Violence continues to escalate in the Gaza Strip. According to many foreign observers, Egypt must play a key role in any peace agreement between Israel and Hamas. To find out why, Robert Siegel speaks with Michele Dunne, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Online shopping's convenience can be tripped up by long shipping times, keeping retailers like Amazon from being the go-to place to pick up ice cream or deodorant.
That's why the online retail giant is experimenting with same-day delivery in a few cities, says Marcus Wohlsen, senior staff writer at Wired. These new trucks would come pre-loaded with items just waiting to be ordered.
"You've got this fleet of trucks that's constantly combing through city neighbords," Wohlsen says. "Lo and behold, somebody orders something that Amazon predicted they or someone in that general vicinity would order and it's already on that truck ready to bring to that person's door."
Amazon's recent interest in drone delivery has also attracted attention recently. Though those trucks "aren't nearly as sexy as a drone," Wohlsen says, they're much more efficent, and give Amazon control over more of the buying process. But filling those trucks and sending them out presents a big logistical problem.
"You can't virtualize that tube of toothpaste; you still have to figure out how to get it there," Wohlsen says. "That said, I think that companies like Amazon and Google are in the best position to make advances in the field of logistics because logistics is a very, very complicated math problem. That's what these companies prioritize. It's how they make money."
For Amazon, Wohlsen says, the move is all about trying to "overtake brick and mortar stores as the main way people buy things. Online retail is still a very small portion of commerce in the U.S. It's something like 6 percent of retail purchases. There's a lot of runway left for Amazon."
If sprinklers, Slip'N Slides and the other joys of summer aren’t wonky enough for your kids, there’s always Fed camp. The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond runs a summer program for kids in grades K-8. It’s a field-trip destination, with half-day workshops meant to boost children’s basic financial literacy.
Outreach specialist Angela Collier gathers a group of rising kindergarteners around her at the Richmond Fed. They’re four- and five-year-olds in bright orange T-shirts, visiting from Camp Primrose.
In her best ‘this-is-awesome’ voice she tells them, “We’re gonna be talking about goods. And services. And consumers and producers and spending and saving.”
Oh yeah, it’s Fed boot camp.
“Uh, I wouldn’t call it Fed boot camp,” Melanie Rose quickly corrects. She oversees the Richmond Fed’s economic education programs, including its Summer Camp Challenge.
Is she at least scouting for the next Janet Yellen? Or Ben Bernanke?
“Well, if we happen to find one I’m sure we would take him,” she says. “But no.”
Really, this is more like Fed-lite. It’s a chance for almost a thousand kids to stop by, play games about personal finance, and build their economic knowledge. But let’s just say you were secretly grooming future Fed chairs. You’d start young, right?
Step One: Establish everyone’s weight in gold.
“Probably all of you weigh about … one and a half, maybe two gold bars,” Collier tells the 40-pound kindergarteners. They’re standing in front of a gold brick that weighs 401.75 troy ounces.
Now that they’ve got the gold standard down, it’s time for Step Two: Master the difference between a good and a service.
A good, Collier says, is “something you can touch and feel and take home. Can you think of anything that would be an example of a good?” she asks.
“Play dough?” suggests camper A.J. Salvatto.
“Play dough is a great example of a good!” Collier cries.
Well done, A.J. Save that kid a space on the Federal Open Market Committee.
Step Three: Practice. The kids turn over cards, with pictures of cars and clocks and waiters. They try to identify goods and services. There are a lot of question marks in their little voices.
“Uh, a service?” asks one.
“A good?” asks a bunch of them.
Camper Tony Cavero nails it. He holds up pictures of firefighters.
“Are they providing a good or a service?” Angela Callier asks.
“A service,” he replies.
Tony Cavero: destined for the Board of Governors.
Now, older kids come through the Fed summer camp challenge too. But these little guys showed so much promise, we asked them about the biggest lesson learned from their day at the Richmond Fed.
Like Skanda Athreya, whose dad is an economist there, they all mention the same thing: the bus ride.
“I learned on the bus, when the driver’s driving, don’t distract your driver, ‘cause it can make him get in a car crash,” Skanda says.
Which in the coded language of Fed-speak says a whole lot about how to manage the economy.
Azamat Tazhayakov has been found guilty on some obstruction of justice charges, and not guilty of others. He was accused of removing evidence from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's dorm room.
Nearly 300 people died after a Malaysian Airlines plane crashed near the Russian-Ukrainian border. European security expert F. Stephen Larrabee explains what this might mean for the volatile region.