Deals Deals Deals
December 3, 2019

Cyber Monday sales were projected to set a record, jumping by nearly 20 percent to between $9.2 billion to $9.4 billion to become the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history, according to Adobe Analytics. Coming after the biggest Black Friday online sales ever, Monday's discounts got the holiday season off to a strong start. "Retailer fears of a shorter season meant that deals came much sooner than usual, and consumers took notice," Taylor Schreiner, principal analyst and head of Adobe Digital Insights, said in a statement. Harsh winter weather didn't hurt, as many people apparently avoided venturing out in the snow and ice and shopped online instead, USA Today reports. Adobe said online sales in states with at least two inches of snow got a 7 percent boost. Harold Maass

December 2, 2019

U.S. retailers are offering big discounts on Cyber Monday, hoping to outpace record Black Friday online sales of $7.4 billion, CNBC reports. The Black Friday record marked the second biggest online shopping day ever seen in the U.S., second only to last year's Cyber Monday mark of $7.9 billion, according to Adobe Analytics data. Online sales have increased by 20 percent over the same period in last year's kick-off of the holiday shopping season. Shoppers also spent $4.2 billion online on Thanksgiving, another record. Adobe expected this year's Cyber Monday to set another record, with sales climbing 18.9 percent over last year to reach $9.4 billion. Harold Maass

March 30, 2017

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is expected to announce a 25-year, $6.5 billion contract with AT&T to build a nationwide wireless network for first responders, The Wall Street Journal reports. The project, called FirstNet, was first proposed following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, but the Trump administration's deal marks the first major step toward it becoming a reality.

First responders use the same wireless networks that regular people do, meaning police channels can get clogged by heavy usage from civilians. This was a problem during 9/11, and many experts believe it was a major reason why so many first responders died. The proposed wireless broadband network would instead allow police, firefighters, and other officials to have their own space for communications during emergencies.

"Public safety has no priority right now," said Nebraska's Buffalo County sheriff, Neil Miller. "We are just another user. We look the same in the network as everybody else."

But others are critical of FirstNet, including the Fraternal Order of Police, which worries that AT&T will neglect rural areas where there is a more limited use of the network. "AT&T is a reputable company. But they're a reputable company doing what reputable companies do: They're trying to make a profit," said Fraternal Order of Police senior adviser Jim Pasco.

"Do you want to be line item 1? Or line item 4,363?" asked Declan Ganley, the chief of Rivada, an upstart that lost the federal contract to build the network to AT&T. "That's where public safety is for the budgets of these carriers." Jeva Lange

October 8, 2015

Thanks to one Boston entrepreneur, you can now enjoy New England fall foliage without the looming threat of a miserable winter. Kyle Waring has launched the website ShipFoliage.com, which does exactly what it sounds like it does — mail people leaves. The site promises to "collect, preserve, and ship gorgeous fall foliage" to your doorstep. And it only costs $19.99 — or $6.66 a leaf.

The site will only be shipping the best of the best leaves, too. ShipFoliage promises "Grade A" foliage from New England that is preserved in a way that "enhances the foliage color contrast and also preserves the leaves for years to come."

But ShipFoliage isn't even Waring's first gimmicky business venture — he also ships out boxes of snow. Ship Snow, Yo reportedly sent out "over 700 pounds of historic Boston snow" last year. Becca Stanek

July 15, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif might just have a shot at the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for reaching a historic nuclear deal on Tuesday. If that sounds a tad premature, welcome to the wild world of Nobel Prize forecasting.

The Swedish and Norwegian Nobel committee seems to favor nuclear non-proliferation activists in years ending in fives, Reuters notes: Soviet nuclear scientist and human rights reformer Andrei Sakharov won in '75; the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War were honored in '85; physicist and disarmament promoter Joseph Rotblat received the award in '95; and the International Atomic Energy Agency took the Nobel in 2005. Reuters chalks up the 10-year intervals as the committee's way of memorializing the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. 

If that's not convincing enough, Kerry and Zarif have already locked up an important endorsement in Sweden, where Tariq Rauf, the director of the Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Program at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), has already called for the pair to be honored with the Peace Prize.

But Kerry and Zarif are far from locks. Asle Sveen, a Norwegian expert on the Nobel Prize, told Reuters the committee would likely also be considering peace efforts between Colombia's government and Marxist guerrillas. Pope Francis and a Russian newspaper critical of Vladimir Putin are also rumored to be among the 276 candidates in the running for the 2015 prize.

Here's another catch: Kerry and Zarif are only eligible for the award if they were added to the long list of candidates before the nomination period closed back in February. There won't be a conclusive answer either way until the award is announced in October. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads