As it moves east, the storm is expected to bring high winds and a chance for tornadoes for cities like Wichita and Chicago.
Babies born in London in May have less vitamin D and more of a certain type of immune cell in their blood than babies born at other times. Researchers say the differences might help explain why people born in the spring are more likely to get multiple sclerosis.
Adm. Samuel Locklear says the U.S. could intercept a ballistic missile launched at the U.S. homeland or Pacific allies.
For all his success at Apple, Ron Johnson misread the J.C. Penney consumer. J.C. Penney's board ousted him after a year and a half in which his high-risk strategy backfired. Johnson famously tried to break the cycle of marking up prices just to mark them down.
Instead of discount coupons and sales, his idea was to have low prices everyday to make things easier for the company and its customers. But shoppers quite literally didn't buy it. It’s a reminder of just how strong a hold sales have on consumer psychology and the pricing games retailers play.
It may help to step back and consider the lifecycle of a V-neck dress on sale at J.C. Penney right now. Its color is Stardust, which apparently means purple in J.C. Penney’s language. The original retail price was $60. The store likely paid less than half that. But it has stuck around too long, so it’s time to put it on sale.
“The lightest promotion that you would probably see nowadays is 20 percent off, probably within four weeks of when it hit the merchandising floor,” says retail consultant Stacey Widlitz.
That’s close to where the dress is now, marked down to $50. If customers don’t snap it up at that price, it’ll be reduced further. Customers who buy the dress at the lowest price may feel pretty great about their purchase.
“They look at sales as a way of feeling like they’ve kind of gotten one over on the retailer, that for sure, they’ve won,” says Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University.
J.C. Penney’s rejection of sales made shoppers feel like losers all the time. The truth is, they always have been. At 20 percent, 30 percent or even 50 percent off, a retailer can still make money. But shoppers don’t know that.
“People are shopping with very little actual information about what the prices are and so they’re gonna rely a lot on cues,” says Jean-Pierre Dubé, a marketing professor at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. “The most commonly used kind of cue is a discount.”
J.C. Penney has long taught its customers to expect that cue.
“Over the years, they’ve just been trained,” Dubé explains.
It’s not that sales are mandatory for all businesses. Stores as different as Wal-Mart and Apple have long stuck with stable prices. But J.C. Penney shoppers await sales. And once that mentality is in place, anything less feels like a ripoff.
As if to underscore the point that Johnson’s attempt to break the sale cycle is fully rejected, a bright green 20-percent-off promotion dominated the J.C. Penney homepage the morning after he was let go. The deal caught the eye of at least one longtime customer. At the store in midtown Manhattan, the shopper cited the offer as the reason she had come in.
She had been confused when the J.C. Penney sales stopped. Now, she’s back among the clothing racks.
So here’s the rub: Fisker is not just risking investors' money, it’s received taxpayer loans, too. And if the company goes under, you can bet Washington D.C. is a lot less forgiving of failure than Silicon Valley.
Fisker owes the energy department nearly $200 million dollars. The point of the loan was to lure private investors. Think of it as East Coast money attracting West Coast money. Thing is, the two coasts have vastly different stomachs for failure.
“The entrepreneur’s motto is fail big and fail fast,” says Navigant Research analyst Sam Jaffe. “And the government’s motto is never ever fail, or else we’re out of our jobs. That’s two very different mindsets.”
He says the West Coast mindset is, let’s try it. A $100,000 car, with a cool design.
Indeed, it’s struggled with production problems, a dodgy battery supplier, and a fire during testing. This stuff happens.
Joseph Lassiter at Harvard Business School says start-up investors realize most ventures fail. Quietly. That’s why it’s called “private” equity.
“And that equity tends to be quite private,” Lassiter says. “They don’t announce successes until they’re quite proven. And the failures are kept quiet.”
Except in Fisker’s case, money is on the line.
So bring on the D.C. politicians, to pounce on the Fisker “mistake” by the Obama administration.
This of course follows the failure of taxpayer-backed Solyndra.
“A few year ago, in terms of the political environment, it probably made good sense to get the economy going, to support clean technology,” says Daniel Sperling of the transportation institute at the University of California-Davis. “Right now, in Washington that appetite has been greatly suppressed.”
Suppressed, even though one loan recipient, Tesla, is thriving. Even though a free-market Republican president started this program.
