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Snoop Dogg Touts Hot Pockets

Oct 16, 2012

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Today's last word in business is: pocket like it's hot.

SNOOP DOG: I just heat it up to eat it up.

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In many American communities, buying a home is now less expensive than renting. And with the economics tilting in favor of homeownership, many first-time buyers are jumping into the market.

After eight years of renting, Kitsy Roberts and her husband, Janko Williams, are practically giddy about their new Seattle home. And like proud parents, they are eager to show it off, from its historic details to its fresh paint.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

Yesterday millions of people watched a man free fall from 24 miles above earth, breaking the sound barrier, and then watched as Felix Baumgartner glided down into the New Mexico desert.

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

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NPR's business news starts with a telecom mega deal.

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And our last word in business today, is supersonic.

A space jump and the brand behind it mesmerized viewers yesterday.

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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And I'm Renee Montagne.

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The U.S. economy will keep growing throughout the year and next, but at a sluggish rate, according to a new survey from the National Association of Business Economists.

NPR's Ailsa Chang reports the forecast doesn't have much bright news for the job market.

Over the past decade, Chinese companies have become major players in the global telecommunications market. This week the House Intelligence Committee issued a report that could interrupt that growth. The committee warned American companies not to do business with two of China's main telecom manufacturers, saying they posed a security threat.

Huawei Technologies is the miracle story of the Chinese high-tech industry, says telecommunications consultant Roger Entner.

Willow Tufano became a homeowner earlier this year. This was newsworthy because Willow was 14 years old. She raised money to buy the house by selling stuff on Craigslist.

I spoke to Willow again last week and got an update. She's 15 now, and her life over the past few months was sort of surreal. She got caught up in two dramas: America's housing market and America's media circus.

A life well-worth noting has caught the attention of obituary writers:

-- "Andrew F. Brimmer, a Louisiana sharecropper's son who was the first black member of the Federal Reserve Board and who led efforts to to reverse the country's balance-of-payments deficit, died on Sunday in Washington. He was 86." (The New York Times)

"U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly rose to its highest in five years in October as consumers became more optimistic about the economy in a possible boost to President Obama's reelection hopes," Reuters reports.

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NPR's business news starts with rules of engagement.

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INSKEEP: Last night, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta issued these words of warning: foreign cyber actors - he said - are probing America's critical infrastructure networks.

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A new kind of crop is being planted in the United States, and it doesn't require any land or fertilizer. Farming it improves the environment, and it can be used in a number of ways. So what is this miracle cash crop of the future?

It's seaweed.

Charlie Yarish, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut, loves seaweed. In nature, he says, when seaweed turns a rich chocolate color, that means the plant is picking up nitrogen, a process called nutrient bioextraction.

Gangnam Style is, among other things, a high-tech, sophisticated export.

Yes, the video is totally crazy and awesome. But this is not some viral fluke. South Korea has been building up to this moment for 20 years.

Here are three reasons South Korean pop music is taking over the world:

Here's an astonishing fact: Half of America's mushrooms are grown in one tiny corner of southeastern Pennsylvania, near the town of Kennett Square.

But why? It's not as though this place has some special advantage of climate or soil, the kind of thing that led to strawberry fields in Watsonville, Calif., or peach orchards in Georgia. Mushrooms can grow indoors. They could come from anywhere.

If you don't think of patents as a particularly exciting or interesting field, consider a point Charles Duhigg makes in his recent New York Times article, "The Patent, Used as a Sword": According to an analysis done at Stanford: "In the smartphone industry alone ... as much as $20 billion was spent on patent litigation and patent purchases in the last two years — an amount equal to eight Mars rover missions."

When Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Rep Paul Ryan face off during their only debate, tens of millions of Americans will tune in to hear them defend their running mates' records.

And that audience Thursday night also will hear lots of budget-related buzzwords, with meanings that may not be entirely clear. Those words are shorthand for policies that could have huge impacts on taxpayers and the annual $1 trillion budget deficit.

Brushing up on terms of the debate can help voters better understand what's really being said on the stage at Centre College in Kentucky.

RealtyTrac, an online industry group that follows the foreclosure market, says the number of foreclosed properties nationally dropped dramatically in September, down by seven percent from August. And the firm says since September 2011, foreclosures are down 16 percent — that's the lowest total since July 2007.

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Chinese Firm Lenovo Becomes No. 1 PC Maker

Oct 11, 2012

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NPR's business news starts with more bad news for HP.

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And today's last word in business is: Put down the novels. Pick up the calculator.

You can add the Census Bureau to the chorus subtly - not so subtly -discouraging this year's freshmen from declaring liberal arts as a major.

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We've been watching a deadly medical scandal unfold over the past week. A steroid commonly injected into people's spines to relieve back pain was apparently contaminated by an ordinary fungus.

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Unless Congress acts, the Defense Department faces some $55 billion in cuts after the first of the year. The cuts are part of what's known as sequestration — automatic across the board spending cuts to both defense and nondefense government spending set in motion by last year's debt-ceiling fight.

Salaries for uniformed personnel are the one major thing that's protected. Otherwise, it's about a 10 percent cut to everything from Pentagon civilian staff to the acquisition of multimillion-dollar aircraft, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

You, Too, Can Print Your Own Guitar

Oct 10, 2012

Though it's been around for three decades, 3-D printing has finally started to take off for manufacturing and even for regular consumers. It's being used for making airplane parts on demand and letting kids make their own toys. One designer is pushing the limits of 3-D printing by using it to make an acoustic guitar.

JetBlue is hedging its bets on the presidential election.

The New York-based airline says it plans to give more than 1,000 free flights to raffle entrants who back the losing candidate in the Nov. 6 contest between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.

The company's promotion promises: "If things don't go your way, don't worry. Here's your chance to get a free flight out of the country." It's a round-trip ticket, by the way.

If the airbag in your car was replaced sometime in the past three years, and it wasn't done at an auto shop attached to a car dealership, there is a small possibility the part could be fake.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to issue an alert today telling consumers whether they should have their vehicles checked for the real McCoy. More than 100 types of vehicle airbags could be involved.

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