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From gross to gourmet. That pretty much sums up civet poop coffee.

The beans are literally harvested from the feces of the tree-dwelling civet cat in Indonesia. The idea is that a trip through the animal's digestive tract partially ferments the beans and imparts a much-sought-after flavor to the coffee.

Update, Sept. 4: We added the audio for David Kestenbaum's radio obituary of Ronald Coase.

If you created the world as a simple economic thought experiment, companies wouldn't exist. Instead, everybody would work for themselves, and they'd be constantly selling their labor (or the fruits of their labor, or use of their tools, or whatever) to the highest bidder. Wages would rise and fall every day (every hour! every second!) depending on supply and demand. That's how the market works, after all.

Managing Money: There's An App For That

Sep 3, 2013

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Software Helps Keep Your Shopping In Check

Sep 3, 2013

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Syria: The Money Effect

Sep 3, 2013

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Here's why Microsoft says its $7.2 billion deal to buy Nokia's smartphone business as well as that company's patents and services makes sense.

"It all starts with the phone," writes PCWorld, in a piece that analyzes why "the phone is key to everything."

According to the magazine:

Upstate New York has lugged around the Rust Belt identity for decades now.
But today, the region is trying on a new reputation as the king of yogurt — especially the high-protein Greek yogurt that consumers crave.

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NPR News business news starts with Verizon in total control.

Nokia was once the largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world, the most valuable company in Europe and an icon in its home base of Finland. But the rise of Apple and Android smartphones knocked the company on its heels.

Now comes news that Microsoft is buying Nokia's mobile phone business for $7.2 billion. NPR's Steve Henn answers some questions about the deal.

So what is Microsoft getting here?

Lava Lamp Turns 50

Sep 3, 2013

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OK. Our last word in business has to be said just the right way. The word is: Groovy. But you have to say it this way - groovy baby.

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Groovy...

(LAUGHTER)

Time Warner Cable announced Monday that the company has reached a deal with CBS over a contract dispute that had left several major cities blacked out from CBS programming since Aug. 2.

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And today's last word in business is: boy band. Because what's better than one teenage heartthrob? Five of them. In 3-D.

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NPR's business news starts with a Vodafone-Horizon deal.

Once a standard fixture at every gas station, good old fashioned paper maps have all but folded in the digital age. But, there are places that can baffle your high tech gadgets.

Getting yourself lost in a rural state is an easy thing to do. Pavement turns into dirt track, and before you know it, you're driving through miles of woods and boulders, and your GPS isn't helping.

In the grand days of railroad travel, passengers arrived in monumental terminals. There was grandeur, style and comfort — qualities that today's equivalent for long-distance travel, the airport, mostly lack. Especially in the United States.

In a survey of international travelers by the British firm Skytrax, not a single U.S. airport ranked anywhere near the top of the list. Singapore got top honors, while the best the United States could do was Cincinnati's airport — which came in at No. 30.

The government of Ecuador has abandoned a plan that would have kept part of the Amazonian rainforest off limits to oil drilling. The initiative was an unusual one: Ecuador was promising to keep the oil in the ground, but it wanted to be paid for doing so.

When goods arrive in Houston, they may come in containers stacked high on huge ships or strung out on long lines of rail cars. But to get to the customer, those goods need to be put on trucks and driven to their final destinations.

And now with the oil and gas sectors booming, the demand for truckers is soaring. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says oil delivered to refineries by trucks shot up 38 percent between 2011 and 2012.

As Labor Day honors American workers, stress weighs on many. A changing world — and therefore a changing workplace — has many employees on the job and staring at screens for hours upon hours. Some have reached a breaking point.

John Challenger, CEO of workplace consulting company Challenger, Gray & Christmas, diagnoses burnout. He tells NPR's Jacki Lyden stress can manifest emotionally, mentally or physically. "It can be combined with doubts about your confidence or the value of the work you do," he says.

Making It On Minimum Wage

Sep 1, 2013

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People hoping to upgrade their old iPhone for a newer model now have the option of trading in their phone to get credit toward a new device at an Apple store. The technology company announced the new option Friday, ahead of the expected Sept. 10 release of updates to its iPhone line.

The new trade-in program, which Apple says is available at its 252 U.S. retail stores, has several requirements:

  • The phone must be able to be powered up.
  • The phone cannot be water-damaged.
  • Any generation iPhone is eligible.

Patent trolls — a term known more among geeks than the general public — are about to be the target of a national ad campaign. Beginning Friday, a group of retail trade organizations is launching a radio and print campaign in 17 states.

They want to raise awareness of a problem they say is draining resources from business and raising prices for consumers.

The prospect of a military strike against Syria in the next few days has private U.S. firms bracing for retaliation — in cyberspace.

Writing a post about Facebook changing its privacy policies can feel like a fool's errand.

Nearly everyone who has a pulse — and lives part of his life online — most likely knows how Facebook makes its money and understands why this service, which connects 1.1 billion people, is free.

But here we go again.

For the past year and a half, Mike Hallatt has been driving across the U.S.-Canada border and back, bringing loads of groceries back to Vancouver. There's no food shortage in Canada — but there's an absolute lack of Trader Joe's grocery stores, and that created an opening for an entrepreneur who doesn't mind making a long drive.

Originally called Pirate Joe's, Hallatt's store serves a niche market: Canadians who wish Trader Joe's was in their country and who will pay a bit extra for triple ginger snaps and fanciful trail mixes.

Each Friday we round up the big conversations in tech and culture during the week that was. We also revisit the work that appeared on this blog and highlight what we're reading from our fellow technology writers and observers across the Internet.

ICYMI

After years of sticking close to home, more Americans are eager to shake off the recession's remnants and have a final summer adventure, according to experts who track travel.

"We've noticed that vacation plans increased quite a bit in August," compared with June, said Chris Christopher, an economist who focuses on consumer markets for IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm.

Secret U.S. Spy Budget Revealed

Aug 30, 2013

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NPR's business news starts a black budget illuminated.

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If you want to know what prompted Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff to cofound Honest Tea, here's the simple answer they give on their website: They were thirsty. Goldman had taken Nalebuff's class at the Yale School of Management, and they were both tired of the super sweet iced teas available in stores. So in the late 1990s, they started their own company based on the hunch that other people out there felt the same way.

Obstetricians perform more cesarean sections when there are financial incentives to do so, according to a new study that explores links between economic incentives and medical decision-making during childbirth.

Following In The Family Footsteps

Aug 30, 2013

Don Byles, 65, is a funeral director in New London, Conn. His grandfather started the family's business, Byles-MacDougall Funeral Service, in 1904. Now, Byles is getting ready to hand it over to his 25-year-old daughter Mackenzie.

"You have to teach me a lot of stuff before you can retire," Mackenzie tells her dad during a recent visit to StoryCorps. "I'm a little nervous about being on my own here. I've got big shoes to fill with you."

Click on the audio link above to hear their StoryCorps conversation.

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