Marketplace - American Public Media

Questions raised over bullying in the gaming community

Wed, 2014-09-10 02:30

There's a fight underway that's tearing apart the community of people who play, write about, enthuse and obsess over video games. Earlier this month, the ex-boyfriend of game designer Zoe Quinn took to the Internet to publicly accuse her of infidelity. He said she'd cheated on him with a gaming journalist. Some gamers seized on the allegation and said a reporter and a gamer, whose work he might review, shouldn't have a relationship.

It seemed like an allegation of journalistic misconduct, but what followed was a flood of threats aimed at Zoe Quinn online.

To help us understand what led to all this, we reached out to Jennifer Hale. She's a member of the gaming community, an actress who does voice-over work for many video games.

There seems to be, in this response, some real misogyny — possibly even dangerous misogyny — in this community of people who play and write about video games. What have you experienced?

I had several friends advise me against even coming in here and doing this interview, because there's a segment of the game community — it's small, but it's vicious — that is bullying. It's giving the gaming community a bad name.

Some of the threats that were made against Zoe Quinn: People threatened to kneecap her, people threatened to give her brain damage if they could find her in person. Does the gaming community deserve to have a bad name?

The community does not. These people within the community do. We need to police ourselves. I don't know how to do that, because the members of our community that have called out to these people to stop doing what they're doing are being then themselves threatened.

At the same time that Zoe Quinn is facing this torrent of abuse, a feminist media critic named Anita Sarkeesian releases a video criticizing the way that women are treated or portrayed in video games. She calls them background decoration, victims, prostitutes, then she gets pilloried for what she said. You've worked in the video game industry. You've done the voices for some popular characters. Does Anita Sarkeesian have a point? 

I myself would love to see more equal representation of women in games, more empowered roles. Let's remove gender from casting everywhere we can and play around with it. Let's do the same with race. Let's go on and create the next level. We can't do that right now. I'm nervous about what this piece of the community is going to do to me for speaking up about anything, and that's not OK. We can't do anything until we deal with that.

Given the attention this back-and-forth has received, do you think we've reached a kind of tipping point moment where this conversation is bound to happen?

I hope so, because games are an incredible art form. I've used a couple of games to learn another language or recover from breaking my foot, things that would have stymied me. I think it is time for this part of the industry to fully step into [the idea that] we're not fringe anymore. We can, without losing the awesome, kid parts of ourselves, grow up and become leaders in a really cool way. And this is hopefully creating a crisis that will help us do that.

PODCAST: The spinning wheel of death

Wed, 2014-09-10 02:00

First up, after the Dow fell 97 points yesterday, what accounts for the cautious stance of some market participants in recent days? And when you click on a website today, you might have to endure a spinning worm of waiting. It may not be your internet connection to blame. Today, some big companies are deliberately slowing down their systems in an organized protest against ending what's called Network Neutrality. Plus, Saying the word "Minecraft" to many people produces a similar delighted glow about the eyes as produced by saying the word "Lego." It may have something to do with the videogame's low-fi graphics or open-ended invitation to creativity. Well, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times are reporting that Microsoft is in talks to buy Mojang-- the Swedish maker of Minecraft--for perhaps $2 billion.

Small-business confidence is up, but owners won't hire

Wed, 2014-09-10 02:00

The National Federation of Independent Business’ Optimism Index was up modestly in August 2014 to 96.1, the second-highest reading since the recession began in late 2007. (The index peaked post-recession in May 2014 at 96.6.)

Harold Jackson is executive chairman of Buffalo Supply, a medical supply company in Lafayette, Colorado, outside Denver, with approximately 20 employees.

“I’m cautiously optimistic [about the economy]," Jackson said. “We’re not going to have the kind of growth that we had seven years ago, but it’s going to be a slow, plodding process.” Jackson works with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and he says other business owners he knows generally feel the same way.

Jackson hired several new workers earlier this year. But now — also consistent with the NFIB survey — he is holding tight on more hiring, to see if business gets better. Overall, small-business owners’ job creation plans fell slightly in the August survey.

Economist and entrepreneurship expert Robert Litan of the Brookings Institution says geopolitical developments may dampen small-business confidence and hiring further in coming months.

“The headlines are scary — and you don’t have to read The New York Times to realize that the world’s looking a lot more like 1914 than 2014,” said Litan. “I think it is somewhat surprising and perplexing that the economy continues to chug along. But then, consumers, like businesses, may be just discounting it, and saying, ‘Well, these are problems in faraway places. They don’t affect us.’”

Some websites are slowing down today to make a point

Wed, 2014-09-10 02:00

When you click on a website on Wednesday, you might see a spinning wheel. It’s that familiar symbol signaling your Internet connection is sluggish, though it may not mean your webpage of choice is slow to load: More likely, you've stumbled onto an online protest designed to get people to support net neutrality. 

Oh, yeah, net neutrality. What's that again?

That can be a frustrating question to answer, said Evan Greer, the campaign manager for Fight for the Future, the nonprofit organization behind today’s protest.

“Net neutrality activists have had the experience of trying to talk about the issue, and as soon as they start saying words like 'tiered systems,' people’s eyes glaze over,” Greer says.

Today’s action is in protest of a tiered system, which the Federal Communications Commission is considering implementing. That system would allow websites to pay more in order to receive faster access to your home. But what about websites that can’t pay? Netflix, Reddit and thousands of smaller websites claim the result will be the "spinning wheel of death" on their sites. Net neutrality advocates are pushing for a more level playing field that will keep a small number of internet providers from building — and setting prices for — those tiers. 

Santa Clara University marketing professor Edward McQuarrie says if companies make users wait as part of this protest campaign, they risk turning them off.   

“You’re going to get this delay and you’re going to say, 'Oh, crap. Is there a problem with my internet service again?'” he says.  

And people will just click onto another site that’s not protesting. McQuarrie predicts the wheel of death won’t be understood as intended because, well, so few people understand what net neutrality is. 

 A visual guide to the net neutrality debate

Net neutrality is not a new issue; and if it were ever straightforward, the debate has been clouded by years of arguing between activist groups, internet service providers and tech companies, as well as a million public comments sent to the FCC, which has over time changed its approach to an open internet. We've collected a few of the best charts and tools from around the web to help make sense of the recent conversation surrounding net neutrality. 

Wednesday's slowdown protest comes five days before the second round of comments are due to the FCC. (Disclosure: Marketplace's distributor, American Public Media, filed a comment in favor of net neutrality.) The deadline for the first round had to be extended because the crush of traffic crippled the FCC's servers. Here's a look at that response hour-by-hour:

Courtesy:FCC

Once that first round of comments was made public, many news organizations tried to make sense of it all. The Verge started by counting common phrases like "Comcast" and all variations the f-word, for example. But the very best visualization came from analysis firm Quid, which was commissioned by the Knight Foundation to cluster responses by their overall message and shared language. The resulting chart, originally published by NPR, is beautiful to look at. 

Courtesy:Quid, NPR

 

But where are these comments coming from? The Verge published a tool that allows you to look up how many comments were submitted from your zip code, along with a ranking of the cities and neighborhoods that have filed the most comments with the FCC. The most came, unsurprisingly, from Washington, D.C. and the Bay Area. 

Finally, Netflix is one of the highest-profile sites participating in the slowdown protest, and they've been one of the loudest voices in the net neutrality debate overall. The company says they were strong-armed into deals for faster service with internet service providers after their streams were choked, and they lost customers as a result. The company recently filed a lengthy statement to the FCC opposing a proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, which includes a chart showing the spike in complaints about poor service last fall.

Courtesy: Netflix

Even more striking is Netflix's streaming speeds after it signed agreements with Comcast for faster speeds. Netflix makes all of that data public, and the Washington Post collected it here:


The death of #NetNeutrality, in one chart. With @MaxEhrenfreund http://t.co/f2GySeEgFp pic.twitter.com/bUNlJtWNvI

— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) April 25, 2014

Cheap produce and $60,000 bottles of cognac

Wed, 2014-09-10 02:00

Fifteen minutes east of Marketplace’s Downtown Los Angeles studios is Hawaii Supermarket, a modest Chinese grocery store where one can buy eight pounds of watermelon for a dollar — or a bottle of cognac for $60,000.

You read that right. One bottle, at $60,000, is more than a lot of annual salaries.

But for Hawaii Supermarket’s wealthy shoppers from China, high-end liquor is its own kind of currency.

“Gift-giving is very important — fundamental, if you will — to most relationships in Chinese society,” says Sage Brennan, co-founder of the consulting group China Luxury Advisors.

Brennan says gift-giving is just part of doing business among the Chinese. But if you’re going to give a gift — say a French Bordeaux — it better be real.

“Otherwise, the fashion police will come get you,” Brennan explains.

However, since counterfeit booze is so rampant in China, getting ahold of authentic wine and spirits isn’t easy — which might explain why Moutai, a liquor that’s actually produced in China, is one of Hawaii Supermarket’s top sellers among Chinese visitors. Not only is high-end alcohol sold in America more likely to be genuine, but chances are it’s going to be cheaper, too.

“In terms of most luxury goods, you’re probably saving 40, 50, 70 percent just by shopping here in the U.S.,” says Brennan.

That’s because luxury goods in China face extremely high taxes. So Chinese consumers seeking the finer things in life know to buy abroad — which, in East Los Angeles County, means business for one humble Chinese grocery store.

Are we producing more grads than jobs?

Tue, 2014-09-09 15:09

Many jobs that used to require a high school diploma or a certificate now demand a four-year college degree, from executive assistants to registered nurses to construction supervisors. 

That is the finding of a new study from labor market analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies, which sorted through millions of online job postings. Some of those jobs — like nursing or drafting — are more complex than they used to be, says Burning Glass Technologies CEO Matt Sigelman.

“At the same time, we also saw lots and lots of jobs where the jobs haven’t changed,” he says.

For example, about half of IT help desk jobs now require a bachelor’s degree, even though the demands of the job are the same as in positions that don’t ask for a degree, the study found. When it comes to executive secretaries and assistants, 65 percent of listings require a B.A., yet only 19 percent of people in those jobs now have one.

A degree has become a convenient way for employers to sort through hundreds of applicants, Sigelman says. “The problem there is that doesn’t necessarily correspond with what makes people successful in the job,” he says.

And it’s made it harder for the nearly two-thirds of American workers without bachelor’s degrees to find work that pays well. For people with degrees, though, employers are willing to pay more.

“You might think that employers are just hiring degrees because they’re there and they can get them cheap,” says economist Tony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. “But what the data also shows is that they’re paying for the degrees.”

Even for those with degrees there’s a downside, says Sigelman.

“The bad news is that a lot of the demand is for jobs that you probably didn’t go to college to do,” he says. “If you take on a lot of debt to get a college degree and you wind up working at a job that your parents were able to get without one, then you haven’t really gotten anywhere.”

Are we producing more grads than jobs?

Tue, 2014-09-09 15:09

Many jobs that used to require a high school diploma or a certificate now demand a four-year college degree, from executive assistants to registered nurses to construction supervisors. 

 

That is the finding of a new study from labor market analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies, which sorted through millions of online job postings. Some of those jobs — like nursing or drafting — are more complex than they used to be, says Burning Glass Technologies CEO Matt Sigelman.

 

“At the same time, we also saw lots and lots of jobs where the jobs haven’t changed,” he says.

 

For example, about half of IT help desk jobs now require a bachelor’s degree, even though the demands of the job are the same as in positions that don’t ask for a degree, the study found. When it comes to executive secretaries and assistants, 65 percent of listings require a B.A., yet only 19 percent of people in those jobs now have one.

 

A degree has become a convenient way for employers to sort through hundreds of applicants, Sigelman says. “The problem there is that doesn’t necessarily correspond with what makes people successful in the job,” he says.

 

And it’s made it harder for the nearly two-thirds of American workers without bachelor’s degrees to find work that pays well. For people with degrees, though, employers are willing to pay more.

