Shea Huffman is a graduate of USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and a fill-in web producer for Marketplace.

Features by Shea Huffman

The Numbers for Thursday, October 24: Just a matter of time


The number of weeks that the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate will be delayed as announced the White House last night. The decision comes after executives of twelve major health insurers — including Aetna, Humana, WellPoint, and Kaiser Permanente — met with officials at the White House to urge for the delay of Obamacare's key provision until the problems with are fixed. (Forbes)


The percentage of Americans who say they expect to keep working until they die or are too sick, according to Wells Fargo's annual retirement study of middle-income Americans. The survey question was added to follow the larger trend of American's saying they will delay retirement until age 80, which rose from 25 percent in 2011 to 34 percent this year. (CNBC)

$670 million

The amount Starbucks paid to acquire specialty tea-maker Teavana last November, a move that gave the coffee company a foothold in the $90 billion global tea market. Starbucks will open the first of its new Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bars in Brooklyn today. (Christian Science Monitor)

The Numbers for Wednesday, October 23: Black market green


The percentage of Americans who support marijuana legalization, the first time a clear majority of the U.S. supports the reform, according to a new Gallup poll. Experts estimate that annual marijuana sales (including illegal sales) add up to about $20 billion, with $1.5 billion a year coming from the growing medical pot industry. (Gallup)


The percent of the world's timber that Interpol estimates is illegally poached. According to reporters who have researched the topic, illegal logging has had a devastating impact on forests around the world, like in Russia, as workers desperate to feed their families cut down more trees than are sustainable. (Marketplace)


The rough amount of assets Japan’s Financial Services Agency froze in a move to separate the Yakuza (Japan's organized crime syndicate) from their money. The frozen assets include two Japan-issued American Express cards and according to an article from Bloomberg, "adds to pressure from Yakuza-exclusion ordinances enacted nationwide in 2011 making it illegal to do business with gang members, as well as a U.S. executive order that year requiring financial institutions to freeze Yakuza assets." The strategy is working, too, as Yakuza membership dropped 11 percent in 2011. (Bloomberg)

The Numbers for Tuesday, October 22: Small numbers


The number of weeks the Slate legal reporter Dahlia Lithwick wore Axe body fragrance to see why all teen boys obsess over the product. At the end of the week, Lithwick’s two sons stopped using it altogether. (Slate)


The number of sports pundits who successfully predicted which teams would make it to the world series. The blog PunditTracker tracked 63 experts from all across the multi-million dollar sports punditry industry to see who would pick both the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals to make it to the Fall Classic. Maybe getting both teams right was too hard -- who got at least one of them? Oh yes ... again ... zero. (PunditTracker)

The cost of Apple's newest version of their desktop operating system, OS X Mavericks. It used to be that selling operating systems was the most profitable part of the PC business for software companies like Microsoft, but these days it's hardware and advertising that is becoming more important. Mavericks is available for download today. (CNET)

The Numbers for Friday, October 18: Taxing Mealtime


The tax rate the Mexican government might implement on packaged food that contains 275 or more calories per 100 gram serving. Mexico hopes to curb the country's growing obesity and diabetes rates. The proposed tax could be the broadest move to control diets in the world, but might ruffle feathers with big food companies in the country. Earlier this year, Mexico surpassed the United States for the title of fattest country in the world according to health research organizations. (The Wall Street Journal)

$1.3 million

The amount of lost revenue in payroll taxes the state of Connecticut estimates it lost, due to businesses classifying their employees as independent contractors to avoid insurance, taxes, fair wages and overtime. States across the country are cracking down on companies mislabeling workers to cut costs. Employees are sometimes forced with layoffs if they don't file as independent contractors, and lose out on benefits like unemployment insurance. (Bloomberg)


The cost of a day pass for work space at Oficio, a co-working company in Boston. Shared spaces offer workers an office remote from their actual employers, saving the inconvenience of a long commute. Within the next three years, it’s estimated that almost 40 percent of the global workforce will work remotely. (Marketplace)

The Numbers for Thursday, October 17: Big, big data

27 %

The percentage of financial institutions that a Carnegie Mellon University study found were appearing to blatantly violate regulations on sharing consumer's personal data. According to the study, banks like Bank of America, Citibank, Capitol One, Chase, Discover and HSBC are sharing banking and credit card customer's data with unaffiliated outside companies, without explaining to customers how to opt out. Some smaller institutions are even breaking the law by having no opt out at all. (Forbes)


