Marketplace for Thursday, August 16, 2012

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Episode Description 
Farmers in Colombia struggling to make money off of cacao are returning to an old standby commodity: cocaine. A popular restaurant in Los Angeles is paying its diners to turn in their phones at the door. We look into the world of "fun consultants." College students are getting their tuition refund checks, but what are they spending them on? There's an international convention for crime fighters going on in San Antonio, Texas. Kai Ryssdal talks to economist Michael McDonough about an unlikely economic indicator: trash. And our series on China's Street of Eternal Happiness continues with a look into the life of a tattoo artist making a living on Shanghai's Changle Road.

Tracking the economy and GDP through trash

How does our garbage relate to our GDP? Economist Michael McDonough has worked out the GDP-to-trash economic indicator.
Posted In: GDP, economic indicator, alternative indicators, trash

The Street of Eternal Happiness: The Tattoo Artist

Among the street's many noodle shops and fashion boutiques, one artist's tattoo store represents a changing China.
Posted In: China, tattoo

Office fun is serious business

Trust falls, scavenger hunts, outdoor team-building -- these are activities best left to the professionals.
Posted In: Fun At Work, workplace, office behavior

It's refund time on college campuses

The beginning of the new semester means that many students receiving financial aid can look forward to large "refund" checks from their grants or loans.
Posted In: student loan, college

For financial gumshoes, tech is the new focus

The top fighters of financial crime are gathered in San Antonio this week, and it's not just gumshoes. Merchants, credit card companies and banks are well represented.
Posted In: cybercrime

Falling cocoa prices hurt Colombia's war on cocaine

Some farmers who took up cocoa farming in place of coca are returning to the crop from which cocaine is made.
Posted In: Colombia, cocaine, cocoa

A discount for a cell-phone-less meal?

One restaurant in Los Angeles tries something new to get patrons to turn off their phones: a 5 percent discount on their meal.
Posted In: cell phone, cell phone etiquette, restaurants, family

U.S. carbon emissions hit a 20-year low

A hint of optimism about climate change.
Posted In: carbon dioxide, carbon emissions

Music from this show

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Sunday (Instrumental)
9th Wonder
After Image
Toe
Dame Agua
Captain Planet
Sweet Surrender
Sarah McLachlan
We Are (Instrumental)
Anwarrior