Economy & Business

Business news

Brent Deppe is taking me on a tour of the farm supply business, called Key Cooperative, that he helps to manage in Grinnell, Iowa. We step though the back door of one warehouse, and our view of the sky is blocked by a gigantic round storage tank, painted white.

"This is the liquid nitrogen tank," Deppe explains. "It's a million-and-a-half gallon tank."

Nitrogen is the essential ingredient for growing corn and most other crops. Farmers around here spread it on their fields by the truckload.

With guest host Stephen Henderson.

Our decisions about what to eat are driven by much more than hunger. Social trends, agricultural science and multimillion-dollar industries can make certain vegetables hip or carbs passé, while concerns for overall health sit on the sidelines.

How Will America's Longest War End?

22 hours ago

With guest host Stephen Henderson.

President Trump addresses the nation Monday night about the war in Afghanistan, where more than 8,000 U.S. troops are stationed. A resolution to the conflict has defied solutions so far.

U.S. Defense Secretary General James Mattis told Congress in June “we are not winning in Afghanistan right now.” What will it take to bring this conflict to an end? And is the president’s “path forward” for U.S. engagement in Afghanistan and South Asia the answer?


What if I told you there was a way to use technology to save an estimated $100 billion to $300 billion dollars a year in health care spending in the U.S.? That's the estimated cost incurred because people don't take the medications they're prescribed.

The Interior Department is stopping a two-year study on the health risks of mountaintop-removal coal mining for people who live nearby. The study was looking at the connection between mining waste and reported increases in heart and lung disease, cancer and birth defects. Some see an end run around industry regulation. Industry says there’s not enough of a definitive link to warrant a study. Health advocates say that’s the point of the study, to determine whether there’s a definitive link.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Costs of Afghanistan recommitment are hard to quantify

Aug 22, 2017

President Trump has unveiled his new policy for Afghanistan. The president outlined the new plan in a prime-time address Monday night and said he will authorize a small increase in the number of U.S. troops deployed there. The Pentagon will determine the specific numbers. The president didn't set any timetable or deadlines for getting those troops out of Afghanistan, saying that will be determined by conditions on the ground. Which means, 17 years into this war, there's likely still a long way to go.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Cloudflare's CEO wants to talk about who censors the internet

Aug 22, 2017

Last week, the CEO of an important but generally not well-known technology company sent an all-staff email. That on its own may not sound like front-page news, but this email was a little bit different. It was written by Cloudflare's Matthew Prince, and it said that his company would stop providing service to The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi, white supremacist website, following the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Popular culture can be a major driver of tourism. Just look at "Game of Thrones" — tours of filming locations in Croatia and Northern Ireland have taken off. In New Zealand, the Hobbit Village, where "Lord of the Rings" was shot, is waiting for you.

The question is whether a super popular song can do the same thing for Puerto Rico? The music video for the song in question, "Despacito," by Puerto Rican recording artists Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, has garnered a record 3.3 billion views on YouTube.

Britain's farmers have second thoughts on Brexit

Aug 22, 2017

Most British farmers voted for Brexit in last year’s referendum on European Union membership. That’s according to some informal, unscientific online surveys. If true, this looks a little odd. British farmers seem likely to suffer disproportionately from the United Kingdom’s decision to pull out of the EU, losing subsidies, and, if the U.K. government succeeds in negotiating a post-Brexit free-trade deal with the United States, farmers could face tough new competition in their home market from cheap American produce.

New bike? In Oregon, that could mean a $15 tax

Aug 22, 2017

When lawmakers get into discussions about how to pay for roads, bicycles and cycling infrastructure often come up. Some say cyclists don’t pay their share for roads because unlike drivers, they usually don’t pay license or registration fees.

29: Too many two-Molly interviews

Aug 22, 2017

President Trump announces a change to U.S. military policy in Afghanistan; Cloudflare's CEO Matthew Prince describes why we shouldn't let companies censor their users — right after he censored one of his users; and we take an audio tour of the solar eclipse. Molly Bloom, host of the podcast "Brains On!" answers our Make Me Smart question, and you STILL have questions about bitcoin!

The CEO of an important but semiobscure technology company sent an all-staff email last week. Before Charlottesville, that wouldn't be news, but this note was a little different: "I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet. ... It was a decision I could make because I’m the CEO of a major Internet infrastructure company." The "them" in this case is The Daily Stormer, a white supremacist site. "Having made that decision," Matthew Prince continued, "we now need to talk about why it is so dangerous." Today, we called up Prince to do just that.

President Trump is in Phoenix, Arizona for a rally where he'll try to score points on immigration and his plans for a border wall. But it turns out hiring border guards is getting harder. On today's show, we'll take a look at some of the reasons for their decline . Afterwards, we'll discuss how consumers have responded to advances in smartphones, and then talk about what could lie on the agenda for Jackson Hole, a meeting between central bankers and policy experts that begins today.

The voice actor behind Mario looks back on his audition for the part

Aug 22, 2017

It's a beloved video game franchise that's sold 100 million copies, lasted more than two decades, and produced one of the most recognizable voices in the entertainment world. 

Mario Kart — a racing game where you can play characters from the Mario franchise, like Bowser, Princess Peach or Luigi — turns 25 on Sunday.

Today the president is in Phoenix, holding a political rally and visiting a town on the border with Mexico. While this administration has pledged to hire 5,000 more border patrol agents, so far that has not improved longstanding recruitment and retention challenges for the agency.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.