The Wall Street Journal: Friday, August 23, 2013

Nasdaq in Fresh Market Failure (page A1): A technical glitch knocked out trading in all Nasdaq Stock Market securities for three hours Thursday afternoon, an unprecedented meltdown for a U.S. exchange that paralyzed a broad swath of markets and highlighted the fragility of the financial world’s electronic backbone. Nasdaq officials scrambled to figure out what happened and resume trading. They shared few of their findings with trading firms or the public during regular trading hours, sowing confusion across Wall Street and leaving many investors frustrated. The decision to reopen trading with about 35 minutes to go before the close came after exchange officials were sure that banks and brokers had enough time to prepare for securities to trade again, people familiar with the discussions said. Some hiccups persisted after Nasdaq reopened trading, though Nasdaq told traders that the markets closed normally Thursday.

Obama Proposes Rating Colleges to Curb Tuition Costs (page A2): Calling growing student debt levels a “crisis,” President Barack Obama laid out a plan Thursday aimed at reining in rising tuition costs by creating a system to rate colleges and eventually tie federal student aid to the institutions’ performance. The president called for rating colleges before the 2015 school year on measures such as affordability and graduation rates—”metrics like how much debt does the average student leave with, how easy is it to pay off, how many students graduate on time, how well do those graduates do in the workforce,” Mr. Obama told a crowd at the University at Buffalo, the first stop on a two-day bus tour. “The answers will help parents and students figure out how much value a college truly offers,” he said. Once a rating system is in place, Mr. Obama will ask Congress to allocate federal financial aid based on the scores by 2018. Students at top-performing colleges could receive larger federal grants and more affordable student loans. “It is time to stop subsidizing schools that are not producing good results,” he said.

Purchases or Promises: What Works for Fed? (page A2):  Federal Reserve officials gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyo., this week with academics, private bank economists and others will ponder a question that will influence Fed decisions in the coming months: Which of its novel monetary tools are doing the most for the economy? Is it the huge purchases of long-term Treasury bonds and mortgages, now known as “quantitative easing?” Or is it the promise to keep short-term interest rates low for a long time? The Fed is considering scaling back the first, while sticking firmly to the second. The first—the $85 billion a month in bonds it has been buying—uses the power of the Fed’s printing press. The other relies on the power of the Fed’s words. Both are aimed at holding down long-term rates, the ones that home buyers and corporations pay, and, thus, encouraging borrowing, spending and investing. Views vary widely about which works better, a disagreement that is complicating the Fed’s decision-making.

Inside a Secret Airline Club (page B1): For years, upmarket carriers including British Airways, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Qatar Airways have used exclusive programs, lounges and perks to reward their best customers. In the U.S., United and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines have recently tried to catch up, offering unpublicized programs that afford sometimes extravagant service to those fliers incessantly at airports, like George Clooney’s character in the movie “Up in the Air,” who pursues a dream of reaching 10 million frequent-flier miles. The airlines employ teams to track these fliers’ journeys and solve disruptions before they happen, sometimes bumping coach passengers to fit rerouted elite travelers. The carriers invite these customers to expensive restaurants and professional sporting events when they aren’t traveling. At the airport, they send their mail, press their suits and sew on buttons. United said that when an elite flier once stained his shirt, an employee sent her husband to the mall to buy a replacement.

Teen Retailers Left Hanging (page B3): Abercrombie & Fitch Co.’s stock tumbled Thursday after the teen retailer said profit fell 33% on a sharp drop in sales and indicated it would continue to struggle through the current quarter. Abercrombie’s troubles stem from weaker traffic and a drop in U.S. sales, which also have been weighing on rival teen retailers American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and Aéropostale Inc. But unlike those companies, Abercrombie gave no warning to Wall Street of the expected difficulties, making Thursday’s results a surprise. Mike Jeffries, Abercrombie’s chief executive, said teens are still struggling with an economic recovery that has failed to fully include them.

