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  • Hosted by Kai Ryssdal

A daily program about business and finance, it's a fresh way of reporting business & finance subjects to the general listener. Putting a human face on the global economy, the program illuminates the ways that international business and finance relate to listeners' daily lives.

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Marketplace for Thursday, May 28, 2015

3 hours ago

PODCAST: Combating algae blooms

13 hours ago
David Brancaccio

The Government latest assessment of economic growth is due tomorrow morning. More on what we might expect from that report. Plus, the EPA issued new rules this week clarifying which streams and smaller waterways fall under federal protection. Among other things, the new rules will address fertilizer runoff which contributes to algae blooms. Lake Erie has been especially hard hit and NOAA is issuing experimental early season forecasts of blooms in that region. Plus, in California, tobacco taxes are used to pay for preschool and other early childhood services.

Predicting algae levels on Lake Erie

14 hours ago
David Brancaccio

Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association are hoping to arm communities with resources in the event of another water crisis on Lake Erie this summer. 

Algae blooms, caused by excessive phosphorus from pollutants like farm fertilizers, made water in the Toledo area undrinkable last summer. When the algae die, they produce a toxin, which can make water unsafe to drink. 

“These blooms, cynobacteria, they like it hot. They don't grow very well when it's cold,” says Richard Stumpf, a NOAA oceanographer. 

The long arms of the right to be forgotten

14 hours ago
Sabri Ben-Achour

A year ago, a European Court said people had a right to demand Google take down certain search results about them. The right to be forgotten was born.

“That idea is spreading in some areas,” says Jennifer Granick, Director of Civil Liberties for the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.

Most recently, Google is challenging a ruling by Mexican authorities that Google Mexico must remove embarrassing—but true—search results about a prominent businessman there.

Justice department moves on FIFA corruption

May 27, 2015
Kai Ryssdal, Alberta Cross and Robert Garrova

Early this morning Zurich time, Swiss police arrested seven top officials from FIFA, the international organization governing soccer. What’s more, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced today that the Department of Justice will indict some FIFA executives, including former Vice President Jack Warner.   

“They corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and to enrich themselves,” Lynch said in a statement. The U.S. charges include racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud.

After purchase, Re/code gets Vox's secret weapon

May 27, 2015
Nova Safo

In purchasing the tech news site Re/code, Vox Media is adding to its portfolio of news sites — and giving Re/code access to its "secret weapon."

Much has been made of Vox's content management system, Chorus. Most online news outfits have systems that are chaotic behind the scenes thanks to decades of updates and adjustments, says newspaper industry analyst Ken Doctor.

Marketplace for Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May 27, 2015

Giving every kid a computer and a connection

May 27, 2015
Adrienne Hill

When VIDA Middle School in Vista, California, received a grant to hand every one of its 680 students an iPad with a free 4G connection, parents were excited.

VIDA Principal Eric Chagala They were also a little nervous.

"We have a large population of students who walk," says Principal Eric Chagala. "The fear was, you are putting a $700 or $800 device in my 11-year-old's hand, and they have to get home."

In Texas floods, homeowners count the cost

May 27, 2015
Nova Safo

Floods in Oklahoma and Texas have claimed lives and destroyed numerous homes.

Rebuilding those homes and reimbursing homeowners will take months, if not a year or more. But some of those homeowners may not get all the help they will need, because they don't have flood insurance.

In Wimberley, a vacation town in between San Antonio and Austin which is situated on a river that rose 40 feet, flood waters washed away hundreds of homes and businesses.

Texas floods have business owners singing the blues

May 26, 2015
Kai Ryssdal and Alberta Cross

Flooding has disrupted life for many in the Lone Star State. Kellie Moore was at her bakery in Austin yesterday when the water levels began to rise.

"It was crazy," Moore told Kai Ryssdal. "I looked in the back room and I noticed that water was coming through the building ... [I] was trying to sop it up, but then it started coming into the kitchen and into the front of our showroom, and there was no way to stop the water."

Press the play button above to hear more of Kellie's story. 

Kai Ryssdal

This story comes as, I guess you might say, a mea culpa for the aspersions I cast on millennials the other day.

Maybe this'll ring a bell: 

Marketplace for Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 26, 2015
Amy Scott

On a spring morning at Oyler Community Learning Center, in Cincinnati, Ohio, an announcement comes over the PA system: "Would the following students please report to the cafeteria..." It sounds like someone's in trouble.

But, it's just the opposite. They're being summoned for a  donut breakfast — a reward for making the honor roll, or missing no more than two days of school during the quarter.

PODCAST: Beers and board games

May 26, 2015
David Brancaccio

The guy behind the guy at Apple gets a promotion. Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson explains. Plus, Bernie Sanders officially kicks off his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the presidency on Tuesday. The senator from Vermont describes himself as a “Democratic Socialist”.  We report that while some see socialism as an improbable platform for a U.S.

Where everybody knows your game

May 26, 2015
Elaine Jones

Geek culture is having a bit of a moment. Superheroes are smashing box office records. Comic conventions have become national news. Now, gamers are getting their very own bars. A new pub in Savannah, Georgia is offering a place to throw back a few drinks while you battle it out in video or board games.

