Why would Google want to block its own ads?

Apr 20, 2017

The Wall Street Journal is reporting, according to unnamed sources, that Google plans to introduce an ad-blocking feature on its Chrome web browser. Yes, that Google. The one that makes a lot of money selling those ads. So why would it want to make it easier for users to escape them?

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Marketplace staff

Bill O'Reilly, despite denying that he sexually harassed co-workers, is out from Fox as a cable TV host amid pressure from protesters and advertisers. And there might also be international business pressures on its parent company, 21st Century Fox, that factored into the decision. 

The Bank Black movement gains traction

Apr 20, 2017
Marielle Segarra

Last July, Teri Williams was out of the office, helping her daughter move into a new apartment, when she started getting frantic phone calls. Williams is the president of Boston-based OneUnited Bank, the largest black-owned bank in the country, with $650 million in assets. Her employees were calling to tell her that people were swarming the bank.

“They were coming into the branches,” Williams said. “They were lined up outside the branches. They were calling.”

The Fed occasionally interviews people in each of the 12 regions it presides over to gauge how they're feeling about the economy. The results are in and people are feeling, well, uncertain. Diane Swonk, CEO of DS Economics, joined us to talk about why there may be a lack of widespread optimism. Afterwards, we'll look at the positive effects of attending college full time vs. part time, and then discuss how automation puts workers of color at risk. 

Only about 40 percent of community college students earn a degree within six years. But students who go to class full time are much more likely to graduate. A new study finds that even one semester of full-time attendance makes a difference. 

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Allison Keyes

Five years ago, Marketplace explored how machines, robots and software algorithms were increasingly entering the workforce in our series "Robots Ate My Job." Now, we're looking at what humans can do about it with a new journey to find robot-proof jobs.

04/20/2017: The evolution of the show 'Archer'

Apr 20, 2017

This week, we've been looking at communities all over the country that are trying to become the next big tech hub. What's one region waiting for talent to come to town? Philadelphia. Archna Sahay, the director of entrepreneurial investment for the city, joined us to talk about whether there's enough venture capital to go around. Afterwards, we'll look at how the animated FXX sitcom "Archer" came of age along with the internet.


Fox has fired Bill O'Reilly amid sexual harassment claims against the TV host. Bad publicity, of course, can matter a lot when it comes to corporate decisions like these. We'll recap some of the events leading up to the ousting, which include the departure of more than 50 advertisers, and look at a big financial deal in Europe that may have influenced the move. Next, we'll examine a new study that finds it can make a huge difference if a person attends community college full-time.

'Archer' interactive app gives fans the inside track

Apr 20, 2017
Bruce Johnson

The animated FX show "Archer" is a sitcom about a spy, and it has a loyal following online. It’s in its eighth season, and it has a new app that uses augmented reality, letting fans watch the show on their smartphones and learn new information.

The app stems from the show’s many literary references and inside jokes, which have been analyzed in depth by people on the internet.

While Flint waits, Nestle pumps Michigan water on the cheap

Apr 19, 2017
Denis Balibouse/Reuters 

We've heard a lot about the environmental troubles in Michigan, and now there's a new chapter to this water saga: Nestle extracts billions of dollars worth of groundwater from western Michigan, but it pays the state just $200 a year in paperwork fees to do so.

Now, Nestle wants to more than triple its pumping in the region, from 150 gallons per minute to 400 gallons a minute. Locals and activists say Nestle’s pumping could cause damage to surrounding wetlands — and they point out logging and ranching companies have to pay a fee when they use resources on government land.

Gerard Fesch didn’t learn that his father was a notorious murderer until he turned 40. Gerard grew up in foster care, with his records sealed. All he knew about his history was his mother’s first name: Thérèse.

“Every time I tried to look into my past, I would come up with possible theories as to why I’d been abandoned. I suspected I might uncover something unpleasant,” Fesch says, “but I never imagined this.”

Facebook wants to see everything you see

Apr 19, 2017

Facebook's annual conference for software developers, F8, wraps up today. Usually there's much ooh-ing and aaaah-ing over whatever it is that Mark Zuckerberg introduces.  

Not so this year.

"The big takeaway, put simply, is that Facebook has copied Snapchat as far as it can, and now it's going to try and outpace them," said Molly Wood, senior tech correspondent. Wood said that Facebook is moving away from virtual reality on its Oculus Rift platform and toward augmented reality on your phone, something its competitor Snapchat is already doing. 

Emirates, the biggest airline in the Middle East, is cutting back on flights to the United States in five of its 12 destinations. The air carrier said demand has dropped steeply since President Trump's restrictions on entry from Muslim-majority countries. And the ban of any electronic device bigger than a cell phone from certain Middle East flights led to even fewer ticket sales. Even though the president’s travel bans are now blocked in U.S.

Treasury yields have dropped to the lowest they’ve been since November. What’s driving rates down? And what does that mean for U.S. consumers, U.S. businesses and the chair of the Federal Reserve? 

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Seems like every time you turn around, another department store chain is closing locations and laying off people – Macy’s, Sears, J.C. Penney — and these are just the biggies. Since January, nearly 61,000 jobs have been eliminated in the retail sector. What kinds of jobs are being lost? And where are these workers going? 