Gap Avoids Retail Slump, Posts Profit Rise (page B3): Gap Inc.’s fiscal-second-quarter profit rose 25% on higher sales at the apparel retailer’s namesake and Old Navy stores, prompting the company to raise its full-year earnings outlook. The retailer has reported higher same-store sales for six consecutive quarters, bolstered by an improving product line that has tapped some hot fashion trends, including a line of colored jeans last year that were well received. Gap is facing rising competition from fast-fashion players such as Forever21 and Inditex Group Inc.’s Zara, but has managed to outperform other mall-based retailers, including Macy’s Inc. and American Eagle Outfitters Inc.

Chinese Consumers Take a Step Back, Pinching Firms (page B3): Companies as diverse as retailers and gadget makers are reporting weakened results from China, as the economic slowdown there blunts Beijing’s drive to make the nation’s consumers a bigger driver of growth. Last month, Canon Inc. cut the Japanese company’s year-end profit forecast to ¥380 billion ($3.89 billion), off 16% from forecasts three months earlier, citing in part the slowdown in China. Nike Inc. reported falling China sales in its latest results, while British supermarket chain Tesco PLC is in talks with a local company, China Resources Enterprise Ltd., about folding its 131 underperforming Chinese stores into a joint venture. Apple Inc. said last month that its revenue from the greater China region fell 14% from a year earlier to $4.6 billion for the quarter ended June 29. The figure represents a 43% decline from the previous quarter. “A lot of the China story that companies would tell their shareholders was always about 15% nominal growth in gross domestic product, 20% increases in sales,” said Derek Scissors, an expert on China’s economy at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank. “That overarching growth story has weakened.” Many are blaming China’s economic slowdown for at least part of their performance. Growth slowed to 7.5% year-to-year in the second quarter, compared with 7.7% in the first.

Wal-Mart to Grow in Sub-Saharan Africa (page B4): Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s South African arm plans to open 90 new stores across sub-Saharan Africa over the next three years as it targets growth markets such as Nigeria and Angola. Massmart Holdings Ltd. said it will open a trial stand-alone food store in West Africa by the end of the year, in hopes of expanding to East Africa. It said it is also adding more brands from Wal-Mart stores in other parts of the world to its Africa operations, including a clothing line from the U.K. in November. Wal-Mart last year closed a deal valued at roughly $2.4 billion to buy 51% of the South African retailer, a move many industry watchers viewed as a springboard for Wal-Mart to grow across the continent. Over the coming three to five years, Massmart will open more stores in the rest of Africa, Grant Pattison, its chief executive, said Thursday. Wal-Mart and Massmart aren’t the only companies setting their sights on Africa. Companies from the U.S., China and India have poured billions of dollars into the continent, investing both in its emerging consumers market and in infrastructure deals, amid forecasts for strong growth in the region. By 2018, five of the world’s fastest-growing economies will be in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Thursday’s Markets: Stocks Record a Gain (page C4): U.S. stocks rose, with blue chips snapping the longest losing streak in over a year, as investors shook off trading halts in all securities listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market due to technical issues that affected the major market indexes for most of the afternoon. Nasdaq parent Nasdaq OMX Group announced the halts at 12:15 p.m. EDT. Notices sent to traders said the technical issues were related to data feeds providing market data for Nasdaq-listed securities. One stock, Atlantic American, began trading at 3 p.m. EDT, while full trading resumed at 3:25 p.m. Nasdaq OMX shares fell 3.5%. During the halt, the Nasdaq Composite Index remained frozen at 3631.17, up 31.38, or 0.9%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded within a range of about 14927 to 14968, while the S&P 500-stock index held roughly within 1652 to 1656. The halts also affected the calculation of the Dow, which include Nasdaq stocks Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and Intel, and the S&P 500. The Nasdaq rose 38.92 points, or 1.1%, to 3638.71. The index added to gains after the halts were lifted. The Dow rose 66.19 points, or 0.4%, to 14963.74. It was the first gain for the blue chip index in seven sessions. The S&P 500 advanced 14.16 points, or 0.9%, to 1656.96.

