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The composition of the microbes living in babies' guts appears to play a role in whether the children develop asthma later on, researchers reported Wednesday.

The researchers sampled the microbes living in the digestive tracts of 319 babies, and followed up on the children to see if there was a relationship between their microbes and their risk for the breathing disorder.

To make wine, you've got to have patience and passion – a lot of it. Cathy Huyghe, who is a wine columnist at and Food52, wanted to understand how and why and where passion for wine runs deep. So she traveled around the world – from Patagonia to New Zealand to South Africa — to document producers for her new book, Hungry for Wine: Seeing the World Through A Glass of Wine.

If you watch the film The Martian, you'll see Hollywood explosions and special effects galore, but you'll also see some serious science.

Actor Matt Damon, who plays stranded astronaut Mark Watney, must calculate his way through food shortages, Martian road trips and other misadventures as he fights to find a way off the Red Planet.

Numbers are a matter of life and death for Damon's astronaut, and in this movie they're not pulled from thin air.

The NCAA notched a victory on Wednesday when a federal appeals court ruled against requiring colleges to compensate athletes in deferred cash payments, according to the Associated Press.

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Alto saxophonist Phil Woods has died. You might recognize his playing on this Billy Joel song.


BILLY JOEL: (Singing) I want you just the way you are.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



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The benefits of talk therapy for depression have been overstated in the scientific literature, according to a study in the journal PLOS ONE.

The finding comes several years after a similar study reached the same conclusion about antidepressant drugs.

Updated 6:05 p.m. ET

Joaquin, the fourth hurricane of the Atlantic Season, is forecast to churn off the coast of Florida for the next couple of days before potentially heading north and posing a threat to the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

With maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, Joaquin became a hurricane today. The storm's long-term path is still uncertain, but forecasters predict the tropical cyclone could pose a threat to the Mid-Atlantic or New England states.

Russia ramped up its military effort in Syria today, targeting ISIS militants with airstrikes. The U.S. and several other countries are also fighting ISIS in Syria, conducting airstrikes against the militants.

This week at the United Nations, President Obama said the bottom line is that Syrian President Bashar Assad has to go. Is that the true solution? Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Stephen Kinzer, visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

Starting tomorrow, people over 21 in Oregon will be able to walk into a medical marijuana dispensary and buy pot for recreational use – but not in dozens of communities across the state, where local officials have banned such sales. Chris Lehman of Northwest News Network, part of the Here & Now Contributors Network, visited one of the towns that’s just saying no to recreational pot.

Is mental decline an inevitable part of aging? Our brains do shrink as we get older, but new research shows it does not have to have to go hand-in-hand with a decrease in cognitive ability. In fact, it’s possible to enhance existing brain pathways and even create new ones as we age. New concepts like neuroplasticity demonstrate that changes in behavior, environment, thinking, and emotions and health can all affect the way our brains change.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll out this week shows Vice President Joe Biden with a better chance of defeating top Republican presidential candidates than Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton.

U.S. Special Forces are now involved in the battle against the Taliban in the city of Kunduz, which is about 150 miles north of Kabul. The Taliban seized the city Monday,biggest victory since the U.S. invasion toppled the Taliban regime after 2001.

This battle comes as U.S. commanders are telling the Obama administration they think American troops should stay in Afghanistan beyond 2016. Amidst all of this, Russia has started its first airstrikes on Syria.

A Kentucky clerk who went to jail for defying a federal court’s orders to issue same-sex marriage licenses says she met briefly with the pope during his historic visit to the United States.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, didn’t deny the encounter took place but said Wednesday in Rome that he had no comment on the topic.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and her husband met privately with Pope Francis on Thursday afternoon at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., for less than 15 minutes, said her lawyer, Mat Staver.

As founder and medical director of The Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute in Brookline Massachusetts, Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk has spent years working with those who have experienced horrific events. But as he told Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson, often treatments for conditions such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) fall short, because they look at trauma as primarily a mental health issue.

Van Der Kolk says the body shouldn’t be ignored because after the trauma occurs, “your body keeps reacting as if you’re back there again.”

If you have a smartphone and a car, you could soon be working for Amazon. The e-commerce giant launched a new program in Seattle this week that pays part-time drivers, who have also passed a background check, to deliver packages.

The move is aimed at cutting down on delivery times, but it could also cause some legal headaches for Amazon. Samuel Burke of CNN joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with details.


“Protected intersections,” designed to prevent car-bicycle collisions, have long existed in the Netherlands, but they are just catching on in the U.S.

After a former video game maker in Oregon created a video (below) explaining the design, one was recently built in Davis, California, and another in Salt Lake City, Utah, and plans are being discussed in cities across the country.

The Sooam Biotech Research Foundation's sleek marble building is on the outskirts of Seoul, South Korea. After passing through a guarded gate, visitors climb the steps to the entrance and a big door with tinted glass slides open.

"Hello, sir. Nice to meet you, sir," says David Kim, a researcher at the laboratory. "You can follow me. We can go into the clean room. It's the laboratory where we do the procedures — the cloning."

Jack Dorsey, the Twitter co-founder who has led the company since June on an interim basis, will officially become the company's new CEO, according to reports. Dorsey is also the CEO of mobile payment company Square; it's uncertain whether he will try to hold both jobs.

Dorsey "is expected be named the company's new permanent CEO as early as tomorrow," according to the Recode website, which cites unidentified sources.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's energy levels have been an ongoing topic of conversation during the presidential campaign — probably much more than Bush would prefer.

Rival Donald Trump has repeatedly needled Bush for bringing a "low energy" to the campaign trail, even posting a fake advertisement on Instragram offering Bush as a sleeping aide.

Tesla unveiled its much-anticipated Model X on Tuesday night after nearly two years of delays.

CEO Elon Musk took the wraps off the all-electric SUV at an event near the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. As an added bonus, he gave keys to a handful of lucky customers who can now call themselves owners of one of the most sought-after vehicles.

Let's go over some of the vitals.

Updated at 1:53 p.m. ET.

During his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was no longer bound by the Oslo Accords.

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In recent days, we've seen these headlines:

  • Caterpillar is planning to cut up to 10,000 jobs.
  • After standing for 127 years as an industrial giant, Alcoa will be splitting into two smaller companies.
  • Glencore, a global mining giant, is seeing its stock price crumble amid insolvency rumors.

The three events may seem unrelated, but in fact, all are part of one big story: the commodities-price collapse.

Is "poverty porn" making a comeback?

That's the term that some people used back in the 1980s to describe attention-grabbing fundraising ads like the one on the right:

Back then, the media were filled with images of starving African children in desperate need of food, seemingly all alone in the world. And folks in the West were invited to save them from their misery.

Updated 8:30 p.m. ET

The bill to fund the government through Dec. 11 has been signed into law by President Obama. That beats the midnight deadline for keeping government agencies operating.

Earlier in the day, the Senate and the House passed the bill, which does not strip funding from Planned Parenthood.

Remember, some House Republicans had insisted on no payments to Planned Parenthood before they would vote to extend funding for the whole government.

NPR's Ailsa Chang reported on the bill's progress for our Newscast unit:

Correctional facilities have to provide health services to people who are incarcerated, but that doesn't mean the care is free of charge. In most states, inmates may be on the hook for copayments ranging from a few dollars to as much as $100 for medical care, a recent study finds.