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Is generosity enough to prop up this post-recession town?

Apr 19, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Bridget Bodnar

23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki on the collective power of health data

Apr 19, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Robert Garrova

You probably already know of 23andMe as the company that will analyze your DNA and then send you back a report on your ancestry. But whether or not you have a little bit of Neanderthal in your family tree is by far not the only thing your DNA can tell you. With new clearances from the Food and Drug Administration, 23andMe can now look at your genetic makeup and tell you your risk for some pretty widespread diseases, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's among them. Kai Ryssdal spoke with 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki about the changing business of genetics. 

04/19/2017: You pay taxes, why shouldn't robots?

Apr 19, 2017

The ability of U.S. companies to pay back all its debt is at its lowest level since the 2008 financial crisis, according to the International Monetary Fund. Susan Schmidt of Westwood Holdings Group joins us to chat about the factors that really matter to the health of the U.S. economy. Next, we'll look at why several cities and states in the U.S. are starting to ban employers from asking prospective hires about salary history. Finally, we'll wrap up by chatting to former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers about why he's against taxing robots who perform our jobs. 

Bruce Johnson

The primordial web of the internet was a messy, beautiful place, free and open, and its users were full of hope. And then the money-hungry creators of platforms like Facebook and YouTube screwed it up. That's according to Jonathan Taplin, who is a tour manager for the band Bob Dylan and a film producer for Martin Scorsese.

D Gorenstein

For many years, American Express was the credit card with cachet. Now, many millennials are looking elsewhere and are shaking up the credit card industry as a result. These younger consumers are also using cards differently than their parents, and companies are trying to catch up.

Credit card companies have gotten to know their millennial customers. One, they love a good deal, said Bill Hardekopf of, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card that initially promised 100,000 points just for signing up.

The New York City Council recently approved legislation aimed at addressing pay inequity. The city's private employers will no longer be allowed to ask job candidates about their current or past wages. Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law, adding New York to a growing list of cities and states outlawing employer inquiries on past pay.

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David Brancaccio

Five years ago, Marketplace explored how machines, robots and software algorithms were increasingly entering the workforce in our series "Robots Ate My Job." Now, we're looking at what humans can do about it with a new journey to find robot-proof jobs.

Erika Beras

Earlier this month, members of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute met for the first time in Pittsburgh.

The group, including Boeing, Wal-Mart and other big companies, plans on re-imagining American manufacturing using robotics. The effort is being bankrolled by the Department of Defense to the the tune of $80 million. The DOD's Greg Hudas said the idea behind the Institute is to create a future where robots and people work side by side, among other things.

04/19/17: How the internet got ruined

Apr 19, 2017

The money-hungry creators of platforms like YouTube and Facebook completely destroyed the freedom that the internet once represented — according to Jonathan Taplin. Taplin, author of the new book "Move Fast and Break Things" joined us to talk about the "winners-take-all" mentality of early tech pioneers like Peter Thiel and Larry Page. Afterwards, as part of our new series on the rise of tech hubs across the U.S., we'll chat with entrepreneur Dug Nichols about the qualities that make Minneapolis a good place for a company.


Now that we're at the center of quarterly earnings season, we'll take a look at how Yahoo, IBM and Volkswagen are faring. Next, we'll discuss New York City's plan to prohibit employers from asking job candidates about their current or past pay levels, and then look at the increased focus on automation in Pittsburgh. 

Scientists say the Great Barrier Reef is officially dying

Apr 18, 2017
<a href="">Tchami</a>/<a href="">CC BY 2.0 (image cropped)</a>

In recent years, things have been overwhelmingly bad for the Great Barrier Reef.

Senior Trump administration officials cancelled a meeting today to talk about whether the U.S. will stay committed to its emissions targets under the Paris climate agreement. Trump has promised to take the U.S. out of agreement. A surprising group wants America to stay in: coal executives. The nation’s three biggest coal companies would rather the U.S. have a seat at the climate change negotiating table than be sidelined.

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John Jenkins

More and more police departments are using body cameras as they look for ways to protect themselves, their communities and to preserve evidence. So the lucrative new bodycam market is becoming fiercely competitive. But the real money to be made is on the back end.

For almost two decades, Taser International was known for making stun guns. But now there’s a new product rolling off its production line in Scottsdale, Arizona: body cameras.

Spokesman Steve Tuttle watches a production line as the cameras come together.

Why boom-bust oil prices may be here to stay

Apr 18, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Maria Hollenhorst

Crude oil prices fell today following a government report predicting the biggest increase in U.S. production in two years and the Saudi Arabian energy minister publicly doubting whether that country will keep cutting production as promised. Once again, oil is the global economic wild card.

How Charles Shaw wine became Two Buck Chuck

Apr 18, 2017

When Trader Joe's introduced Charles Shaw wine in 2002, it sold for $1.99 a bottle. The price of "Two Buck Chuck” has since risen, but the nickname endures. Journalist Natalie O'Neill went in search of the original Charles Shaw for an article in Thrillist on the history of Trader Joe’s wine. She talked with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal about what she learned. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.