Business

10:21am

Sun July 20, 2014
The Two-Way

R.J. Reynolds Vows Appeal Of $23 Billion Cancer-Death Verdict

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 12:01 pm

Camel cigarettes, an R.J. Reynolds brand, are seen on display at JJ&F Market in in Palo Alto, Calif. The company has vowed to appeal a $23 billion judgement.
Paul Sakuma AP

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., the nation's second-largest cigarette maker, is vowing to fight a verdict of $23.6 billion in punitive damages to the widow of a smoker who died of lung cancer.

Calling the massive award "grossly excessive and impermissible under state and constitutional law," the tobacco company's CEO, J. Jefferey Raborn, said the verdict was "beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness, and is completely inconsistent with the evidence presented."

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4:40pm

Sat July 19, 2014
Business

Temporary Tenants Give Luxury Homes A Lived-In Look

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 4:42 pm

Alan Shuminer lives on two acres of land in a house with a current list price of $3.3 million in Miami รขย€ย” and he only pays $2,600 a month. He is a home manager for Showhomes, a home staging company.
Showhomes

Bernie Schupbach needed to sell his home in the height of the real estate crash.

His home in Yorkville, Ill., was unoccupied. It had lingered on the market for a long time โ€” and Schupbach, a radiologist in Aurora, Ill., was growing uncomfortable.

"To me, you worry about a pipe breaking in winter. You worry about the heat going out. You worry about vandals. You worry about animal infestation," he says. "My big concern was: There's nobody there, I'm 30 miles away."

Then somebody mentioned Showhomes to Schupbach and his wife, Lynn.

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12:25pm

Sat July 19, 2014
The Two-Way

States That Raised Minimum Wage See Faster Job Growth, Report Says

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 6:42 pm

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (right) and Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess cut a cake to celebrate city's raised minimum wage.
Ted S. Warren AP

New data released by the Department of Labor suggests that raising the minimum wage in some states might have spurred job growth, contrary to what critics said would happen.

In a report on Friday, the 13 states that raised their minimum wages on Jan. 1 have added jobs at a faster pace than those that did not. The data run counter to a Congressional Budget Office report in February that said raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, as the White House supports, would cost 500,000 jobs.

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12:20pm

Sat July 19, 2014
The Salt

Deploying Drones To Get An Overview Of Factory Farms

The drone in Potter's promotional video on Kickstarter. "Now I'm looking at other models (and a second drone) because some people have threatened to shoot it down," Potter says.
via Kickstarter

An independent journalist says he's found a way around the so-called "ag-gag" laws by flying drones over large livestock operations to document animal welfare problems and pollution.

Will Potter, a Washington D.C.-based author and blogger, recently raised $75,000 on Kickstarter to buy the drones and other equipment to investigate animal agriculture in the U.S.

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5:42am

Sat July 19, 2014
All Tech Considered

Tech Week: Microsoft Layoffs, Comcast Call Hell And Call Of Duty

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts gestures as he speaks during a cable convention in Washington, D.C., in 2013. This week, his company drew scrutiny for an agonizing customer service experience.
Susan Walsh AP

Between the Comcast kerfuffle and big layoffs at Microsoft, we weren't at a loss for tech news this week. So here's what happened since your last wrap-up, from NPR and beyond.

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12:01pm

Fri July 18, 2014
The Salt

Soylent DIYers Sell Their Own Versions Of The Powdered Food

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 5:35 pm

Soylent CEO Rob Rhinehart holds a bag of finished product in September 2013. Rhinehart recently discouraged members of the company's DIY online community from competing directly with Soylent.
Josh Edelson AFP/Getty Images

When Rob Rhinehart first created Soylent โ€“โ€“ a powdered, synthetic food product made of industrial nutrients and oils โ€“โ€“ he was a San Francisco techie trying to sustain himself cheaply without the inconveniences of grocery shopping, cooking or even eating.

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11:17am

Fri July 18, 2014
The Two-Way

Amazon Launches Subscription Service For E-Books

Amazon launched a new subscription service for e-books and audiobooks on Friday called Kindle Unlimited.

The service, which will cost subscribers $9.99 per month after a free initial 30-day trial, offers access to more than 600,000 e-books and about 2,000 audiobooks. The reading and listening experiences can be linked through a syncing service.

Such "all you can eat" subscription models have become common for music and video. Amazon now enters into a space already occupied by unlimited reading services such as Scribd, Oyster and Entitle.

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6:34am

Fri July 18, 2014
Business

Sony Forgets To Renew Games Domain Name

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 8:00 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And now to today's last word in Business, which is shutdown.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

That's what happened to Sony's popular online gaming service Tuesday morning after the company forgot to renew a key domain name.

GREENE: This domain name was for the site www.sonyonline.net. The lapse temporarily knocked out online games like "EverQuest" and "Landmark."

INSKEEP: OK, so how did they forget? Well, Sony says it's possible that expiration notices were sent to the wrong email.

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5:52am

Fri July 18, 2014
Business

Microsoft Announces Biggest Layoffs In Company's History

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 8:00 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's Business News starts with a downsized Microsoft. Microsoft announced the biggest layoffs in its history yesterday. It's cutting 18,000 jobs worldwide over the next year - that's 14% of its workforce. The company's new CEO wants to adapt to a society and an industry increasingly dependent on mobile devices. From member station KPLU, Bellamy Pailthorp reports.

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3:37am

Fri July 18, 2014
All Tech Considered

Better Culture Could Have Prevented Viral Comcast Call

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 11:13 am

The call center of Zappos.com gets high marks from consumers for strong customer service.
Shashi Bellamkonda Flickr

This week, one man's customer service call to Comcast turned into a badgering โ€” a simple request to cancel his service was repeatedly beaten back by the employee on the other end of the line. It was a familiar feeling for a lot of us, which perhaps explains why more than 4 million people have listened to it in less than a week.

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