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Clean solar concentrator
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Solar Power: Can the blazing demand for it be sustained?

By on Sep 15, 2014

Solar Power:  Sometimes a theme won’t take no for an answer; it keeps bubbling up here and there demanding to be recognized. A couple of weeks ago, a tradesman recommended a solar-powered charger for one of my electric-powered household gadgets.  Then I came across this story about solar-powered smartphone-charging park benches.  A few blocks down […]

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Pile of old computers
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New gadgets mean more demands for smart e-waste recycling

Last week’s news that Apple will be launching a new iPhone 6 and an iPhone watch — as well as the less-festive flash that poor Amazon has had to cut the price of its sluggish selling Fire mobile phone to 99 cents (from about $200) — conjured up visions of mountains of older models tossed […]

Alibaba orange shopping bags. The company has almost single-handedly turned China into the world’s second-largest e-commerce market. Photo: Bloomberg
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Alibaba’s mega-IPO highlights evolving e-commerce scene

Talk about “party like it’s 1999.”   The upcoming IPO from e-commerce giant Alibaba is going to smash records for initial public offerings at an already sold-out $21.1 billion, according to Reuters, and it brings back memories of the good old days when stock buyers were clamoring for shares of other Internet sellers like Amazon, eBay, […]

Halloween 2014: There's no escaping the holiday's creep
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Halloween 2014: There’s no escaping the holiday’s creep

OK, even for a lover of seasonal biz stories, Halloween stories the first week in September are a bit of a stretch. Or rather, they were.  But this year, Halloween’s orange-and-black is the new … Labor Day story, apparently. If you don’t find an angle and jump on it soon, you might be playing catch-up with […]

Joan Rivers photo in hands of a fan
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Joan Rivers’ passing spotlights surgical clinics, memorabilia sales

You know you’re a business writer when word of someone’s death spurs you to thinking about the economic impact of that permanent farewell.   The thought flitted across my mind the other day on word that comedienne Joan Rivers had died at age 81, and apparently I was not alone.  An Examiner.com story says “Ghoulish? Joan […]

Getting the unemployment story right
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Getting the unemployment story right

Homey is back from vacation with the same mandate. As Yoda would say, “Butt, I will kick. Names, I will take.” As I write the unemployment report for August has come out. At all too many places, the emphasis will be placed on the unemployment rate, which fell 0.1 percentage point to 6.1 percent. The […]

Quicktips: From pampering people and pets to scams and surcharges
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Quicktips: From pampering people and pets to scams and surcharges

Another raft of ideas jotted on scrap paper or e-mailed to myself are in danger of sailing off into the horizon, so welcome to another installment of Quicktips, the place we salvage viable story pegs at risk of becoming forgotten flotsom. Hotel fees. In our increasing a la carte economy, hotel fees are the latest […]

FDIC report helps you make local sense of record bank profits
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FDIC report helps you make local sense of record bank profits

A recently released report from the FDIC on quarterly U.S. bank performance contains the nuggets for a variety of stories that reflect your local area’s economy. As Reuters reports, banks earned more than $40 billion in the second quarter of 2014, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Quarterly Banking Profile.  Financial institutions are setting […]

Huge Atlantic City Casino Shuts Down NPR
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As large-market casinos fold ‘em, how are local casinos holding up?

When the first slot machines hit Michigan a couple of decades ago in a small tribal casino, the notion of spinning the wheels was enough of an unheard-of novelty that my mother and I drove two and a half  hours to the central part of the state, for the pleasure of pumping our dimes and quarters into […]