The hiss of a steam wand, a rumbling coffee grinder, back-to-work beeping and the blending of a frappuccino — audio cornerstones of a coffeemaker's job.
AT&T has been making noises about wanting to expand in a big way in Europe. Both The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News have been covering speculation that the takeover target would be Vodafone, based in London, but with a long reach across Europe, the Middle East, and beyond.
AT&T is looking to European markets because like any large company wants to grow, but “the growth opportunities in AT&T’s core domestic market in the United States are starting to become more limited,” says Gartner mobile analyst Bill Menezes.
This has prompted AT&T to look overseas for potential customers and Vodafone is an ideal company to purchase. But these are two giant companies. “Any tie up of that size is going to have a lot of regulatory hurdles to overcome to start with,” Menezes says.
Add to that list of hurdles the issue of privacy. When Edward Snowden released a report claiming the U.S. collected email and phone data from abroad, it didn’t sit well with European leaders.
“Now the idea that NSA could conceivably extend its reach through AT&T’s ownership, even deeper into European customer data,” Menezes says, “is something they view with pretty great concern.”
And that concern could put pressure on regulators and jeopardize any potential purchase of a European telecom provider by AT&T.
Jump little mouse! Jump! Will he be able to carry that cracker away? It's a mice ... oops nice ... story of determination.
The Federal Reserve is meeting this week. Are they just biding their time now until new chair Janet Yellen takes over if she's confirmed? "The big problem right now is that the Fed doesn't really know its next move," says Reddy. "That's a little bit scary, that the Fed is trying to watch the economy, understand what's happened after this turmoil with the government shutdown, the debt-ceiling fight, painfully slow improvement in the labor market ... we don't really know what the exit looks like." And what's more important to control: Inflation or unemployment?
Despite the Fed's murky outlook, Leigh Gallagher points out that as a whole, the economy is slowly improving. "We are in a recovery, it's painfully slow, but we're there," says Gallagher. "If you want something tangible, all you have to do is hop on a plane and head to Silicon Valley. It's sort of happy bubble-land out there ... it's like a different universe. There's stuff happening. There's real companies doing real things. There's a lot of enterprise and innovation happening."
But will that impact areas like Detroit and the rest of America?
China's grand aviation experiment to build a jetliner
Vanity Fair on the web of tunnels below New York
Mike Tyson on Mike Tyson
Helaine Olen's profile of Dave Ramsey will force you to think about how people use debt and whether the personal-finance guru's evangelism goes too far
Forget Siri. James Somers on the real meaning of artificial intelligence: replicating the human mind
Matthew Power takes us deep into the life of a combat-drone operator. To address PTSD, researchers have proposed a Siri-like interface that could help to (psychologically) shift blame for the act of killing
Just a few weeks ago, pollster Bill McInturff characterized the high negative ratings for Congress and the president as "ripples that will take a long time to resolve." Now, with new polling that suggests even deeper voter frustration, he says the political climate is even worse than before.
Mayor Rob Ford has been dogged by reports that he's seen smoking crack cocaine on a video that's now in the hands of police. On Friday, his lawyer challenged authorities to release the video and suggested it was something else — perhaps marijuana or tobacco — his client might have been smoking.
Forty-seven million Americans -- that's one in seven of us -- receive food stamps. Starting today, they'll be receiving less. A stimulus bill that had added federal money to what's called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, back 2009, has expired, and Congress has declined not to reauthorize the funding. For a family of five with no other income, this could cut food stamps by $43 a month. For low income people who are working, the cut would be less, but it will still bite.
Philadelphia resident Tianna Gaines-Turner and her husband have three children, ages 6 to 9. Aside from her job at a recreation center, she is an advocate for low-income people with the project Witnesses to Hunger. No long ago, her family received more than $700 a month in food stamps. These days, the Gains-Turner family gets less than $200 a month, and the cut today will drop it further. She hasn't received the new calculation for her family yet, but a 5 or 6 percent cut would be a decent guess.
