From NPR: Wal-Mart continues to try to better serve its customer, now with a same-day delivery for certain online items. The experiment is only being tried in a few markets. The same-day delivery is targeted toward densely populated urban areas where many customers may not have cars to make the short drive to the nearest superstore.
From NPR: More than half of shoppers are using holiday sales to self-gift, waiting until the Christmas season to buy extravagant items at reasonable prices. The National Retail Federation has found that shoppers who self-gift spend an average of $140 on themselves while many people are out shopping solely for friends and family.
From NPR: Some employees spend their days walking at treadmill desks and playing games at work. The good news is they're being just as productive if not more so. And their waists are shrinking thanks to the less sedentary lifestyle.
From NPR: As members of the House and Senate head to Capitol Hill for the final weeks of this Congress, perhaps they will bring the "Spirit of 2010" with them. Despite partisan bickering, the lame-duck session two years ago got big things done. Then again, those lawmakers weren't being asked to avert a fiscal cliff.
From NPR: When President Obama sets off to Asia this weekend to highlight his so-called pivot to the region, he will make a bit of history: Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar. The country, also known as Burma, was a pariah state for decades, ruled by a ruthless military dictatorship. That is changing, and the Obama administration has encouraged a dramatic reform process in the country. But it may be too early for a victory lap.
From NPR: Compromise is suddenly the watchword in Washington, as negotiations over taxes, spending and entitlements begin in advance of another self-imposed deadline, popularly known as the "fiscal cliff." Automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts are slated for the first of the year, unless the president and Congress take action. Leaders on both sides say they are willing to meet in the middle, but that makes their constituents worry about what any compromise will cost them.
From NPR: Members of Congress are asking why the FBI and Justice Department didn't tell them earlier about an investigation into CIA Director David Petraeus. But the legal authority for reporting such sensitive information to lawmakers is murky.
From NPR: Jin Li is a professor at Brown University who compares the learning beliefs of Asian and U.S. children. She says that to understand why these two cultures view struggle so differently, it's good to step back and examine how they think about where academic excellence comes from.
From NPR: Far from the political theater of China's Communist Party Congress in Beijing this week is a cave that the country's next leader once called home. Just 15 at the time, Xi Jinping was sent by his family in Beijing to the remote rural village Liangjiahe in the hills of Shaanxi Province, hundreds of miles away, where for seven years he lived in a cave scooped out of the yellow loess hillsides.
From NPR: With the election over, attention in Washington has turned to the nation's debt and deficit challenges — most immediately the looming fiscal cliff. That's the $600 billion worth of expiring tax breaks and automatic spending cuts set to start taking effect Jan. 1.