The Weird, Underappreciated World Of Plastic Packaging

So much of the food we eat these days is encased in plastic. And behind it is a whole lot of research and innovation. We dive into some of the materials that keep food fresh and portable.

All Things Considered

Labor Conflict May Lock Out Met Opera Workers

If no contract deal is reached by July 31, Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb has warned union workers to plan for a work stoppage the next day.

4 Theories About Why Wal-Mart Changed Its U.S. Chief

Wal-Mart, the nation's biggest company, affects the lives of millions of workers and shoppers. So its U.S. leadership change is attracting lots of interest. Here are some theories about what happened.

Morning Edition

Rural Startups, Often Overlooked, Are The Focus Of New Investment Programs

Small-town startups often struggle to attract serious investors. But efforts are under way to help entrepreneurs outside the urban beltway find financing.

Morning Edition

New Rules Proposed For Oil-Carrying Trains In Wake Of Fiery Crashes

The Obama administration is proposing new safety rules for railroad oil tank cars, after a series of fiery derailments. The rules would phase out thousands of older cars in two years.

Morning Edition

How High Debt From The Housing Collapse Still Stifles Our Economy

Seven years after the subprime mortgage crisis, the U.S. economy has not yet fully recovered. Now two economists have come up with new evidence about what's holding the economy back.

GM Recalls Nearly 718,000 Vehicles For 'Varying Safety Issues'

GM says no deaths and only two crashes have been linked to the recalls. While many of the vehicles have relatively minor issues, thousands of others have potential problems with their steering.

All Things Considered

After Two Disasters, Can Malaysia Airlines Still Attract Passengers?

Even before the double calamity of its two downed flights, Malaysia Airlines was trying to adapt to momentous shifts in Asia's aviation industry. Now, it faces either bankruptcy or privatization.

FAA Extends Ban On Flights To Tel Aviv For Another 24 Hours

The Federal Aviation Administration banned flights to the region on Tuesday after a rocket landed about a mile from Ben Gurion International Airport.

Tell Me More

Part-Time Work, Unpredictable Schedules: What's The Fix?

Many part-time workers have to manage unpredictable hours and schedules, which can take a toll on employees. Host Michel Martin learns about how some government officials are addressing the concern.

Emotions High On Housing Immigrant Children In Massachusetts

July 24, 2014
Christian Gonzalez, 9, of Lynn, Mass., displays a placard during a rally, Tuesday, July 22, 2014, on the steps of City Hall, in Lynn, held to protest what organizers describe as the scapegoating of immigrants for problems in the city. The mayor of Lynn and education officials complain their schools are being overwhelmed by young Guatemalans who speak neither English or Spanish as their first language. Gonzalez, a U.S. citizen, was born in Boston. (AP)

We look at the backlash against Governor Patrick’s plan to temporarily house unaccompanied children from Central America in Massachusetts.

Why Don’t We Eat Our Own Fish?

July 24, 2014
The seafood counter at Whole Foods Market in Hillsboro, Ore. is pictured Sept. 10, 2010. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

Most of the fish Americans eat is imported – about 90 percent. At the same time, the U.S. is exporting about one-third of its catch.

How One UMass Economist Would Set A Boston Area Minimum Wage

July 23, 2014
Pedro Rodriguez, right, talks with Andrus Reyes at a Burger King in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood in December, as part of nationwide protests in support of higher wages for workers in the fast-food industry and other minimum-wage jobs. (Stephan Savoia/AP)

Using Arin Dube’s calculations, the Boston metro could have a have a wage floor of $12.85 an hour.

Fishing On The Cape

July 22, 2014
Handline fishing at dusk. (Flickr)

A recent government assessment put the Cod population at less than one fifth of what scientists say is necessary to maintain a healthy population. To protect the dwindling species, two years ago the feds cut the quota for cod fishing by roughly 80 percent.

Another Facet Of The Jobs Debate: Baby Boomers

July 21, 2014
Participation in the workforce has dropped significantly since 2007, and economists say more than half of the dropouts may never return. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The U.S. labor force has been shrinking since 2007. Some say this is because baby boomers are retiring, but critics disagree.

Mass. Gas Prices Drop A Nickel

July 21, 2014

AAA Southern New England reports Monday that the cost of a gallon of self-serve regular has dropped 5 cents to an average of $3.62.

Wampanoag Chief Has Mixed Feelings On Casino Bid

July 20, 2014

The tribe’s chief, 92-year-old Vernon “Silent Drum” Lopez, said he is awed by how far the tribe has come since the days of his youth, but he has mixed feelings about a potential next step: a $500 million casino resort that the tribe is proposing to build in Taunton.

What This Plane Crash Means For Airlines

July 18, 2014
A Malaysia airlines plane is seen on the tarmac at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on July 18, 2014. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images)

We discuss potential economic consequences of the downed plane in eastern Ukraine, which might include higher airfares, with Bloomberg’s Michael Regan.

The High Price Of Financial Transactions When You’re Poor

July 17, 2014
Many of the approximately 70 million Americans who don't have a bank account or access to traditional financial services end up relying on check-cashing services, which come with hefty fees. (Orin Zebest/Flickr)

Derek Thompson says “for tens of millions of Americans without a bank account, paying a bill isn’t just an odyssey, it’s a part-time job.”

San Francisco Median Home Price Hits $1 Million

July 17, 2014
According to real estate website Zillow, each of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco's "Postcard Row" is worth around $3 million. (Leonardo Stabile/Flickr)

We look at what you can get for a million dollars in San Francisco, and what’s driving up home prices in an already-pricey city.

Microsoft To Cut Up To 18,000 Jobs

July 17, 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivers a keynote address during the 2014 Microsoft Build developer conference on April 2, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The tech giant will eliminate the jobs over the next year, as it works on integrating the Nokia devices business it bought in April.

Mass. Adds 3,700 Jobs In June; Jobless Rate Ticks Down To 5.5 Percent

July 17, 2014

That’s the lowest state jobless rate since August 2008, and the figure is down from 6.8 percent in January.

Toward A Better America: Readjusting The Value Of Low-Paid, High-Commitment Work

July 17, 2014
Janna Malamud Smith: "Incomes have become so grotesquely skewed that anyone who chooses to teach is choosing a tougher path." (cybrarian77/flickr)

Incomes have become so grotesquely skewed that anyone who chooses to teach is choosing a tougher path.

Mass. Gas Prices Remain Unchanged

July 14, 2014

AAA Southern New England reports Monday that self-serve, regular remains at $3.67 a gallon, the same as last week.

Wine Lovers Raise A Glass To Direct Shipping Law

July 12, 2014

A provision in the new state budget lifts a long-standing prohibition on direct deliveries from wineries to consumers.

Patrick Signs $36B State Budget, Announces $16M In Vetoes

July 11, 2014

Patrick, whose second and final term ends in January, said Friday that the $36.5 billion state budget continues his administration’s investment in “education, innovation and infrastructure.”

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