When you rent a bike, you usually have to bring your own helmet or go without one. If you ride with your hair flapping in the breeze, your risk for a brain injury goes up.
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Wright, who will serve as the next poet laureate, tells NPR's Melissa Block that his inspirations — landscape, language and God — have stayed constant for 50 years.
When Amazon Prime launched in 2005, it was just a way to prepay for two-day shipping. Since then, many of the things customers used to get delivered—books, music, and movies—are now digital files.
So, Amazon has been adding other benefits to Prime, like streaming movies, and starting this week, music. Critics say its new Amazon Music is far from the most expansive or current list of songs, but it’s another way Amazon is trying to infuse itself into our lives and become the first place we spend our money.
This is also part of a big transformation in what, exactly, Amazon is.
“The company has reached out and become a true platform. It has both the hardware and software offerings," says Colin Gillis, director of research at BGC Financial.
Amazon builds its own Kindles and has its own smartphone coming out next week. It may even become a delivery company, cutting out UPS and the Post Office. And, its servers—called Amazon Web Services—host many of its competitors, including Netflix.
“Who would have thought that Amazon is running some major 30-40 percent of the internet and now running data storage for the United States government,” says Dave Selinger, the former manager of Amazon’s customer behavior research and site optimization. He’s now CEO of RichRelevance.
Amazon’s servers will host a revamped HealthCare.gov. Selinger says Amazon, at its core, is whatever its founder Jeff Bezos wants it to be.
“If he believes he can do something better, faster or cheaper, you can expect he will, at the very least, think long and hard about whether he’s going to do that,” Selinger says.
That’s why you hear rumors of Amazon taking on Angie’s List and Yelp.
“I view it as a company that simply won’t cede any ground on the internet,” says Brad Stone, who wrote the book about Amazon called "The Everything Store".
Amazon is willing to lose millions of dollars on experiments like selling groceries, just to ensure it’s the first place we shop.
“They think they can do it all better,” Stone says.
That’s even if early reviews say Amazon Music is just OK.
I came to E3, the video game industry’s annual convention, with the hope of having my mind blown. The tag line of this year’s event is "The Future Revealed." This is the year that the promise of virtual reality was going to be revealed.
Even before I entered the convention hall in Los Angeles, people were raving about VR goggles. “It’s crazy! You get a little bit of motion sickness, but wherever you look you are in the game,” said a very enthusiastic Skylar Harper.
I was excited to try on a pair of VR goggles, and I did, and it was cool, but it didn’t blow my mind, and I wasn’t alone.
“I think VR is really cool and closer to being a thing,” said Justin McElroy, managing editor of the gaming site Polygon. But he also found VR to be a little scary. His great fear of VR, and fear of video games in general, is that they can be an isolating experience.
“When I look at something like VR, it is not a social experience. Almost by definition you are closed out from the rest of the world, and there is a place for that in gaming sure, but I worry about the effect and the cost of that. I don’t know that we need to be more cut off from everybody and everything.”
Polygon managing editor Justin McElroy posing in his makeshift E3 work space with Paris Hilton and Brandy.David Weinberg/ Marketplace
My next stop at the convention was a giant, 180-degree, wraparound movie screen. I was there to see the trailer for "Destiny," the most expensive video game ever made. At $500 million, its budget is nearly double that of "Spider Man 3," which holds the record for the most expensive movie ever made. The trailer had lots of cool alien monsters but nothing mind-blowing.
Afterwards I wandered over to a giant poster of Jesus holding an Xbox controller. It was an ad for gamechurch.com. “We really think that gaming is more than just a fun thing to do," said Gamechurch.com founder Michael Bridges. "It speaks to the human condition, and we’re speaking through a Christian lens, but we're not doing it in a judgmental way. We’re not the morality police.”
I asked him what he thought Jesus’s favorite video game would be. “Your favorite game,” he said without hesitation, “because he wants to play with you. You know, he just wants to hang.”David Weinberg/ Marketplace
After talking to Bridges I heard a rumor that the videogame "Gauntlet had a food truck" parked outside and was handing out free turkey legs. The rumor was true. I watched a man devour a piece of charred meat about the size of his head. Next to him, a life-size tank was rolling over a taxi cab.
It was kind of mind blowing.
Much of E3 now consists of watching other people play video games.David Weinberg/ Marketplace
A spokesman for Thailand's new military regime says that the action by the army last month to topple the elected government "is totally different" from previous coups.
General Mills launched a new cereal: Cheerios Protein. The big selling point: It contains eleven grams of protein when paired with milk.
So what is it about protein that drives consumers to add so much of it into their diets -- and spend so much on it in grocery stores?
"Protein helps you feel full throughout the day and keeps you energized," says Venessa Wong, associate editor at Bloomberg Businessweek. "It actually works out in favor of food manufacturers," says Wong. "Consumers are so interested in protein and yet have no idea how much they’re supposed to consume a day."
