Robert Smith http://nhpr.org en These Days A Penny Doesn't Buy Very Much http://nhpr.org/post/these-days-penny-doesnt-buy-very-much Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>And let's go from billions to pennies. The penny occupies a strange spot on the economic landscape: It's worth almost nothing, but not quite. Tomorrow and today, our Planet Money team will be reporting on the penny, starting with this report from Robert Smith and Jacob Goldstein, who set out on the streets of Manhattan with a simple question: Can you buy anything for a penny?<p>ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: We started with the guy who runs the fruit stand outside our office.<p>What if we wanted to buy one cherry?<p>UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No one cherry. Wed, 21 May 2014 09:22:00 +0000 Robert Smith 48862 at http://nhpr.org Varying Auto Safety Standards Interfere With Trade Negotiations http://nhpr.org/post/varying-auto-safety-standards-interfere-trade-negotiations The U.S. and Europe have different car safety standards. Some of them are small while others are more dramatic. All car makers agree that the different standards are a pain. So why the difference? Wed, 30 Apr 2014 11:03:00 +0000 Robert Smith 47641 at http://nhpr.org Four Years Later And One Round Earlier, The Game Ends The Same http://nhpr.org/post/four-years-later-and-one-round-earlier-game-ends-same Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish.<p>For the second day in a row, there was heartbreak in Sochi for American hockey. Yesterday, the U.S. women's team fell to Canada. Today, it was the men's turn losing in the Olympic semifinals. Canada now goes on to fight for the gold medal in men's hockey while Team USA can still get the bronze. Today's match was supposed to be an opportunity for the Americans to avenge their loss to Canada in the Olympics four years ago. Fri, 21 Feb 2014 21:05:00 +0000 Robert Smith 43966 at http://nhpr.org U.S. Women's Bobsled Team Features 2 Summer Olympians http://nhpr.org/post/us-womens-bobsled-team-takes-center-stage Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>There is one sport in the Winter Olympics you can do with your eyes closed. To be precise, you have to do a few seconds of work, after which you can close your eyes and hope for a gold. I am referring to the brakeman in bobsled. That's the athlete who pushes the sled. Tonight, the woman's two-person bobsled starts in Sochi.<p>NPR's Robert Smith introduces us to the team.<p>ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Let's get this out of the way. The women call themselves brakemen. Tue, 18 Feb 2014 10:03:00 +0000 Robert Smith 43721 at http://nhpr.org U.S. Looks To Bobsledder Steve Holcomb To Add To Medal Count http://nhpr.org/post/olympic-update-sochi Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>Let's check in on the Winter Olympics now. It's been a rough time so far for team USA. They have only won four gold medals in ski and snowboard slope style and in women's snowboard half pipe. The U.S. has struggled in the more traditional sports of the Winter Olympics. That could, though, change today. The U.S. has the best bobsledder in the world, Steve Holcomb. And he races the two-man today.<p>NPR's Robert Smith joins us from the Sanki Sliding track in the mountains above Sochi. Robert, good morning.<p>ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Good morning. Mon, 17 Feb 2014 10:17:00 +0000 Robert Smith 43678 at http://nhpr.org In Front Of A Home Crowd, Russia Has Hockey History On Its Mind http://nhpr.org/post/us-mens-hockey-team-faces-slovakia-preliminary-round There is a weird contradiction in Olympic hockey: On one hand, these professional players from the NHL arrive in a small town like movie stars.<p>They show up a week late, trailed by TV cameras and Russians begging for autographs.<p>And then they have to go back to basics. Early Thursday, members of Team USA were on the ice, doing the kind of simple drills that you'd see in a peewee hockey league.<p>Derek Stepan of the New York Rangers was practicing his passes with Justin Faulk of the Carolina Hurricanes. Thu, 13 Feb 2014 10:09:00 +0000 Robert Smith 43491 at http://nhpr.org In Front Of A Home Crowd, Russia Has Hockey History On Its Mind The Norwegian Athlete Who's One Medal Away From History http://nhpr.org/post/norwegian-athlete-whos-one-medal-away-history On Monday, Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen came a ski-length away from winning a 13th Olympic medal and becoming the most decorated athlete ever at the Winter Games.<p>The biathlon pursuit Olympic event — cross-country skiing with rifle shooting — is a pretty devious race. The fastest man goes first, and then everyone else in the race tries to catch him before the finish line. And in Monday's competition, Bjoerndalen went first.<p>Just to make clear: Bjoerndalen is 40. The guys chasing him are in their 20s. Tue, 11 Feb 2014 00:19:00 +0000 Robert Smith 43339 at http://nhpr.org The Norwegian Athlete Who's One Medal Away From History X Games Show The Olympics What The Kids Want http://nhpr.org/post/x-games-show-olympics-what-kids-want <a href="http://www.teamusa.org/News/2013/January/01/Go-For-The-Gold-Home/Go-For-The-Gold-Nick-Goepper">Nick Goepper</a> is headed off to the Olympics in a couple of days, but he's not taking it easy: He spent the weekend hurtling through the air on ESPN at the X Games.