Marketplace - American Public Media

PODCAST: The cost of concussions

Thu, 2014-05-29 09:09
Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 09:47 Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

This really might not be enough to prevent a concussion.

There's a big rush to reduce concussions in sports. But the technology has yet to catch up with the demand

Ever wonder why public radio sometimes feels a little like a classroom? Well there's a reason. More from our new LearningCurve series

Marketplace Morning Report for Thursday May 29, 2014 Hosted By Stacey Vanek SmithPodcast Title 05-29-14 Marketplace Mid-day Update: The cost of concussionsStory Type BlogSyndication PMPApp Respond No

Curveball: Celebrity musicians and online education

Thu, 2014-05-29 08:37
Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 11:33 iStockPhoto <a href="http://marketplaceapm.polldaddy.com/s/digital-music">View Survey</a> by Dan AbendscheinSyndication PMPApp Respond NoBranded story type Curveball

Curveball: Celebrity musicians and online education

Thu, 2014-05-29 08:33
<a href="http://marketplaceapm.polldaddy.com/s/digital-music">View Survey</a>

How maternity jeans and T-shirts led to Juicy Couture

Thu, 2014-05-29 07:32

The Juicy Couture brand is probably best known for the brightly colored tracksuits that were favored by celebrities in the early 2000s. But athletic wear wasn’t what Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor had in mind when they started the brand -- a story they tell in a new book, “The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned It Into a Global Brand”.

Skaist-Levy says the two knew they wanted to make a ready-to-wear line together:“So we set out to create the perfect T-shirt. We’re really not into disposable clothes, we love things to last,  [to] get better and better as you wash them.”

To the pair, the perfect T-shirt was “buttery, buttery, buttery soft. We love soft,” says Skaist-Levy.

In the beginning, those T-shirts were branded with the tagline, “Made in the Glamorous USA.”

“In the beginning, what’s crazy is that everything we made, every bit of cotton, everything, came from the U.S., came from the Carolinas,” says Nash-Taylor. “Today, you couldn’t do that. You just couldn’t, none of those mills even exist anymore.”

Listen to the full interview above to hear more from the Juicy Couture founders including why maternity jeans were so important to their first collection; how they spent that first $200; and what it was like to sell their company at the height of its popularity.

JuicyCouture.com

PODCAST: The cost of concussions

Thu, 2014-05-29 06:47

There's a big rush to reduce concussions in sports. But the technology has yet to catch up with the demand

Ever wonder why public radio sometimes feels a little like a classroom? Well there's a reason. More from our new LearningCurve series

Apple bought Beats headphones. Now what?

Thu, 2014-05-29 06:00

Apple has two new employees on board after deciding to buy music brand Beats Electronics yesterday for $3 billion dollars. One of them you probably know -- rapper Dr. Dre, the other probably not.

Music executive Jimmy Iovine is less of a name and more of a music visionary -- or at least that’s what Apple hopes. What Iovine brings to the company first and foremost is that he’s a music industry superstar. He’s worked with Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon, U2 and 50 Cent. He knows people and people know him. He’s got a reputation in the industry as a business guy who can relate to artists and creative types. And the thinking is that he will help Apple hammer out new deals.

He’s also seen as innovative. He helped launch the Interscope Records label that promoted gangster rap in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Iovine also got artists to market clothes and electronics -- the Beats headphones with Dr. Dre is a perfect example.

One important question is what Iovine can do to help Apple make more of a name for itself in the online music subscription service world dominated by the likes of Spotify and Pandora. Beats does bring with it a music streaming service, with 250,000 subscribers. Of course that’s modest compared to Spotify’s 10 million.

Jackdaw analyst Jan Dawson says, really, what Apple is buying is someone who has a natural gift for understanding what consumers want.

“Steve Jobs had great instincts in that area too. But obviously since his departure that’s fallen to other people and Apple has a very capable set of executives but they don’t have somebody with that same instinctive relationship with music who can really understand what it is that people want and how they are going to buy it,” he says.

Apple is betting if you match Iovine with Apple’s resources, they’ll find some way to make beautiful music together.

Want faster internet connection? Go to the moon.

Thu, 2014-05-29 04:34
Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 04:38 David DeHetre / Creative Commons

So it's made out of cheese AND is a wi-fi hot spot?

If you're frustrated by a slow wi-fi connection you could consider moving...

...to the moon.

Scientists from NASA and MIT have developed a way to create a wi-fi hotspot on the moon and the speed is faster than an earth-connection. Scientists say the signal could be used to transfer large amounts of data or even stream hi-definition video....no buffering.

