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Independent record labels push back against Apple

Fri, 2015-06-19 12:54

Taylor Swift’s smash album "1989" will not be available on Apple’s new music streaming service when it launches on June 30.

Swift has pulled the album from both Apple Music and Spotify over concerns the streaming services do not provide fair compensation for artists.

Now, independent artists and record labels are crying foul, too — upset over Apple’s contract stipulation of not paying artists’ royalties during the initial three-month roll out. Apple plans to charge customers $9.99 a month for the streaming service.

The Beggars Group is the parent company of indie labels such as Matador and 4AD, as well as popular artists such as Alabama Shakes, Adele and Radiohead. The company put up a blog post outlining its disagreement with Apple.

Still, Apple is a company that is very close to the hearts, and wallets, of many musicians, many of whom use Apple technology to produce their product, while also making a decent living selling music in its iTunes store.

But is all of that enough to convince independent artists to give away their music for free on Apple’s new streaming service?

“Maybe,” says Jim DeRogatis, co-host of Sound Opinions on Chicago Public Radio. 

“The models are changing so quickly, I don't know of any label, independent or major, that really has a clear idea of what Apple Radio, Apple Music or Beats Music is going to end up being,” DeRogatis says.

He notes that independent labels are right to be wary of any business model that devalues their product, but saying no to a company with the clout and reach of Apple is not an easy call.

“You know, many artists say, 'It's better to have people listening to my music, even if I'm not making any money, than not listening.' ”

But others say the fact that Apple spent months and months hammering out special arrangements with major labels, only to give independents a “take it or leave it” offer, just isn’t fair.

Jesse Von Doom is the CEO of Cash Music, a nonprofit tech startup that provides business tools for musicians.

“You're talking about a significant portion of the market that is dealt with as an afterthought, and that happened again with Apple,” Von Doom says.

“They're coming to people saying, 'Look, we're going to do this streaming product, we're the biggest company in the world, we have more money than God, and we're going to ask you to take the financial hit while we onboard customers.’"

Von Doom worries that Apple’s move into streaming and away from retail risks killing a really important source of income for musicians.

"I think it feels to a lot of artists like Apple is trying to make music just another feature of a phone." 

Indpedendent record labels push back against Apple

Fri, 2015-06-19 12:54

Taylor Swift’s smash album "1989" will not be available on Apple’s new music streaming service when it launches on June 30.

Swift has pulled the album from both Apple Music and Spotify over concerns the streaming services do not provide fair compensation for artists.

Now, independent artists and record labels are crying foul, too — upset over Apple’s contract stipulation of not paying artists’ royalties during the initial three-month roll out. Apple plans to charge customers $9.99 a month for the streaming service.

The Beggars Group is the parent company of indie labels such as Matador and 4AD, as well as popular artists such as Alabama Shakes, Adele and Radiohead. The company put up a blog post outlining its disagreement with Apple.

Still, Apple is a company that is very close to the hearts, and wallets, of many musicians, many of whom use Apple technology to produce their product, while also making a decent living selling music in its iTunes store.

But is all of that enough to convince independent artists to give away their music for free on Apple’s new streaming service?

“Maybe,” says Jim DeRogatis, co-host of Sound Opinions on Chicago Public Radio. 

“The models are changing so quickly, I don't know of any label, independent or major, that really has a clear idea of what Apple Radio, Apple Music or Beats Music is going to end up being,” DeRogatis says.

He notes that independent labels are right to be wary of any business model that devalues their product, but saying no to a company with the clout and reach of Apple is not an easy call.

“You know, many artists say, 'It's better to have people listening to my music, even if I'm not making any money, than not listening.' ”

But others say the fact that Apple spent months and months hammering out special arrangements with major labels, only to give independents a “take it or leave it” offer, just isn’t fair.

Jesse Von Doom is the CEO of Cash Music, a nonprofit tech startup that provides business tools for musicians.

“You're talking about a significant portion of the market that is dealt with as an afterthought, and that happened again with Apple,” Von Doom says.

