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Welcome, new prime number!

Wed, 20 Jan 2016 22:26:30 +0000

Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 06:00 The Great Internet Mersenne Prime SearchJust a few of the first digits of the largest known prime number.  We like to do the numbers on Marketplace. and this week, a new number has arrived: M74207281 If you think that name sounds long, be warned: it is an extreme abbreviation. The largest known prime number, discovered this week by University of Central Missouri computer science professor Curtis Cooper, actually has more than 22 million digits. When was the last time you talked about prime numbers? High School?  Reminder: it’s when a number only has multiples of one and itself.  Examples include two, five, seven, et cetera. The higher you get, the harder it is to find primes.  So why are they important? Curtis Cooper tells us: “They’re used routinely for encryption when you do transactions across the internet, making sure the information is encrypted so that nobody can hack in and steal that information.” Granted, encryption with the new massive prime is a long way away. Most encryption these days uses numbers that are 2 to 300 digits long.  If you want to discover more primes all by yourself, there's free software to help — it's called prime 95. Marketplace Tech for Thursday, January 21, 2016byProduced by Stephanie HughesPodcast Title Welcome, new prime number! Story Type InterviewSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellApp Respond No[...]



Foreign students with extended visas may have to leave

Wed, 20 Jan 2016 23:11:50 +0000

Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 05:00 Fiona Goodall/Getty ImagesGovernment rules that let students working in STEM fields stay in the U.S. to work are in flux. Thousands of foreign workers who came to the U.S. as students could be forced to leave the country, depending on the outcome of a court hearing in Washington on Thursday. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has asked a federal judge for more time to write a new rule allowing some recent graduates to remain in the country to work in science, technology, engineering and math (or STEM) jobs. The Optional Practical Training program allows foreign students and recent graduates to gain work experience in their fields of study. Students in all majors can work for up to a year. Those with degrees in the STEM fields can apply to work for up to 17 additional months. “A lot of them are doing important research projects, they’re working with grants, where it’s generally more than a one-year project,” said immigration lawyer Emily Neumann, who represents foreign workers seeking long-term visas. Last August, a federal judge nullified the so-called STEM extension, but gave Homeland Security six months to come up with a new rule. The grace period expires February 12, but the government has asked for more time to wade through the more than 50,000 comments it received on its proposed new rule. “Students are very tense right now, not knowing if less than a month from now they’re going to be forced to leave the country,” said Neumann. The STEM extension is being challenged by a group of high-tech workers who say it takes jobs from Americans. “This OPT extension was specifically designed to circumvent the limits on foreign workers,” said John Miano, an attorney representing the workers. The proposed new rule would increase the STEM extension to two years beyond the initial 12-month period, but it offers some protections for American workers. Employers would have to agree not to fire or lay off any U.S. workers as a result of hiring a foreign-born worker, and would have to pay similar wages. Those safeguards aren’t strong enough, said Miano. “There’s no enforcement provisions whatsoever and no penalties, so if employers simply ignore them, nothing happens,” he said.   If the government's own extension is approved, it will have until May to finalize the new rule.   Marketplace Morning Report for Thursday, January 21, 2016by Amy ScottPodcast Title Foreign students with extended visas may have to leaveStory Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellApp Respond No[...]



Wireless providers look for new revenue streams

Wed, 20 Jan 2016 16:16:01 +0000

Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 05:00 Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesVerizon is the latest company to announce a "free" data program. Verizon is rolling out what it’s calling FreeBee Data, the latest wireless company offering that lets subscribers see content without it counting against their data plans. The company that makes the content foots the bill instead. Giving away free data doesn’t sound like a profitable business to be in. But in fact, what is actually happening here may be nothing less than wireless companies finding another way to make money. Mobile plans come in a million flavors and prices, but they’re the same at the core: customers pay wireless providers for access to the network. In the case of sponsored data plans, brands pay wireless providers for access to the customers. “All of our core business is based on direct-to-consumer monthly recurring charges for access,” explained Colson Hillier, Verizon’s VP of consumer products. “This gives us another way to position the investment we’ve made in the network.” Magazine publisher Hearst is one company working with Verizon. It’s basically paying for Verizon customers to be able to watch videos from Cosmo or Esquire for free, hoping that will boost engagement and grow the audience for those magazines. For wireless companies, it’s a shot at a revenue stream as they hit the limits of what they can get out of subscribers. “It’s going to be hard for them to get more revenue from consumers,” said Julie Ask, vice president for Forrester Research. “Consumers are pretty tapped out.” FreeBee Data and services like it are attempts by the wireless companies to leverage their network in new ways. Just how big they get will depend on how much consumers — and the brands that want to reach them — like these offerings. Marketplace Morning Report for Thursday, January 21, 2016Marketplace Tech for Thursday, January 21, 2016by Mark GarrisonPodcast Title Wireless providers look for new revenue streamsSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellApp Respond No[...]