Maybe someday we can get that here on earth.

Marketplace Morning Report for Thursday May 29, 2014Hosted By Stacey Vanek SmithStory Type BlogSyndication PMPApp Respond No

Hosting the Olympics and coming away with a profit? Imagine that. Three cities that bucked the trend

Thu, 2014-05-29 02:59
Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 03:30 Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the Coastal Cluster Olympic Village ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on February 5, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

With such high costs, it's seemingly miraculous that any chosen location manages to turn a profit. Yet, some manage to do so. Here are three cities that managed to come out of their hosting stint on top:

Getty Images

1. Los Angeles - Surplus: $232.5 Million

The west coast city managed to end the games with a $232.5 million surpluss due to smart planning -- like revamping old facilities as opposed to building new ones -- and budgeting. The design teams also used cheaper materials typically associated with temporary tents. You can read more about how L.A. pulled it off here.

Michael Smith/Newsmakers

2. Salt Lake City - Surplus: $56 Million

Salt Lake City donated about $30 million of their profits to the Utah Athletic Foundation.

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

3.  Atlanta - Surplus: $10 Million

Aside from finishing in the black, Atlanta also benefitted from converting one of its Olympic stadiums into a facility for baseball.

Marketplace Morning Report for Thursday May 29, 2014by Tobin LowStory Type BlogSyndication PMPApp Respond No

The Sochi Effect and the unwanted Olympics

Thu, 2014-05-29 02:36

The number of countries bidding to host the 2022 Winter Olympics is dropping fast. Call it the Sochi effect -- this year’s winter games hosted in Russia, which cost a crushing $51 billion. 

Poland was the most recent country to drop its bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Voters soundly rejected the idea in a referendum. Switzerland, Sweden and Germany were all former contenders, but they too have dropped their bids.

"It’s not like the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny just dropped a buttload of money in your lap," says University of Chicago’s Allen Sanderson says countries lose money because the games are run by a monopoly -- the International Olympic Committee. "Countries tend to lose money on these things."

Ukraine, Norway, Kazahkstan and China all say they’re still interested in hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.

But not all host cities come away from their hosting gig with massive debt. Here are three cities that bucked the trend

The cost of concussions

Thu, 2014-05-29 02:30

The White House hosts a summit Thursday about the perils of concussions in youth sports.

Researchers have been racing to find a fix, but gels and extra padding in helmets may not do the trick.

“Helmets stop skull fractures," says professor Dennis Molfese at the University of Nebraska's Developmental Brain Laboratory. "But we think it’s the primary rotation movement to the head that produces the concussion.” 

He’s working with electrodes to diagnose concussions. Other academics experiment with blood samples or voice patterns that can reflect brain damage. But it will be years before any reach the market.

Sports teams have an economic incentive to find a solution. The NFL is finalizing a more than $700 million settlement, which was rejected by a judge earlier this year, related to ex-players’ brain injuries. And experts anticipate more concussion-related law suits at all levels of the game.

Want faster internet connection? Go to the moon.

Thu, 2014-05-29 01:38

If you're frustrated by a slow wi-fi connection you could consider moving...

...to the moon.

Scientists from NASA and MIT have developed a way to create a wi-fi hotspot on the moon and the speed is faster than an earth-connection. Scientists say the signal could be used to transfer large amounts of data or even stream hi-definition video....no buffering.

Maybe someday we can get that here on earth.

Law & Order: tech edition

Thu, 2014-05-29 01:00

For those who have spent an entire day on the couch letting Netflix dominate the tv or laptop screen, binge watching is not such a new phenomenon. Artist Jeff Thompson is certainly no stranger to the concept: he has watched all 456 episodes of the original Law & Order franchise. But unlike the rest of us, he was getting paid to do it.

That's because Thompson received a grant from Rhizome to track the use of technology throughout the show's 20 year history. The fact that the show thrived on being "ripped from the headlines" (i.e. as current as possible), produced a weekly episode, and ran for such a long time make it a particularly useful series for such a project. 

Aside from maintaining a blog of screenshots of every computer that makes an appearance on the show, Thompson used the opportunity to track other technology-related data. For example, he maintained a list of every URL used throughout the series, as well as a chart that tracked the parallels between the drop off of computer useage on the show in tandem with the burst of the dot-com bubble. The chart below shows the number of computers used per season, while the following chart tracks the closing price of the Nasdaq (in light grey) over the same years.