“They're coming to people saying, 'Look, we're going to do this streaming product, we're the biggest company in the world, we have more money than God, and we're going to ask you to take the financial hit while we onboard customers.’"

Von Doom worries that Apple’s move into streaming and away from retail risks killing a really important source of income for musicians.

"I think it feels to a lot of artists like Apple is trying to make music just another feature of a phone." 

The Rise of Women Gamers at E3 2015

Fri, 2015-06-19 12:34

E3 — video games, gamers and traditionally lots and lots of men. But there are signs that the total male domination is changing.

Produced by Preditorial | www.preditorial.tv
Director of Photography and Editor: Anton Seim
Reporter: Adriene Hill

"Windfall" TheFatRat, Released on Tasty Records
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

There's a new festival circuit for diehard TV fans

Fri, 2015-06-19 12:24

It's been said we’re in a second golden age of television. There’s more content on more platforms than ever before, but the sheer volume of TV shows can make it hard for new programs to stand out. Enter the television fest. It’s like a film festival but for episodic content. Elizabeth Wagmeister writes for Variety, and she recently covered the TV festival circuit in a piece called "Why Television Is Hitting the Road for Festivals." 

On why TV shows are turning to festivals: 

 Festivals make sense for television because the TV industry is booming … festivals are a great place for new shows and returning shows to get exposure. The best fans for TV are the ones that are going to these festivals…. When they’re there, they’re going to go on Facebook. They’re going to go on Instagram, and then the buzz spreads. 

On how TV festivals operate: 

Some of them will have different screenings at a time, so you have to choose. A big example of that is Comi-Con, which of course is film and TV, but there’s so many fans that want to go that every room is jam packed. Other ones, they’ll just have one screening at a time and it depends on how mature these festivals are. 

The hidden costs of marriage

Fri, 2015-06-19 09:16

Couples hoping to walk down the aisle this summer may incur some hidden expenses. From tax penalties to prenups, navigating your new life can be a tough row to hoe. In many cases, getting married might not make financial sense.

CBS News Business Analyst Jill Schlesinger joins Lizzie O’Leary to talk about what you need to know.

The big business of Indian weddings

Fri, 2015-06-19 09:12

For Indian millennials living in the U.S., a wedding may be the biggest party of their lives. Combining ancient tradition and American extravagance, these events can last for weeks and run well over six figures. It’s a booming industry, and venues across the country are all vying for a piece of the action.

“When hotels hear ‘Indian weddings’ they think, ‘cha-ching!’ ” says Ani Sandhu, owner of Ace of Events in the District of Columbia. He’s one of the area’s most successful Indian wedding planners. In order to plan a successful Indian wedding, he says you must first understand the cultural significance of the event. “In the Indian community, there are two things on their mind: one is education and one is marriage,” Sandhu says. “It’s not just the bride and groom getting married, it’s two families coming together … it’s a party that lasts a very, very long time.” Understanding the context, however, is just the prerequisite. The real heavy lifting happens when bringing together hundreds and even thousands of different elements to make each wedding a unique experience for each couple.

As lavish South Asian weddings grow in popularity, more venues are rolling out the red carpet to the wealthy client base. “On an average … we’re usually over a quarter-million dollars when it’s all said and done,” Sandhu says. Three-hundred- to 400-person guest lists are just the start. “By the time you are flying back and forth from India, you have jewelry that’s coming in, then you have all these events that are happening, all these traditions that need to take place, the total value that clients are spending towards weddings adds up to be a quarter million, three-hundred thousand plus.” Many hotels have started training their staffs in Indian traditions and customs in an effort to make families feel more welcome.

Sandhu often gets some pretty out-of-the-box requests. One groom asked to arrive on the back of an elephant. Another asked to arrive in helicopter. But when a groom came to him two years ago asking to make his entrance on a jet ski in the Maryland harbor, Sandhu had to do some brainstorming. “And I’m like, 'How do you expect to get off a jet ski, take off your wet suit, and be in your traditional Indian gown and not need it to be ironed or anything?' ” He managed to talk the groom out this idea and found a compromise: “For that specific client then we rented a private yacht that could accommodate about 30 guests, and the groom and his groomsmen made their entrance on the yacht.”