 

“You might think that employers are just hiring degrees because they’re there and they can get them cheap,” says economist Tony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. “But what the data also shows is that they’re paying for the degrees.”

 

Even for those with degrees there’s a downside, says Sigelman.

 

“The bad news is that a lot of the demand is for jobs that you probably didn’t go to college to do,” he says. “If you take on a lot of debt to get a college degree and you wind up working at a job that your parents were able to get without one, then you haven’t really gotten anywhere.”

 

 

What can retailers do after the Home Depot hack?

Tue, 2014-09-09 13:09

Retailers are increasingly seen as vulnerable to hackers. The cyberattack on Home Depot may be the largest data breach in history, and attacks have been made on Neiman Marcus, Target and Goodwill stores, just to name a few.

Remember back in the day when online shopping gave people the jitters? Those days, says Matthew Prince of CloudFlare, are over.

“I feel more safe in putting my credit card into an online form than I do handing it to a waiter at a restaurant,” he says.

Many of us don’t understand, Prince says, that the cash register is more than a point-of-sale device where we swipe our credit card. It is actually a computer.

In this Home Depot attack, and other similar ones, hackers are breaking in to that software system and stealing our credit and debit card information.

Lillian Ablon, a researcher with Rand, says, right now, the attackers are at least one step in front of the merchants.

“We’re in the golden age of cyber where there are still a lot of holes, still a lot of gaps,” she says.

One of the gaping gaps? Our sale information.

Forrester Research analyst John Kindervag says it’s too easy to grab that information when it enters the store computers. There’s a simple fix, though — encryption.

“That technology actually exists off the shelf. It just has to be purchased,” he says.

Of course, the magic word is "purchased."

“Retail is a low-margin, cheap business. So any time they have to spend money, they don’t want to do it,” says Kindervag.

In many cases, stores would need to upgrade hardware and software; for the largest companies, we are talking millions of dollars in equipment investments. 

Kindervag says the other issue is encrypting this data could stifle other lines of business for retailers.

“It will potentially mean they have to do business intelligence and marketing intelligence in totally different ways, and that will be a disruption of their decades-old business model,” he says.

Kindervag predicts retailers would shape up if consumers started shopping with competitors who take data breaches seriously.

More people own cats than stock these days

Tue, 2014-09-09 13:09

Some news at the tail end of the day for you:

According to CNN Money, more people own cats than individual stocks, which exclude mutual funds and all that good stuff.

New numbers out from the Federal Reserve show that just under 14 percent of Americans own individual stocks right now. That's down from a high of 18 percent before the recession.

Meanwhile, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 30 percent of households own at least one cat.

What can retailers do after the Home Depot hack?

Tue, 2014-09-09 13:09

Retailers are increasingly seen as vulnerable for hackers. The cyber-attack on Home Depot may be the largest data breach in history and attacks have been made on Neiman Marcus, Target and Goodwill stores, just to name a few.

Remember back in the day when online shopping gave people the jitters? Those days, says Matthew Prince of CloudFlare, are over.

“I feel more safe in putting my credit card into an online form than I do handing it to a waiter at a restaurant,” he says.

Many of us don’t understand, Prince says, that the cash register is more than a point of sale device where we swipe our credit card. It is actually a computer.

In this Home Depot attack, and other similar ones, hackers are breaking into that software system and stealing our credit and debit card information.

Lillian Ablon, a researcher with Rand, says right now the attackers are at least one step in front of the merchants.

“We’re in the golden age of cyber. Where there are still a lot of holes, still a lot of gaps,” she says.

One of the gaping gaps? Our sale information.

Forrester Research analyst John Kindervag says it’s too easy to grab that information when it enters the store computers. There’s a simple fix, though — encryption.

“That technology actually exists off the shelf. It just has to be purchased,” he says.

Of course, the magic word is ‘purchased.’

“Retail is a low margin, cheap business. So any time they have to spend money, they don’t want to do it,” says Kindervag.

In many cases, stores would need to upgrade hardware and software; for the largest companies we are talking millions in equipment investments. 

