Sarah Gonzalez | WOSU Radio

Sarah Gonzalez

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit


The world is running low on helium, and this is not just about balloons. You need helium to run MRI machines, send astronauts into space and make cell phones among other things. Sarah Gonzalez, with our Planet Money podcast, has the story.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit


So in 1987, something convinced many U.S. cities to pick up recyclable items from residents' homes. Sarah Gonzalez with our Planet Money podcast reports it started with a garbage barge and the Mob.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit


Four new dollar stores will open in the U.S. every single day of 2019. That's a new dollar store every six hours. There are more dollar stores than there are Walmarts, McDonald's and CVS stores combined. And they are setting up in places no one else will go... tiny towns, urban areas, poor communities.

Today on the show, we go to a town that decided there were too many dollar stores. And talk to a woman on a mission to ban them.

In 2015, Jen Lewis posted a photoshopped image to Twitter that would go insanely viral. In it, Kanye West is kissing a mirrored image of himself. The image is so popular it even ends up spray painted on a wall in Australia. Kanye, maybe inspired by the photo, writes a song about how much he loves himself.

But the thing is... Jen's original tweet didn't get much. What made it famous was that the Instagram account, f*ckjerry, reposted it. Without crediting her.

What happens when a police department can no longer afford its bad behavior?

In 2013, Tony Miranda was brought in to lead a police department in crisis. Bad behavior by a handful of officers had led to investigations and lawsuits with costs in the millions of dollars. That was more than the city could cover.

He knew change would be difficult. But he also knew he had a powerful ally on his side: insurance coverage.

A Warning: This episode contains audio from a disturbing scene of a pipeline explosion.

Mexico's national oil company, Petróleos MexicanosPemexis one of the largest oil companies in the world, and its gas is really expensive. Working for the minimum wage, it takes a day to earn enough to buy a gallon of gas.

This episode originally ran in November 2012.

Yesterday, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán was found guilty of running an international drug smuggling operation. He made so much in drug proceeds that he had to smuggle the cash out of the U.S. in private planes and launder it through a bunch of front companies.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit


In 2010, Panera started opening nonprofit cafes called Panera Cares. They told customers, pay what you can afford. Sarah Gonzalez with our Planet Money podcast looks at how that experiment turned out.

In 2010, Panera launched a series of non-profit cafes. These cafes were pretty much just like any other Panera, except that customers could choose what to pay for their food. The menu only listed "suggested prices." The hope was that generous people would help subsidize the meals of the needy, and the cafes would break even.

On today's show, an experiment in charity that goes right to the heart of human nature. It's a battle between our ethical concerns, and the way we actually spend our money.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit


This current federal government shutdown is the longest one we've had. Sarah Gonzalez of our Planet Money podcast tells us that the first time this sort of thing happened was over protections for black voters.

The government is shut down again. Here at Planet Money, we wondered: just how long has this been going on? The answer is: It started a long time ago, but then it didn't happen again for nearly a hundred years.

Today on the show, we go back in time to 1879. There was a fight between President Rutherford B. Hayes and Congress about African-Americans voting. It ended in the first ever government shutdown.

People aren't just good for the economy. They are the economy. So when a place needs people, it'll do almost anything to attract them.

Today on the show, we hear from a few places doing whatever they can to get more people. There's an Italian ghost town, a $100 million scheme to save a seat in Congress, and an aging state searching for young workers.

As President Trump sat across the table from Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 in Buenos Aires, things seemed to be looking up. Their two governments, which have been embroiled in a trade war for months, were agreeing to a 90-day truce.