How wealth influences social behavior

Fri, 11 Dec 2015 20:32:33 +0000

Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 05:00 Chris McGrath/Getty ImagesYour economic class has a lot to do with how generous you are. Rational economics doesn't always govern how we make decisions about our money in the real world. As part of our series Brain Drain with Marketplace’s Wealth and Poverty desk, we're exploring the ways in which our minds are rigged to cost us money. The sixth topic of our series: how wealth influence social behavior. Wealthier people are more likely to cheat to win a prize, or lie during negotiations. Poorer people are more helpful, generous and trusting of others. Paul Piff, a social psychologist at the University of California Irvine, has conducted dozens of studies about how economic class influences behavior and personality. Now, he's piloting a new study looking at how college students respond to inequality. Click the media player above to hear more. Marketplace Morning Report for Thursday, January 21, 2016by Caitlin EschPodcast Title How wealth influences social behaviorStory Type FeatureSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellApp Respond No[...]



Damian Lewis on "Billions" and the meaning of fame

Wed, 13 Jan 2016 06:12:13 +0000

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 23:54 2015 ShowtimeDamian Lewis plays hedge-fund investor Bobby Axelrod in Showtime's new series "Billions." Damian Lewis had no plans on doing another premium cable drama after his character Nicholas Brody was killed in season three of "Homeland." "I figured it might be a way to sort of go out on top because it [‘Homeland’] was such fun and so well regarded and smart," he said. But when he read the script for a new pilot written by David Levien and Brian Koppelman, he was hooked. I suppose in the same way ‘Homeland’ was able to dovetail with hard news, contemporary news, this has the ability to do the same thing- borrow from the headlines or not, but the parallels are there to be drawn and they’re fun to draw as the season goes on. Actor Damian Lewis films a scene for Showtime's new series \"Billions\" in New York. Tommy Andres Lewis had just wrapped up filming the first season of "Billions," which premieres Sunday, January 17. He plays Bobby Axelrod, a successful hedge fund investor who draws the eye of district attorney Chuck Rhoades, played by Paul Giamatti.   He’s a successful, self-made man. He’s a representation of the American dream in many ways. He’s somebody who has started with not much, made an awful lot, and really the defining characteristic in Bobby is his ability to do great and generous things, acts of great magnanimity, but he’s not able to walk away from an opportunity for the upper hand or to use something to his advantage, so we find him often working in that duality. Lewis says there were challenges that came along with the role, starting with the fact that he had to learn exactly what a hedge fund investor does.  The consensus was that they’re a risk-averse, analytic, scientific bunch. And I think there’s an element of feeling like they’re the underdog. They are taking risks that others aren’t prepared to take…And in many ways they are (underdogs) because they’re betting against the market and they’re in the minority. But I think what was interesting mostly is that even though it’s a nice metaphor to think of Wall Street as just a big casino where the odds are set by the house and the house is Wall Street, these guys are really risk averse, they don’t like risk. They don’t want to run risk so their research and analysts are working, they maintain, harder and in greater detail than any other analysts. Lewis is from the UK, but conducted his entire Marketplace interview with an American accent. He says he keeps it on set to avoid confusion. I speak in an American accent from the moment I get in the van in the morning … I’m not good enough to flip in and out of my Brit accent to my American accent. We have English members of the crew. I don’t avoid them, but there’s always a moment when I have to re-calibrate after I’ve spent five minutes talking to them. Despite the critical acclaim of his work in "Band of Brothers," "Homeland" and "Wolf Hall," Lewis said he still hasn't "made it." I don’t think people ever think they make it. I am extremely lucky and I enjoy the level of work that I am able to work at. I’ve been careful to work with good people on interesting material, mostly. No, I don’t think I’ve made it. You know, I don’t have an Oscar. And an Oscar may not be in the cards for Lewis, because he said most of the work he’s drawn to now is on television. I found that the quality of TV material that came to me was so great and was just often better than the film material I got. And when I find a good movie that I really like I jump on it because it’s exciting to do. But mostly I just find the witty, ambitious, political, and smart material comes to me through TV more than it has in film. Marketplace for Wednesday, January 20, 2016Showtime's "Billions" pits wealth against powerInterview byProduced by Kai Ryssdal and Tommy AndresPodcast Title Actor Damian Lewis on the biz and t[...]