Kindervag says the other issue is encrypting this data could stifle other lines of business for retailers.

“It will potentially mean they have to do business intelligence and marketing intelligence in totally different ways and that will be a disruption of their decades-old business model,” he says.

Kindervag predicts retailers would shape up if consumers started shopping with competitors who take data breaches seriously.

More people own cats than stock these days

Tue, 2014-09-09 13:09

Some news at the tail end of the day for you:

According to CNN Money, more people own cats than individual stocks, which exclude mutual funds and all that good stuff.

New numbers out from the Federal Reserve show that just under 14 percent of Americans own individual stocks right now. That's down from a high of 18 percent before the recession.

Meanwhile, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 30 percent of households own at least one cat.

Does 'something rented' count as 'something borrowed'?

Tue, 2014-09-09 12:41

Americans buy a lot of stuff on the Internet — more than $262 billion worth last year, according to the Commerce Department. These days consumers can order pretty much anything online, including what they wear on their wedding day.

Dan Stover and his wife, Megan, got married a year ago this month. In the photos, the groom and his groomsmen are sporting seersucker bow ties, yellow boutonnieres and slim gray suits. “You can see it’s quality fabric,” says Stover. “It’s not like it’s polyester or something.” 

The suits were rentals, but not from a strip mall chain store. They came in the mail a week before the wedding, from TheBlackTux.com.  

“First thing I did was rip that thing open and I tried it on,” Stover says. “I wanted to see if this was a total disaster or a home run, and the fit was perfect. For our wedding, maybe it was a little bit of a leap of faith.”

The Black Tux is a web-only retailer, so Stover couldn’t try his suit on in advance. But the site lets customers enter their body type and measurements, then runs the information through an algorithm to fine-tune the fit before shipping. Stover says the customer reviews were good, and as a busy medical fellow, he was used to buying clothes online to save time. He says he also saved his five best friends a lot of money.

“It was like $100 and change. That’s less than renting a standard tux, and far less than buying a suit.”  

Without the cost of running retail stores, web-only companies can invest more in their products and sell them for less. The Black Tux launched last year and just wrapped its first full wedding season, with inventory fully booked as much as two months in advance.  

“I think absolutely that signals a huge consumer shift,” says Andrew Blackmon, co-founder of The Black Tux. “If people are able to trust us with the tuxedo rentals for arguably the most important day of their lives, I think that shows that people are adopting e-commerce at a level that they probably weren’t in the last five years.”

The top 200 web-only retailers (excluding Amazon) racked up almost $38 billion in sales last year — up 22 percent from the year before, according to InternetRetailer.com.  

“There’s another trend that’s underlying this as well, which is our willingness, maybe even preference to rent things instead of buying them outright,” says David Bell, professor of marketing and e-commerce at the University of Pennsylvania. His case in point: Rent the Runway. The website launched for women in 2009, renting designer dresses for as little as $30. The company now has more than 5 million members and just added a monthly rental program. It has been called a "Netflix for clothes."

“Firms have [gotten] better about giving us pre-information through better technology, better pictures, free returns and so on,” Bell says. “So I think we’ve gradually been trained to buying almost anything online.”

A new report from Business Insider shows 18- to-34-year-olds still spend more money online than any other age group, and in that demographic, 40 percent of guys and a third of women say they would “ideally buy everything online.”

Dan Stover says he’d recommend renting a wedding suit from the web to almost anyone. 

His wife, Megan, approves, too. “I think he looked quite handsome, and I thought the suits looked amazing,” she says.  

As for her wedding dress, she felt more comfortable getting it the old-fashioned way — from a store.  

3 things you probably didn't know about Richard Branson

Tue, 2014-09-09 12:37

Richard Branson is no stranger to the spotlight. He has built an enormous conglomerate by keeping himself and his brand — Virgin — front and center.

Virgin is airlines, music, space travel and 300 or more other companies. Branson has put down his thoughts on how to run such an enterprise in a new book called "The Virgin Way."

