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This year, trucks and other heavy-duty motors in America will burn some 3 billion gallons of diesel fuel that was made from soybean oil. They're doing it, though, not because it's cheaper or better, but because they're required to, by law.

The law is the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS. For some, especially Midwestern farmers, it's the key to creating clean energy from American soil and sun. For others — like many economists — it's a wasteful misuse of resources.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The bridge to nowhere. The teapot museum. People loved to point out how congressional earmarks led to wasteful government spending. Then, in 2011, Congress dramatically restricted earmarks.

Now, Congress is considering bringing them back.

Earmarks are easy to mock. But on today's show, Jonathan Rauch of Brookings and The Atlantic argues that earmarks make democracy work better.

French actress Catherine Deneuve is apologizing to "victims of horrible acts ... and to them alone" who felt "attacked" by the recent open letter published by French newspaper Le Monde stating the #Me Too movement had gone too far.

Can something as simple as saying "I'm sorry" stop a looming war in the Middle East?

That's the premise of a new film called The Insult — it's Lebanon's entry to the Oscars. In it, a neighborhood spat pushes the city of Beirut to the brink of chaos.

Filmmaker Ziad Doueiri says he was inspired by a real-life incident. He was watering his plants on the balcony of his home in Beirut, when the water spilled out onto a construction worker below.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

And in All Tech Considered this week, we are talking about what is ahead for the tech industry in 2018.

(SOUNDBITE OF ULRICH SCHNAUSS' "NOTHING HAPPENS IN JUNE")

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

In the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, a mezzanine floor inside the tower of the stock exchange collapsed during lunch hour Monday.

People were evacuated from the building, and nearly 80 people were injured.

An employee of the World Bank in Jakarta, based in the same building, told the BBC a mezzanine walkway above the lobby had come down. He said he and members of his team were among those evacuated.

President Trump marks his first year in the White House on Jan. 20. Since he took the oath, he's been dogged by questions about his hundreds of businesses and the conflicts of interest they pose.

In attempts to confront Trump and force him to address these conflicts, congressional Democrats, state attorneys general and watchdog groups have sued the president. So far, their cases have not advanced very far in court. A federal judge has dismissed one suit.

The city of Paris does not exactly have a business-friendly reputation. Strikes, red tape and a rigid labor market have seen to that. But things are changing. France now has a young, pro-business president. And across the city there's a growing climate of capitalist optimism.

A renovated 1920s train station in the middle of Paris is now a modern hub for startups. Newly elected President Emmanuel Macron inaugurated Station F last June, but the hub was actually conceived before he was elected.

From the moment Donald Trump was elected president, questions started arising about his ability to separate his private business deals from his official duties. Critics became especially alarmed about his overseas holdings, fearing they could influence his foreign policy decisions.

In the year since taking office, has he found ways to address the ethical questions that could taint his foreign policy credibility?

The hubbub over the Republican tax plan has died down some since it passed, but the bill isn't forgotten — not by a long shot.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

All Alexis Madrigal wanted was a coat. So when one popped up in a sponsored post on his Instagram feed, he was intrigued. He'd never heard of the retailer, but it billed itself as "luxury for modern gentlemen." Plus, the coat was a steal at under $100.

So Madrigal bought it. The jacket, however, turned out to be less an expression of luxury and more a lesson into how e-commerce has changed in the age of Instagram and Facebook.

In his words, what arrived in the mail "kind of looked like a carpet ... formed into a roughly coat like shape."

In the world of streaming workout videos, Shawn T is like Jay-Z or Mick Jagger. He's a superstar. Millions of people have done his workout programs. One is called "Insanity." Another, "Focus T25," aims to get you in shape in just 25 minutes a day without leaving your house.

In our ever more digital world there are all kinds of apps and other quick ways to fit fitness into your life. But you still have to do the exercise. And in his new book, T is for Transformation, Shaun T tells the story of his life and the lessons he's learned about finding that motivation.

General Motors says it is ready to mass-produce a self-driving car that has no steering wheel, pedals or any other manual controls.

The car company said Friday that it has filed a petition with the Department of Transportation for the fourth-generation Cruise AV to hit the streets in 2019.

Kentucky got the green light from the federal government Friday to require people who get Medicaid to work. It's a big change from the Obama administration, which rejected overtures from states that wanted to add a work requirement.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

There's a warning sign for the economy with an amazing track record: The last five times it flashed, the U.S. economy went into recession within about a year.

This economic crystal ball takes the views of people and institutions from from all around the world and boils them down into a single, simple signal.

That signal is called the yield curve. It's not flashing now, at least not yet, but it might be close enough to make you nervous.

Natalie Portman is so done with male bias in Hollywood. On Sunday, before reading out the top picks for best director at the Golden Globes, she said: "Here are the all-male nominees."

She's not the only one who's over industry sexism.

In a narrow alley just behind a busy Queens street, Hernán's kitchen makes more than 4,000 churros each day for street vendors to sell across New York City. From 3 a.m., hours before nearby shop owners unlock their front gates, the kitchen fills with the sound of churro batter beating against the sides of large industrial mixers.

The kneaded dough is shaped by a long dispenser that drops it into sizzling hot oil. The churros — long, striated doughnuts — are finished with a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon and stacked high on baking trays by Hernán's wife.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

If you saw the Golden Globes on Sunday night, you saw Allison Janney win in the supporting actress category for playing Tonya Harding's mother in I, Tonya. You're likely to see more of her in this awards season, and more of Margot Robbie, who plays Harding herself in the film, directed by Craig Gillespie and written by Steven Rogers.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that the social media giant would begin emphasizing more "meaningful" content on users' feeds — giving greater weight to posts from friends and family and less to businesses, brands and media.

In a long Facebook post of his own, Zuckerberg stressed that the social media platform — which has more than 2 billion active users worldwide — was created "to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us."

'The Commuter': Punching On The Metro-North Express

Jan 11, 2018

It's been a nearly a decade since Liam Neeson, already in his mid-50s and with a long and varied resume of film roles to his credit, switched, like Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage before him, into high-impact, low-ambition action flicks. He'll still show up for a Scorsese movie or a Lego Movie (and, one hopes, The Lego Scorsese Movie) now and then, but he has played more alcoholic/widowed/divorced/guilt-hobbled ex-cops or ex-killers at this point than Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis and Melissa McCarthy combined.

A bar fight breaks out during a pivotal scene in Django, the musically crisp yet mournful new wartime drama by Étienne Comar. As the fracas unfolds, the band keeps playing, with a blithe bemusement that seems to say: This happens all the time. But these are far from normal times.

When you're in love, "you just feel good, like you're wrapped in a big coat," says a character in Lover for a Day. Yet there are no big-coat moments in veteran director Philippe Garrel's latest examination of French erotic discontent.

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