Walking into the Chromatic Dragon feels like entering most bars — at first. You decide if you want to sit at the bar or get a table; inside or out. A friendly employee approaches, but he’s not a server. He’s a "game master."

Here's why we care about durable goods

May 26, 2015
Nova Safo

Why do we care about the durable goods report, which the U.S. Census Bureau publishes each month to tell us how big-ticket item sales are going? Let Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, explain: "We get lots of information about what businesses are saying, but they don't always do what they say they're going to do." 

The durable goods report, Shepherdson says, is a hard-data antidote to that problem. "The one thing that businesses don't do if they're worried about the future is invest large amounts in new equipment."

Vista Theatre is a one-screen wonder

May 25, 2015
Adrienne Hill and Bridget Bodnar

There aren’t a whole lot of 92-year-old theaters left in the country. For the Vista Theatre in Hollywood, success means walking a fine line: adapt to the changing times while holding on to the motif from days gone by. With just one screen, there’s not a lot of room for error.

Marketplace for Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25, 2015

A shot of 'America's native spirit'

May 25, 2015

During the course of writing his book, “Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of American Whiskey,” Reid Mitenbuler learned a lot about “America’s native spirit,” as it’s known.

According to Mitenbuler — contrary to what you might assume from looking at bottle labels — today’s bourbons aren’t all made by bearded men wearing overalls.

“By the year 2000 you have eight companies, 13 plants, and they make about 99 percent of all the whiskey in America,” Mitebuler says.

Your funeral home may be ripping you off

May 25, 2015
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

Every year, the Federal Trade Commission conducts an undercover investigation to make sure funeral homes are following the FTC’s funeral rule to give customers a price list immediately and to not sell unnecessary, unwanted services.

PODCAST: Show me the money, airlines

May 25, 2015
Matt Nesto

Asian stocks spring while most of the world's stock takes a breather. More on that. Plus, lower fuel prices have translated into huge savings for airline companies. Very little of those savings are being passed along to customers. So, what are the airlines doing with all of that money? And on a quest to invent a smart smoker, a Harvard engineering class is partnering with Williams Sonoma. We check in on their results.

Cheaper fuel, cheaper flights. But not for you.

May 25, 2015
Sabri Ben-Achour

A gallon of jet fuel will cost you around $1.66 a gallon these days. That’s down 40 percent from what it was this time last year.

At Harvard, even the meat smoker is smart

May 25, 2015
Sam Kaplan

On a quest to invent a smart smoker, a junior-year Harvard engineering class partnering with Williams-Sonoma has smoked more than 200 pounds of brisket over the last few months. 

It isn't hard to find the class — the mesquite aroma leads right to teaching assistant Peyton Nesmith. The Alabama native is tending a 300-pound, black hour-glass-shaped ceramic smoker. The contraption is covered with wires, gadgets and gizmos.

An up-close look at the brisket Nesmith is cooking. (Eliza Grinnell/Harvard SEAS) 

Marketplace for Friday, May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015

Why the CPI doesn't figure in the Fed's calculations

May 22, 2015
Tim Fitzsimons

The Consumer Price Index rose by 0.1 percent last month, according to figures out Friday. You could think of it as one more piece of evidence in the "no inflation" pile.

The CPI is used for a variety of things, particularly in adjusting rent and wages, as well as "in private contracts to escalate values of money ... by the government ... to adjust social security, and so forth," says Steve Reed, an economist at the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics who works on the CPI.

Marketplace Weekend Staff

On the next episode of Marketplace Weekend, we're looking at your money across the years.

We want to know: What's the first thing you ever saved up to buy?

Send us your memories of your first purchases and how much they cost. 

PODCAST: Disappearing grocery stores

May 22, 2015
Noel King

The guessing game over when interest rates will go up ... continues. More on that. Plus, we all know what a 'leap year' is, but what about a 'leap second'? On June 30th, an extra second will be added to the world's clocks to make up for the discord between the earth's rotation and the clocks we humans use. And while it may not seem like much, it's a big deal to the world's markets. Plus, residents in the struggling city of Flint, Michigan, have seen their share of hardship over the years.

Hillary's new LinkedIn résumé

May 21, 2015
Tim Fitzsimons

Hillary Clinton is not the first person to get on LinkedIn — about 115 million Americans joined before her.  Nor is she the first 2016 contender. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and others already have profiles there.

"The difference between Hillary Clinton and every single other candidate running, including Jeb Bush, is she has universal recognition already," says Larry Sabato, the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. 

This argument is similar to the one being made by her campaign. They say everyone knows her name, but few know the real Hillary.

Blake Farmer

The number of farmers markets has more than quadrupled over the last 20 years, according to the USDA. The trouble has become defining what a farmers market is.

One of the country’s larger markets is going through a painful process of purging vendors who don’t meet a new “producer-only” standard.

“There’s nothing here. There’s no farmers,” retiree Walter Gentry says with a laugh, which echoes through the empty sheds of the Nashville Farmers’ Market. “I thought I could get some peaches here.”