Fed Seeks More Control Over Rates (page C4): A plan that has been under consideration by the Federal Reserve to borrow money from investors at fixed interest rates shows how the central bank is preparing for an eventual exit from its ultra-easy monetary policies. In the July minutes of the Fed meeting released Wednesday, officials discussed a proposal to introduce a so-called reverse repurchase program, which would let the Fed set an interest rate on securities it would sell at auctions as part of its open-market operations. Banks and other investors would then decide how much to buy. This is a departure from current procedures, in which the Fed announces the amount of government bonds it intends to buy or sell in these operations and lets the market set the rate. While this appears to be a small tweak to the Fed’s practices, the implications could be wide-ranging if the plan is adopted. Contrary to popular belief, the Fed doesn’t set outright the interest rate that banks charge each other for overnight funding. Instead, it seeks to influence the effective federal-funds rate—a widely watched benchmark—by these open-market operations, which are conducted at the New York Fed. The Fed has been planning tools to eventually exit from its easy money policies for several years. This essentially adds a new tool to its kit. The Fed wants to be sure it can control short-term interest rates and lift them from near zero when the time comes. Talk of the plan comes as financial markets are anticipating the Fed will begin reducing the extraordinary support it has provided in the form of bond purchases, known as quantitative easing.

A Breakout Band Waits to Take Off (page D4): “This is amazing! Gives me chills!” Actor and musician Kevin Bacon tweeted that message last October to hundreds of thousands of followers, along with a link to a music video by an unknown Boston band. Sung in a smoky alto by Rachael Price, Lake Street Dive’s jazzy acoustic cover of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” has had more than 900,000 views since Mr. Bacon’s tweet. Produced on a shoe string—it was filmed by a friend on the street in front of his Boston home when the local bowling alley where they had planned to shoot wasn’t available—the video created an instant following for a band that has been championed by influential radio stations like New York City’s listener-supported WFUV, but ignored by mainstream radio. “When I first heard them,” says WFUV program director Rita Houston, “I immediately became an evangelist. I wanted to tell everybody. I wanted my mom to know about them.”

A Hipster Goes for Baroque (page D4): Chris Thile has never been shy about genre-hopping. In his early 20s, singing and playing with the band Nickel Creek, the mandolin virtuoso covered songs by slacker-rock heroes Pavement, picking along with a fiddler and a guitarist. And a year ago, he was onstage with his band at Bonnaroo, the Tennessee summer music festival, working the crowd with acoustic string-band covers of rock songs by The Cars, Radiohead and others. Now, he’s trying to get the same fans just as excited about classical music. For his latest record, “Bach: Sonatas and Partitas Vol. 1,” Mr. Thile, 32, has taken an approach of unadorned simplicity: It is just him, alone in a room with his mandolin, playing three suites—16 tracks in all—of works written for solo violin by Johann Sebastian Bach, the master composer of late-Baroque church music. Mr. Thile argues that the same crowds that headbang to Radiohead anthems should be just as able to get psyched for Bach or Mahler. “The great musics of the world are great for very similar structural reasons: good melody, good harmony, and a balance of feminine and masculine energy. What makes one type of music classical and one bluegrass and one folk—these things aren’t what’s important,” he said at a recent interview in midtown Manhattan. “My thesis statement would be—Bach didn’t write Baroque music. He wrote great music.” At times, Mr. Thile’s new record has the same technical “wow factor” as his work with his band, Punch Brothers. On the “Presto” from Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G minor, for example, Mr. Thile’s fingers trace Bach’s elegant melody lines and near-nonstop arpeggios at an off-to-the-races tempo, up and down the neck of his instrument—not unlike a bluegrass fiddle tune. At other points, such as the “Allemanda” from the Partita No. 1 in B minor, Mr. Thile plays in a purely Baroque vernacular, shedding any trace of bluegrass and making his mandolin sound stately and delicate, not unlike the lutes played by Bach’s Renaissance forebears.

