PODCAST: Greek and Spanish protests, 3-D printing buzz

Demonstrators march on September 26, 2012 in Athens during a 24-hours general strike.

Feels like we've seen this before, and yet -- today's angry confrontations and the tens of thousands on the streets in Spain and Greece come at a sensitive time. Spain has signaled it is close to asking for a bailout that will bring some harsh conditions for people used to a big-spending government. And Greece is trying to find a way to adhere to the conditions it has already accepted.

New home sales in the U.S. fell a bit in August. But they're still sitting near two-year highs. Prices of new homes hit the highest point in five years. Also new this morning: Applications for mortgages rose last week -- thanks to interest rates plumbing record lows.

In recent years Americans have been replacing their knees at an remarkable rate. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds total knee replacements have more than doubled in the past two decades. Around 600,000 of them are done each year. What does the knee surgery surge mean for health care costs?

One of the world's largest wind farms officially opened this week in Eastern Oregon -- 300 giant turbines spread over dozens of miles. But the announcement comes at an uncertain time for the wind industry, with a federal tax credit set to expire at end of the year.

Most of us have printers at our disposal, but printing stuff in 3-D? That sounds very Star Trekky, but in fact the technology has been around for a while. It's now becoming an affordable tool for the masses -- California recently got its first retail 3-D printing shop, and we sent Marketplace's tech reporter Queena Kim to check it out.

The notorious touchdown that ended Monday night's football game has made for a rare point of agreement in the presidential race. You can only ask so many boring questions about deficits and jobs, so of course reporters wanted to know what Romney and Obama thought of it. The NFL's union referees are locked out in a labor dispute, and replacement refs handed the Packers-Seahawks game to Seattle with a dubious last-minute call.

CNN caught up with Mitt Romney on an airport tarmac. Romney said he'd like some experienced referees with NFL experience back on the playing fields. Obama agreed -- he said on his way out of the United Nations that the call was "terrible" and the real refs needed to get back to work. Paul Ryan used the call to score his own political points, suggesting refs with such poor judgment must work part-time in the president's budget office. Ryan's from Wisconsin, so we'll cut him a little slack.
 
If you missed Marketplace's analysis of the "cost of a bad call" in the NFL -- check it out here.

And finally, to a crackling international debate in the bacon industry. It started when the British National Pig Association warned of an "unavoidable" world bacon shortage. The worldwide drought has sent corn and soybean prices through the roof -- pricier pig feed, fewer pigs. That was answered promptly and quite passtionately by the Canadian Swine Exporters Association -- which reassures Canadians, at least, that there will be plenty of bacon to go around. Will Canada start hoarding its bacon if the rest of us come up short? I smell a trade war.  

About the author

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

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