'Ambassadors' try to prove Detroit is more than an auto show

Tue, 19 Jan 2016 00:25:33 +0000

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 17:44 Laura HerbergOutside Cobo Center, where the North American International Auto Show takes place More than 800,000 people are expected to attend the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this year. But how many of them travel beyond the walls of the convention center?  Soumya Dev made it just outside Cobo Center, where the auto show takes place, to smoke a cigarette. He works on social media for Ford in Bangkok. This is his first time in Detroit. “I haven’t seen much of the city. So far it’s been from the hotel to Cobo Center every day and back to the hotel,” said Dev. For most of the professionals visiting Detroit the trip isn’t a vacation. It's work.  But this Thailand resident said he’ll finally get a little time to explore Detroit after he spends the afternoon checking out auto show exhibits.  “I want to go downtown, and definitely go to Slows," said Dev.  Slows is a nearby barbecue joint that’s been featured in the international press. But locals know it’s not the only restaurant in town. And that’s why more than a dozen people have been hired to be Detroit “ambassadors” at the auto show. Jennifer Ruud is one of them.  “People will say ‘Well, what do you suggest?’ and I say, ‘Well, what are you interested in?’ because there’s so much to choose from,” said Ruud. She’s standing in the lobby area with an iPad in hand. “So, we’re basically helping individuals find their way around Cobo and if they’re interested in going to any place outside of Cobo for dinner or entertainment or anything, we’re kind of helping guide them in that way.” Industry professionals play a basketball arcade game in the Ford area at the auto show.  Laura Herberg Ruud estimates she answers around 100 questions a day — including everything from, “Where’s a good place to get a drink?” to, “Can I take an Uber to Canada?” which is just on the other side of the Detroit River. If attendees have a question about the cars inside Cobo Center, she can connect them to industry experts using her iPad. Ruud and the other ambassadors are being supplied by the Detroit Experience Factory, a local organization that runs a welcome center and employs knowledgeable Detroiters to take people on excursions. There are a couple of tours planned during the show but here at Cobo Center, their staffers are basically just standing around answering questions. So, what’s the big deal? Jeanette Pierce is the Detroit Experience Factory’s executive director. She says what they’re doing inside Cobo matters because it is a first step to meaningful engagement. "Some people want to have a deeper conversation, right?” said Pierce. “They might start with, ‘Where can I go for this?’ and then you start talking with them, then they leave with a better understanding of what’s happening in Detroit.” Michelle Ortali is perusing souvenirs at the Detroit Shoppe inside the convention center. She works with a company in Brazil called Miksom.She’s paused at a display of t-shirts “I’m shopping [for] a t-shirt for my uncle. Because he loves cars, Detroit,” said Ortali.  She decides on a navy blue tee with a logo that’s made to look old. In white and red cracked lettering the shirt reads, “Motor City Detroit, established 1701.” For Ortali, who hasn’t had time to explore the city, this generic message might be the only thing she’ll take home about Detroit. The hope is that, as the ambassador program continues, more industry professionals will be able to bring home their own personal report from an actual experience with the city.  That is, of course, assuming they have the time.  Marketplace for Wednesday, January 20, 2016by Laura HerbergPodcast Title "Ambassadors" try to prove Detroit is more than an auto showStory Type FeatureSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcher[...]



