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The future of money is in your pocket — the one you keep your phone in, not your wallet. A growing portion of the world’s population is making phone-assisted transactions. They’re using a variety of technologies, from the text-message system popular in Kenya to the seamless credit card-and-app arrangements that move money for every Lyft and Uber ri…
 
When factories belch smoke, everybody pays. Shouldn’t polluters be the ones to feel the sting instead? That’s the big idea behind carbon pricing: Add a levy so that emissions of greenhouse gases have a cost in line with their environmental damage. Using market forces should be the most efficient way to get companies to change their ways and to figh…
 
Call anything a Category 5 storm, disaster or crisis and immediately it sounds awful. The label owes much of its weight to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which is cited routinely (if rarely by its full name) this time of year during the Atlantic hurricane season. But destructive storms like Hurricane Florence underscore the inherent weakn…
 
When it comes to saving the world’s rainforests, governments can make a big difference, and fast. Take Indonesia, which in 2012 surpassed Brazil as the world’s leader in tropical rainforest destruction. In 2017, it engineered a 60 percent drop in tree loss from the previous year by strictly enforcing protections in vulnerable regions. On the other …
 
Not so long ago, homebuyers, entrepreneurs and investors went hat-in-hand to the bank to apply for a mortgage, small-business credit line or brokerage account. Financial technology, or fintech, is rapidly changing all that by making it easier to save, borrow and invest online or with a mobile device, without ever dealing with a traditional bank. Fo…
 
A surge in mobile-data demand worldwide has more and more people asking when they’ll get that speedy next-generation 5G mobile service. Companies are wondering, too, since 5G has the potential to revolutionize everything from self-driving cars to robotic surgery. Mobile providers are racing to patent technologies that will form the industry standar…
 
A minute-long video of Barack Obama has been seen more than 4.8 million times since April. It shows the former U.S. president seated, with the American flag in the background, speaking directly to the viewer and using an obscenity to refer to his successor, Donald Trump. Or rather, his lips move as the words are spoken. The video is actually a so-c…
 
All eyes are on Canada as it prepares to legalize recreational marijuana in October, becoming only the second country to do so after Uruguay. The pending change has touched off an investment boom and pushed up valuations of Canada’s cannabis producers. They’re enjoying a first-mover advantage as medical and recreational pot gain traction from the U…
 
To see the impact of record-breaking temperatures around the world, watch wheat. Found in everything from bread to noodles, biscuits to cereals, beer to cakes -- there is no more widely grown staple crop and more than 170 million metric tons trade every year. So when the weather ruins harvests in one spot, it can shock markets and economies that ar…
 
The allure of the West has helped shape Russian history since Peter the Great three centuries ago. Now it’s shattering even older bonds with Russia's neighbor, Ukraine. In 2013, a rebellion sparked by pro-European Ukrainians seeking a decisive break from the nation’s Soviet past set in motion a chain of events that created the tensest standoff betw…
 
DNA tests are a game-changing technology poised to reshape how we see ourselves and live our lives. So-called direct-to-consumer DNA testing companies like 23andMe, Ancestry and Helix advertise the ability to reveal your ancestry, inform you of your health status, and even guide you on how to exercise and eat -- all for $200 or less. Recent headlin…
 
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