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Lane Wallace

Oil prices were up Wednesday evening and waffling Thursday morning based on the news that OPEC plans to cut output for the first time since 2008. The cartel of petroleum exporters has abandoned production limits over the last couple years, contributing to global oversupply and rock-bottom prices that have just started to come back up.

OPEC’s strategy in the past was to agree on some total output limit, divvy it up, and voila: higher prices for crude oil around the world.

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Patrick Skahill

Claim University is a giant warehouse operated by the insurance company Travelers, where insurance adjusters go to train. Inside are dinged-up cars, damaged store fronts, and big model houses.

And while you might not think of insurance adjusters as risk takers, Patrick Gee, who works on auto and property claims for Travelers, said they can be.

“Whenever you climb ladders or you get up on a roof, despite well-trained claim professionals with safety standards, there's always a risk of an accident occurring,” Gee said.

FCC set to rule on cable 'set-top boxes'

Sep 29, 2016
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Adam Allington

Update: As of Thursday, September 29, the FCC has indefinitely postponed its plans to vote on this proposal. 

The Federal Communications Commission is holding a vote Thursday about getting rid of cable set-top boxes — those generic, clunky boxes currently costing you $230 for the privilege of watching TV.

Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the FCC, has instead been pushing a plan that would allow cable subscribers to get all those shows through an app.

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Annie Baxter

Grocery retailers are dealing with big price declines in products like eggs, meat and dairy. Lower prices can mean lower sales.  

Costco, which sells a lot of groceries, isn't immune. But it's got a not-so-secret weapon: its membership fee, which starts at $55 a year. 

“About 75 percent of its operating income comes from the membership fee,” said Piper Jaffray analyst Sean Naughton. 

According to Naughton, in the U.S. and Canada, Costco's membership renewal rates are north of 90 percent.

“I consider that to be a very good number,” he said.

Anita Sarkeesian on 'Ordinary Women'

Sep 29, 2016
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Molly Wood and Stephanie Hughes

It can be hard to find strong female role models in pop culture — often, women are portrayed as someone's girlfriend or sidekick.

One person working to change that is Anita Sarkeesian, the founder of the website Feminist Frequency. She's been critiquing female stereotypes in games and pop culture for years, and now she has a new project: a web series called “Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History.”

Marketplace Tech for Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sep 29, 2016
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Marketplace

On today's show, we'll talk about today's later controversial vote from the Federal Communications System on a proposal that will free consumers from paying extra to get cable and satellite TV boxes from their providers; look at how people feel about BlackBerry's decision to stop making phones; and interview the founder of the site Feminist Frequency, Anita Sarkeesian, about her new series, "Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History."

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Marketplace

On today's show, we'll talk about OPEC's promise to cut oil production; competition Costco faces from Amazon Prime; the experience of students from one tuition-free college in New York City; and a ruling from a federal court that's decreed "ballot selfies" are perfectly fine. 

In the summer of 1936, a plain and sturdy farm woman from southern Minnesota traveled to New York to meet the mayor, stay at the Waldorf, dine at the Stork Club and make headlines in every major newspaper.

That woman was Susan Eisele, my grandmother, who Country Home magazine selected — out of 4,000 entrants — as its "Rural Correspondent of the Year."

The award came with a $200 prize and a two-week trip to New York and Washington.

Soap opera pioneer Agnes Nixon, who created All My Children and One Life to Live, has died at the age of 93. She is known for highlighting challenging and taboo social issues through daytime television.

Her son Bob Nixon told The Associated Press that she died at a physical rehabilitation facility in Haverford, Pa.

California's state treasurer has announced he is suspending major parts of the state's business relationship with Wells Fargo because of a scandal involving unauthorized customer accounts.

In a letter to Wells Fargo, John Chiang asked, "how can I continue to entrust the public's money to an organization which has shown such little regard for the legions of Californians who have placed their well-being in its care?"

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Bryce Vickmark

When the Nobel Prize in physics is awarded next Tuesday, many in the world of science will be surprised if Rainer Weiss, an MIT professor emeritus, is not among those honored.