Running Out of Chances to Lose to Roger (page D7): For years, Roger Federer has been the most popular attraction at the U.S. Open. He has played 58 matches in Arthur Ashe Stadium, more than any other male player, and once won this tournament five years in a row. As he ages, though, his fellow pros are getting a bit nervous. “I am scared he will leave tennis and I don’t have the chance to play against him,” said Lorenzo Giustino, a 21-year-old Italian, at a small tournament in San Marino earlier this month. Giustino, ranked No. 302, didn’t qualify for the U.S. Open. “He’s a big guy,” said Illya Marchenko, a 25-year-old from the Ukraine, after his first qualifying match at the U.S. Open on Tuesday. “He was No. 1 for the longest period of time, and for me he’s the No. 1 still, even if he’s not now.” In a sport that has no shortage of legends, Federer is perhaps the most coveted opponent in history. It isn’t difficult to understand why. He has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles, more than any man who has ever played the game. His strokes have an elegance and ease that make even fellow pros marvel. He also plays at a brisk pace and doesn’t throw temper tantrums or intimidate opponents with scowls or trash talk. At worst, he might embarrass them. “That one,” Thomas Schoorel said as he recalled Federer hitting the ball between his legs for a winner when they played in Dubai in 2011, “when it landed in, I had to laugh. But I also felt pretty s—.”

Your House Is Ready for Its Closeup (page M1): Mini-movies and Hollywood-style trailers complete with scripts, musical scores and even action sequences are cropping up as a new way to pitch pricey homes and condominium buildings. According to the National Association of Realtors, 14% of sellers used video to help sell their homes in 2012, up from 9% five years ago. Mr. Hahn, director and CEO of Film House, said he shot his first real-estate mini-movie in September of last year. He has since shot nearly 10, doing about one a week since June. Real-estate agents and developers who commission the films say that perfectly lighted rooms and aspirational story lines help grab buyers, and are the next extension of a home-buying experience that has increasingly gone online. Budgets for such films are often a percentage of the home’s listing price, and can range from a couple thousand dollars to $1 million or more for large-scale productions marketing condo buildings. The cost is paid either by the listing agents or sellers, and sometimes split between them.

Cold Cash: The Effect of AC on Home Prices (page M5): Even in the winter, the air conditioner is working hard—boosting a home’s value. An analysis of property listings in 22 major metro areas found that homes with central air conditioning are offered for 13% more, on average, than homes without central air, according to real-estate brokerage Redfin. Cities in the Midwest see the widest price gap: Homes with central air are listed for 105% more than homes without central air. Of course, homes with central air may have other amenities that help bump up the list price. But AC seems to be a driving force in the decision making, according to the National Association of Realtors, a trade group. In a survey of recent home buyers released in November, central air was the No. 1 feature sought when house shopping, according to the survey of 2,005 respondents who bought a home between 2010 and 2012. Respondents who purchased a home without central AC would be willing to pay $2,520 more for a home with this feature.

 

The Wall Street Journal: Thursday, August 22, 2013

To Athlete on Sore Knees, Age Is but a Number (page A1): To prepare for this summer’s Senior Olympics, Jim Kales used the following training regimen: He went dancing three to five nights a week. He played tennis six days a week. He bowled a little. He tooled around southwest Florida in a champagne-colored Lincoln MKZ. He didn’t practice at all for the shot put, javelin, discus, long jump or his specialty, the triple jump, in which he holds the record for his age group. Mr. Kales isn’t your typical athlete. For starters, he will be 99 years old in September. “People ask me, ‘What is the secret of your longevity?’ ” says Mr. Kales, who took up tennis in his 80s and has competed in the Senior Olympics since he was 90. “I like to play tennis, I like to dance, I bowl and I don’t abuse myself. I eat a lot of seafood. I have a glass of wine with my dinner, red mostly, white with fish.” He did all right this year in the Olympics, bringing home two gold medals, three silvers and a bronze. He is still annoyed that he didn’t win a medal in discus. A retired restaurant owner from Michigan, Mr. Kales didn’t take up sports or dancing seriously until his wife died, when he was 85. His tennis buddies told him about the Senior Olympics (known officially as the National Senior Games). He qualified at state-level matches and discovered that the Games also included field sports, which he hadn’t tried since he was a child in Greece, where he was born. He eventually qualified in those sports, too.

