Warren Weinstein, 72, was snatched from his home in Lahore, Pakistan, more than two years ago. In a video sent to news outlets by al-Qaida's media wing, Weinstein is heard appealing to President Obama to negotiate his release.
It's hard to think of a job that is more unlikely to be outsourced than a sign-spinner outside a store or restaurant. They're low-wage retail jobs that have to be done at the location.
But retailers in cities across the country are experimenting with robotic road-side retail promotion.
Tyson Miltenberger of Bakehouse Water Bagels in Portland, Ore., employed a motorized female mannequin to advertise his adjacent bagel and taco shops along a busy commercial strip.
The robot business is growing fast. By the end of 2013, author Marshall Brain (Robotic Nation) predicted there would be more than one million industrial robots worldwide, or about one for every 6,000 humans.
And the robot industry is booming. Including the robots themselves, plus software and engineering to make them tick, the industry is generating $26 billion in sales, according to the Frankfurt-based International Federation of Robotics, a trade group.
Some of the smartest tech guys in the room have caught the bug, too: Google has made eight acquisitions in the robotics field just this year.
Of course, there are downsides — for the humans who interact with robots, or are replaced by them in the workplace. Twenty deaths have been linked to robots and other automation in factories, according to the U.S. Occupational and Health Administration (OSHA).
U.S. factory output is up more than 50 percent in the past two decades, while manufacturing employment is down by nearly 30 percent, according to Bloomberg News. Some of that is the result of people being displaced by ever-smarter and more capable machines.
Experts predict service industries will be the next to see serious inroads made by robots. According to an article in Business Insider, the most vulnerable service jobs include pharmacists, paralegals, retail cashiers, library clerks, babysitters, reporters ... and perhaps we should add retail sign-spinner.
Many people who ordered their Christmas presents via UPS got a nasty surprise yesterday. No presents! The company says the volume of packages exceeded its capacity.
This month marks the third anniversary of the Arab Spring. In Tunisia, where the uprising began, the economy is still trying to find its footing. Many Tunisia watchers say fostering entrepreneurship will be critical to establishing a sustainable recovery.
It can be worth it to drive your golf cart off the green. And, around the country, at local council meetings from South Dakota to Kentucky to Wisconsin, new regulations making it legal to do just that are being proposed.
Economists caution against reading too much into the latest economic data. During the holidays, offices that collect the information aren't always open and that can delay some of their work.
Many people who ordered their Christmas presents via UPS got a nasty surprise yesterday. No presents! The company says the volume of packages exceeded its capacity. Marketplace's Noel King has the latest on the story. Click the audio player above to listen.
By now, the tech world is familiar with transparency reports from companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook. The reports detail a number of metrics, like how many law enforcement requests have come in for email data. The takeaway from Google this year was that government snooping is way up. Now, just before 2013 draws to a close, the world is getting a new set of reports from older tech companies like Verizon and AT&T. Count Time Magazine tech reporter Sam Gustin among the surprised. Click the audio player above to hear the story.
As the Winter Olympics in Sochi approach, Russian officials are freeing some high-profile prisoners. Critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin say he's just trying to burnish his nation's reputation.