Economy & Business

All Tech Considered
4:26 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

A City Turns To Lettuce Fields To Grow High-Tech Startups

A lettuce thinner created by an agricultural tech startup uses cameras and sensors to thin lettuce rows. Salinas, Calif., has hired a venture capital fund to help it attract other high-tech agricultural companies to the area.
Courtesy of Foothill Packing Inc.

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 7:46 pm

Salinas is just one hour south of California's Silicon Valley, but generations behind when it comes to technology. Many of its sprawling lettuce farms are stuck in the era of rakes and hoes.

City officials are hoping to change that — and also spur some job growth — by investing in high-tech agriculture.

At Taylor Farms in Salinas, Andrew Fernandez, the company's vice president of product, is stepping on heads of crunchy romaine lettuce, making his way over to a very big tractor. It's a water jet knife machine, and it's on the cutting edge of lettuce farming technology.

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The Salt
11:33 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Hold The Cheese: Israelis Sway Domino's To Make Vegan Pizza

Watch out Crazy Cheese: Vegan pizza is coming.
Dan Lev Domino's

In the U.S., Big Pizza is locked in a battle that's as much a testament to gluttony as it is to food science: How much cheese can you possibly stuff inside of wheat dough?

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Economy
11:21 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Why Congress Didn't Extend Unemployment Benefits

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 11:25 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Economy & Business
11:01 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Milwaukee Family Creates Popular 'HoodiePet'

HoodiePet was created by the Kempes, a Milwaukee family. This particular design is designer Alexia Kempe's favorite.
Credit hoodiepet.com

Lake Effect's Mitch Teich interviews Alexia and Louise Kempe, creators of HoodiePet.

Like Linus of Peanuts fame, many kids wish they could still hold onto their baby blankets, while still looking cool. A Milwaukee mom and her family have tapped into that desire and come up with one of the season's hot products.

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Economy
10:05 am
Thu December 19, 2013

The Washington Two-Step: Dancing Back To Normal

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., unveil a budget deal Dec. 10 in Washington.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 12:24 pm

Time and again, business leaders say the one thing they want out of Washington is more certainty.

But rarely do they get their wish.

In recent years, business owners have found themselves wondering whether their government would default on its debts, shut down national parks, change tax rules, cancel supplier contracts, confirm key leaders at federal agencies or hike interest rates.

Finally on Wednesday, they saw policymakers take two big steps toward a more certain future.

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Code Switch
8:35 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Immigrants Are Sending More Money Back To Less Poor Countries

amount of money exchanged through remittances in 2012 was larger than Apple's market capitalization (as of publication), South Africa's 2012 GDP and all official development assistance disbursed in 2011." href="/post/immigrants-are-sending-more-money-back-less-poor-countries" class="noexit lightbox">

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 1:54 pm

More and more people are sending money from places like the United States to places like the Dominican Republic, according to a new analysis from the Pew Research Center.

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Existing Home Sales Dip, But Prices Rise

A "sale pending" sign in front of a home in San Anselmo, Calif., earlier this year.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 9:33 am

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: The day's second major economic indicator is another good news/bad news report.

The good news is that prices of existing homes continue to rise, the National Association of Realtors says.

"The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $196,300 in November, up 9.4 percent from November 2012," according to NAR.

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Business
6:10 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Millions Of Credit Cards Affected By Data Breach At Target

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 11:08 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Target customers targeted.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: This is the story of a recent cyber-attack on Target customers around the country, which is now under investigation by the giant retailer. Over 1,500 stores may have been compromised, and at least one million customers. It's being described as one of the largest retail breaches to date. The credit card data was apparently stolen with software installed on the machines customers use to swipe their cards.

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The Two-Way
5:47 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Breach At Target Stores May Affect 40 Million Card Accounts

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 8:04 am

Target Corp. acknowledged early Thursday that there was a massive security breach of its customers' credit and debit card accounts starting the day before Thanksgiving and extending at least to Dec. 15 — the heart of the holiday shopping season.

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Around the Nation
4:20 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Scientists Charge BP Oil Spill 'Gravely' Injured Dolphins

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 11:08 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The BP oil spill turned out to be less disastrous than people feared at the beginning, but it still was a disaster, and the effects are still being felt. Dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico are getting very sick, we're told, from exposure to oil. For the first time, a government study confirms a host of problems in dolphins who live in one of Louisiana's bays worst affected. Here's NPR's Debbie Elliot.

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