Business & Education

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How To Build A Better Job

Mar 28, 2016

Why do you work? Are you just in it for the money or do you do it for a greater purpose? Popular wisdom says your answer depends on what your job is. But psychologist Amy Wrzesniewski at Yale University finds it may have more to do with how we think about our work. Across groups such as secretaries and custodians and computer programmers, Wrzesniewski finds people about equally split in whether they say they have a "job," a "career" or a "calling." This week on Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam talks with Wrzesniewski about how we find meaning and purpose at work.

The high-profile public and legal dispute between the government and Apple is officially over after the FBI managed to unlock the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists without Apple's help.

The Justice Department says it has successfully retrieved the data from the phone and is asking the court to vacate its order for Apple's assistance.

The much-hyped consumer virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift, is finally hitting the market. The reviews have been mixed. As The Wall Street Journal put it, "the first totally immersive home virtual reality rig is a pricey, awkward, isolating—and occasionally brilliant—glimpse of the future of computing."

Copyright 2016 Capital Public Radio. To see more, visit Capital Public Radio.

Organic food has gone majorly mainstream, right? Wal-Mart has been driving down the price of organic with an in-house organic line. Whole Foods has begun experimenting with cheaper stores to catch up.

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Today's launch of the Oculus Rift is the first of three high-end virtual reality headsets hitting the market this year. The HTC Vive will be out next month and Sony PlayStation VR will be available in the fall.

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Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, facing mounting pressure from corporations with interests in his state, said Monday that he will veto a controversial "religious liberties" bill.

Most people have a colleague or two who don't seem to do much work at work. They're in the break room watching March Madness, or they disappear for a two-hour coffee break.

For Allison Lamb, that person is her cubicle mate. Lamb is a statistical clerk for a company in Fishers, Ind., who says she likes her job and has a good work ethic. So it irritates her to see her cubicle mate ignoring her duties, disappearing with her friends and keeping her nose in her cellphone all day talking, texting and gaming.

It seems to Lamb that her colleague flaunts her do-nothing attitude.

Near record numbers of Americans are buying second homes — the kind on wheels, that is.

The Great Recession almost totaled the RV industry, but now camper trailers and motor homes are popular again. Daryn Anderson is the owner of an RV dealership south of Kansas City, and he says his sales here have roughly tripled since the bottom of the recession.

"Business has been great. Six straight record years and no end in sight," he says. "We're excited."

Lawmakers and labor unions in California have reached a deal to raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The tentative agreement would end a lengthy dispute between California Gov. Jerry Brown and unions, Danielle Karson reports for NPR.

Under the new deal — which still needs to go before the state legislature — the minimum wage would increase gradually over the next six years.

The minimum wage in the state increased to $10 in January, under legislation passed in 2013.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Fans of the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel can finally see their heroes fight each other.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE")

You'll soon know whether many of the packaged foods you buy contain ingredients derived from genetically modified plants, such as soybeans and corn.

Over the past week or so, big companies including General Mills, Mars and Kellogg have announced plans to label such products – even though they still don't think it's a good idea.

SodaStream was at the heart of a controversy in the Middle East two years ago. The Israeli company, which makes a kitchen gadget to turn plain water into a flavored, carbonated drink at home, came under pressure for being an Israeli company operating in the West Bank.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Tuscaloosa NAACP Protests for a New School

Mar 26, 2016

Citizens and education activists in Tuscaloosa aren't happy about a recent school board decision to renovate two existing elementary schools instead of replacing them with a new school.

The Tuscaloosa chapter of the NAACP has been protesting in front of the Tuscaloosa City Schools Central Office this week. Members say they want the school board to build a new elementary school in west Tuscaloosa that would replace the ailing Central and Oakdale elementary schools.

County Donegal, a region of breath-taking beauty in Northwest of Ireland is synonymous with tweed. For centuries, every farm hand-loomed its own wool after harvest. Now, most of that tweed is machine-made at a commercial mill. But at a bend in the road, in a tiny village called Kilcar, is Studio Donegal Spinners & Handweavers, where hand-looming is flourishing.

Midlife may be a good time to think about shifting your career.

That may run counter to the notion that, after building your career for several decades, you're at your peak. But according to Gallup, only a third of seasoned employees say they're engaged in their careers.

Episode 692: The Secret Life Of Line 24

Mar 25, 2016

A lot of the stuff on IRS form 1040 — the basic tax form — is straightforward enough. But there are a few lines that you look at and say: What is that? And how did it get on my tax form?

Music: "Starlight." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A revolution is underway in television. Cable companies are getting rid of huge bundles of channels in favor of leaner, more tailored packages. Stacey Vanek Smith, of our Planet Money podcast, takes a look at the many effects of unbundling.

U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez says his agency will use its "bully pulpit" to strike at what he calls "a disturbing trend" that leaves workers without medical care and wage replacement payments when they are injured on the job.

In an interview with NPR, Perez also confirms a Labor Department investigation of an opt-out alternative to state-regulated workers' compensation that has saved employers millions of dollars but that he says is "undermining that basic bargain" for American workers.

Very few companies make "supercars" that can rocket you from zero to 60 mph in a blink and then propel you to nearly 200 mph.

Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Bugatti — and of course, Honda.

Honda?

If you're looking for a sweet Easter treat, there's plenty to choose from: chocolate rabbits, jelly beans, intricate sugar eggs and — of course — the ubiquitous Peeps. But there's one slightly more refined treat that many in the United States are familiar with mostly from the song.

The spring sprint is on: Con artists are racing to defraud income taxpayers ahead of April's filing deadline, and the Internal Revenue Service is scrambling to stay one step ahead.

The taxpayer identity-theft problem exploded between 2010 and 2012 and is still growing. But this year, Americans using "tax software may have noticed there were new sign-in requirements to access your account," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Thursday at a National Press Club luncheon.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Over the past few years, pop songs have come to play so consistently in advertising that there are smartphone apps designed to listen and help you name that tune, and the word "sellout" has lost a lot of its bite.

Dyson, the U.K.-based manufacturer known for its cutting-edge, bagless vacuums, bladeless fans and wheelless wheelbarrows ("ballbarrows") could be working on an electric car, according to government documents titled "National Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016-2021."

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