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Ethics, Global Business, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

A Business-view on Choosing the Next Pope: NPR

People fill St. Peter's Square as Pope Benedict XVI delivers a homily on a giant video screen October 10, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Mike Ekern

People fill St. Peter’s Square as Pope Benedict XVI delivers a homily on a giant video screen October 10, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Mike Ekern

From NPR’s Planet Money: “The Catholic Church is not a corporation. It’s a religion, a cultural force, and a global power. Still, one of the things the new Pope will have to deal with is a classic business mess — a multi-billion dollar conglomerate that has stumbled and is losing money and relevance.”

Today, on the verge of the cardinals assembling in Rome for their conclave we bring you this NPR podcast that explores the business side of the Catholic church and some of the challenges the next Pope will face. Enjoy!

Environment, Media, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

Risk Management: The Story Behind Crop Insurance

We had a refreshing rain shower pass through the Twin Cities yesterday, but I know the drought is affecting major swaths of the Midwest. “As corn crops wither and food prices rise, this has resulted in a steady string of visits to Iowa and other sun-baked states by politicians, including both Rep. Paul Ryan and President Obama,” reported Andrew Revkin in the New York Times Dot Earth Blog.

But, interestingly, NPR’s Planet Money noted that “In spite of the drought, many U.S. farmers will do just fine this year. They are, after all, covered by crop insurance — a program that costs U.S. taxpayers $7 billion a year.” Yesterday’s Planet Money Podcast looks into the business of farming and crop insurance.

Do you see crop insurance as a necessity or an unfair government subsidy of one business sector? Let us know in the comments.

Entrepreneurship, Media, Newsroom, OCB Commentary, social media

Academics: How to Make “Social Citations”

 (via) The Curator’s Code; On the Media

One of the most magical things about the Internet is that it’s a whimsical rabbit hole of discovery – we start somewhere familiar and click our way to a wonderland of curiosity and fascination we never knew existed. What makes this contagion of semi-serendipity possible is an intricate ecosystem of “link love” – a via-chain of attribution that allows us to discover new sources through those we already know and trust.

While we have systems in place for literary citation, image attribution, and scientific reference, we don’t yet have a system that codifies the attribution of discovery in curation as a currency of the information economy, a system that treats discovery as the creative labor that it is. Continue Reading

Media, Newsroom, OCB Commentary, social media

The (Business) “Benefits” of Lard

lard3Just how powerful is branding?  National Public Radio recently posted an interesting segment in regards to lard of all things and its lack of popularity due in large part to branding.  You can find this podcast as part of their Planet Money feature:

On today’s podcast, we ask — who killed lard? Was it Upton Sinclair? His novel, The Jungle, contained [a] memorable passage about the men who cook lard. Or should we blame William Procter and James Gamble? It was their company which created a new alternative to lard — the “pure and wholesome” Crisco.

One of my colleagues brought the podcast to my attention, being the avid baker that I am.  I can’t say I’ve ever used lard in any of my baking but I do know bakers that are strong advocates of the stuff.  I’ve gone head to head in pie competitions between friends and lose every time!  The winner proudly touts it’s the lard he’s committed to using that creates the best piecrust.

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Jargon Genesis, Newsroom

Jargon Genesis: Tip

TipJar[1]Before you head out to lunch today, you may want to read this…

If you’ve ever waited tables, chances are you’re a good tipper. At least, that’s the case with me. I remember those double shifts at the restaurant during college, making $2.17 per hour plus tips. It was hard and often thankless work, but the tips made up for it, when people were tipping well, that is.

NPR recently ran a report that delves into the economics behind why we tip. Do you tip out of gratitude for good service, out of guilt, or out of social pressure?

A quick look into the etymology of the word “tip” brings to light myriad acronyms which supposedly explain the origin of the word but are all incorrect. “To Insure Prompt Service,” “To Insure Proper Service,” “To Improve Performance,” “To Inspire Promptness,” or “To Insure Promptness” are a few mentioned by Wikipedia. (I won’t go into the erroneous use of “insure” in this context rather than “ensure.”)

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