Introducing the new Marketplace.org

Fri, 18 Dec 2015 20:27:37 +0000

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 15:39 Tony Wagner/Marketplace Marketplace first went on the air on January 2, 1989 as "The International Magazine of Business and Finance." Since then, the show has gone through several iterations of its digital home at Marketplace.org, all with the goal of keeping our listeners informed on whatever platform they use. Whether you're on a mobile phone, a tablet, a laptop, in your car or using a streaming service, we want to make our stuff easier to find and seamless enough to fit your schedule. Our new site is another step toward doing just that. Here's a look at some of the new features you'll find: Redesigned navigation The new site places popular links prominently, regardless of device. We've placed the features our users most look for front and center, and all our coverage is in one stream. No more digging around for what you want. Improved search If you need to do some digging, we've rebuilt out search index. It's easier than ever to find what you want and related coverage. Infinite scroll story browsing Once you're done with a story, keep scrolling to see the rest of the day's news. Larger, more legible type The site's easier to read on any screen. We've also chosen a new typeface that's a bit easier on the eyes. It's all about the personality We think the people that work at Marketplace are great, and the new site showcases them. Author and contact information are now more prominent and accessible on every story. Persistent player Now you can listen and keep browsing the site with no audio interruptions. Improved pop-out player All our latest episodes are accessible in one player that's been redesigned to run better on every device. by Marketplace Dev TeamStory Type BlogSyndication All in oneFlipboard BusinessSlackerSoundcloudStitcherBusiness InsiderSwellPMPApp Respond No[...]



The year of the shrinking bond yield

Wed, 20 Jan 2016 21:36:41 +0000

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 15:35 woodleywonderworks/FlickrYields on ten-year Treasury-notes closed below 2 percent on January 20, 2016. So far, 2016 has been the year of the shrinking bond yield. Today, yields on ten-year Treasury-notes closed below two percent. The thing about bonds is that the more popular they are, the less you get out of them.  “The more that people buy bonds, what they do is they drive the price of the bond higher,” explained Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist with Wells Capital Management.  The more expensive a bond gets, the more it eats into the value of the bond, the less the payoff and “that’s what drives the yield lower.” One way to imagine it is as if you were buying a $10 coupon at the grocery store. If you had to pay $9 for a $10 coupon, you are saving $1. If you had to pay $9.50 for a $10 coupon, you’re getting just 50 cents.  This is what has been happening to ten-year Treasury bonds in 2016.  “So the drop in ten-year yields that we’ve experienced this year is all about more and more people buying bonds driving their prices up and their yields lower,” said Paulsen. The question now: Why is everyone buying these ten-year bonds? And why are they okay with shrinking yields?  “Fear on wall street is on the rise,” said Michael Farr, CEO of Farr Miller and Washington. “When fear increases, people head to safety.” In financial terms, treasuries are synonymous with safety. They’re backed by the U.S. government. So why the desire for safety?   “Well, how many reasons do you want?" asked Jay Morelock, economist with FTN Financial. "There’s a confluence of factors here.”    For starters, there’s the overall dismal performance of the U.S. stock market; some brokerages have told investors to sell off stocks and cling to high-quality bonds. And there’s plenty of fear abroad. “Emerging markets are fragile,” said Morelock.  China’s currency is weakening, and for those in China with debt denominated in dollars, a weakening Yuan “makes it much harder to pay that debt. So what we’ve seen is a big rush to the exits in the yuan,” said Morelock. When one removes the fear component, the yield on the ten-year note is also partially a reflection of what investors think the Fed will do in the future. A ten-year note is something you can hang onto for ten years, so if you’re going to accept a yield that you’ll be stuck with for ten years (potentially), it means you don’t think something better is going to come along. That is, you don’t think the Fed will raise rates to the point that it will be a better deal to invest somewhere else in the future.  The downward movement of ten-year yields means “the market is revising downward its expectations of how much the Fed will be raising rates,” said Joseph Gagnon, an economist with the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “The market’s saying 'ooh the world looks scarier than we thought so the Fed will probably not be raising rates as much as we thought,'” he said. So what does the shrinking yield on the ten-year T note mean? It means investors are looking out ten years, and they’re still fearful.  Marketplace for Wednesday, January 20, 2016Yields on the 10-year T-note fall below 2 percentby Sabri Ben-AchourPodcast Title The year of the shrinking bond yieldStory Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No[...]