The price of the American wedding

Fri, 2015-06-19 09:06

At the courthouse and beyond, the American wedding is more than just a legal act or even a big day— it's a massive business. The wedding industry brings in about $80 billion a year. 

Businesses across the country reap the benefits: venues and florists, caterers, tent rental companies, dressmakers — they're all making big money. 

David Wood, president of the Association of Bridal Consultants, spoke about the wedding industry and how to make the price of a wedding fit into a budget. 

To hear the full interview, tune in using the player above. 

The weird and wonderful world of elopements

Fri, 2015-06-19 09:02

If the economy is sluggish, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the wedding business. Alan Katz started his 24-hour elopement chapel 11 years ago, and business has been booming ever since.

Great Officiants in Long Beach, California, sees a steady stream of weddings daily, “and they come in for a variety of reasons,” Katz says. Price and convenience are two major selling points. Because Katz can perform services and dispense licenses in-house, his company has established itself as a bona fide “one-stop shop” for couples hoping to tie the knot. “I’m doing more weddings than ever before. I’ve assembled a team of 33 officiants to do weddings because I couldn’t handle them all,” Katz says.

Over the years, Katz has helped more than 5,000 couples tie the knot, but there is one service that gives him a special joy: same-sex couples. “I specifically love marrying couples that have been denied the right to marry in the past,” Katz says. “When I see couples walk into my office who have been denied all their lives and get them to say ‘I do,’ it’s the most amazing feeling.”

Katz likes to think of his services as the cure for the common wedding. With a little advance notice, you can be married by Elvis, Austin Powers or even Marilyn Monroe. Other popular themes include Harry Potter and the Princess Bride. With a new Star Wars movie slated for release later this year, Katz is already buying new costumes to meet the expected spike in demand.

As one of the most creative wedding chapels in California, Katz says, couples come from miles around to tie the knot. Katz says business is good, and it doesn’t show any sign of slowing. “In tough economic times, people get married, and in affluent times, people get married. What does change is the size of the wedding and the perks.” And at about $300 a pop, couples aren’t too afraid to splurge a little.

Backing up the power grid with homemade electricity

Fri, 2015-06-19 07:57

Economies of scale. We talk about it all the time, making lots of something to bring the costs down. It works with electricity, as large power plants far away affordably generate most of our energy. The thing is, the delivery system, the plumbing of electricity – i.e., the grid – is becoming less reliable. In Connecticut, failures affecting up 850,000 customers from three major storms in 2011 and 2012 have the state investing in a new type of redundancy: locally made power. 

“We realized how centralized we are,” state lawmaker Lonnie Reed says. “And more centralization means more vulnerability.”

It’s really two vulnerabilities. A less reliable grid and our addiction to it. One of Reed’s constituents called up during the storm, demanding the National Guard.

“And I said ‘well, is your house still standing?’ ” Reed says. “ 'Oh yes.’ ‘Do you have water?’ ‘Yes.’ And he said, ‘My children can’t go to school and there is no TV! And they depend on video games and Wii.’ He was having a Wii meltdown.”

After the storms, Connecticut enacted a law that’s the first of its kind in the country. It invests in what are call microgrids.

“It became clear that there was an opportunity,” Yale law professor Dan Esty says. He was state energy and environment commissioner at the time. “While not protecting against the grid going out, of having some microgrids that would stay up.”

A microgrid is what it sounds like: a hyper-local source of energy — it could be a natural gas plant, solar panels, a wind farm or fuel cell – that makes electricity independent of the main grid. Think community garden, in case shipped food can’t make it in. It’s a form of decentralized or “distributed” generation.

Danbury Hospital's microgrid

Scott Tong/Marketplace

Danbury Hospital in western Connecticut put in its own system four years ago. At the heart of it is an on-site natural gas plant that kept the lights on during Superstorm Sandy.