A chart of the computer count in every episode of Law & Order

The light grey portion charts the closing price of the Nasdaq

Thompson also saw an opportunity to track the evolution of our attitude towards technology as well. In the beginning of the series, computers generally sat in a corner, eventually making their way onto individual's desks as their use became more ubiquitous. It's these minute details that really interested Thompson. He points out that while a lot of people document and write about the history of technology, the seemingly boring details are not as thoroughly documented. In fact, when asked about his favorite bit of technology in the series, he points to a pretty mundane piece of furniture: the computer desk. 

How marriage contributes to inequality

Thu, 2014-05-29 01:00

Prior to the 1960s, it wasn't unusual for a college-educated man to marry a woman with earnings that were significantly less than his -- or a woman who earned nothing at all.

Over time, as more women entered college, a pattern of "assortative mating" began to emerge. Research shows that, beginning in the 1960s, college-educated men became more likely to marry women who were also college-educated. Income is highly correlated to education, leading to the growth of double-income households that earn more then their less-well-educated peers. Some researchers though, warn that structural factors like taxation and the shrinkage of labor unions are far more pertinent when discussing the rise of inequality in 21st century America. 

Hosting the Olympics and coming away with a profit? Imagine that. Three cities that bucked the trend

Thu, 2014-05-29 00:30

With such high costs, it's seemingly miraculous that any chosen location manages to turn a profit. Yet, some manage to do so. Here are three cities that managed to come out of their hosting stint on top:

Getty Images

1. Los Angeles - Surplus: $232.5 Million

The west coast city managed to end the games with a $232.5 million surpluss due to smart planning -- like revamping old facilities as opposed to building new ones -- and budgeting. The design teams also used cheaper materials typically associated with temporary tents. You can read more about how L.A. pulled it off here.

Michael Smith/Newsmakers

2. Salt Lake City - Surplus: $56 Million

Salt Lake City donated about $30 million of their profits to the Utah Athletic Foundation.

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

3.  Atlanta - Surplus: $10 Million

Aside from finishing in the black, Atlanta also benefitted from converting one of its Olympic stadiums into a facility for baseball.

Public radio's teachable moment

Wed, 2014-05-28 23:32

If public radio sometimes feels a little like a classroom—and we all know it does – there’s a reason.

Or, at least, a convenient excuse.

Public radio got its start in schools. “Broadcasting began in the U.S., largely on university campuses in engineering departments,’’ said Michele Hilmes, a professor of media and cultural studies at the University of Wisconsin- Madison.  “People were experimenting with radio and building radio sets.” 

By the mid-1920s, those engineering experiments were becoming stations, and broadcasting educational programs. 

The earliest programs were aimed mainly at homemakers and farmers.  Later, said Hilmes, the stations “got into schoolroom broadcasts, where kids in schools could actually listen to things that related to their lessons.” 

Dozens of state universities, departments of education and school boards created shows for kids. 

In Cleveland, for instance,  WBOE was licensed to the local board of education in 1938 (hence the BOE).  The station broadcast instructional programming for nearly 40 years, beginning in the morning—like the school day— and ending in mid-afternoon. 

John Basalla,  an archivist with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, says schools had radios made specially to pick up only WBOE’s frequency.

WHA now a part of Wisconsin Public Radio — had one of the most active “schools of the air.” There were music classes.  Drama classes.  Nature classes. (Check out their 1943 programming schedule. )

The idea was simple.  Broadcasting would transform education by making it possible for students to learn from great teachers wherever they were—so long as there was a radio in the classroom.

There was hype. Hope.

And a lot of money.

Check out these photos and captions from the 1952 book Teaching Through Radio and Television.

Levenson and Stasheff, Teaching through Radio and Television, 1952

But, the revolution never came. Lots of schools didn’t have radios. Those that did, often had trouble coordinating regular lessons with those on the radio.  And many of the shows just weren’t that good. “If you talk to old practitioners in public broadcasting,  they actually use ‘educational radio’ as a pejorative,” said Josh Shepperd, a media studies professor at Catholic University, in Washington, DC.

Commercial broadcasters also took a crack at the classroom.  CBS had the American School of the Air;  NBC broadcast the Music Appreciation Hour.  “The best and most effective educational broadcasts did come out of the networks,” Sheppard said.  But there wasn’t enough money in it, to keep them interested.  Broadcasting education shows to school kids just wasn’t sustainable for commercial radio.

Gradually, public stations that stayed on the air started making better shows.  They started making radio less -geared to students sitting, listening, in circles. 

And more for learners like us.

