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The numbers for July 17, 2013: Shape up

509,175

The number of refund checks being mailed to purchasers of Skechers Shape-up shoes. Earlier this year, Skechers agreed to pay a $40 million settlement for advertising unfounded claims that the shoes toned thighs, butts and abs. (CNN Money)

63%

Bank industry profits are on the up and up, while tech companies ... not so much. Bank of America reported profits up 63 percent for the period April-June. Yesterday, Yahoo's earnings missed the mark slightly. Intel and Ebay are expected to post muted earnings as well today. (NYT)

Day 1

ESPN is looking to clean up the discourse on its website. After permitting anonymous comments for over five years, the site is requiring posters to sign in via Facebook. (Marketplace)


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Jul 17, 2013

ESPN tries to kill the trolls: Facebook comments only

Jul 17, 2013
After more than five years of anonymous comments, ESPN.com now requires your Facebook account if you have something to say.
Posted In: Sports, Facebook, comments, Web Culture, espn

The numbers for July 16, 2013: ... The last word

-4%

Coca-Cola said its profits were down 4 percent in the April-June period. The company blamed economic malaise and lousy weather that didn't drive people to drink ... soft drinks. (Bloomberg)

78%

New data from the Pew Research Center says digital tools -- smartphones, social media, Google -- may be helping students. 78 percent of teachers say they “encourage student creativity and personal expression.” Maybe now parents can stop worrying so much about the competing trend towards informal writing ... YOLO. (Pew)

100,000 euros

A conservative think tank in Britain has offered a big cash prize for the most compelling argument for why Britain would be better off if it abandoned the European Union. The so-called Brexit Prize is 100,000 ... euros. (The Independent)


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Jul 16, 2013

AT&T's new user plan: Buy another phone!

For the past decade, the big U.S. wireless carriers have been long-term commitment matchmakers, of a sort. In order to get you to buy expensive phones for affordable prices, cell phone companies have convinced customers to 'tie the knot' with their fancy new gadgets. Now, it seems, cell phone companies are becoming more like divorce attorneys. They want you to break up with your phone.

One week after wireless carrier T-Mobile announced a Smartphone-upgrades-allowed plan, AT&T has come out with its own competing plan. The details and requirements and costs for AT&T's plan are different than T-Mobile's Jump, but it has in common the ability to upgrade your phone more often, instead of locking customers in to long-term plans.  Why are all the phone companies making the same decisions?  Mobile phone analyst Tero Kuittinen told the New York Times that the problem is there are no 'killer' features in new phones and so users aren't upgrading as frequently:

“We’re entering a barrier of slow innovation,” Mr. Kuittinen, with Alekstra, said. “We’ve reached the limits of the camera and display.” Traditional cellphones with black and white screens had a similar slowdown before color displays came out, he added.

 


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Jul 16, 2013

McDonald's tries to help employees budget

Jul 16, 2013
McDonald's teamed up with Visa to create an online budget guide assisting employees with money management.
Posted In: McDonald's, family budget, minimum wage

A look at the 'Hyperloop,' and other off-beat inventions in history

Jul 16, 2013
Tesla's Elon Musk hopes to revolutionize transportation with a combination railgun, air hockey table and Concorde. What can he learn from past inventions?
Posted In: inventions, Elon Musk

Resting face makeover: Plastic surgeons weigh in on a mocking viral video

Jul 16, 2013
A mock video highlighting a condition where women look mean or unpleasant when their face is at its natural, resting state has struck a chord with the public.
Posted In: expressions, plastic surgery, surgery

What's in a name? For Harry Potter author, everything

Jul 15, 2013
J.K. Rowling revealed as the real pen behind non-Blockbuster, non-Harry Potter book.
Posted In: harry potter, J.K. Rowling

ICYMI: The history of the Wall Street bull and other stories you shouldn't miss

Jul 15, 2013
Some of the Marketplace's most noteworthy stories from the past week.
Posted In: ICYMI

The numbers for July 15, 2013: Numbers on the 1's

1991

China's GDP growth slowed in the second quarter of 2013 -- to 7.5 percent, China's weakest rate since 1991. (Marketplace)

101
As in Philanthropy 101. Warren Buffett makes an appearance teaching an online course in charitable giving. As a teaching tool, Warren's family has chipped in $100,000 in real money for the class of 4,000 students to give away. (AP)

1-10

The mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania's capital city, has installed a giant video screen to display the happiness level of residents on a scale of 1-10, a "Happiness Barometer". Just one concern: recent polling of happiness in 58 countries shows Lithuania practically dead last. (Reuters)

No. 1

Just after it was discovered that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling used a pseudonym to publish "The Cuckoo's Calling", the book shot up to the number one spot on Amazon and is now back ordered for 10-14 days. (Publisher's Weekly)


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Jul 15, 2013

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