David Kestenbaum

David Kestenbaum is a correspondent for NPR, covering science, energy issues and, most recently, the global economy for NPR's multimedia project Planet Money. David has been a science correspondent for NPR since 1999. He came to journalism the usual way — by getting a Ph.D. in physics first.

In his years at NPR, David has covered science's discoveries and its darker side, including the Northeast blackout, the anthrax attacks and the collapse of the New Orleans levees. He has also reported on energy issues, particularly nuclear and climate change.

David has won awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

David worked briefly on the show This American Life, and set up a radio journalism program in Cambodia on a Fulbright fellowship. He also teaches a journalism class at Johns Hopkins University.

David holds a bachelor's of science degree in physics from Yale University and a doctorate in physics from Harvard University.

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4:59am

Fri April 4, 2014
Planet Money

New Web Addresses Provide Alternatives To Crowded Domains

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 8:22 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Friday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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6:00pm

Thu March 6, 2014
Planet Money

Does Raising The Minimum Wage Kill Jobs?

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 7:50 pm

Kenzo Tribouillard AFP/Getty Images

President Obama has called for increasing the minimum wage, saying it will help some of the poorest Americans. Opponents argue that a higher minimum wage will lead employers to cut jobs.

Figuring out the effect of raising the minimum wage is tough. Ideally you'd like to compare one universe where the minimum was raised against an alternate universe where it remained fixed.

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3:39am

Fri January 17, 2014
Planet Money

The Birth Of The Minimum Wage In America

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 4:46 pm

Franklin D. Roosevelt Libarary

In 1895, legislators in New York state decided to improve working conditions in what at the time could be a deadly profession: baking bread.

"Bakeries are actually extremely dangerous places to work," says Eric Rauchway, a historian at the University of California, Davis. "Because flour is such a fine particulate, if it gets to hang in the air it can catch fire and the whole room can go up in a sheet of flame."

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5:22am

Thu January 2, 2014
Planet Money

A Bet, Five Metals And The Future Of The Planet

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 11:24 am

James Cridland Flickr

This famous bet — between a biologist and an economist — was over population growth. It started three decades ago, but it helped set the tone for environmental debates that are still happening today.

The biologist at the heart of this bet was Paul Ehrlich at Stanford. He wrote a best-selling book in 1968 called The Population Bomb. It was so popular he appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

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5:27pm

Tue December 24, 2013
Planet Money

The Great Handbell War

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 12:21 pm

Malmark handbells on the left and Schulmerich bells on the right.
malmark.com/schulmerichbells.com

Jake Malta left his job as chief engineer at Schulmerich, the world's biggest handbell company, in 1973.

But Malta couldn't stop thinking about bells. He had a vision for a perfect bell — a bell he had never quite achieved at Schulmerich.

So he set up shop in his living room. "He had a folding table, two of them, stretched out with all of his drafting supplies and piano behind him," his daughter, Joann, says.

He traveled to Europe and studied the physics of bells. He made sketch after sketch. "He knew that he could make it better," his daughter says.

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7:47pm

Thu December 5, 2013
Economy

Meet The Humble Container That Moves The Global Economy

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 2:49 pm

The container carrying the Planet Money women's T-shirts is loaded onto a ship in Cartagena, Colombia.
Eric Helton for NPR

NPR's Planet Money team is manufacturing its own T-shirt. After the women's shirt was assembled in Colombia, they voyaged by container ship to Miami. The container, a big standardized box that moves easily from truck to ship to train, is the unsung hero of the global economy. It was invented in the 1950s and dramatically reduced shipping costs, ushering in a new era vastly different than the world retired stevedores remember.

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3:00am

Fri November 22, 2013
Planet Money

A Bitcoin Insider On Crime, Congress And Satoshi Nakamoto

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 11:48 am

This is not a bitcoin.
eagleapex's posterous Flickr

For more on what Bitcoin is and how it works, see our story "What Is Bitcoin?"

Gavin Andresen is chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation. I first talked with him about Bitcoin, the virtual currency, back in 2011. I checked back in with him this week, because so much has been going on with Bitcoin lately.

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3:06am

Fri November 15, 2013
Planet Money

What's A Bubble?

Originally published on Sun November 17, 2013 1:58 pm

Robert Shiller and Eugene Fama shared this year's Nobel Memorial Prize.
AP

Robert Shiller was surprised when he got the call telling him he'd won the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics — surprised that he'd won (of course), but also surprised that he was sharing the award with Eugene Fama.

"He and I seem to have very different views," Shiller told me. "It's like we're different religions."

In particular, they have very different views about economic bubbles.

"The word 'bubble' drives me nuts, frankly," Fama told me.

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3:29am

Fri October 25, 2013
Planet Money

What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People?

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 10:34 am

Bernard Omondi got $1,000 from GiveDirectly.
Jacob Goldstein NPR

For more of our reporting on this story, please see our work in The New York Times Magazine and on This American Life.

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3:26am

Fri October 18, 2013
Planet Money

I Lent $999.78 To The Federal Government*

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 1:29 pm

NPR

Earlier this week, I bought a Treasury bill.

Everybody calls Treasury bills T-bills, and they work like this: The government promises to pay holders of T-bills a specific amount on a specific day in the near future. For the T-bill I bought, the government promised to pay $1,000 on Oct. 31.

I bought the T-bill on Tuesday, before Congress had made the debt-ceiling deal, so it was unclear whether I would get paid back on time.

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