The luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leans on its side after running aground on the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy. One maritime workers union called the disaster a "wake-up call" highlighting long-standing safety concerns and what it sees as lax regulation. Gregorio Borgia/AP hide caption

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Jenny Craig brand ambassador and singer Mariah Carey (left) poses with Dana Fiser, CEO of Jenny Craig, at a press conference in New York City in November. Cindy Ord/Getty Images hide caption

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Louise Tucker-Mitchell laughs on the phone with a customer at Enterprise Rent-A-Car at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. She says she likes working the week between Christmas and New Year's, as it's calmer and a good time to catch up. Sara Carothers/NPR hide caption

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Bill Ferguson, a courier for FedEx, loads his truck at a sorting facility in Chicago on Dec. 12 — the company's busiest day in its history. M. Spencer Green/AP hide caption

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Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, speaks on Capitol Hill about the Hire Heroes Act, which gives tax breaks to businesses that hire unemployed veterans. Vets that have served since 2001 face a higher unemployment rate than the population overall. Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images hide caption

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DJ Patil explains a visualization of a person's LinkedIn network, where different groups of contacts are illustrated by different colors. Patil developed big data projects for LinkedIn — like algorithms to determine whom you might know. He now recruits mathematicians for a venture capital firm. Joi Ito/Flickr hide caption

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Big data is huge in both scope and power. Yury Kuzmin/ hide caption

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Customers shop for electronics items during Black Friday at a Best Buy in San Diego. Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images hide caption

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Windmills and solar panels in Atlantic City, N.J., power a wastewater treatment plant, with surplus energy going to the area power grid. Solar and wind energy companies receive $370 million in federal subsidies annually, which is less than 1 percent of what oil and gas industries receive. Mel Evans/AP hide caption

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Greek's economic problems work their way down the supply chain to people like Kosta Bouyoukas, who imports olives and other foods from Greece. He says suppliers are changing the terms of contracts, and sometimes products don't show up at all.

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A home in Seattle is advertised for sale in January. A housing boom 140 miles north in Vancouver, British Columbia, is being fueled by buyers from India and China, while building remains at a standstill in Seattle, one housing expert says.

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The Congressional Research Service estimated direct U.S. banking exposure in troubled European economies at $641 billion. U.S. banks say the amount is much lower.

Sandor F. Szabo/ hide caption

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A job seeker makes a list of his skills during a workshop in Burlingame, Calif., targeted toward people who have been out of work for at least six months. According to the Labor Department, there are now more than 2 million people who have been jobless for at least two years.

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