The two coasts keep growing apart. Recently, automotive entrepreneurs spoke to federal auditors. They said negative publicity makes the energy department more risk averse.
So do regional differences affect how you view failure? Our Facebook fans weighed in:
How's this for symbolic? Arizona lawmakers have put their trust in gold and silver. The House passed a bill Monday that makes the precious metals legal currency.
That means people in Arizona with a little extra gold lying around will soon have an easier time spending it.
"This gives them the ability to use it as tender and have the same recognition as the paper dollar coming out of the Federal Reserve," said Republican State Sen. Chester Crandell.
Crandell sponsored the bill, which models a law Utah passed in 2011. It's also got a supporter in Mike Rowlands, a broker with Scottsdale Bullion & Coin. Rowlands said gold protects against a U.S. dollar that's losing value because of the federal government's growing debt.
"We know in the situation where we're at they continue to pump money in and pump money in, which eventually that game is going to end," Rowlands said.
Still, putting gold to work will be complicated. For one thing, prices fluctuate rapidly. A $50-gold piece on the table at Rowlands' Scottsdale office would sell for more than $1,500 at today's prices.
"You're not buying a loaf of bread with that," Rowlands said.
Businesses would be able to decide for themselves if they want to accept bullion as payment. Monica Heizenrader says she won't risk it. She said she's afraid of getting counterfeit coins. Heizenrader runs MacAlpine's Vintage Clothing Boutique in Phoenix. Her shop is full of expensive vintage sofas.
She says she can't afford to get scammed. "Eight hundred, a $1,000 on a piece of furniture, that will hurt a lot," she said.
There is talk of repositories where people can deposit gold and then draw down the balance with a debit card. But how that will work is still unclear. The bill's sponsor said details will come later.
So Heizenrader will stick to what she knows best.
"We take cash or credit," she said.
The war in Syria has torn families apart and driven millions out of the country, but it has also transformed some Syrians as they take on roles they never imagined. A 26-year-old woman from Homs has put her dream of teaching English literature on hold as she works with the opposition.
Thousands of supporters will descend on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. This time, as differences are worked out among interested parties, the optimism is more palpable than it was in past attempts.
We all know television is big business. And that how we get our television is possibly even more lucrative. Whether it's Netflix, Hulu, or HBO GO, innovations in broadcast are all the rage.
But there's one company that has TV executives tearing their hair out. It's called Aereo, and it's making a splash using a very old tool: the good old fashioned antenna.
Aereo grabs the broadcast networks' free-to-air signal and beams it to your iPad or computer. You as the consumer pay Aereo for the service. The broadcaster, however, does not get a slice.
"Supposedly there's a warehouse in Brooklyn full of tiny little sort of quarter-sized antennas," Kafka says. "You tell Aereo, 'hey I want to record something,' it tells one of these antennas."
That recording is then sent almost in realtime to your computer or tablet. Broadcasters call it piracy, but so far, courts have upheld Aereo's right to grab the free airwaves, in the same way consumers can use a personal antenna to watch TV.
Network executives are so perturbed, the COO of News Corp. told an industry conference, Monday, that it might take its subsidiary network Fox off the free TV airwaves altogether. Univision followed with a similar threat.
It's merely a threat, Kafka says. "This is the definition of saber rattling. Even if they wanted to take their ball and go home, they couldn't do so right away."
Univision acknowledged that going to cable-only would have a big impact on its viewership. In a press release the Spanish-language broadcaster noted that Hispanics watch free TV through an antenna at twice the rate of the average viewer.
So far, Aereo is available only in the New York City market. But it plans to roll out in 22 additional U.S. cities later this year. Interested consumers have two service plans to choose from, at a cost of $8 and $12 per month. Or $1 for a single day pass.
Whether the company can turn a profit on those supercharged rabbit ears remains to be seen.
"I'm not convinced this is a mainstream product," Kafka says. "Remember what they're doing is giving you access to broadcast TV, that's 4 or 5 major networks, and nothing else right now. I don't think most people who get cable TV would be satisfied with that."
The Louisville women haven't beaten UConn in 20 years — including a 22-point loss to the Huskies in the 2009 women's national championship game. And Connecticut breezed in their last matchup in January. But as any tournament watcher knows, January is ancient history when it comes to March — and April — madness.
On Election Day 2012, black voters waited on average nearly twice as long to vote as did whites. The wait time for Hispanics fell in between. While race may have played a role, a researcher suggests geography did, too.