"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."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":

Donald Trump wrapped up his public tryout of potential vice presidential candidates in Indiana Tuesday night with Gov. Mike Pence giving the final audition.

The Indiana governor's stock as Trump's possible running mate is believed to be on the rise, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also atop the list. Sources tell NPR the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is close to making a decision, which he's widely expected to announce by Friday.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Video Game Company Hires Economist To Study Virtual Worlds

Jun 25, 2012
Originally published on June 26, 2012 11:28 am

Say you've spent years studying the real economy, with all its messiness and uncertainty. Then you stumble into a world where there's a record of everything everyone has ever done.

This, more or less, is what just happened to Yanis Varoufakis.

"It's like being omniscient," Varoufakis told me. "It's mesmerizing."

Varoufakis is an academic economist. He recently took a job at Valve, a big video game company. He wants to figure out the virtual economies that exist within the company's games, which are played by millions of people.

"Valve doesn't care about anything other than creating games," Varoufakis said. "Suddenly, they've wound up with economies."

Take, for example, Team Fortress 2.

It's free to play, but players use real money to buy virtual stuff within the game. The game doesn't have its own currency, but players can trade stuff with one another. In other words, it's a barter economy.

Varoufakis expected that a form of money would evolve within the game — in the same way that cigarettes became a kind of money in a World War II POW camp, and canned fish serves as money in some U.S. prisons.

And he thought he knew what the money would be: Keys. In the universe of the game, players sometimes find crates full of goodies. You need keys to open the crates. Any key opens any crate.

If people were using keys as money, you would expect to see lots of instances where players traded something to get keys, then quickly traded the keys to get something else. And you would expect the value of keys relative to other things to be somewhat stable across different transactions.

When Varoufakis looked at the data, he found that keys did serve as money — sort of, sometimes. At other times, hats were a kind of money. Sometimes, metal was money (metal can be turned into guns within the game).

What determines when one thing or another serves as money? "I have not managed to shed light on this," Varoufakis told me. "it's still a mystery to me."

Figuring out which items serve as money Varoufakis says is a first step toward asking bigger questions — questions that any economist would want to answer to understand the world.

How and why do bubbles form? (There was apparently a crazy bubble in a particular type of hat that became fashionable in the game.) What drives economic growth? What causes inflation?

"The dividing line between economic analysis, which is what I do, and game design, which I know nothing about, is suddenly blurred," Varoufakis says. "Effectively, they are designing markets, even if they don't know they're doing it."

For more, read Varoufakis' new blog about his work at valve. And here's a BBC story about another game company that hired an economist a few years back.

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