NPR's Neda Ulaby takes a stroll through Toy Fair, an industry event where adults get to preview acres of new toys.
Pope Benedict XVI, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, unexpectedly announced Monday that he will resign at the end of the month. With his resignation comes speculation about his tenure, potential successors and the future of the Catholic Church. Rocco Palmo, who runs the blog Whispers in the Loggia, explores the pope's legacy and what's ahead for the Catholic Church.
The manhunt in southern California for ex-police officer Christopher Dorner has prompted a $1 million reward for information leading to his capture and conviction. It's one of the biggest rewards ever offered by a local government, and has already generated more than 600 tips.
The reward money was assembled from a unusual variety of sources, including the L.A. Dodgers baseball team, the F.B.I., six anonymous donors and lots of local governments. Los Angeles County is considering adding another $100,000 to the pot, according to spokesman Tony Bell.
“It’s a good investment,” Bell says. “It’s an investment in public safety and a cost savings from having to have a killer on the loose, more lives lost, more resources expended.”
Rewards can also bring publicity to a case, reaching people who might have valuable information, and giving them an incentive to come forward.
“It's -- how do I say this? -- free money,” says Gene Ferrara, a retired police man on the board of Crime Stoppers in Cincinnati. That group is part of a nationwide nonprofit that offers cash rewards raised by donations, to useful tipsters. “They're not out working hard digging a ditch for eight hours. They just provide information, and they get money for it.”
Ferrara says cash rewards lead to hundreds of arrests each year, many of which turn in to convictions.
Still, millions of dollars in reward money goes unclaimed around the country. Why would people turn down “free money”? For one, people fear risking their own safety if they get involved, and the bigger the reward, the harder it is to remain anonymous, says Ferrara.
“If it’s a million dollar reward, the IRS is going to want their cut. That’s income,” he says. “So the police department’s got to report who you are to the IRS. You can't be anonymous.”
There's another risk with a high price tag, says Adam Alter, a professor of marketing and psychology at New York University. If you’re a friend or family member of a suspect, and you’re on the fence about turning in someone you love, a big reward might actually backfire because “you're turning it in to an economic transaction for someone's freedom, which I think is for a lot of people quite offensive,” Alter said.
Alter suggests that sometimes it's better to keep money out of it, and let doing the right thing be its own reward.
Commissary privileges, family center programs, dependent I.D. cards, joint duty assignments and space-available travel on military aircraft are among the benefits that will become available.
Fighting in Damascus has escalated, and the U.N. says 5,000 Syrian refugees are fleeing every day. The humanitarian crisis is growing along the borders with Turkey and Lebanon, and Israel launched its first airstrike inside Syria on Wednesday, reportedly targeting weapons destined for Hezbollah.
The brief courtroom session provided a glimpse of the accused plotters, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But the discussion focused on whether U.S. intelligence is listening to attorney-client conversations.
The rate at which American women are having babies fell again in 2011, continuing a decline that's been under way for years. Births to teenagers hit another low, while births to older women rose slightly.
The man who Esquire reports shot Osama bin Laden will retire and receive no government benefits, not even protection for his family.
More than 3,000 cruise ship passengers who thought they'd be heading home today have instead been told they'll remain in the Gulf of Mexico until Wednesday, stranded by an engine fire that set their ship, the Triumph, adrift. Outages of onboard power and sewer systems have been reported.
Industry demand for the "sustainable seafood" label, issued by the Marine Stewardship Council, is increasing. But some environmentalists fear fisheries are being certified despite evidence showing that the fish population is in trouble — or when there's not enough information to know the impact on the oceans.
Fun won at the 2013 Grammy Awards. The indie rock trio earned trophies for Song of the Year and Best New Artist. Host Michel Martin discusses who else scored awards, who was slighted, and which star showed the most skin, despite the ban on risqué clothing.
After the 2012 election, many Republicans admit they need to do more to reach out to minorities. The party recently launched a campaign called the 'Future Majority Caucus,' to recruit women and people of color to seek state offices. Host Michel Martin speaks with Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican State Leadership Committee about the effort.
Tell Me More is celebrating Black History Month by speaking with African-Americans who've excelled in STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math. Former astronaut and current NASA administrator, Charles F. Bolden, shares stories of his remarkable journey from segregated South Carolina, to the U.S. Naval Academy, to space.
During a firefight in Afghanistan, then-Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha repeatedly put himself in harm's way. At one point, he played peek-a-boo with a sniper. But afterward, he spoke about the soldiers he wasn't able to save. Today at the White House, he got the highest award for valor in action.
If you're looking for industries that have thrived despite the economy, a good place to go is Kentucky. That's where they make bourbon, of course. Sales of the uniquely American spirit are growing by triple digits outside of the states. But there is a downside to all that growth. The company that owns Maker's Mark, the brand known for bottles that are hand-dipped in wax, announced it doesn't have enough supply to keep up with demand. So it's going to water it down.
For whiskey to be labeled bourbon, it has to be made from at least 51 percent corn, distilled at no higher than 160 proof, and be aged in a white oak barrel. It doesn't have to be made in Kentucky, but it does have to be made in the U.S.
Michael Veach is the author of "Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage." He says Maker's Mark is one of the few family-operated distilleries remaining in the United States. The distillery started making bourbon in 1954.
In recent years bourbon has been on a roll. "The problem is that these last 10 years the industry has been growing faster than anyone thought it would," Veach says.
That is a problem for aged whiskey like Maker's. The bourbon distilling now won't be out of the casks for another six years. Beam, Inc., which owns Maker's, says it hasn't made enough to keep up with demand. So Rob Samuels, the grandson of Maker's founder, announced a solution.
Maker's will lower the alcohol content by 6.6 percent by adding water to each batch. That could turn some loyal fans off the brand, which is why it made the announcement in an email to customers it calls ambassadors. Eric Mater is an ambassador in Kansas City. He subscribes to an email list and receives gifts each year like a knitted sweater for his bottle.
He made this suggestion to Beam, Inc.: "Maybe they should cut out the free gifts for the ambassadors and keep the bourbon at full strength."
And be warned if you're a bourbon drinker: the supply problem is industry-wide.
There's more to statistics. So much more than just numbers.
"Statistics are everywhere from Netflix determining what movie you want to watch to retailers coming up with borderline scary methods for figuring our what your shopping habit are going to be, "says Charles Wheelan, author of "Naked Statistics."
Statistics is the simple and helpful analysis of all the raw data out there -- whether it's about a baseball player's at-bat performance, or sales figures at The Gap. But the figure should be digested with some skepticism, Wheelan says, because data can be interpreted a lot of different ways.
"Statistics are like online dating," he says. "You can say things in your profile that are true, but by acts of omission or different emphasis you might leave out or stress some things that present a picture of you that is not wholly accurate."
Pope Benedict XVI, who announced his resignation Monday at age 85, was a deeply conservative pontiff who sought to strengthen the church's core beliefs. But he also faced a number of difficult issues in a rapidly changing world.
The Pope gets credit for strengthening the core values of the Catholic Church but also for some prominent gaffes and his poor handling of the sexual abuse scandal.
The first German pope in a thousand years is a cold, distant intellectual who never served as a parish priest. Cardinal Ratzinger, the Vatican Enforcer, became Pope Benedict XVI. As successor to John Paul II, Benedict was never as beloved by the faithful but still attracted crowds matching those of his media-savvy predecessor.
Pope Benedict XVI made a surprise announcement Monday morning that he will resign at the end of February. For more on his legacy and what the succession of a new pope may bring, Renee Montagne talks with Father Thomas Reese, senior fellow at Georgetown University's Woodstock Theological Center.