Learn to control your emotions

Your fight-or-flight reflexes kick in when you're faced with high-pressure work situations, but you can calm yourself, listen to the other person and give a response that isn't an outburst, writes Dan McCarthy. "Learn to use your emotions as a tool and not let your emotions control you," McCarthy advises.

Why Common Core test results may not be so common
The Associated Press

The Common Core State Standards were developed, in part, to create a national system for comparing student progress. However, fragmented adoption of assessments developed by two national consortia has changed this plan. "The whole idea of Common Core was to bring students and schools under a common definition of what success is," said Tom Loveless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "And Common Core is not going to have that."

Analysis: Low interest rates, fewer disasters weaken insurers' finances

Premiums in the property and casualty insurance industry have grown weaker in the years since major disasters such as Hurricane Katrina occurred. Low interest rates also are affecting the companies' profits, writes Spencer Jakab. "The Federal Reserve may ease the pressure if it begins lifting interest rates this year, as expected, but so would a costly disaster," he writes.

New Dollar General prototype puts a focus on fresh

Dollar General will roll out a new store prototype that offers quicker checkout and a larger focus on fresh foods and health and beauty, CEO Todd Vasos said Wednesday. Starting next year, the new format will be incorporated into new stores and remodels, he said.

Children with asthma benefit from active video gaming, study says

Children with asthma who participated in active video games had greater reductions in lung inflammation and higher maximum metabolic expenditure than children who did treadmill training, according to a study in PLOS ONE. Researchers said both groups significantly improved their asthma control, but since fun is a big factor in physical activity for children, active video games could lead to less sedentary behavior and better adherence to exercise.

Facebook leads pack of social networks favored by retailers

Half of U.S. retailers plan to up their ad spending on Facebook, while 29% will spend more on YouTube and 27% on Pinterest, according to the National Retail Federation. Twitter came in fourth place with 22% of retailers planning to spend more on the site, in line with other research that shows Pinterest and Facebook are more frequently visited by shoppers.

How Apple picks the next crop of retail employees

Apple Retail Chief Angela Ahrendts focuses on attitude, ambitions and emotional makeup when interviewing prospective new hires. "By the time they have reached my office, I think it is pretty safe to say they are incredibly smart in their field. I want to make sure they are culturally compatible," she writes.

Fitbit, Apple lead wearables market

Apple sold 3.6 million Apple Watches last quarter, IDC reports, ranking the company second in the market behind Fitbit, which shipped 4.4 million devices. "Consumers expect their wearables to do more than simply count steps, just as they expect to do more than just make phone calls with their handsets," Argus Insights CEO John Feland said.

Biotech potato from J.R. Simplot gets USDA nod
The Washington Times

J.R. Simplot's Russet Burbank biotech potato variety, which is resistant to late blight, generates less potentially cancer-causing chemicals and can be kept at colder temperatures for an extended period, has been cleared by the US Department of Agriculture. Approvals from the FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency are expected within a year. The firm intends to start commercial planting by 2017.

T-Mobile's Legere issues unlimited data plan abuse warning
The VergeITWorld.com

T-Mobile US will pursue subscribers who are circumventing unlimited data plans by downloading applications that allow them to escape the carrier's 7-gigabyte limit on tethering their phones to other devices, CEO John Legere wrote in a blog post Sunday. He said the "small group" of customers are using up to 2 terabytes a month of data.

Report: Big increase predicted in highway maintenance, construction job openings

About 388,904 highway maintenance and construction and jobs will open in the 10 years between 2012 and 2022, according to a recent report by the Departments of Transportation, Labor and Education. More than a third of those positions are expected in the maintenance area. Hawaii, Florida and Ohio are expected to see the most openings, while South Carolina and Massachusetts will see large declines. The report offers a four-step approach to building "a qualified and skilled transportation workforce."

Offshore transformer could cut connection costs by 40%

Siemens has developed a transformer module for offshore turbines that could reduce grid connection costs by up to 40%, according to the company. The savings, said Siemens, would make the development of offshore wind farms more affordable overall. The modules can support an output of 250 megawatts and can be linked together for wind farms with a larger transmission capacity.

Buzz Aldrin works with Florida university on plan to colonize Mars
The Guardian (London)

Famed astronaut Buzz Aldrin is working with the Florida Institute of Technology on a master plan for humans to colonize Mars. "The Pilgrims on the Mayflower came here to live and stay. They didn't wait around Plymouth Rock for the return trip, and neither will people building up a population and a settlement" on Mars, he said.

Touring a variety of spots around Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan, which behaves like an inland sea, offers beaches and waves, ports, and ferries, writes Rich Cohen. Travelers can work their way around the lake, which is 118 miles across and 307 miles from top to bottom, starting and ending in Chicago, and taking in four states along the route.