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Latest Stories

Why aren’t all gas tanks on the same side of the car? 

Mar 1, 2024
Consumer preference and safety concerns are just two of the factors that go into determining where the fuel filler is located.
Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Are boycotts free speech?

Mar 1, 2024
In this week's Make Me Smart newsletter: The BDS movement and the "silver tsunami."
Dueling protests in New York stemming from Ben & Jerry's decision to stop selling ice cream in the West Bank in 2021.
Getty Images

Biden opens doors to government jobs for military spouses

Mar 1, 2024
Guidelines may aid career prospects for group that tends to be un- and underemployed. Recruitment and retention of troops may benefit too.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visit with Navy families in Norfolk, Virginia. Frequent relocation can make it hard for military spouses to hold down a job.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mortgage payment on a typical home nearly doubled in last 4 years, report finds

Mar 1, 2024
According to real estate firm Zillow, the typical buyer pays $2,188 monthly — well above the 30% of median income guideline used to calculate housing affordability.
Homeownership now costs well over the 30% of median income that was once thought to equate to “affordable” housing in the U.S.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Bitcoin devotees are rejoicing after the latest crypto thaw

Mar 1, 2024
The cryptocurrency's price is up about 40 percent this year, inching closer to its pandemic-era high of nearly $69,000 per coin, and vindicating those who held on through recent lows.
Chesnot/Getty Images

The dramatic recovery of China's Luckin Coffee chain draws fans and skeptics

Mar 1, 2024
Luckin was punished for fabricating $300 million in sales, but now it has overtaken Starbucks' Chinese business. What's changed?
A Luckin coffee shop in Shanghai. Luckin has expanded to surpass Starbucks' business in China.
Charles Zhang/Marketplace

Can "Dune"-themed cocktails and sweeping deserts bring audiences into theaters?

Mar 1, 2024
"Dune: Part Two" opens on Friday, and domestic box office revenue is down 18% compared to last year.
Timothée Chalamet and  Zendaya at the "Dune: Part Two" premiere in London on Feb. 15.
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

For public good, not for profit.

The life and death of one local newspaper in Virginia

Keith Stickley had to pull the plug on the local newspaper he founded when he just couldn't make the economics work any longer.
"I had to create this printing company," said Keith Stickley, owner of Shenandoah Publications. "So we created the printing company to subsidize the newspaper. And so, we used printing margins to support a bad habit."
Alex Schroeder/Marketplace

The racial wealth gap, 60 years since the Civil Rights Act

A new report from the National Urban League highlights progress, but also underscores how elusive economic equality is.
"We've seen some closures in the education gap. But there's still a gap — the health care gap, the economic gap. In social justice, which covers the criminal justice system, we've actually seen a loss of ground in a significant way," says Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League.
Courtesy National Urban League

Automotive artists put makeup, costumes on cars that star on screen

Mar 1, 2024
Cinema Vehicles in Georgia crafts cars and trucks for movies and TV, sometimes destroying and fixing the same machine several times.
A pickup truck in the Cinema Vehicles lot, damaged with claw marks after serving as a prop. The business crafts vehicles to help set the scene.
Matthew Pearson/WABE