We’ve got more on the history of radio in the classroom here

Seven more fun facts about the history of public radio

Wed, 2014-05-28 23:22

We’ve got the audio piece and the 1951 map of instructional radio stations across the country. But there’s only so much ground they can cover. Here are more cool things to know about the history of radio as an education technology.

The hype was huge. In his 1932 book, Radio: The Assistant Teacher, Benjamin Darrow (who founded the Ohio School of the Air) wrote: "The central and dominant aim of education by radio is to bring the world to the classroom, to make universally available the services of the finest teachers, the inspiration of the greatest leaders... and unfolding events which through the radio may come as a vibrant and challenging textbook of the air."

Stations named themselves after their educational missions. At WABE in Atlanta, the ABE stands for Atlanta Board of Education. The BE in WBEZ (Chicago) stands for Board of Education. Bonus points to anyone who knows what the Z stands for.  Do we need to tell you what Cleveland’s WBOE stood for?  And you might think that the “ED” in KQED stands for “education”?  Turns out KQED comes from the Latin quod erat demonstrandum, “which was to be demonstrated.”

Some classroom-broadcasts were… live. Check out this archival broadcast from WBOE.  Around 0:40, there’s an example of why there’s nothing like live radio.  The clip comes courtesy of John Basalla, archivist at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

It wasn’t all about listening.  Worksheets came with many of the lessons. Here’s one that went  with the radio show “Good Health to You”,  from WBOE in Cleveland.  We found it in Teaching through Radio and Television,  published in 1952,  by William Levenson and Edward Stasheff. Teaching Through Radio and Television, Levenson, 1952

Educational broadcasting was college material.  Ohio State University offered a college class in “Education by Radio” in 1930.  Bonus points for anyone that can dig up a syllabus for us.

Public radio almost got left behind.  The Public Broadcasting Act of 196, which created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, was originally the Public Television Act of 1967.  Jack Mitchell wrote a great history of how radio finagled it’s way into the legislation over on Current.org.  The story includes Scotch-taping the word “radio” into the law at the last minute.

We want to know what else we should add to this list.  We know you’ll write. From 1930 to 1940 radio listeners sent approximately 225,000,000 fan letters to radio stations. 

Putting public radio on the map

Wed, 2014-05-28 23:14

Where did your public-radio station come from? If it acquired a license in the 1940s or 1950s, there's a good chance it was started for instructional purposes. Many stations created educational programming that was used by students in the classroom. 

As reporter Adriene Hill chronicles in her story on the roots of public radio, over-the-air education fizzled out after television came along.

The map above shows nearly 100 radio stations that had been granted a broadcasting license as of 1951. They include universities, school boards, trade schools and even a public library. The stations were required to have an educational purpose. It could be anything from teaching broadcasting,  to creating programs to be used in the classroom (some stations broadcast only during school hours), to simply playing classical music (apparently it had more to teach us than other types of music).

The red markers show stations that are now defunct; the green ones  are still broadcasting; and yellow is for stations broadcasting under different call letters.

By clicking on a marker, you can read a little more about the station's history

 In general, most stations that were run by school boards are gone. Many of the stations that were licensed to universities have become NPR member stations, and are only nominally affiliated with the institution that was granted the license.

At the college level,  there are still some student-run stations and some are still creating instructional material.  There are even a few high-school radio stations that have survived.

We know there's a lot more public-radio history that we've missed, so please fill us in.  We'd also love to hear from you if your station is not on the map, but was founded for over-the-air instruction.

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How did 'driverless' cars become 'self-driving' cars, and should we be worried?

Wed, 2014-05-28 19:51

A futurist named Brad Templeton got mad at me some months ago. We don't say "driverless cars" anymore, he told me with a hint of scolding in his voice. We say "self-driving" cars.

OK, I thought. I didn't know the computer-navigated cars had feelings. But as much as the moment felt like a weird discussion of political correctness on behalf of sensors and data-crunching algorithms, it also made some sense to me. After all, it is true that the cars are being driven. Just not by humans. So, fair enough, I thought, and made the switch. Ever since then I've called them by the preferred nomenclature. 

But now that Google has released a new self-driving car prototype, I'm thinking more about it. While self-driving maybe more accurate than driverless, there's a lot more that comes with that, right? Driverless suggests unhinged. Nobody at the helm. A carriage out of control. But self-driving suggests independent, efficient--even magical. A self-driving car is something we want, because it does the work for us. 