“We decided to go island mode,”  says Morris Gross, hospital facilities vice president. “And island mode basically meant that we split away from the power company during the worst of that storm.” 

Much of the region went dark then, including New York University’s Medical Center in Manhattan.

“So they had to evacuate their patients,” Gross says. “These patients had to be carried downstairs. You know, elevators don’t work. You can imagine, if you have to worry about people on respirators.”

Danbury Hospital’s microgrid makes local power as well as local heat. The system captures the power generator’s waste heat, which normally goes up the smokestack, and turns it into steam.

“We take the steam, we heat buildings with it,” Gross says. “We take the steam, we create hot water with it. We take the steam, we sterilize instruments with it. And then we take the steam and we convert it to air conditioning through heat-absorption chiller."

Danbury Hospital saved so much on heating and air conditioning, it paid for its $17 million microgrid in four years.

It’s the same story an hour east, at Wesleyan University’s microgrid.

Alan Rubacha of Wesleyan University

Scott Tong/Marketplace

The school, like a hospital, can’t afford to go dark. The science lab, for instance, has strict temperature controls. “We save about $5,000 per day operating these machines,” says Alan Rubacha, director of physical plant and capital projects at the university.

“Certainly at stake there is science,” Rubacha says, “the business of the university and the students. We’ve got minus 80 freezers and minus 20 freezers with things in them that are irreplaceable.”

Keeping a college building or hospital up is one of several reasons to make power locally. It can save money in places where grid power’s expensive. It can generate clean energy in the form of rooftop solar panels. It can hedge against terror attacks on the physical grid, which is why the military has built microgrids.

 “There are so many reasons to have a structure of distributed generation,” Yale Law’s Dan Esty said. “That is going to happen with or without a strategy from government, with or without the support of the old utilities.”

Utilities are noticing. One industry paper (PDF) from the Edison Electric Institute calls distributed energy a “disruptive challenge.”

Still, in the near-term, Connecticut’s microgrid program faces significant hurdles. One is legal. Say you live there, and you want to build your very own microgrid. Does the law define what it is? No. Can you build one that crosses over or under a city street? Not sure. Are you subject to the myriad laws that apply to utilities? Could be.

“Lawyers are needed at every stage,” says Sara Bronin of the University of Connecticut School of Law. “If a project has to comply with public utility rules, even more lawyers are needed. Which is great for lawyers, but not for microgrid development.”

The state’s pilot program provides utility-approved legal exemptions for the small number of early microgrids.

“Future microgrid projects may not get the same treatment from utilities,” Bronin says. “And that’s what scares people off from trying to invest in microgrids in the first place here.”

Another barrier in Connecticut and around the country: electricity pricing. For most of us in our homes, electricity costs the same — whether it’s green or fossil, whether we’re energy hogs or not, whether it’s imported or made locally. Reformers want to overhaul pricing, so consumers pay more for energy that’s worth more.

“You start to pay for redundancy,” Esty says. “You pay for resiliency. You pay for any number of these attributes that have been on the sidelines of the 20th century marketplace.”

An old electricity marketplace and architecture, built yesterday, for yesterday. 

“Eventually the public will become so frustrated with the storm response of the traditional grid that they will demand the changes that would allow for more resilience of the grid,” Bronin says.

 Marketplace is teaming up with Waze to look at transportation infrastructure across the U.S. Click here to find out how you can be a part of our series and report bad infrastructure on your own commute. 

PODCAST: Off the grid

Fri, 2015-06-19 03:00

Why are financial market players betting the Greek debt crisis is about to be resolved? Greek, German, and French bond yields are down this morning — hinting not of crisis, but of some kind of resolution. More on that. Plus, is there an alternative to giant power plants sending electricity out over far-flung grids? Maybe. We head to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where they're experimenting with fuel cells.