The number of traffic circles or "roundabouts" that grace streets around the world, double the number that existed 15 years ago. Transport research agencies say the growing popularity is due to the traffic system's safety and traffic flow advantages. More are popping up in the U.S. as well, and New York's own Columbus Circle just won "Best Roundabout in the World, 2013." (Marketplace)

$1 million

The most conservative estimates of mobile game maker King's daily revenues. The company behind the popular game "Candy Crush" is the latest European tech firm to strike it rich in the mobile gaming scene. Analysts say King succeeded where others have failed because the company gets its millions to spend cash on their games as well as play them. Players addicted to King's games will often pay for extra lives and will take to social media to talk about the game. (Reuters)

The Numbers for Wednesday, October 16: Bits, nuts, and leaves


The price some groups are paying for high-powered computers they are using to "mine" bitcoins. The value of digital currency, used to anonymously purchase online goods ranging from electronics to illegal drugs, has surged to about $135, 10 times their value a year ago. New bitcoins are only created and released digitally by using powerful computers to solve complex software problems. Groups like the Korb & Co. Investments Mining Fund are pooling as much as $100,000 to invest in the machines, betting that currency's value will continue to rise. Computer hardware manufacturers, meanwhile, are more than happy to meet the demand. (Bloomberg)


The number of bags of peanuts Northwestern University's Ryan Field sells at a typical football game. This week, however, the stadium will forgo those sales as well as go through the trouble of hosing down seats to remove any lingering peanut residue in a bid to include fans who suffer from peanut allergies. Nut-free game days and peanut-less airline flights are becoming more common, which could spell trouble for the peanut industry. (Marketplace)

$1 billion

The amount of tourism dollars the Wisconsin Department of Tourism estimates is brought in to the state just from tourists visiting in the Fall to see the changing colors of the season. With climate change looming on the horizon, though, some are concerned those colors might not be the same in the future. (Marketplace)

The Numbers for October 15: Money in unusual places


The amount one woman from Atlanta was asking for when selling her hair online. Her posting on had responses within minutes. More Americans are turning to selling parts of their bodies, like hair, eggs, and breast milk, in order to make ends meet as the economic recovery continues to lag. (Bloomberg)


The unemployment rate in Iran after years of harsh economic sanctions from an international community that wants the country to negotiate on its nuclear program. Representatives from the U.S. and Iran, along with officials from the U.K., France, Germany, Russia, and China, will meet today in Geneva to do just that. Meanwhile, the average Iranian is feeling the impact, as inflation is rising. Food prices in some cases have quadrupled over the past five years. (Marketplace)

$16 billion

The revenue that online retailers like Amazon currently bring in from just the two percent of American households who buy goods like paper towels over the web. Amazon hopes to increase both those numbers by partnering with household products giant Procter & Gamble to ramp up efficiency in shipping the staple goods to consumers. If successful, the move could disrupt traditional companies like Walmart with lower prices. (Yahoo Finance)

The Numbers for August 16, 2013: Drinking less

7.48 million

The amount of water, in acre-feet, that will be released from Lake Powell annually -- a 10 percent reduction announced by the Bureau of Reclamation. Reservoirs like Lake Powell and Lake Mead provide water for millions of people living in cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Diego. After the 14 driest years on record, the bureau made the decision to cut its supplies. (Marketplace)


The percentage of American alcohol drinkers who say they prefer beer. The number is declining as people have developed more of a taste for wine and liquor. Don't mourn brewing just yet though; it's still a $100 billion industry. (Gallup)


The cost to file an application to register your own name as an Internet domain. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, says it is changing its rules for how domains can be named. Instead of just the familiar .com, .org, or .net, now anything will be allowed after the dot. (Marketplace)

Financial advice from your family

Listeners share their families' advice about money.
Posted In: family finances, Personal Finance, financial advice

The Numbers for August 15, 2013: Hungry for change

$6.5 million

The funds raised by Bleacher Report co-founder Bryan Goldberg to launch, a new women's publication that has drawn backlash from feminist bloggers, media pundits, and even investors in the website. The criticism was so bad that Goldberg backtracked with an apology for a fundraising announcement he admitted was oversimplified. (Marketplace)


The percentage of U.S. households that have bought hummus. The chickpea/tahini blend maker Sabra Hummus wants to change that with a new partnership as the NFL's official dips sponsor. The move ought to bring in a larger share of young male snackers, or so the company hopes. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

$6 billion

Revenues brought in last year just to California's Kern County alone through agriculture, an industry activists argue is supported mostly on the backs of Latino immigrants. Thousands of farm workers from across California gathered in Bakersfield yesterday, part of a series of rallies being staged across the country that aim to influence House Republicans to support immigration reform. (Marketplace)


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