Could it be then, that this is really about marketing? The new self-driving prototype we got to see this week has some interesting changes from past vehicles: no brake pedals and no steering wheel. It doesn't look like a car really, either. It's more of a pod. Maybe it's an owl. Whatever it is, it looks like its own thing, and that is also part of the plan. Because if you started seeing Priuses driving around without anyone in the driver's seat, you might not feel so good about it. Like some of Google's other recent inventions, this thing makes some of us a little nervous. If you've been keeping up with HBO's show "Silicon Valley," you might have caught the scene where the cowardly Jared gets screwed by a self-driving car's malfunctioning computer.

 

It's a really funny bit, in part because that feeling of helplessness hits so close to home. None of us want to be in the backseat, do we? This is America gosh darn it. Where we want the right to benefit from the endless permutations of human error. An even more cynical way of saying it, according to the unnamed futurist: We'd rather let drunk drivers kill people on the road than even entertain the thought of letting a computer do it at what is likely to be a far lower rate.

If you can't tell already, I support the idea of self-driving cars. I think they'll make our world more efficient, less polluting, and safer. But that doesn't mean I will ignore the possibility that we're being sold a product; that we're being conditioned. Words and designs carry meaning, and these vehicles are no different. That meaning is born in motivations both virtuous and unnerving. If you think companies like Google aren't thinking about how to deliver us video advertisements once we can all kick back and veg out during the road trip, you're not being cynical enough. So I'll do it--I'll call them self-driving cars. But I'll also leave you with another scene I'm reminded of while mulling all of this. It's from the movie "Wall-E," and it's a fate I hope we avoid.

 

How did 'driverless' cars become 'self-driving' cars, and should we be worried?

Wed, 2014-05-28 19:51

A futurist named Brad Templeton got mad at me some months ago. We don't say "driverless cars" anymore, he told me with a hint of scolding in his voice. We say "self-driving" cars.

OK, I thought. I didn't know the computer-navigated cars had feelings. But as much as the moment felt like a weird discussion of political correctness on behalf of sensors and data-crunching algorithms, it also made some sense to me. After all, it is true that the cars are being driven. Just not by humans. So, fair enough, I thought, and made the switch. Ever since then I've called them by the preferred nomenclature. 

But now that Google has released a new self-driving car prototype, I'm thinking more about it. While self-driving maybe more accurate than driverless, there's a lot more that comes with that, right? Driverless suggests unhinged. Nobody at the helm. A carriage out of control. But self-driving suggests independent, efficient--even magical. A self-driving car is something we want, because it does the work for us. 

Could it be then, that this is really about marketing? The new self-driving prototype we got to see this week has some interesting changes from past vehicles: no brake pedals and no steering wheel. It doesn't look like a car really, either. It's more of a pod. Maybe it's an owl. Whatever it is, it looks like its own thing, and that is also part of the plan. Because if you started seeing Priuses driving around without anyone in the driver's seat, you might not feel so good about it. Like some of Google's other recent inventions, this thing makes some of us a little nervous. If you've been keeping up with HBO's show "Silicon Valley," you might have caught the scene where the cowardly Jared gets screwed by a self-driving car's malfunctioning computer.

 

It's a really funny bit, in part because that feeling of helplessness hits so close to home. None of us want to be in the backseat, do we? This is America gosh darn it. Where we want the right to benefit from the endless permutations of human error. An even more cynical way of saying it, according to the unnamed futurist: We'd rather let drunk drivers kill people on the road than even entertain the thought of letting a computer do it at what is likely to be a far lower rate.

If you can't tell already, I support the idea of self-driving cars. I think they'll make our world more efficient, less polluting, and safer. But that doesn't mean I will ignore the possibility that we're being sold a product; that we're being conditioned. Words and designs carry meaning, and these vehicles are no different. That meaning is born in motivations both virtuous and unnerving. If you think companies like Google aren't thinking about how to deliver us video advertisements once we can all kick back and veg out during the road trip, you're not being cynical enough. So I'll do it--I'll call them self-driving cars. But I'll also leave you with another scene I'm reminded of while mulling all of this. It's from the movie "Wall-E," and it's a fate I hope we avoid.

 

Apple confirms it will buy Beats for $3 billion

Wed, 2014-05-28 14:00

Apple on Wednesday confirmed the previously-reported acquisition of Beats Electronics for $3 billion. The deal will make Dr. Dre even wealthier.

And the $3 billion price tag for the headphone and streaming music company is also the equivalent of...

10,001,666

Beats Studio headphones.

103,448,275

 Apple ear buds.

300,300,300

Copies of Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" available on iTunes.

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