Three snippets of information we learned about Branson from our interview:

1. He doesn't sit on boards of any of the companies within the Virgin Group. 

"I've never thought of myself as a businessman," Branson said. "From a very young age, I decided I did not want to be a director of any of the Virgin companies. I wanted other people to do the business aspect so I could be freed up to be more of a creator." 

2. Branson seems fond of SpaceX's Elon Musk. 

They're both high-profile entrepreneurs in the private space flight industry, but Branson is friends with the competitor to his Virgin Galactic tourism enterprise.

"In fact, we're about to share a home next to each other on an island in the Virgin Islands. So, we're close friends," Branson said. "It's been tough for both of us. If it was easy, there'd be lots of private spaceship companies. I think we're both going to pull it off." 

3. He sees a future for Virgin without him, and has a succession plan in place. 

"I've spent a lifetime building the Virgin brand, and it can live on after me," Branson said. "I'm fortunate, I have two great kids, Holly and Sam, so there is a family succession plan in place... They can continue to be the face of Virgin once I've stepped down."

And, he notes, his delegation of the business over the years has made the brand stronger on its own: "Virgin runs really well."

You can listen to Kai Ryssdal's full conversation with Richard Branson in the audio player above.

Morning person, or night owl? It matters

Tue, 2014-09-09 11:33

It can be hard to do the right thing, the ethical thing — especially if you’re tired.

That's something Chuck Collins, a 38-year-old bouncer, knows all about. By day — or by afternoon, really, if you've got an eye on the clock — he's a comic book artist. But come night, he's standing post at the Bleecker Street Bar in Soho.

“I've gone to people and told them, 'Look — listen, I’m too tired to deal with it right now,' because at this point this is gone," he says, pointing to his head. "You need to leave or something bad is going to happen to you.”

Collins is bulky, built like a bouncer, and while he's the first to admit that he can look intimidating, he says his muscles are mostly around for backup. "This job is 99.9 percent psychological," he says. "You do get periods of time where people, they cannot be reasoned with — and you have to be able to be that guy.”

"That guy" is the one who can still find it in himself to decide to do the right thing, even if he is mentally exhausted. Dealing with routine and not-so-routine shenanigans —  like the regular from the bar, trying to chime in during this interview with not-clean-enough-for-broadcast material —  is hard enough at peak energy. 

“We know that ethical decisions are taxing," says Sunita Sah, a professor of business ethics at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. “We have limited cognitive resources and less self-control at certain times of the day.”

According to a new study authored by Sah, our ability to be ethical and to do ethical work lines up squarely with our chronotype, our sense of our own morning- or late-night-person-ness.

“And this is important because it means that people can be ethical at one point in time and unethical at another point in time," Sah says. "The same person.”

Employees' tendency to shift their ethics according to internal scheduling calls the very fabric of the workday schedule, as we know it, into question. Morning people, says Sah, have an easier time being ethical in the morning. Night owls, she says, should be filling out expense reports and giving out advice to clients later in the day. Employees should keep their chronotypes in mind when determining when to do certain types of work, she says, and employers should keep workers' ethical proclivities in mind when they’re making schedules.

But it's not just the choosing between right and wrong at the office that's affected by our body clocks — the quality of our work itself is impacted.

“To take a simple example, if you pull an all-nighter as a college student, some people the next morning are literally blithering idiots,” says Dr. David Rapoport, director of the Sleep Medicine Center at NYU’s Langone Medical Center.

While Rapoport says many of the patients he sees at the center have common sleep disorders like apnea, he also sees a lot of shift workers — frustrated insomniacs who work nights or other odd hours and have been unable to adapt.

“Shift work is essentially temporary jet lag," Rapoport says. "And that's why people don't feel well or are unable to do it. Or, in the case of this ethics discussion, have a great deal of difficulty at one time, but less so at another."

Some people deal with being out of sync with nature’s clock better than others, Rapoport says. According to Circadian, a consulting firm for companies that work 24-7, employees who cover the night shift cost an extra $10,000 a year each. They have more accidents, higher health care costs and higher turnover rates.

