National Partners

Stories from our program partners, including NPR, APM, and PRI.

Shawn Brackbill

You may not know what a Quindar tone is, but you have definitely heard one.

Quindar tones are the beeps heard in the background of famous space communications, like Neil Armstrong’s “the Eagle has landed” message to Mission Control when the lunar module first reached the moon.

Can we pay people to save the rainforests?

Aug 6, 2017
<a href="" style="font-size: 13.008000373840332px;">Rod Waddington/Flickr, CC-by SA 2.0</a>

Earth’s forests are crucial for controlling the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and for maintaining biodiversity, so efforts are underway around the world to stop deforestation. But what happens when those same trees are also crucial to a family’s livelihood?

One solution being tried in countries like Costa Rica and Uganda is to pay landowners not to cut down their trees.

<a href="">Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources</a>/<a href="">CC-BY-ND 2.0</a>

On a cloudy summer day, Iowa farmer Wendy Johnson lifts the corner of a mobile chicken tractor — a lightweight plastic frame covered in wire mesh that has corralled her month-old meat chickens for a few days — and frees several dozen birds to peck the surrounding area at will. Soon, she’ll sell these chickens to customers at local markets in eastern Iowa.

The demand for beef, pork and chicken raised on smaller farms closer to home is growing. Now, some Midwest farmers, like Johnson, are exploring how to graze livestock to meet those demands while still earning a profit.

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Some of the most famous lines in film are the result of actors going off-script, from “Here’s Johnny” to “Here’s looking at you, kid.” But given the meticulous choreography behind the scenes of movies and TV shows, how does improvisation even find its way on screen?

The Midnight Scan Club

Aug 5, 2017

A Relatively Important Eclipse

Aug 5, 2017

Neutrinos Caught In The Act Of Collision

Aug 5, 2017

Toyota and Mazda team up to open U.S. plant

Aug 4, 2017

Toyota and Mazda are planning to build a $1.6 billion plant in the U.S. in the next few years. Toyota's worth about 20 times what Mazda is, so it's unclear what Toyota is getting from the partnership, but the new plant is rumored to produce electric vehicles.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Catherine Rampell of The Washington Post and Sudeep Reddy from Politico join us to discuss the week's business and economic news. Ten years after the financial crisis, we finally have some jobs numbers that are back at prerecession levels. We discuss what it would take for the economy's mood to match this recovery. And looking ahead, we weigh the likelihood of Congress tackling tax reform or even tax cuts. August is supposed to be a quiet news month, but let's not jinx it.

Momentum builds to end surgery on intersex newborns

Aug 4, 2017

America is at something of a turning point when it comes to issues of gender identity and gender expression.

Though messaging from the White House has become increasingly hostile, transgender Americans are slowly gaining more societal acceptance. Just this week, the commandant of the US Coast Guard said he would not “break faith” with transgender personnel, and would not enforce President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender servicemembers in the military.

08/04/2017: Talking trash

Aug 4, 2017

Today's jobs report was good, really good. But as with almost all things economic, it wasn't all sunshine. We'll talk about why, and recap the rest of the week's news. Then: Toyota and Mazda said today they're going to build a $1.6 billion plant in the U.S. in the next couple of years. The news comes amid seven straight months of falling sales for the Big Three American auto companies. Plus: New Yorkers produce a lot of garbage, which is only natural in a city of 8.5 million people. But what’s not so natural is the city's recycling rate: around 17 percent.

This is just one of the stories from our "I've Always Wondered" series, where we tackle all of your questions about the world of business, no matter how big or small. Ever wondered if recycling is worth it? Or how store brands stack up against name brands?

The best way to find a job might be to move

Aug 4, 2017

People looking for work in today's American labor market aren't necessarily finding jobs in the same cities they live in. President Trump said in his interview with the Wall Street Journal last month (the full transcript was published by Politico) that people are going to have start moving to where the jobs are if they want to find work.

Trump's jobs tweet might have broken federal rules

Aug 4, 2017

President Trump has been tweeting about the economy a lot lately, and this morning was no different. But one of his tweets caught our eye.

NEW YORK (AP) — Martin Shkreli, the eccentric former pharmaceutical CEO notorious for a price-gouging scandal and for his snide “Pharma Bro” persona on social media, was convicted Friday on federal charges he deceived investors in a pair of failed hedge funds.

A Brooklyn jury deliberated five days before finding Shkreli guilty on three of eight counts. He had been charged with securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

New York is a city of 8.5 million people, and that many people produce a lot of trash. The city spends plenty of money getting its garbage into landfill, and it would very much like to change that. New Yorkers pay for garbage disposal through their taxes, so they don’t really see the cost spelled out in so many figures the way a lot of other Americans do.

But that may be about to change.

08/04/2017: The best of the best

Aug 4, 2017

We've covered a lot of important stories over the past year. This weekend, we're revisiting some of our favorites. We look back at the key to sonic branding, wedding gift etiquette and the home health aide shortage. Plus, stories about how special investigations work, and a Marketplace Quiz with Eric Andre. 

Fighting terrorism online

Aug 4, 2017

YouTube wants to make certain videos harder to find — ones that don’t clearly violate its policies on extremism and terrorism, but that do contain inflammatory religious content. It’ll no longer allow comments, endorsements, or ads on videos that meet that standard. The company also said it’s increasing redirection.

Lyft horror stories: our listeners respond

Aug 4, 2017

As listeners of this week's Make Me Smart podcast (and Twitter followers) may have heard, I had a couple of scary experiences with Lyft rides while I was visiting Los Angeles for work last week.

In one case, the driver showed up in a different vehicle than the app displayed — the ability to see what car a driver is in, and check the license plate against the app's display, is a crucial safety check.

This story was last updated at 7:50 a.m. CT.

WASHINGTON (AP) —U.S. employers added 209,000 jobs in July, a second straight month of robust gains that underscore the economy's vitality as it enters a ninth year of expansion.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate slipped to 4.3 percent, matching a 16-year low first reached in May.

08/04/2017: The Fed's next course of action

Aug 4, 2017

Last month's jobs report is officially in: the U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July, with the unemployment rate ticking down to 4.3 percent. Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, joined us to put the numbers into context and share how he thinks Janet Yellen and co. might react to the report. Afterwards, we'll discuss the U.S. Virgin Islands' economic woes, which it's trying to help solve by imposing $25-a-day timeshare fees.

The U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean has turquoise waves that lap sandy beaches, musical tree frogs that fill the air with song  and $2 billion in bond debt.

The territorial government faces persistent budget holes because of borrowing and deficit spending. Its bonds continually get low ratings, it is having trouble borrowing, and some say it’s on the road to a Puerto Rico-style fiscal crisis. So, its leaders are finding new ways to plug those holes and reassure the bond market.

Amazon announced this week that it’s going to apply its hassle-free returns policy to all items purchased on the website from October. That’s good news for consumers, but it’s a new burden for some third-party Amazon sellers, who, until now, could have policies of their own. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

As unemployment continues to fall and employers scramble to find the workers they need, demographic groups that traditionally lag economically are benefiting. The unemployment rate for African-Americans fell to 7.1 percent in June, just shy of the all-time low of 7 percent hit in April 2000. Unemployment rates for young people and those with a high school education or less are also now at or near pre-recession lows.