Fed Stays Course on Bond Buying (page A1): Federal Reserve officials reaffirmed their plan to try winding down an easy-money program that has charged up global markets but left investors on tenterhooks about when or how aggressively they would move. Minutes of the Fed’s July 30-31 policy meeting, released Wednesday, suggested officials were on track to start winding down the $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program, possibly as early as September, if the economy strengthens as they expect. They were, however, a bit more uncertain than in June about whether economic growth would pick up as they forecast and about the gains they were seeing in the job market. The Fed’s deliberations—and its sometimes confusing efforts to publicly signal how officials are thinking—have roiled global markets in the past few months, pushing up U.S. interest rates and knocking down emerging markets, which initially benefited from the Fed’s easy-money policies. Wednesday’s market movements mirrored the broader turmoil and investor confusion. U.S. stocks initially dropped after the minutes were released at 2 p.m. New York time, then moved higher and tumbled again as investors tried to make sense of the report.

Obama Is Taking on College Costs Again (page A2): Barack Obama is testing an interesting proposition: Can the U.S. president cajole or shame a huge American industry into changing its ways? Mr. Obama embarks Thursday on a bus tour of schools in upstate New York and Pennsylvania to highlight what he calls “a personal mission to make higher education more affordable.” Higher ed is one of his preoccupations. He talked about it in the State of the Union address. He talked about it at Knox College when he set out his latest bolster-the-middle-class agenda. He doesn’t think taxpayers can keep pumping more money into student aid to chase (and possibly fuel) tuition tabs rising faster than almost anything besides health care. After all, the number of undergraduates getting federal grants, loans or tax breaks already has doubled over the past decade; the taxpayers’ tab has tripled, adjusted for inflation. Something has to give. This quest is a political winner with nearly everyone except the president’s fans among liberal college professors. In a Pew Research Center poll last year, 57% of Americans said colleges fail to provide students with good value for the money. But the rising cost of college is more than a politically appealing talking point. It’s a threat to widely shared prosperity. Rising tuition threatens to discourage all but the best-off from going to and finishing college, restraining future economic growth and widening the gap between winners and losers in the U.S. economy. The College Board says that over the past 20 years, the inflation-adjusted average published cost of tuition and fees at a four-year state university has more than doubled. Factor in scholarships and tax breaks, and it’s still up more than 50%. Over the same period, the income of the typical family in the middle of the middle class has risen only 7%. That’s one reason student borrowing is up so much. Tuition is climbing because there have been so few constraints. There’s strong demand for seats in U.S. college classrooms, both from the U.S. and abroad. College is still a smart investment that pays off in higher wages. And it’s a whole lot harder (though not impossible) to improve productivity in a college than in a car factory.

Antipsychotic Drugs, Kids’ Diabetes Linked (page A3): The use of antipsychotic drugs appears to increase the risk of diabetes in children, not just adults, according to new research published Wednesday. And kids seem to be at an even higher risk, the study found. A number of studies have concluded that adults who take these medications, including risperidone, also known as Risperdal, and olanzapine, also called Zyprexa, have an elevated risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Less is known about the link between these drugs and diabetes in children. Studies of other psychiatric medicines, such as antidepressants, have found that kids can have different reactions to the same drugs than adults. The use of antipsychotics in children has grown tremendously. A 2009 study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found such use rose 65% to 4.8 million prescriptions in 2009 from 2.9 million in 2002.