U.S. colleges to recruit in Cuba

Fri, 2015-06-19 02:00

As U.S. relations with Cuba thaw, colleges and universities are among those lining up to do business in the communist country. The Educational Testing Service has confirmed plans to offer some of its admissions tests in Cuba starting this month. The island nation is home to an estimated 1.5 million people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Don’t expect a rush of Cuban students on campuses just yet, though. When the Test of English as a Foreign Language debuts in Havana later this month, just 4 students are expected to take it.

“There are obstacles to beginning testing in Cuba,” says Eileen Tyson with ETS, the nonprofit that gives the exams. “We want this to go well, and we’re just going to take it very slowly.”

Those obstacles include limited computer and internet access and a lack of credit cards, which are needed to register for the exams. Students taking the language test, which is required by many U.S. colleges, will be logging onto computers at the Swiss Embassy. Tyson says the GRE, a graduate school admissions exam, will roll out in the fall.

U.S. mayors tackle water problems

Fri, 2015-06-19 02:00

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is holding its annual meeting over the next few days in San Francisco, with President Barack Obama among the speakers.

On the agenda: water. Turns out water problems aren’t limited to the parched West. Of course the mayors will be talking about water conservation, but there's more.

“If you’re going to have a supply of water, you need it to be clean and accessible,” says Mitch Jones, a senior policy advocate at Food & Water Watch

Jones says many cities that have plenty of water struggle to make sure it’s safe. Think Toledo after last summer’s algae blooms on Lake Erie, or Charleston, West Virginia, after that big chemical spill last year. Jones says clean water is expensive, and federal money for loans has dried up.

“Congress needs to step up and fund the programs that exist for getting that money out to the  communities that need it,” says Jones.

Lima, Ohio, has also had problems with algae and waste water disposal. David Berger, Lima’s mayor, who will be speaking at the mayors’ conference about government mandates on water quality, says he wants federal grants, not loans.

“Loans we have to pay back," he says. "Those truly don’t help us.”

Otherwise, Berger says, U.S. cities will have to take on billions of dollars worth of debt. 

Mayors tackle water problems

Fri, 2015-06-19 02:00

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is holding its annual meeting over the next few days in San Francisco, with President Barack Obama among the speakers.

On the agenda: water. Turns out water problems aren’t limited to the parched west. Of course the mayors will be talking about water conservation, but there's more.

“If you’re going to have a supply of water you need it to be clean and accessible,” says Mitch Jones, a senior policy advocate at Food and Water Watch

Jones says many cities that have plenty of water struggle to make sure it’s safe. Think Toledo after last summer’s algae blooms on Lake Erie, or Charleston, West Virginia after that big chemical spill last year. Jones says clean water is expensive, and federal money for loans has dried up.

“Congress needs to step up and fund the programs that exist for getting that money out to the  communities that need it,” says Jones.

Lima, Ohio has also had problems with algae, and waste water disposal. David Berger, Lima’s mayor, who will be speaking at the mayors’ conference about government mandates on water quality, says he wants federal grants, not loans.

“Loans we have to pay back," he says. "Those truly don’t help us.”

Otherwise, Berger says, U.S. cities will have to take on billions of dollars worth of debt. 

Checking in on Etsy for its 10th birthday

Fri, 2015-06-19 02:00

The online marketplace for crafts, Etsy, has been trying to win back the favor of investors. The stock is down by more than half since it's IPO in April. Among new areas of growth, Etsy has announced it's testing a crowdfunding system, so that Etsy users can put up money to help promising businesses get off the ground in return for getting the resulting products early.

Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson.

Etsy 

But Etsy's CEO Chad Dickerson is optimistic about the state of Etsy at a milestone moment for the company.

On Etsy’s 10th birthday:

“I’m not surprised by the success of Etsy because I think what Etsy really does is it appeals to the yearnings for people to create things and make thing that they are really passionate about.”

On Etsy’s guideline that includes manufactured goods:

“We have very clear policies on what you can sell on Etsy. The author has to demonstrate authorship, responsibility, and transparency. So the items that they make have to come from them. If they use any help, they have to understand the production. And transparency, if they are using help they have to say that on their profiles. One of the things we are really excited about is that we are seeing the emergence of really small scale manufacturing, and we see that manufacturing as part of a vision of a better economy.”

