Last year, consumers spent $17 billion on video games. That sounds like a lot, but it was nearly $1.5 billion lower than the previous year. One reason: there haven't been any new game consoles out to excite buyers.
Only Nintendo's Wii U might be on shelves for the holiday season.
The console makers are having a hard time figuring out how to improve on what they've got.
Try asking a gamer like Ryan Block what would entice him to drop a few hundred bucks on a new console.
This summer's drought is not helping the wildfire situation, and the drought is also deeply harming the nation's agricultural economy. Parched lands extend from California to Indiana, and from Texas to South Dakota, impacting everyone from farmers and ranchers to barge operators and commodity traders.
As NPR's David Schaper reports, some farmers are getting close to calling it quits.
DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Looking over his small, 100-acre farm near South Union, Kentucky, Rich Vernon doesn't like what he sees.
And our last word in business brings to mind Matt Damon's character in the poker movie "Rounders."
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ROUNDERS")
MATT DAMON: (as Mike McDermott) Why does this still seem like gambling to you? I mean, why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table at the World Series of Poker every single year? What are they, the luckiest guys in Las Vegas? It's a skill game.
Fed policymakers appeared to move closer to a decision to add more stimulus to the economy. That's according to minutes released of the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting. The minutes didn't say what the Fed is likely to do next, but indicated many officials supported keeping the federal funds rate at "exceptionally low levels" at least through late 2014.
This summer's drought has hit more than half the states in the country. Crops are suffering, but farmers might not be. Most farmers have crop insurance.
U.S. taxpayers spend about $7 billion a year on crop insurance. It's our largest farm subsidy.
And this subsidy goes in part to farmers — who will tell you themselves they aren't so sure about the whole idea. "I have an aversion to it," says Jim Traub, a corn and bean farmer in Fairbury, Illinois. "But you're not going to turn it down."
On the subway, in doctor's waiting rooms and during college lectures, millions of Japanese can be found glued to their smartphones. But they're not texting or making phone calls — they're playing video games.
In the U.S., video games are usually played on computers and consoles, like the PlayStation or Wii, but in Japan, gaming has migrated to smartphones.
With an ice coffee in one hand and an iPhone in the other, grad student Yoshiro Hinoki is fixated on slaying tiny cartoon monsters.
Rotten jackfruit and tomatoes are sorted at a dump in New Delhi. India loses an estimated 40 percent of its produce harvest for lack of infrastructure. And Americans waste about 40 percent of our food.
Credit Mustafa Quraishi / AP
The food world is buzzing today about the latest news on just how often we waste perfectly good food. And we admit, the statistics are pretty depressing.
About 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. The average American consumer wastes 10 times as much food as someone in Southeast Asia — up 50 percent from Americans in the 1970s. Yet, 1 in 6 Americans doesn't have enough to eat, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And food waste costs us about $165 billion a year and sucks up 25 percent of our freshwater supply.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke talks to educators Aug. 7 in Washington, D.C. At their most recent meeting, many Fed members backed action to boost the economy.
Credit Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP
The Federal Reserve could take more steps to boost the struggling U.S. economy. That's according to minutes released Wednesday of the Federal Open Market Committee's July 31-Aug. 1 meeting.
"Many members judged that additional monetary accommodation would likely be warranted fairly soon unless incoming information pointed to a substantial and sustainable strengthening in the pace of the economic recovery," the minutes said. [PDF]