PODCAST: NYSE finds a mate, Boeing sacks up potatoes

The New York Stock Exchange might be acquired for $8 billion by the Atlanta-based upstart IntercontinentalExchange.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has dealt Apple some bitter news. Apple had a pending patent, claiming it owned and originated the idea of "pinching and zooming" on our smart phones. That patent has been rejected. This complicates the outcome of the $1 billion judgement a jury leveled against Samsung in August, for violating Apple patents.

A day after UBS announced a giant penalty for rigging the LIBOR interest rate, we continue to marvel over the brazen internal emails that were released along with the settlement. Once you get past the fact that these financial types are atrocious spellers, there's something kind of poetic to the back and forth. So I sat down this morning and plunked my favorites into some haiku. Check them out here.

The New York Stock Exchange has been an independent company since 1792, but it does not want to be alone any more. In recent years the NYSE has attempted mergers with a German exchange, and with the Nasdaq, but antitrust regulators scuttled both. This morning, NYSE-Euronext says it has an $8 billion deal to be acquired by a futures-trading company, called IntercontinentalExchange.
                
U.S. GDP has been revised up again, for the quarter finished in September -- and this time it shows the U.S. economy growing at an annual rate greater than three percent. But the data on business investment suggest we have slowed down since. U.S. jobless claims rose a bit last week, after four weeks of declines. And last month U.S. sales of existing homes hit the highest point in three years.

Since the Newtown shooting, gun makers have taken a beating on Wall Street. Big pension funds are threatening to divest; a big private equity fund is selling its stake in a major manufacturer. The Dick's Sporting Goods chain has voluntarily pulled certain kinds of guns from its shelves. A presidential panel begins today to explore tighter gun control laws. But where does American opinion stand on that?

As the debate over American gun control is moving forward -- Vice President Biden is on the case, and President Obama says he will bring the issue before Congress in January. Whatever U.S. policymakers decide could also affect violence across our southern  border.

In Europe, the Catholic Organization Opus Dei has gotten into a fight with a small Danish game-maker. Now the row -- over a card game -- has landed in court.  

And finally, Boeing is working on giving passengers what they want: Wi-Fi in more of their planes. But how all those signals behave inside an airline cabin is something we don't know that much about, and so naturally they need to do some testing. Rather than haul a plane-load of expensive human subjects in to sit in their seats and have Wi-Fi signals passed through them, Boeing has settled on a more cost-effective alternative: Potatoes. According to the LA Times, evidently sacks of potatoes reflect and absorb electronic signals much the same as human bodies. And while they do have eyes, they do not have arms to reach up and ring that annoying flight attendant call button.

About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.

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