Weiss dreamed up the idea behind the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory or LIGO. It's a sort of massive antenna so sensitive it detected faint invisible ripples in space from 1.3 billion years ago, a discovery made secretly last fall and revealed in September.

Artificial intelligence is one of those tech terms that seems to inevitably conjure up images (and jokes) of computer overlords running sci-fi dystopias — or, more recently, robots taking over human jobs.

But AI is already here: It's powering your voice-activated digital personal assistants and Web searches, guiding automated features on your car and translating foreign texts, detecting your friends in photos you post on social media and filtering your spam.

Check out this bhangra by the beach, Nova Scotia style

Sep 28, 2016
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Bhangra is a style of both music and dance that's popular in the Punjab region of India.

But a new bhangra video that went viral has a distinctly different backdrop: Peggy's Cove, in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. 

A new study of violent behavior in more than 1,000 mammal species found the meerkat is the mammal most likely to be murdered by one of its own kind.

The study, led by José María Gómez of the University of Grenada in Spain and published Wednesday in the journal Nature, analyzed more than 4 million deaths among 1,024 mammal species and compared them with findings in 600 studies of violence among humans from ancient times until today.

The findings tell us two things:

It's once again time for the annual ritual of fear and loathing, also known as the performance review — at least for the companies that still do them.

Many have abandoned the old way of evaluating their employees in recent years. Last year, even General Electric — whose former CEO Jack Welch championed the system often known as "rank and yank" — did away with its annual review.

What's taking the old system's place? A hodgepodge of experiments, essentially.

Hear three sessions recorded during World Cafe's yearly visit to the Camp Stage at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. This year's event, the 55th annual installment of the festival, took place Aug. 18-21, 2016.

Liz Longley

U.S Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the U.S. has agreed to send an additional 600 troops to Iraq, in anticipation of the major upcoming operation to retake the Islamic State-held city of Mosul.

These additional troops "will increase the number of U.S. forces in Iraq to around 5,000," NPR's Tom Bowman told our Newscast unit. American troop levels in Iraq peaked at 170,000 in November 2007.

Life changed as Sadiik Yusuf knew it about two years ago, when the FBI appeared at his front door in Minneapolis to tell him his son Abdullahi had been stopped at the airport, suspected of trying to board a flight that would take him to Syria to fight with ISIS.

On Tuesday, after a less-than-stellar debate performance, Donald Trump returned to using one of his favorite measurements to mask his missteps on Monday night — the polls.

It's believed to be a first — and it certainly came as a surprise: Ancient Roman coins have been found in the ruins of a castle in Okinawa, Japan, that dates to the 12th and 15th centuries. The copper coins were found in 2013; X-ray analysis shows that they bear an image of Constantine the Great.

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

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

Curious George famously managed all sorts of escapes — from policemen, firemen, zookeepers and plenty other humans who didn't like his mischief. But many readers don't know that the husband-wife team who created the inquisitive little monkey — who is celebrating his 75th birthday this year — had the most harrowing escape of all.

Riccardo Fregoso, executive creative director of McCann Paris, discusses the firm's Clio Award-winning ad called "The Girls of Paradise," which draws potential johns in for a rude surprise.

The campaign starts with a website that looks like many your could find on the Internet, a page that promised a gallery of potential escorts for one to choose from. But it's a fake: As soon as the visitor clicks through enough times, the website tells the visitor about the fate of the woman he has chosen — death, usually by violence.

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Christopher Rouse's Symphony No. 3, which appears on his latest album, contains many levels of meaning. It's an homage to the Russian composer Sergey Prokofiev, whose Second Symphony serves as a structural model for the piece. It's an encoded musical portrait of Rouse's wife. And it's an engaging piece of music even for a listener who possesses none of this background knowledge.

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

Cubans are bracing for a tough end of the year, after what has already been a rough summer. The island's economy is in trouble. Venezuela, Cuba's main patron and supplier of cheap oil, has slashed its generous subsidies, while Cuba's other top cash commodities are facing worldwide price plunges.

Since the U.S. and Cuba improved relations and President Obama made his historic trip to the island in March, expectations had been running high among Cubans that better economic times were coming.

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

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

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