Click the media player above to hear Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio in conversation with Etsy's CEO Chad Dickerson.

Fuel cells offer cities an alternative to the grid

Fri, 2015-06-19 02:00

The nation’s power grid is experiencing more failures than ever. One city in Connecticut, Bridgeport, is taking measures to rely less on the grid and more on locally made power known as fuel cells.

Right by the train tracks in Bridgeport, an old industrial city, is a set of big white containers connected to hoses and pipes that looks a little … too white. Too new.

Each box, about half as big as a shipping container, makes energy. Inside are fuel cells that combine hydrogen and oxygen in a battery-type reaction.

“They kind of cross through the anode and the cathode,” Dominion Resources director Kevin Hennessy says. “They meet one another and the electrochemical reaction creates water, heat and electrons.”

There’s no burning of a fuel, thus fewer emissions than traditional power sources. And, these fuel cells are a neighborhood source of power, an alternative to the grid if need be.

“If the larger grid has problems because of, say, a hurricane or something,” Hennessy says, “the local utility can take this output and kind of direct it to which substation they want to keep online.”

Local power can provide more reliability than centralized power-plant energy sent from far away. But how do you get permission to build a plant in a city where NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) has become NOPE (not on planet earth)?

“Who wouldn’t want virtually zero emissions,” says Chip Bottone, president and CEO of FuelCell Energy. "Something that doesn’t bother your neighbors, something that can be built very quickly, something that can be put right in the middle of a population center."

Fuel cells do cost more. About 12 cents a unit of energy compared to 5 for nuclear. But more states and countries are subsidizing electricity they consider higher “quality” — clean, reliable, local, non-intrusive.

However, even as fuel cell use expands, “it’s not a change that’s going to happen instantaneously,” says Joel Rinebold of the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology. Power plants are built to stay in business for decades, and are typically the most affordable.

“If the market is flooded with very low-cost hydrocarbons,” Rinebold says, “there may be a delay, a desire to simply get cheap power regardless of sustainability.”

A view of the Dominion Bridgeport Fuel Cell.

Scott Tong/Marketplace

Silicon Tally: Fashionably late to technology

Fri, 2015-06-19 02:00

It's time for Silicon Tally! How well have you kept up with the week in tech news? 

This week, we're joined by Simon Doonan, the Creative Ambassador-at-Large for Barneys New York. He’s also the author of “The Asylum: True Tales of Madness From a Life in Fashion."

Click the media player above to play along.

Deliver thy neighbor's Amazon order

Thu, 2015-06-18 16:17
3.5 million

That's how many packages Amazon ships every day, and shipping costs grew by almost a third last year. It makes sense that the company is looking at new ways to ship, and sources tell the Wall Street Journal that Amazon is planning its own sort of TaskRabbit or Postmates service, asking customers to deliver packages from retail stores to each other.

$80 billion

That's what power outages cost the U.S. in lost work. Like a lot of American infrastructure, the electrical grid is a marvel, but it's showing its age. It's susceptible to outages from severe weather, and those outages last longer than they do in other countries.

$14.75

That's how low Etsy's share price has hit since its IPO in April, falling by more than half. With the company now a decade old and in precarious new territory, we sat down with CEO Chad Dickerson to check in.

5.5 years

That's how many year's worth of wages it would take U.S. service workers to afford a home, on average— more than double the recommended 2.6 years. That's according to a new analysis from the Martin Prosperity Institute as reported by CityLab. In parts of Silicon Valley, it would take them up to 20 years to afford a home. In all, the report only found two metropolitan areas were homes were within reach of service workers: Anderson, Indiana, and Saginaw, Michigan.

1789

The year Alexander Hamilton become the country's first Treasury secretary at 34, creating America's first central bank, tax system and so on from scratch. That comes from Hamilton biographer Ron Chernow, who's Politico op-ed says making Hamilton share the $10 bill with a woman instead of replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 would be "correct[ing] one historic injustice by committing another."