An Exit Strategy for Bad Teachers (page A15): Age and experience have much to recommend them over youth and enthusiasm but the advantages don’t always show up in teaching. That’s the finding of a new study, “Early Retirement Incentives and Student Achievement,” published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. According to Cornell University economists Maria Fitzpatrick and Michael Lovenheim, when young, inexperienced teachers replaced older, more experienced faculty in Illinois, the newcomers did as well or better at getting students to learn. The study doesn’t discount the value of seasoned, motivated teachers. It does indicate that teachers going through the motions to qualify for a pension can be a drag on student achievement. The study is more evidence that students do better when teachers are graded on performance, not seniority.

The Battle for the Organic Shopper (page B1): Whole Foods Market Inc. wants to shed its “whole paycheck” reputation. The upscale grocer, known for its pricey organic products, is increasingly emulating the discount tactics used by traditional supermarkets. It is also moving beyond the realm of grass-fed beef with more lower-priced items like frozen meatballs and vacuum-packed fish fillets. The new strategy comes as Whole Foods fends off a growing swarm of rivals competing for customers who have become more careful with their pocketbooks. “The recession was a wake-up call for us,” said co-Chief Executive Walter Robb in an interview. One of the chain’s latest initiatives: nationwide “flash” sales on specific items promoted on Twitter and Facebook that run for just a few hours, like a five-hour buy-one-get-one-free deal on ice cream last month. The chain also is increasing one-day sales on items like salmon, blueberries and organic chicken to 17 this fiscal year, from 14 last year. Whole Foods long avoided such supermarket tactics, thriving instead on a pricey mix of products that appealed to clientele in upscale neighborhoods of large cities where most of its approximately 350 stores are located. High prices on everything from meat to vegetables led critics to quip that shopping at Whole Foods would eat up a middle class earner’s whole paycheck.

wholefoods

Tesla Amps Its Crash Score (page B3): Tesla Motors Inc. has created its own vehicle-safety ranking based on federal crash-test data to amplify a claim that its Model S electric car is the safest car ever tested by U.S. regulators. Tesla, in a statement widely reported this week, said its car “achieved a new combined record of 5.4-stars” in federal crash tests. Tesla noted that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which conducts the government’s auto-crash tests, doesn’t use a rating above five stars.

Inventing for the Future (page B6): Even with an exceptional idea, budding entrepreneurs can struggle to move past the brainstorming stages. They face challenges in execution like building a cohesive team, coming up with a business plan and even understanding how to present their product or service. This week mentors on “WSJ Startup of the Year,” a documentary on wsj.com, offered some words of inspiration for all entrepreneurs. Here’s what some science and technology innovators had to say. Edited excerpts:

Nordstrom Tests an App to Identify Customers page (B7): Nordstrom Inc. is testing mobile technology that sends salespeople the digital profiles of customers as they enter a brick-and-mortar store, said James Nordstrom, president of the company’s online division. “The concept is that a customer would opt-in and download an application because ‘I want the sales person to know I’m here, and I want the salesperson to know my preferences because it will lead to a better experience,’ ” Mr. Nordstrom said. Another recent Nordstrom in-store technology, which anonymously tracked the way people moved through stores, ended last May after customers complained the monitoring was too intrusive.

Mom and Pop Flee Emerging Markets (page C1): Retail investors have led the summer stampede out of emerging-market stocks, bonds and currencies, pulling almost twice as much money as institutional investors such as insurance companies and pension funds. The action highlights the outsize impact mom-and-pop investors can have on global markets at a time of low interest rates, disappointing investment returns and volatile market reactions to perceived shifts in central-bank policy.

