Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped vegetables and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

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School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

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How Much Is A 'Like' On Facebook Worth For A Company's Share Price?

Oct 23, 2012
Originally published on October 23, 2012 6:50 pm

High school was not a particularly awesome time in the life of Arthur J. O'Connor. That social fairy dust that some people seem to have? He didn't have it.

"I was a wallflower. I was a nerd," O'Connor says. "I was incredibly intimidated by everybody."

Well, whatever he lacked in cool, O'Connor had in brains. He went on to work a couple of decades on Wall Street in risk management, and then enrolled in a Ph.D. business program where he wrote a paper that's gotten quite a bit of attention: "The Power of Popularity: An Empirical Study of Fan Counts and Consumer Brand Stock Prices."

"My theory was, you know, it's like in high school," he says. "Does being really popular help you win friends [or] help you enhance your performance? And it turns out that, yeah, popularity does seem to help brands."

To test this, O'Connor tracked 30 brands with the most followers on Facebook, including Abercrombie and Fitch, Adidas, Aeropostale, American Eagle Outfitters and Best Buy, among others.

O'Connor tracked the likes of those companies on Facebook for a whole year, while at the same time tracking their daily share price. What he found astonished him.

"So, 99.95 percent of the change could be explained by the change in fan counts," he says. In other words, the overwhelming majority of the change in a company's stock price correlated with the Facebook likes that day or that period.

It's not that Facebook likes caused shares to rise or fall, but the admiration a company gets on social media seems to be a good clue about stock market performance.

Naturally, people on Wall Street are interested, and many of them are already buying "sentiment feeds" and folding them into the algorithms they use to buy and sell stocks. It's kind of like a digital mood ring.

"Typically, our clients are hedge funds and institutional money managers that would look at interpreting this data in different strategies," says Rich Brown, head of financial analytics at Thomson Reuters, one of the largest providers of sentiment analysis.

Thomson Reuters' supercomputers regularly scan 4.5 million news and social media sites for information on what people are saying about a company. Tweets with words like "love" get a positive score; "disappointment" and "jerks" get negative scores.

So, computers can read the news and opinion like people do, but much faster. Does that really give anyone an edge?

"I'm not yet convinced that this is particularly the right approach," says James Liew, who teaches finance at NYU Stern Business School and has a small hedge fund. He studies sentiment analysis, but he's not using it to invest — not yet, anyway.

"A lot of the research that's coming out right now is funded by the sentiment providers," he says. "So they're looking and they're trying to sell this data ... and so the research tends to be a little bit on the biased side."

Liew says it is possible someone is getting rich off of tweets and Facebook posts, but you probably won't hear about it: When people on Wall Street are making tons of money, they don't tend to proclaim it on Twitter.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now let's hear about a new tool that may give investors out there the leg up they're looking for in the stock market. It is called sentiment analysis. It's a still developing field of research that harnesses social media and news sites to predict how stocks will perform.

That may sound far-fetched, but WNYC's Ilya Marritz reports that the idea is beginning to gain some acceptance.

ILYA MARRITZ, BYLINE: High school was not a particularly awesome time in the life of Arthur J. O'Connor. That social fairy dust that some people seem to have, he didn't have it.

ARTHUR O'CONNOR: I was a wallflower. I was a nerd. I was incredibly intimidated by everybody.

MARRITZ: Well, whatever he lacked in cool, O'Connor had in brains. He went on to work a couple decades on Wall Street in risk management, and then enrolled in a PhD business program, where he's written a paper that's gotten quite a bit of attention. The title...

O'CONNOR: "The Power of Popularity: An Empirical Study of Fan Counts and Consumer Brand Stock Prices."

MARRITZ: The Power of Popularity. By the way, we're in a cafe just downstairs from O'Connor's day job, in midtown.

O'CONNOR: My theory was, you know, it's like in high school. Does being really popular help you win friends, help you enhance your performance? And it turns out that yeah, popularity does seem to help brands.

MARRITZ: To test this, O'Connor tracked 30 brands with the most followers on Facebook.

O'CONNOR: So it would be Abercrombie and Fitch, Adidas, Aeropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Best Buy...

MARRITZ: He followed those companies' "likes" on Facebook for a whole year, while also tracking their daily share price. And what O'Connor found astonished him.

O'CONNOR: So 99.95 percent of the change could be explained by the change in fan counts.

MARRITZ: You're saying that most of the change in a company's stock price - the overwhelming majority of it - correlates to the Facebook "likes" that day or in that period.

O'CONNOR: Yes, that's correct - that's correct.

MARRITZ: That's insane.

O'CONNOR: Yes, it is. But it's true.

MARRITZ: It's not that Facebook "likes" caused shares to rise or fall, but the admiration a company gets on social media seems to be a good clue about stock market performance. Naturally, people on Wall Street are interested. And many of them are already buying so-called sentiment feeds and folding them into the algorithms they use to buy and sell stocks. Kind of like a digital mood ring.

Rich Brown is head of financial analytics at Thomson Reuters, one of the largest providers of sentiment analysis.

RICH BROWN: Typically, our clients are hedge funds and institutional money managers that would look at interpreting this data in different strategies.

MARRITZ: From his window above Times Square, Brown can see across the Hudson River to New Jersey, where Thomson Reuters' supercomputers regularly scan four and a half million news and social media sites

(SOUNDBITE OF TYPING)

MARRITZ: So let's try this out. Rich Brown is going to read my Twitter feed and tell me what his computers would make of it.

BROWN: You've got one in here: Google and publishers reach deal on book scanning. So one of the things here, reaching a deal, is actually seen as a positive phrase, it's associated with Google; that could actually be very good news on this particular company.

MARRITZ: We go through a half dozen of these. Tweets with words like "love" get a positive score. "Disappointment" and "jerks" get negative scores. So computers can read the news and opinion like people do, but way, way faster. But does that really give anyone an edge?

JAMES LIEW: I'm not yet convinced that this is particularly the right approach.

MARRITZ: James Liew teaches finance at NYU's Stern Business School and has a small hedge fund. He studies sentiment analysis, but he's not using it to invest. Not yet, anyway.

LIEW: 'Cause a lot of the research that's coming out right now is funded by the sentiment providers. So they're looking and they're trying to sell this data, and so the research tends to be a little bit on the biased side.

MARRITZ: Liew says it's possible someone is getting rich off tweets and Facebook posts, but you probably won't hear about it. Because when people on Wall Street are making tons of money, they don't tend to proclaim it on Twitter.

For NPR News, I'm Ilya Marritz in New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.