But, says Martin Moore-Ede, Circadian's CEO, not only do consumers in today's marketplace expect companies and services to operate around the clock — everything from police and fire departments to grocery stores — nonstop businesses provide a multitrillion-dollar advantage to the economy.

There can be a benefit to working against your body clock, says Mareike Wieth, a psychology professor at Albion College in Michigan. Along with a reporter, she tested her finding by participating in an interview at 10 p.m. While it might not sound late to some, Wieth says 10 is normally her cue for her head to hit her pillow. Not only had Wieth been up since 6 a.m., she's a morning person, so far out of her element after the sun goes down.

Which is why, she says, her brain started to wander during our interview: "I just spent time with my 2-year-old. And [I started] thinking, all of a sudden, about all the funny things that she's doing at the moment, or the giant temper tantrum that she threw," Wieth said, "which isn't relevant right now. But those are things that come to mind at a non-optimal time of day." 

This reporter, also a morning person, and also awake for many hours, felt like this cat:  

giphy

... so easy to distract that all it would take is a piece of yarn.

But Wieth says that’s the point — imagine if you gather a bunch of grumpy night owls at a breakfast meeting. Traditionally, she says, people have been advised to do their heaviest and most concentrated thinking in the morning. But she says, "For someone who's an evening person, it doesn't actually really work."

“They're going to be much more distracted," Wieth says of the night owls. "They’re going to be much more — they might check their devices a bunch, they may doodle a lot more and think about the conversations they had last night. Which may lead to something really creative.”

Wieth says choosing the right work hours requires considering what you want the outcome to be. If you're looking for a zany, goofy or creative end product, then breaking out of your typical cycle may be the way to go.

And for the workers who feel truly sleep-deprived and unable to sync up with new cycles, while medicine and technology can help, if your biology doesn't let you do shift work, Rapoport says, the best treatment is not to do it at all.

Something to sleep on. Or to consider while you try.

So about those new Apple products...

Tue, 2014-09-09 11:31

Apple announced the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, along with a new wearable device called the Apple Watch, on Tuesday.

Although this smart watch is the first brand new piece of hardware the company has put out since Steve Jobs’ time as CEO, Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson says the verdict is still out.

"It is sleek in that Apple way," says Johnson. "You can tap it and touch the screen to do stuff. It also has these sensors on the back that monitor your location, and tells you your heart rate in real time. But it’s not a game changer."

However, one revelation did interest many people: the new payment system called Apple Pay.

"The company partnered with American Express, MasterCard and Visa," says Johnson. "It’s exclusive, by the way, to the Apple Watch or the iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 has a special chip in it... [that] encrypts information and lets you add payment cards so that you can use it at merchants."

Johnson says merchants don’t get your credit card information through Apple Pay. Instead, they receive a code that allows the purchase. 

Listen to Ben and Kai's full conversation in the audio player above.

The numbers for September 9, 2014

Tue, 2014-09-09 07:09

Regardless of whether you want an iPhone 6, it's worth looking back at Steve Jobs' original iPhone announcement from 2007. Seven years isn't that long, but Jobs' presentation touting the iPhone's 3.5-inch screen and two-megapixel camera still feels bizarrely dated. How did we charge those cinderblocks again? Hand crank?

 

Here's a look at what we're reading — and five other numbers we're keeping an eye on — Tuesday morning:

 

60,000

 

That's the number of people Koch Industries employs in the U.S. and a key part of the company's new public image effort. The multinational corporation — which has a hand in everything from ranching to paper to asphalt to electronics — is trying to deflect attacks on its owners, Charles and David Koch, the Washington Post reported. The nationwide marketing effort, the company's first, is an attempt to keep criticism of their politics from tarnishing Koch Industries.

 

142 percent

 

How much more carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere compared to the start of the industrial revolution, according to new data from the World Meteorological Organization. CO2 levels rose faster from 2012 to 2013 than they have since 1984. The U.N. will convene in New York later this month for a special summit on climate change, the BBC reported.