No surprise there because in business, it’s all about the branding. For instance, meat companies, like Pilgrim’s Pride and Tyson, prefer to think of themselves as a "protein company" as opposed to a "meat company."
"Last year, a data company found that conversations that mentioned meats were highly negative on social media," says Wong. "Where as those that mentioned proteins were associated with positive things like good, delicious and healthy."
So will the protein popularity grow? Or is this just another fleeting food trend?
"It’s a hot trend," says Wong. "Several companies are making bets on the marketing power of protein to consumers."
Listen to our full interview with Venessa Wong in the audio player above.
5 examples when the word "protein" does not mean "meat"
Via Wikimedia Commons
1. Brussels Sprouts
Nobody ever wanted to eat them when they were kids, but these little miniature cabbages pack a solid three grams of protein in each 1-cup serving.Aizar Raldes/AFP/Getty Images
It's not technically a grain (it's a seed), but it has as much protein as some other whole grains and then some. One cup of quinoa contains a whopping 24 grams of protein--nearly five times that of a cup of brown rice.Via Wikimedia Commons
3. Pumpkin seeds
Might want to save the seeds from your next Halloween pumpkin. Also called "pepitas" in Spanish, pumpkin seeds boast a hefty 12 grams of protein per cup. There's a caveat, however, as nuts and seeds tend to pack a lot of calories and fat along with them.David Paul Morris/Getty Images News
4. Ice cream
Again, the usual moderation caveats apply, but the National Dairy Council reports ice cream is not only a source of protein, but also calcium, riboflavin, and other vitamins and minerals. But don't use this to justify your consumption of it--while a half-cup of chocolate ice cream contains 2.5 grams of protein, it also comes with 7 grams of fat.Via Wikimedia Commons
5. Silk pupae
Called beondegi in Korean--which translates to "pupa" or "chrysalis"--steamed and lightly seasoned silkworm pupae are often sold by street vendors in Korea. Canned silk pupae can contain up to nine grams of protein.
If you have a capable device, no more cords or outlets required to charge your smartphone — not at Starbucks locations, anyway.
Amazon and the e-book have spelled doom for many bookshops, especially in the U.S. and the U.K. Hundreds have closed. But tomorrow in London, one of the world’s best known bookstores defies the trend: Foyles on Charing Cross Road is officially opening a new $60 million flagship store. Can it survive the digital onslaught?
“Some people think we’re mad. Some people think we’re very brave. Some people think we’re now going to reverse the trend back towards physical books and bricks and mortar book retailing, ” says Christopher Foyle, grandson of one of the store’s founders and the current chairman.
The early signs are encouraging. Even before the official opening, the new, four story bookshop was full of book-loving customers.
"I do love the atmosphere of bookshops... the calmness,” says Nina Muehlemann. "I feel it’s a luxury spending time here."
Simon Shaw said shopping in a book store is far more satisfying than doing it online. “It’s the serendipity of coming across something that you didn’t know you were looking for,” he said.
And Lila Burkeman spoke of her preference for the printed word: “I love books,” she said. “ I do have a computer, but there’s nothing like holding a book in your hands.”
Some publishing industry observers claim that these physical book lovers are a vanishing breed, and that eventually e-books will command a 95 percent share of the market. But Patrick O’Brien of Verdict Retail research isn’t so sure.
“We are seeing that the e-book market is really starting to mature already.” he says. “ So we do not believe that it’s going to destroy the physical book market in the near term. We think it could end up with a 50/50 split”
Foyles is calling its new flagship store “ the traditional bookshop of the future”. Ironically, since digital technology has been eating into its business, the company has equipped the new store with state-of-the-art digital equipment – including a smartphone system for guiding customers to the book they’re looking for. Christopher Foyle believes that high-tech and tradition will prove an irresistible combination, although there is one tradition he is eager to stamp out. Such was the chaos and the clutter of the old store, such was its status as a national institution , that book stealing became endemic and even respectable.
“I’ve even got a letter in the archive from one academic gentleman who bitterly resented being prosecuted for stealing vast quantities of books. He thought it was his right – as a poor academic – it was his God-given right to steal as many books from us as he possibly could,” says Foyle.
The new store is bristling with the latest security and surveillance equipment. Technology – a threat to physical books and bookshops – is fully deployed throughout the store to combat theft.
In Brazil, thousands of protesters clashed with police just hours before the World Cup opening ceremony. The streets of Sao Paolo were filled with tear gas and concussion grenades.
Shortly after Rep. Eric Cantor's surprise defeat in the Republican primary, Cantor announced his plans to step down soon from his position as House majority leader. This will leave a void in the GOP leadership, an open spot that's sure to attract plenty of interest.
Grave questions face the Iraqi government, and U.S. officials are scrambling to decide what to do. The U.S. helped shape the country; is there anything it can — or would — do to keep it together?