<p>The sport is slopestyle. If you've watched any extreme skiing on television, you'll know it well: Skiers hit rails and walls and massive jumps; they seem to spend more time in the air than on the snow.<p>It's old hat for kids, but brand new for the Olympics. Tue, 28 Jan 2014 00:28:00 +0000 Robert Smith 42537 at http://nhpr.org X Games Show The Olympics What The Kids Want Aerial Skiing Is A Game Of Skill — And Strategy http://nhpr.org/post/aerial-skiing-game-skill-and-strategy During the Winter Olympics, seeing an aerial skier perform is unforgettable.<p>It's like gymnastics in the air. And, like gymnasts, aerial skiers get points for doing a harder routine and for sticking the landing. But there's a crucial difference between the two sports.<p>In the final few rounds of aerials, you can't use the same trick twice. Tue, 21 Jan 2014 22:40:00 +0000 Robert Smith 42211 at http://nhpr.org Aerial Skiing Is A Game Of Skill — And Strategy For A Better Bobsled, Team USA Turns To Race Cars http://nhpr.org/post/better-bobsled-team-usa-turns-race-cars When you meet bobsled driver Steve Holcomb, he doesn't talk about his Olympic gold medal — the one he won with the four-man team at the <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124170290" target="_blank">Vancouver Olympics in 2010</a>. Instead, he talks about the one that got away.<p>Four years ago, his two-man bobsled started the Olympic run with a great push. "I was actually winning the race in Vancouver," Holcomb says. But then he "made a driving mistake, and we went from first place to sixth place in two turns."<p>Holcomb blames himself. Thu, 16 Jan 2014 08:25:00 +0000 Robert Smith 41934 at http://nhpr.org For A Better Bobsled, Team USA Turns To Race Cars How To Sell Coke To People Who Have Never Had A Sip http://nhpr.org/post/how-sell-coke-people-who-have-never-had-sip For years, there were only three countries in the world that didn't officially sell Coca-Cola: Cuba, North Korea and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.<p>Now, after 60 years, Coke is back in Myanmar. Sanctions were lifted last year on the country. Just this week, Coca-Cola opened its new bottling plant outside of Yangon. Now all the company has to do is figure out a way to sell all that Coke to people who may not remember what it tastes like.<p>The Myanmar people missed out on billions of dollars of worldwide advertising during those 60 years. Fri, 07 Jun 2013 07:34:00 +0000 Robert Smith 29000 at http://nhpr.org How To Sell Coke To People Who Have Never Had A Sip Can This Man Bring Silicon Valley To Yangon? http://nhpr.org/post/can-man-bring-silicon-valley-yangon Like a proud father, Nay Aung opens up his MacBook Air to show me the Myanmar travel website he has built. But we wait 30 seconds for the site to load, and nothing happens.<p>"Today is a particularly bad day for Internet," he says. This is life in Myanmar today: Even an Internet entrepreneur can't always get online.<br /> Fri, 24 May 2013 07:18:00 +0000 Robert Smith 28121 at http://nhpr.org Can This Man Bring Silicon Valley To Yangon? Why (Almost) No One In Myanmar Wanted My Money http://nhpr.org/post/why-almost-no-one-myanmar-wanted-my-money When you arrive in Myanmar, you can see how eager the people are to do business. At the airport in Yangon, new signs in English welcome tourists. A guy in a booth offers to rent me a local cellphone — and he's glad to take U.S. dollars. But when I pull out my money, he shakes his head.<p>"I'm sorry," he says.<p>He points to the crease mark in the middle of the $20 bill. Fri, 10 May 2013 07:12:00 +0000 Robert Smith 27219 at http://nhpr.org Why (Almost) No One In Myanmar Wanted My Money The Trick To Selling Fancy Wine From New Jersey: Don't Say It's From New Jersey http://nhpr.org/post/trick-selling-fancy-wine-new-jersey-dont-say-its-new-jersey Halfway between the New Jersey Turnpike and the Atlantic City casinos is a little slice of France: Amalthea Cellars. There's an old farmhouse, and a field full of grapevines.<p>Lou Caracciolo, who founded Amalthea, is walking through the field. "Here's something I put in the ground in 1976," he says. "You have to have a feel for it, and after 30 years I have a pretty good feel for it."<p>Caracciolo calls himself a hopeless romantic. Fri, 29 Mar 2013 07:07:00 +0000 Robert Smith 24589 at http://nhpr.org The Trick To Selling Fancy Wine From New Jersey: Don't Say It's From New Jersey At A Trade Show, Power Tools Fit For The Amish http://nhpr.org/post/inside-amish-trade-show The Buckeye Tool Expo in Dalton, Ohio, is held in a massive hall filled with bearded men in black hats and women in white bonnets. A few horses and buggies are tied up outside.<br /> <br />The Amish have chosen to forgo many of the delights of the modern world, but they still need to drill, sand and cut wood. This trade expo shows off all the loopholes that let the Amish get their hands on power tools.<br /> Fri, 22 Feb 2013 08:46:00 +0000 Robert Smith 22436 at http://nhpr.org At A Trade Show, Power Tools Fit For The Amish