"I will have to clip more coupons, do more manager's specials at the supermarket, make bigger pots of food so I can stretch it out a little longer than before," Gaines Turner says. "Basically just cut any corners that I can when it comes to buying food and things like that. I have to cut back on snacks and things like that for my children."
All three of Gaines-Turner's children have epilepsy and asthma, and have special dietary needs. "My two twins take life-sustaining seizure medication twice a day, and all three of them take asthma medication twice a day as well," she says. "So I have to be very careful on the type of foods that I buy for my children, because some of the things that's in the food -- such as aspartame and sodium nitrate that's in hot dogs -- can make them sick."
While Gaines-Turner and her husband both work, they don't make a lot of money. She worries about how her family will make up the loss of assistance.
"I think that it's very important for listeners to understand it might sound like a small number for someone who's not receiving SNAP, for me and our community, it's going to be a big chunk."
We're asking people to tell us what they'd take from their core grocery budget if they had to cut around 5 percent. Tweet us @MarketplaceAPM with what you would cut.
At long last, the Federal Aviation Authority announced this week that we can use personal electronic devices all the way through our plane trips -- even during takeoff and landing-- as long as we're not actually talking on the phone.
But first, airlines will have to prove to the FAA that their planes can stand up to the challenge of passengers reading e-books and playing “Angry Birds." Delta and JetBlue bragged yesterday that they’d already submitted plans to the FAA, and American hopes to get theirs in today.
We asked FAA administrator Michael Huerta how long till they get the green light. By year’s end was as specific as he’d get. ("Well," he said, "it depends on how complete the plan is.")
So, what happens when people show up today -- or tomorrow -- expecting to play “Words With Friends” from gate to gate? Are we going to be seeing a lot of Alec Baldwin situations?
Probably not. Andrew Thomas, who wrote the book on air rage, says most of us are ready to act like sheep.
"You’re just told to shut up and listen to orders," he says. "Whether you like it or not, you’ve got to sit there and take it."
The big exceptions: The mentally ill, the intoxicated, CEOs, and celebrities -- folks who think the rules don’t apply to them.
"When a flight attendant who’s not making much more than minimum wage tells them they’ve gotta do something, they’re not able to deal with it very well," says Thomas.
The rest of us will wait our turn. Or pretend to.
The Senate showdown over the first of three pending nominees for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit seems to be less about her ideology and more about President Obama's.
There's reason to get excited if you're a fan: The guitar that some experts say Bob Dylan played when he went electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival is to be sold in December. It's one of the most famous instruments in rock 'n' roll history.
Using special eye-tracking cameras, researchers at the University of Rochester found that many people can perceive their own bodies moving, even in total darkness. Our minds instinctively fill in some images when there aren't any real ones to see.
Indonesia summoned the Australian ambassador over allegations Australian diplomatic posts, including the one in Jakarta, were used as part of the U.S. surveillance networks. Also, Germany becomes the first European country to effectively offer a third sex option for newborns.
Obama administration officials try to calm congressional Democrats anxieties triggered by the flawed Obamacare website and insurance policy cancellations... Leaders of big tech firms want Congress to rein in the NSA... It just got harder to get an abortion in Texas.
Colonel Chris Hadfield is probably the most famous Canadian astronaut ever. And after playing and shooting a music video of David Bowie's song "Space Oddity" from the International Space Station, he might be the most famous astronaut of our era. But Hadfield's story is also about farm life in Canada, testing the limits of our aviation technology around the world, and the behind the scenes journey to travel outside our atmosphere. It's all in his new book, "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth."
Hadfield got his start during the Cold War as a test pilot in Canada. From those beginnings, he probably never imagined he would one day hitch a ride to space with Russian cosmonauts. Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson asked Hadfield about the differences between the way Russia approaches technology compared to the West.
"In Russian, almost philosophy of engineering, better is the enemy of good enough," Hadfield says. "The Russians came up with a really beautiful, elegant design -- their initial spaceship. And, they flew it, and then they flew it again and they flew it again. And then they went, 'Let's change this one thing.' It's almost like a sculpture, where you've had a master in who has looked at the sculpture and thought about it, and then chipped away just a tiny, little piece."
