Economy & Business

Business news

Oil #3: How Fracking Changed the World

Aug 17, 2016

The Planet Money oil gets put to a test by a lively trucker with his own centrifuge. He also shows us how to stay clean on a dirty job site. At the end of the episode, we make a deal to sell our oil with a middleman.

We also go visit the well that changed the oil world: S. H. Griffin Estate #4. That's where slickwater fracking began.

The U.S. Department of Transportation released a statistic on Wednesday that should surprise no one who flies: In the first six months of the year, nearly 1 in every 5 flights was delayed.

Flights can be delayed for reasons ranging from bad weather to mechanical problems, but airlines know delays are a problem.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Kai Ryssdal

Update: McDonald's announced it was removing the trackers from Happy Meals Thursday amid concerns the plastic band could irritate children's skin.

I'll preface by saying I know sometimes I come off as cynical, maybe too cynical.

It's not often in the midst of an antitrust fight that the public gets a look at the gamesmanship that's happening behind the scenes.

But thanks to the Huffington Post's Jonathan Cohn and Jeff Young, we got a glimpse at how health insurer Aetna is making its case to acquire rival Humana — and new insight into Aetna's decision announced Tuesday to pull out of Obamcare exchanges in 11 states.

Michelle Riley/The HSUS

Viewing and using animals as commodities is nothing new. From the fur trade to trophy hunting, from whaling to the wholesale farming of animals as food and leather, our relationship to our fellow animals has historically often been one of exploitation.

Distilling The Story Of California Wine, One Label At A Time

Aug 17, 2016

For the first half of the 20th century, nobody would have ever compared the wines of California's Napa Valley to the great wines of France.

"It's amazing when you think about it," says Amy Azzarito, online strategist at the University of California, Davis, library. "California wines were a joke for a long time. And they're not anymore."

The fight against the Zika virus has a new weapon: the genetically engineered mosquito. It's recently been approved by federal regulators and may soon be available in parts of the U.S. that are confronting the virus, like Puerto Rico and Miami.

The Florida Keys do not have a Zika problem at the moment, but on Aug. 5 the Food and Drug Administration approved trial releases of these mosquitoes in the Keys.


On today's show, we'll talk about expectations for the latest Fed minutes; the risks associated with natural gas production; and why there's a black market for maple syrup. 

This may be Obamacare’s biggest test

Aug 16, 2016
D Gorenstein

Aetna now joins UnitedHealth, Humana and others insurers in scaling back their involvement in healthcare exchanges.

“Aetna’s decision has a direct effect on competition in many parts of the country and it’s a bit of a red flag for the future,” said Larry Levitt with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Insurance giant Aetna will stop selling health insurance through most of the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act in 2017 because the company said it is losing money in many of those markets.

On Monday, Aetna said it will sell individual insurance policies in only 242 counties in four states, down almost 70 percent from the 778 counties in 15 states where the company markets Obamacare plans this year.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Comedy Central is canceling The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore after Thursday's episode.

The announcement came as a surprise Monday with the network cutting loose the politically conscious show a few months before the presidential election.

In a statement, Comedy Central credited Wilmore and his staff with generating conversations "by addressing social issues of great importance to the country, always challenging people's attitudes, perceptions and bias."

Trump calls for "extreme vetting" and more sanctions

Aug 15, 2016
Kim Adams and Molly Wood

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is calling for more thorough vetting of immigrants and visitors to the United States, including ideological tests. In a foreign policy speech Monday in Youngstown, Ohio, Trump also called for an end to the foreign policy of “nation building”, citing the Iraq war as an example of how the policy went wrong.

New paper chase: law school for non-lawyers

Aug 15, 2016
Avi Wolfman-Arent

Hospitals can be noisy places, children’s hospitals especially. But at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in North Philadelphia, there’s one sound that cuts through the din: the clack of Cheryl Kettinger’s heels as she makes her rounds.

“People always say to me 'I hear you coming,'” said Kettinger.

Doctors and nurses may prefer flats and clogs. But Kettinger isn’t a doctor or a nurse. She’s a law school graduate. She’s also not a lawyer. Her area is compliance. She helps interpret medical law and create company guidelines so people don’t break those laws.