Stephanie Savage and 'The Astronaut Wives Club'

Thu, 2015-06-18 13:00

In May of 1961, Americans huddled around their televisions as Alan Shepard completed a 15-minute space flight, making him the first American in space. His story isn't the subject of ABC's new mini-series "The Astronaut Wives Club." The show centers on his wife, Louise Shepard, and the other women whose husbands were part of NASA's Mercury Seven — the first American men chosen to go to space.

The mini-series is based on the Lily Koppel book of the same name, which Stephanie Savage brought to the television screen. Her credits include "Gossip Girl" and "The O.C."
 
"I feel like we have a real responsibility to tell something that is truthful to these people's points of view and who they were," she says. "At the same time, we've got to fit it into 10 episodes."  
 
As if that wasn't enough of a challenge, "The Astronaut Wives Club" is also about women's history, something that hasn't often been recorded extensively. That required additional focus on her source material for the show.

"The work that Lily Koppel did in her book is really important. She did a real oral history," Savage says. "She went out to women's homes all across the country, sat in their kitchens and took down their stories."

Inside Stephanie Savage's production company Fake Empire, founded by Savage and "The O.C." creator Josh Schwartz. (Bridget Bodnar/Marketplace) 

Savage also hopes that the show will encourage viewers to go out and research the history that "The Astronaut Wives Club" covers, even if it means important plot details are revealed to the audience too soon.
 
"Nothing would make me happier if people got curious enough to actually go online to and start looking and researching the Apollo 1 fire...That would be amazing to me if people would actually go through the trouble to figure that stuff out," she says. 
 
Savage acknowledges that the show is different from the series she's known for.
 
"I'd love to do something like this again," she says: telling the stories of strong women. "There are so many amazing untold women's stories, that I'd be happy to do one of these every summer for the rest of my life."

Astronaut Wives premieres Thursday on ABC at 8 p.m. 

Pope Francis: climate, economics, and values

Thu, 2015-06-18 13:00

Pope Francis released his much-anticipated encyclical, "Laudato Si'" ("Praise Be To You"), on Thursday, calling on all nations and all peoples to take action on climate change. He came down with the overwhelming majority of scientists, who say global warming is caused by the activities of man.

And he was pretty critical of two of those activities: capitalism and consumerism. The quest for too much profit, and for too much stuff, harms the planet, he said.

In going there, the pope staked out territory that most economists make a point of avoiding: a moral interpretation of our economy.

This isn’t the first time a major faith has put forth a moral interpretation of economic prosperity — even within the Catholic Church, from popes going all the way back to Leo XIII. 

Leo XIII wrote an encyclical titled “Rerum Novarum,” taken from the Latin for “of revolutionary change,” which was meant as a push back against some of the negative aspects of the Industrial Revolution. 

More recently, even Pope Benedict XVI wrote about the need for “adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth.”

“Consistently the popes have spoken that the marketplace is not God; that it’s not going to solve all of our problems,” says Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest and senior analyst at the National Catholic Reporter.

Reese notes that economists tend to view their subject as “value free” — a matter of the efficient allocation of scarce resources— but that the Pope feels that approach isn’t addressing the needs of the poorest and weakest among us.

“The realm that he deals with, and the morality of life, is one that economics has struggled with," says Maureen O’Hara, a professor of finance at Cornell University. "I think that economics is beginning to rethink that a little bit.”

In talking about issues like climate change and the environment in terms of “values,” the pope is entering territory many economists tend to avoid.

“The closest we tend to get is things are ‘inefficient’," O’Hara says. “I think many people kind of feel that may not tell the full story, and that's where I think the pope is trying to blend both the pieces from the economics perspective and the moral perspective together."

O’Hara says she agrees with much of what the pope said in his encyclical, but not his opposition to trading carbon credits. Cap and trade, she says, can be an effective tool for reducing pollution.

What we talk about when we talk about the grid

Thu, 2015-06-18 12:08

What is the grid? It dates back to Edison and it gets power from plants to homes and businesses accross the nation. But it's also vulnerable and aging.

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