While the basic design of the Russian spaceship hasn't changed much through the years, other technology has. Hadfield's use of social media on his last journey to space catapulted him to global fame. But he says his desire to share his incredible experiences existed long before YouTube and Twitter came into existence.
"My first flight in space was a long time ago. On that flight, I was just as motivated to try and share the experience with everybody around the world -- but the technology had not been invented yet," he says. "Now, I can snap a picture, float down the space station, and within minutes, a million people could look at it if they want to."
Hadfield hopes that view from space can inspire others in the same way it inspired him, and given him a unique perspective.
"You just start to see the world as one big continuum. And, I started to see cities the same way, in that our patterns of settlement are the same worldwide. We find a place that is hospitable, and we live there, and that sense of connectiveness [sic] starts to become pervasive within yourself. And I found after a month or two up there, and I was sending a tweet -- here's a picture of Karachi, and this is where 7 million of us live. And I didn't even think about it... And you just start to see the whole world as 'us.' And for me, it was an immensely deepening experience and good experience to see the world that way."
Ben Bernanke led the Federal Reserve through the tumult of the financial crisis, trying unprecedented bailouts of financial institutions and liquidity efforts like bond-buyback programs. But those policies only scratch the surface of the legacy being left behind by Bernanke, who’s second term ends next year.
“They were starting policies that had never been tried before,” says Mitch Abolafia, a sociology professor at the University at Albany who has studied how the Fed communicates.
He says the thinking at the time went, the measures to save the economy are so unusual and so hard for the public to understand that “unless we get ahead of it and explain it in more detail than we normally would, they are bound to misinterpret what it is we are trying to do.”
And that led to what some say is the biggest change at the Fed under Bernanke’s leadership.
“The impact Bernanke has on increasing transparency, being clearer about long-term goals, is going to be part of his lasting legacy,” says Carl Walsh, a professor of economics at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
The Fed, for most of its existence, was exceedingly secretive. That started to change in the early 1990s, but it really changed during the financial crisis. Politicians and the public began to question the Fed’s legitimacy, so Bernanke defended it. He broke tradition and spoke with a journalist, Scott Pelley on CBS News’s “60 Minutes.” Bernanke decided to hold regular news conferences, and he returned to the classroom, giving a series of lectures at George Washington University.
But what may be more important is the kind of guidance Bernanke and the Fed have given economists and investors. It’s more concrete, long-term guidance. Abolafia says this move toward greater transparency at the Fed comes out of an economic theory called “Rational Expectations.”
“It said that markets will work better if the people in the markets know what to expect,” he explains.
But Abolafia predicts it’ll get tougher for the Fed to be transparent when it stops buying bonds and it faces political resistance to raising rates.
The secretary of state's comments are the sharpest to date from a top Obama aide. He also said, though, that "innocent people are not being abused" and that the intelligence gathered by the National Security Agency has prevented terrorist attacks.
It’s red cup season at Starbucks, starting today. That means eggnog and peppermint lattes are back for the holidays.
Specialty drinks are big moneymakers for the world’s largest coffee-shop chain, and its growing number of competitors.
Starbucks employee Dave Olsen made the company’s first eggnog latte in his home kitchen in 1986. Today the company has more than 100 people doing flavor R&D.
“Even right now we’re working on next year’s holiday beverages, so it’s always something we’re experimenting with,” says Starbucks Spokeswoman Linda Mills.
No wonder. Starbucks first quarter profit jumped 10 percent on the sale of specialty drinks last holiday season. Some competitors have caught on. Dunkin Donuts sells gingerbread lattes now, too.
“There are some magic words in retailing -- limited item,” explains Purdue retail management professor Richard Feinberg.
He says department stores can promote huge holiday inventories, but coffee shops just have coffee. “What they need to do is come up with special items to break the habit consumers have of getting the same thing in the same way every single day.”
Even if it’s just putting plain coffee in a pretty red cup.
After focus groups and polls indicated that replacing the vice president with Hillary Clinton wouldn't boost the president's re-election effort, the idea was dropped. Former White House Chief of Staff William Daley says the campaign was simply doing "due diligence."