Economy & Innovation

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Episode 730: Self Checkout

14 hours ago

Howard Schneider was a doctor treating psychiatric patients in the ER when he decided to transform the grocery store experience. He set out to invent the self checkout machine.

Some parts of the design were pretty straightforward, like reading barcodes and taking payments. Other things, it turned out, were not so easy. Like figuring out when people are stealing. Schneider solves these problems. Or at least makes a machine that's good enough to use. In 1992, he eventually convinces a grocery store to install the machines. The result? Angry shoppers.

Faculty members at more than a dozen Pennsylvania public universities went on strike on Wednesday. The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties represents educators at 14 public universities. The strike comes after negotiations broke down between the union and Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education.

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Saudi Arabia has raised more than $17 billion in its first foray into the global bond markets, according to news reports, as the kingdom struggles to close a budget deficit caused by declining oil prices.

The sale is the largest-ever bond offering by an emerging-market country, topping Argentina's $16.5 billion offering in August.

"Saudi's multi-part debt offering drew heavy investor demand as the world's top oil exporter sought to borrow at historic low yields," Reuters reported.

Don't Look Now! How Your Devices Hurt Your Productivity

Oct 19, 2016

I'll admit it. I even take my phone with me when I head to the restroom, to fire off a few texts. Or I'll scroll through my email when I leave the office for lunch. My eyes are often glued to my phone from the moment I wake up, but I often reach the end of my days wondering what I've accomplished.

Ecuador acknowledges it restricted the Internet access of Julian Assange, who has lived at the country's London embassy for more than four years.

The government of President Rafael Correa released a statement that notes Assange's WikiLeaks website has published "a wealth of documents, impacting on the U.S. election campaign." The statement says the website released those documents on its own, and Ecuador "respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states."

The U.S Advisory Council on Human Trafficking issued its first-ever report on Tuesday. This group was founded last year when President Obama appointed 11 people, all of whom are survivors of human trafficking themselves, to run the council.

On Election Day this November, about 1 in 4 Americans will vote using a device that never lets the voter see a copy of his or her vote on paper.

Now that Samsung's Galaxy Note 7s have caught fire even after the phone-maker said it had changed battery suppliers, and the real cause of overheating remains a mystery, the Korean tech giant is facing new questions about its transparency throughout the recall debacle.

It's the most pressing problem, but fire-prone phones aren't the only challenge facing the world's leading seller of mobile phones. In Samsung's home country of South Korea, the conglomerate was already feeling the heat from investors, who want to streamline its complicated corporate structure, and from critics, who say it's not changing from its previously top-down, "militaristic" ways.

What happens when two human political journalists compete against a computer over which can do the best job predicting the issues that will dominate the news in the presidential election? Well, you are about to find out.

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If you feel like Internet ads are more pervasive and invasive than ever before, you're not alone. Author Tim Wu tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that the Web has gotten worse over the years, not better — and unrelenting ads are to blame.

"I think you spend 50 percent of your mental energy trying to defeat ad systems," Wu says. "It's amazing that we've got this great scientific invention, the Web and the Internet, and then it has come to the point where using it reminds me of swatting mosquitoes."

The activist organization WikiLeaks says the Internet connection for its founder, Julian Assange, has been severed by what it called a "state party."

The accusation came in a tweet early Monday.

Sotheby's is auctioning the Nobel Prize in economics awarded to John Nash, the mathematician known both for his work on game theory and for his life story as portrayed in the movie A Beautiful Mind.

Both the gold medal and the handwritten certificate that came with it are up for sale, and Sotheby's estimates the award will bring in between $2.5 million and $4 million.