 

15

 

At least this many major websites are taking part in "Internet Slowdown Day," a protest for net neutrality Wednesday. Netflix, Reddit, Etsy, Kickstarter and many more will feature loading screens on their sites to simulate what the web might look like if companies were forced to pay broadband carriers for faster service. The  protest comes as the second round for public comment to the FCC ends next week, TechHive reported. (Disclosure: Marketplace's distributer, American Public Media, has filed a comment in favor of net neutrality.)

 

60 million

 

The number of customers whose credit card information may have been stolen during a data breach at Home Depot, reports the New York Times. The retailer confirmed the hack Monday and said in-store shoppers from April up to last week could be affected. The theft could dwarf Target's breach from last year, in which hackers got information for an estimated 40 million customers. 

 

99 cents

 

The new price of Amazon's Fire smartphone, slashed from $199 in a temporary promotion this week, The Wall Street Journal reports. Amazon hasn't released sales numbers for the phone, but it seems safe to say they're below expectations ahead of Apple's new iPhone launch.

Credit monitoring becomes a standard offer after breaches

Tue, 2014-09-09 07:00

Credit monitoring services are becoming part of the standard response from big companies after large data breaches. Target offered them, now Home Depot.   

Consumers, however, need to know what these services do and do not do.

“Think about it in layers,” says Suzanne Barber, director of the Center for Identity at the University of Texas at Austin. "Your identity information is connected. Remember your credit card/debit card application. All that information is connected to your credit card number. So, if your credit card is breached, what's the likelihood the criminal can access much more information about you?"

Finances and bank accounts can lead a criminal to other assets like mortgages and car loans, and then health care data and even social media. 

A credit reporting agency isn’t monitoring everything, but you should map out what it is and isn’t monitoring so you can fill in any gaps with your own vigilance. 

Barber says it’s important to know how long a credit monitoring agency will be monitoring for. “Criminals are willing to sit on this info for quite some time before they harvest your assets – as much as five years.”

Credit monitoring “is a specific step for a specific purpose,” says Ted Julian, chief marketing officer with CO3 Systems, an incident response firm. But it doesn’t absolve the consumer of worry or responsibility. “These incidents hammer home some basic good housekeeping that we all know,” he says.

Basics like having a unique and strong password: Don’t have a unique and strong set of passwords, with different ones for different services. 

Use a credit card over a debit card. While it’s likely you will be reimbursed for a debit card loss, it may be more difficult and will take longer than if you are reimbursed by a credit card company. 

Look at statements — and not just for the large $500 purchases at the electronics store. Little "test" purchases of $2 or $0.50 can be used by a thief to determine whether an account is functioning correctly or not. 

What does economic security mean in 2014?

Tue, 2014-09-09 07:00

How do American families define economic security these days? 

Wealthier people in America have been raising their standards on what they consider economic security, even as people struggling with less are lowering their standards about what they see as acceptable. That's among the findings of a new book called "Cut Adrift: Families in Insecure Times."

Its author is Stanford sociologist Dr. Marianne Cooper, who also served as the lead researcher on Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In," the Facebook COO's best seller on women and leadership. 

Click the media player above to hear Dr. Marianne Cooper in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio.

PODCAST: Apple's payment plan

Tue, 2014-09-09 03:00

The way some people put ketchup on their fries, Apple's expected to to pour words like "amazing" and "awesome" all over its script at its product launch in California today. After all, the articles about what an Apple wristwatch might look like, it's now time to actually see what the company has to offer. What might get overshowed is expected news today that could make the economy an even more liquid place. It's about a new mobile payment system in which you wave an device like a magic wand at the point of sale. Plus, what is called the JOLTS Survey is expected out later this morning. It covers how many job openings and what's about workplace turnover. This monthly report's star has risen each time Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellin mentions it when discussing the health of the labor economy. So just what is JOLTS trying to measure? And what does being economically secure--or its antithesis--economic insecurity mean in 2014 America? Wealthier people in America have been raising their standards for what they consider economic security, even as people struggling with less are lowering their standards about what they see as acceptable. That's among the findings of a new book called "Cut Adrift: Families in Insecure Times." It's author, Stanford sociologist Marianne Cooper, joins us to discuss.

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