Researchers in Barcelona have developed an electronic tongue that really knows the difference between a pilsner, a lager and a bock. It's still a prototype, but its creators say it could someday replace human taste-testers.
Today President Obama will announce seven of what the administration's calling climate hubs around the country. These hubs will collect data to help farmers, and others, deal with drought, fires, and floods. Marketplace's David Weinberg joined us to help explain how this is going to work.
"So there's not a lot of details yet on how they will work but basically the seven hubs and 3 sub hubs, will collect regional data on climate conditions and use that data to educate farmers and rural communities on how to deal with things like drought and changes in the growing season. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that droughts alone, from 2011-2013 cost the U.S. $50 billion. And the creation of these hubs is an example of the president's plan to bypass congress on certain issues, something he promised in his State of the Union speech last week."
And how will these hubs use this data to help rural communities?
We could see initiatives like we're seeing now in California which has been especially hard hit by drought. These are things like storm water capture projects or invasive pest control which have a big impact on the ag business. Data could help communities manage their water use and better develop systems for recycling water. The hubs would also study fire seasons which are getting longer and more severe as temperatures rise. And this is a sort of stepping stone to broader climate change legislation that the Obama administration would like to pass.
In a first for a major drugstore chain, CVS will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco beginning in October. That will wipe out an estimated $2 billion a year in sales, but CVS believes it can more than make up the difference by expanding services to promote better health.
Troy Brennan, Chief Medical Officer for CVS Caremark, joined us to talk about the company's decision.
"As a health care company, you just can't be selling the number one public health problem," Brennan says.
Click play on the audio player above to hear the whole interview.
The ADP National Employment Report shows slow but solid growth. But will Friday's survey from the Labor Department agree? A month ago, the two reports reached very different conclusions about job growth at the end of 2013.
Here's a place you wouldn't expect to find an award-winning app. A cattle farm in Scotland. The application is, yes, for cattle management. It was designed by teenagers as part of a contest put together by an organization called Apps for Good.
Judith Burns, a producer at the BBC's radio project called School Report, joined us to talk about it. Click play on the audio player above to hear the interview.
Police in Manhattan are telling New York news outlets that three men and one woman are in custody. It's thought they may have been involved in the distribution of heroin reportedly found in the apartment where the actor died over the weekend.
Years ago, the Conference Board sifted through pages and pages of classified help wanted ads in newspapers. They switched to online job sites in 2005, but the idea is the same: Scan through help wanted ads to get a picture of the jobs market.
“I’m using it because I’m particularly interested in how difficult it is to fill new job vacancies,” says Jonathan Rothwell, a labor analyst at Brookings, who has looked at data on math and computer science positions. “Those jobs are now almost as difficult to fill today as they were before the recession.”
But Rothwell says it’s still easy to fill lower-skilled jobs.
And economist June Shelp, a vice president at the Conference Board who developed the online job index, says she has found picky employers.
She says they used to hire community college graduates but, “Now they’re asking for somebody who has a graduate degree.”
The Conference Board isn’t the only game in town. Other private companies, and some states, are also crunching job site data.