Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne, with more ways to count down to 2014 tonight. In Georgia, an 800 pound peach is Atlanta's version of the Times Square crystal ball. Among the other huge items being dropped tonight: A giant ruby slipper in Key West, in Plymouth, Wisconsin, an 80 pound cheese wedge decorated for the occasion, and in Bartlesville, Oklahoma an oversized olive descends 19 stories into a martini glass. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
If you don't have a smartphone, no reason to envy those who do. Your old flip phone might be far smarter than you think. According to the New York Post, a man was being mugged in Central Park. The thief asked for his phone, then saw it was old, flip model. As the victim recalls, quote, "He looked at it like, what the bleep is this? And he gave it back to me."
The giant coffee chain sent a cease-and-desist letter to the owner of Exit 6 Pub and Brewery in Missouri. Starbucks told the pub to stop referring to one of its dark, frothy beers as "the frappicino." Starbucks noted it sounds a lot like its trademarked frozen coffee drink.
It's that time again, the American Dialect Society will soon vote on its Word of the Year. Last year it was hashtag. For this year's words that popped, we reached the society's new words guy, linguist Ben Zimmer.
BEN ZIMMER: Good morning.
MONTAGNE: So this year it seems that everyone is coalescing around one word. That word is selfie. It's so ubiquitous that I wonder if that is one of your top words.
In this final interview in our series of conversations about the future, Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep talks to Danny Hillis, a scientist and engineer and the inventor of a clock designed to last 10,000 years. The clock is meant to encourage people to think about the long-range future; the "long now" as Hillis calls it.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne. This New Year's Eve is also a deadline in one of the year's biggest stories. Syria is due to turn over more than 500 tons of some its most deadly materials in its stockpile of chemical weapons. That was part of the deal brokered with the Assad regime by the U.S. and Russia, after a chemical attack outside Damascus killed many hundreds of civilians. But the Syrian government will not meet today's deadline.
Zero. That's the total amount of revenue created by Snapchat in 2013. It's the total profit collected by Twitter. And it's roughly how much Apple's stock price has increased between early last December and now.
Which makes you wonder: With all these zeros piling up, how are so many people in Silicon Valley making so much money from technology?
This is one of the best times of the year to spot gray whales off the coast of Southern California as they migrate south for the winter. But recently, there have been an unusually high number of sightings of other whales.
"We've had so many whales," Dan "The Whale Man" Salas tells the guests on his boat. "This is all in the last two weeks. We've had orcas, we had a sperm whale, we've got humpback whales, blue whales, fin whales. Yesterday we had a massive pod of gray whales, so we never know what we're going to see out here."
Every year, research firm CB Insights offers up a report on the fastest growing and most highly valued private companies in technology — basically, the ones most likely to go public. Audie Cornish speaks with Anand Sanwal, CB Insights' CEO, for a look at the top tech IPO's expected in 2014.
Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 4:58 pm
In a 7,000-word investigative report published by The New York Times on Sunday, David Kirkpatrick revisits last year's assault on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Kirkpatrick finds that — contrary to much commentary from mostly Republican members of Congress — al-Qaida was not involved. He joins Robert Siegel to talk about his reporting and the backlash against his conclusions.