And our last word in business today is: Doggie Cam.
There has been a lot in the news lately about the Internet and privacy. And now it seems that even pets are under surveillance by owners.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
That's right. Thanks to a newly-improved smartphone app and device called the Dropcam, pet owners can check in on their furry friends while they're at work or out of town. Through the app, you can not only see your dog, but talk to them through a speaker as well.
NPR's business news begins with Congress investigating a GM recall.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: General Motors last month recalled 1.6 million older-model compact cars. The concern was that faulty ignition switches could cause the cars engines to turn off - a problem that's been linked to 13 deaths. GM employees knew of the issue as early as 2004, according to the company's own chronology.
Iraqi Shiite mourners carry the coffin of a soldier killed in clashes with anti-government fighters in Fallujah earlier this month. The government faces a months-long crisis in Anbar province, where it has lost the city of Fallujah as well as shifting parts of provincial capital Ramadi to anti-government militants.
The extremists now committing a wave of attacks in Iraq's Anbar province are better trained, funded and equipped than the al-Qaida-linked groups American soldiers battled there, says Brett McGurk, one of the State Department's top officials for Iraq.
The militants, who have drawn strength amid the war in Syria over the border, have taken over parts of Anbar over the last three months.
Workers build a concrete barrier along the coast of suburban Kesennuma, northeastern Japan, which was hard hit by the devastating tsunami in 2011. Nationwide, Japan has poured concrete to defend nearly half of its shoreline. Critics say much of it is unnecessary.
Credit Lucy Craft for NPR
A sea wall on the outskirts of the port city of Kesennuma. Some residents say high walls are too expensive and destroy scenery, wildlife and popular beaches. The government has proposed sea walls that will stretch for more than 200 miles and will be 30 feet high in some places.
Three years after the massive tsunami that ravaged northeastern Japan, the government is building the biggest anti-tsunami barriers ever.
The vast network of supersized sea walls, mocked by some as "the Great Wall of Japan," is already underway and would stretch 230 miles and cost nearly $8 billion.
The wall is designed to protect places like the small port city of Kesennuma in Miyagi prefecture. With its dramatic hills, white fishing boats and seafood market, Kesennuma has the pleasant nautical feel of Seattle.
Sometimes there just isn't enough time to get it all done. Washington Post journalist Brigid Schulte has certainly felt that way. "I was working all the time and yet never very good at what I was doing," she tells NPR's David Greene. " ... I felt all this pressure that I was a working mom and so I was always so guilty, and I didn't want to ruin their childhood. So I was up at 2 in the morning to bake cupcakes for the Valentine's party."
<em>Washington Post</em> advice columnist Judith Martin compares surveys to an insecure friend: " 'Are you sure you like me? Really? Do you like me?' And after a while you want to say, 'No! Go away!' "
Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 7:54 pm
In 2025, the Internet will enhance our awareness of the world and ourselves while diminishing privacy and allowing abusers to "make life miserable for others," according to a new report by the Pew Research Center and Elon University.
But more than anything, experts say, it will become ubiquitous and embedded in our lives — the same way electricity is today.
The judge presiding over the court-martial of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair gave him the opportunity to enter a new plea in the assault case.
As The New York Times reports, Col. James L. Poh said the Army may have improperly influenced the senior officer who rejected Sinclair's plea. As we reported, Sinclair, 51, a former deputy commander with the 82nd Airborne Division, offered to plea guilty to lesser charges.
Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 7:35 pm
Russia's intervention in Ukraine has sparked another debate over the Obama administration's energy policy.
Russia is a major provider of natural gas to Western Europe. That's caused some U.S. policymakers — largely but not exclusively congressional Republicans — to call on the Obama administration to clear the way for increased exports of U.S. natural gas to Europe. That's a two-fer, they argue: It would diminish Russia while helping the domestic energy industry.
Seattle's government has given early approval to caps on ride-share companies such as Uber. Here, Peter Faris, whose company's drivers use Uber to find customers, holds a smartphone with the ride-sharing company's app in Washington, D.C.
Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 6:36 pm
Uber, Lyft, and similar companies that pair people who pay for a car ride with drivers who operate outside the traditional taxi system are facing new limits in Seattle, where the City Council's Taxi Committee recently voted to cap the number of "ride-share" drivers.
The full council had been scheduled to vote on a limit of 150 drivers per ride-share company today; the vote, which has sparked intense interest in the city, has been postponed until next Monday.
Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 10:56 am
We are rarely lost anymore.
In a foreign city or just a drive out of town, our GPS-enabled smartphones pin our positions on digital maps to within a few meters. We are rarely without facts anymore. Any question that has an objective answer — from the last day of the Civil War to the maximum speed of a Boeing 777 — is as close as Google. For a broad class of experience in modern life we have become very used to "knowing." Events a world away may be subject to our opinions, but rarely anymore are they cloaked in an enveloping darkness.
Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 7:54 am
There's always a risk in flying, but the phase in which a plane is cruising at high altitude is widely considered to be safe. And that's what makes the mystery of what happened to Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 so confounding.
"Whatever happened happened quickly and resulted in a catastrophic departure from the air," Mark Rosenker, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board who is now a consultant with CBS news, told NPR's Melissa Block.
The United States has threatened economic sanctions against Moscow, but America is light on financial leverage in Russia: The country represents less than 1 percent of U.S. trade, and few major U.S. companies have significant investments there.
But one company with a long history in Russia is Pepsi.
So how did the American soft drink giant get its foot in the door to build a major market in Russia?
A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying a U.S.-Russian crew has landed safely in Kazakhstan, according to NASA. American Mike Hopkins and Russians Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy had spent 166 days in space. Russian space officials had considered delaying the landing because of heavy snowfall and strong winds but decided to go ahead with the original plan.
The task of building your very own toy, or robot, or radio can seem daunting for someone without much background in engineering. But a set of color-coded electronic bits that can be magnetically snapped together called littleBits is aiming to make creating your own electronics easy for everyone. It's like Legos, if only Legos could be connected into circuits that light up, move or make music.
"Circuits in seconds," promises the outside of the box.
There was a haze over Jake Bugg when he arrived at the Tiny Desk. He was expressionless and quiet. That all changed when he strummed fast and fierce on his acoustic guitar and began a flow of words reminiscent of Greenwich Village in the '60s, not modern Clifton in England's East Midlands, where he grew up.