SEC Is Set to Propose New Rule on CEO Pay (page C1): The Securities and Exchange Commission will soon thrust CEO compensation back into the spotlight when it proposes a long-delayed rule requiring companies to disclose the pay gap between chief executives and rank-and-file employees. The requirement, a mandate of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law, could put added pressure on corporate boards to slow pay increases for chief executives at companies with significant or growing gaps, proponents say. The rule, expected to be approved by the SEC as early as next month, has come under fire from corporations. But it is expected to be less onerous than what lawmakers originally ordered the SEC to adopt, according to people familiar with the proposal. Rather than surveying the entire workforce, the SEC is expected to allow companies to consider a fraction of their employees when calculating median pay. It isn’t clear what percentage of the workforce would be included in the sample. Companies would have to disclose the ratio between CEO compensation and the median pay of the sampled employee group. Median pay is the point on the income scale at which half the employees earn more and half earn less.

Wednesday’s Markets: Stocks End Lower After Jolt by Fed (page C4): U.S. stocks ended a volatile session with broad losses after the minutes to the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting provided little clarity on when the central bank might start paring back on stimulus measures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 105.44 points, or 0.7%, to 14897.55. Soon after the release of the minutes, the Dow fell as much as 122 points, then bounced sharply to be up as much as 17 points, before selling off again. The decline marked the sixth-straight loss for the blue-chip index, the longest losing streak since July 2012. The S&P 500 index lost 9.55 points, or 0.6%, to 1642.80, while the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 13.80, or 0.4%, to 3599.79.

Google May Make a Play on Pay TV (page C10): Google may have found a path to the end zone for Internet TV. Top executives at the search giant met with representatives from the National Football League, according to a report Tuesday by All Things D. Among the topics of discussion: the Sunday Ticket package, which includes all NFL games not in the viewer’s local market and is offered exclusively by DirecTV. There is no indication that Google is anywhere near a deal to offer the package. But the news raises the possibility of a powerful partnership that could be the magic bullet for Google in its goal of luring traditional TV viewers, and associated advertising dollars, to the Internet. Live sporting events are among the primary reasons U.S. consumers pay for TV. Bringing them online as a separate subscription would allow many more people to stop paying for traditional TV. It would also let the NFL broaden its viewer base by selling to those people who don’t pay for TV. For CBS, NBC, Fox and ESPN, all of which have agreed to pay huge sums for the right to carry NFL games, Google’s reach would likely be seen as a serious threat. That said, most of the networks’ deals with the NFL extend to 2022, buying the league some time. And considering the value of football to ratings and affiliate fees, it is difficult to imagine networks turning their backs on the NFL.

Facebook and Google’s Free-for-All (page C10): Google wants to launch balloons; Facebook wants to lighten the data load. Just as conspicuous as these efforts to bring Internet access to the sea of humanity still lacking it, is the fact these two companies aren’t working together on it. On Wednesday, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced a “rough plan” to connect billions more people in the developing world to the Internet. But while he laid out some nifty ideas for technologies that might make this easier, there’s plenty missing from the plan. That includes some partners likely needed to make it possible, such as wireless carriers. Google isn’t a partner either. Meanwhile, Google has Project Loon, centered on solar-powered balloons that can beam Internet access to places lacking it.

Summer Debate: Avoid the Heat or Embrace It (page D3): Why do some people thrive when the temperature soars, while others can’t think straight without air-conditioning? Variables such as where a person grew up, their amount of body fat and even their hydration level can influence how they feel in hot or cold temperatures, says Michael Sawka, a professor at the School of Applied Physiology at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. People who avoid going outside when it’s hot—preferring to move straight from an arctic office to air-conditioned transportation to a well-chilled restaurant, store or home—can quickly lose their ability to acclimate, Dr. Sawka says. Without regularly experiencing heat, the body becomes less efficient at sweating and has more difficulty increasing blood flow to the skin—both functions that help the body cool itself. It takes one to two hours a day in hot temperatures to acclimate properly. Then, says Dr. Sawka, “you don’t feel the stress of the heat,” he says. “You feel more comfortable.” When it comes to cold, most people have greater difficulty adapting. Some can eventually learn to ignore uncomfortably low temperatures, but “it’s a lot more dependent on body fat and the size of your body,” Dr. Sawka says.