Dan Bobkoff

3:17am

Fri April 5, 2013
Media

Is The Company Behind Rodman's Korea Visit The Future Of Media?

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 3:17 pm

Vice founder Shane Smith attends the premiere screening for the MTV series The Vice Guide To Everything in New York City in December 2010. Vice's new documentary series on HBO launches Friday.
Jemal Countess Getty Images

How did Dennis Rodman end up having dinner with Kim Jong Un in North Korea? It was the idea of Vice Media, which has grown from a counterculture magazine into a full-fledged youth media conglomerate.

Friday night, it premieres a documentary series on HBO, a kind of coming-out moment into the mainstream.

'I Wish We Were Weirder'

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5:33pm

Thu March 28, 2013
Business

Farm Bill's Sugar Subsidy More Taxing Than Sweet, Critics Say

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 11:55 pm

While many people enjoy sweet treats — like these chocolate bunnies — the price of a key ingredient has some people bitter. A government subsidy program is criticized for keeping sugar prices too high. But as prices fall, the government may buy sugar to help processors.
Toby Talbot AP

While you indulge in some Easter Peeps and chocolates this weekend, you might want to think about all that sugar. No, this isn't a calorie warning. In the U.S., raw sugar can cost twice the world average.

Critics say U.S. sugar policy artificially inflates sugar prices to benefit an exclusive group of processors — even though it leads to higher food prices. But this year, prices fell anyway. Now, the government could be poised to use taxpayer dollars to buy up the excess sugar.

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5:32pm

Mon March 18, 2013
All Tech Considered

Can 'Smart Gun' Technology Help Prevent Violence?

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 5:54 pm

This 9 mm semi-automatic handgun is configured with transducers in its handle that can detect the grasp of an authorized user.
New Jersey Institute of Technology AP

For years, many have dreamed of so-called smart guns, weapons that know their rightful owner and won't fire in the wrong hands. Think James Bond's gun in Skyfall.

A few major gun makers experimented with smart guns in the 1990s, but none came to market. Since then, it's been the domain of entrepreneurs and inventors.

Developers And Technologists

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3:41am

Wed February 27, 2013
Your Money

Americans Earn More Than Their Parents (With A Caveat), Study Says

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 7:54 am

Most Americans are earning more money than their parents, according to a new study from Pew's Economic Mobility Project. But those gains don't tell the whole picture.

Let's start with the good news. The Pew Charitable Trust study looked at actual pairs of children and parents. Around age 40, 83 percent of the children were earning at least a thousand bucks more than their parents were when they were 40.

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5:53pm

Mon February 25, 2013
Economy

Too Soon To Blame Payroll Tax For Stagnant Retail Sales?

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 7:23 pm

Wal-Mart is one of several large retailers that say an increase in the payroll tax may hurt U.S. sales in the months ahead.
Daniel Acker Bloomberg via Getty Images

For Darden Restaurants, the company behind Olive Garden and Red Lobster, its earnings projections out last week were not pretty. Sales will fall, it said, and company CEO Clarence Otis called higher payroll taxes a "headwind."

After a two-year tax break, the payroll tax, which funds Social Security payments, went back up to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1. The 2-percentage-point increase is an extra $80 a month in taxes for someone earning $50,000 a year.

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4:41pm

Wed February 20, 2013
Business

For The Publicly Traded, Going Private Can Be Risky Business

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 6:11 pm

Dell's founder and another tech company have announced plans to take the computer giant private. While companies can benefit from withdrawing from the stock market, there are potential pitfalls as well.
Paul Sakuma AP

It's been a busy month for corporate America.

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4:39pm

Mon February 18, 2013
U.S.

What Happens When Someone Else Gets Your Tax Refund

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 6:27 pm

Todd Macy, a banker from Marin County, Calif., was the victim of identity theft. Nearly a year after filing his return, he's still waiting for his federal tax refund.
Courtesy of Todd Macy

If you usually wait until April to file your taxes, you might want to hurry up — before identity thieves beat you to it. Using stolen names and Social Security numbers, these criminals file fake tax returns with false wage and withholding information. This generates big — and fraudulent — refunds, before the real taxpayer gets around to filing.

The Internal Revenue Service says it's busy working to combat what prosecutors call a fraud epidemic.

Most taxpayers don't have any idea something is wrong until they hit the send button on their taxes and get an error message.

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8:39am

Fri February 15, 2013
Business

How Will Proposed Merger Affect Airline Passengers?

Conventional wisdom says fewer airlines mean higher fares and fewer flights. But experts say the American Airlines-U.S. Airways proposed merger is a mixed bag. Past mergers haven't led to significantly higher fares, but will this time be different?

5:36am

Wed February 6, 2013
Around the Nation

Feds Bust Huge Credit Fraud Ring

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 10:51 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're also tracking a story that federal authorities call one of the biggest credit card fraud rings in U.S. history. Eighteen people are alleged to have created an elaborate web of fake identities and sham companies to steal hundreds of millions of dollars.

NPR's Dan Bobkoff has more.

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3:23am

Mon September 24, 2012
All Tech Considered

Employee Shopping: 'Acqui-Hire' Is The New Normal In Silicon Valley

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 9:08 am

A Google logo is seen through windows of Moscone Center in San Francisco during Google's annual developer conference, Google I/O, in June. Google is one of several major tech companies known for the "acqui-hire."
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Tech companies like Google, Facebook and Zynga are on a shopping spree. They're buying small startups with innovative products and apps. But, many times, the tech giants don't care about what the small companies were producing. They just want the engineers.

There's a new name for these deals: the "acqui-hire," and it could mean the end to your favorite app.

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