National / International News
This week in politics: Jeb Bush isn't doing a great job of separating himself from his brother, the GOP's diversity problem and were the polls really wrong again?
Local TV news stations are apt to air live car chases — especially in California or Florida, where sprawling highway infrastructure makes for long and thrilling pursuits.
For viewers, the possibility of seeing a dramatic ending live on screen is a huge draw — entire offices can come to a standstill when a big chase is on.
But newsrooms have to consider the high stakes of showing a potentially dangerous, or deadly, situation play out in real time. Just last month, for instance, a man involved in a car chase was shot by police on live TV in Texas.
"Once you've decided to go there, it seems to me you have to ask a series of questions of yourself," he says. "Is this so important that you're willing to air the worst possible outcome?"
Listen to the full story using the audio player above.
A new glimpse of what the universe looked like in its youth has been captured. Researchers say light from galaxy EGS-zs8-1 has spent the past 13 billion years traveling to Earth.
The kidnapping and murder of the 6-year-old, who vanished on his way to school, focused national attention on child abduction cases.
April's non-farm payrolls report told us many things. Things such as the fact that 223,000 jobs were added in April — or that March wasn’t as good a month as we thought — and that wages are still just barely growing.
By many accounts, the monthly jobs report is really the best way we have of measuring what a healthy economy is supposed to deliver: jobs. Still, there is quite a bit more information economists wish they could glean from the jobs report.
Harvard economist Ken Rogoff says data from the jobs report is still just an estimate.
“They’re very volatile, they involve statistical sampling,” Rogoff says. “You know, they're not hard data, there's a lot that they don't pick up.”
Justin Wolfers, an economist at the University of Michigan, points out that jobs numbers come with a margin of error of 100,000, which is quite a lot. Moreover, he wishes the data had more specific information about the quality of jobs being created.
“You know, there are good jobs in retail and there are bad jobs in retail. Knowing a lot more about the details, what types of jobs are being created, would be tremendously helpful,” Wolfers says.
Because the jobs report is just a snapshot in time, economists don’t really know where the jobs are coming from. For instance, are jobs being created by employers on the supply side? Or are they simply a reflection of the fact that more people are entering the market? And perhaps most importantly, what are we benchmarking to?
“We have this sense that we're not back to full employment, but we don't know where full employment will land,” says Diane Lim, an economist at the Committee for Economic Development in Washington.
“You know there are all kinds of things changing at the same time and economists have always faced this challenge that we can never run a perfectly controlled experiment and say, 'This is the cause, because we held all else constant,' because we can never hold all else constant,” Lim says.
One thing economists are wrestling with, according to Lim, is whether the current good numbers are simply a recovery from recession, or part of a longer-term growth trend.
A bidding war appears to be in the works for a digital mapping business owned by the Finnish telecom company Nokia. The New York Times reports that Uber, the taxi and ride-sharing company, has put in a bid for as much as $3 billion for Nokia’s HERE. Also reportedly in the running is a group of German carmakers, including Audi and BMW, working with the Chinese search engine Baidu.
That’s a lot of interest in a business that isn’t exactly a household name.
“Nobody outside of the mapping industry has ever heard of Here,” says Brady Forrest, who runs the hardware incubator Highway1. “It’s, in my opinion, kind of a failed attempt at consumer branding.”
Yet Here is the biggest rival to Google Maps. Amazon and Microsoft use it. And if you’ve ever driven a car with a built-in navigation system, some 80 percent of them use Here’s data.
“Chances are you’ve used, and depending on the year, perhaps cursed at the system,” says Bryant Walker Smith, who teaches technology law at the University of South Carolina.
Uber wouldn’t comment on reports of its interest in Here. The company collects an immense amount of data about driving in major cities, says Roger Lanctot with Strategy Analytics, and wants to use it to build a logistics and shipping business.
“It’s a very powerful batch of data, all of which revolves around location. So the more accurate location you have, the better,” he says.
Right now Uber uses Google Maps, leaving Uber dependent on a competitor. Not only is Google expanding its own logistics and delivery business, both companies are pursuing driverless car technology. So are the German automakers reported to be working on a bid for HERE.
“For driverless cars to work, they need to know where they’re going,” says Forrest. “For that, they need mapping data.”
Starbucks finally gets its head out of its coffee grounds.
We're having, as you might have heard once or twice, a heckuva drought out here in the West.
So Starbucks has decided it's maybe not a great idea to be using California water for its Ethos bottled water brand.
Mother Jones magazine reported a little more than a week ago that the coffee chain was using private springs up near the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Starbucks said today: yeah, no — we'll use Pennsylvania water for at least the next six months.
Joining Kai to talk about the week's business and economic news are Nela Richardson from Redfin and the Wall Street Journal's John Carney. The big topics this week: the Labor Department releases its monthly jobs report, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen comments on stock values, and the possibility of Great Britain and Greece withdrawing from the European Union and the Eurozone, respectively, continues to be debated.
Lupita Carabes is a young woman just starting out in the workforce.
Carabes recently graduated from the University of Portland, majoring in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science.
At a job fair this spring at her school, she stood out in the crowded field. Carabes is the first person in her family to get a college degree, and says that's just one of the reasons she's a quadruple threat in her industry:
"I am a woman, and engineer, and a Latina," she says. She recently accepted a job at IBM.
To hear more of Carabes' story, listen to the full interview using the audio player above.