Nielsen TV ratings push into social media

Wed, 20 Jan 2016 21:30:09 +0000

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 15:27 Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesNielsen announced today that they will be expanding their ratings to social media postings about TV shows including Facebook and Twitter.  Media-data company Nielsen is best known for its ratings of Americans' TV-program-watching live in real-time, or watched later using a DVR device. But the company has also been expanding its data-gathering and analysis to better capture consumers’ new TV-watching behaviors — such as, watching shows on streaming services like Netflix, and on digital-only platforms. Nielsen is also enhancing its monitoring of social-media content about TV shows. The company is expanding on its existing partnership with Twitter, and will begin analyzing data from Facebook in early 2016 to create new “social content ratings.” The company said data from Instagram will be added to the mix in the near future. Nielsen said in its press release that it would deliver “standardized third-party measurement of program-related conversation for each social networking service tracked and gross totals across social networks. Measurement will include social media authorship (e.g., posts, Tweets), engagement (e.g., comments, likes, replies, Retweets, shares), reach (audience and impressions) and demographics (age and gender) as available.” According to Tuna Amobi, an equity analyst covering media companies at S&P Capital IQ, “the perception for a long time in the industry is that Nielsen has been somewhat slow to adapt their measurement to changing patterns of media consumption.” Amobi said Nielsen will now have more data to offer media companies and advertisers about the nature, reach, demographics, and distribution patterns of social-media content about television. Phillip Swann, publisher of TVPredictions.com, is skeptical that a high level of social-media traffic associated with a given program correlates closely with a program’s likelihood of attracting a big viewing audience and high Nielsen ratings. “I think all it does is measure noise and buzz,” said Swann. “You might simply say on Facebook, ‘Hey, that’s a good comment. I also think the star of that show doesn’t look good these days.’ It doesn’t mean you’re watching the show. It doesn’t mean you’ve ever watched the show.” But media analyst Jack Myers, publisher of mediavillage.com, said that Nielsen’s aggressive expansion into social-media monitoring is crucial for keeping the company’s ratings relevant, in an age when people can watch programs whenever they choose, on an increasing variety of devices and platforms, in single-episodes or by-the-season. He said providing more extensive data on program-related social-media activity will provide valuable information to content providers, media distributors and advertisers. “Advertisers are paying a lot more attention — not just to the live ratings, but to audience engagement,” he said. “They want to know which programs are getting the original buzz, which programs are getting shares and likes.” Nielsen said in its press release that the data it receives will not identify individual Facebook users: “Facebook will deliver directly to Nielsen the aggregated and anonymous program-related conversation on Facebook, including posts shared with friends, family and publicly, while respecting and in full compliance with consumer privacy.” Marketplace for Wednesday, January 20, 2016How social media can make or break a showby Mitchell HartmanPodcast Title Nielsen TV ratings push into social media Story Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No[...]



How social media can make or break a show

Wed, 20 Jan 2016 20:55:09 +0000

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 14:52 ABC/Lou RoccoThe cast of Pretty Little Liars at an event held on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 in New York City.  When a new episode of shows like "Pretty Little Liars," "Supernatural" and "The Walking Dead" airs, the action on Twitter can be just as important to producers as the action on screen. Nielsen, the company that tracks TV ratings, announced that they will be launching "Social Content Ratings" including Twitter and Facebook conversations about television programs. Each of these shows have millions of followers on Twitter and have staff that actively retweet fans during episodes as well as when the show is off season. 1.7M people saw Tweets about @PLLTVSeries #PLL 6.3M times (Twitter TV Impressions), top #SocialTV series Tuesday https://t.co/Xz23DYpIMv— Nielsen Social (@NielsenSocial) January 20, 2016 A while back we talked to Pretty Little Liar’s Executive Producer Marlene King about the importance of social media for her show. King said that “Twitter ratings” can be just as important as the number of people watching live. width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/167972385&color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false"> “We’ve noticed if we have a very high amount of tweets during an episode that the ratings are significantly higher too,” said King. “That Twitter noise, I call it, is usually reflected in the live ratings.” That noise is loud all over social media with fans posting year-round on blogs and Twitter accounts devoted to the shows. The activity on social media is so expansive and powerful for a show like Pretty Little Liars, King said, that it can even be a deciding factor on when the show goes off air. “I’ve always said that when we see those numbers go away, then it’s probably time for us to wrap it up,” said said. “[Social media] a part of what this show is and it’s a great measure of how excited fans are to watch what we are doing and we want to stay here as long as we are relevant … so in that regard it is a pretty good barometer for us.”by Sarah MenendezStory Type BlogSyndication All in oneFlipboard BusinessSlackerSoundcloudStitcherBusiness InsiderSwellPMPApp Respond No[...]