NPR Blogs

The Salt
5:45 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Captain Ahab's Revenge: Brewing Beer From An Ancient Whale Bone

Jasper Akerboom of the Lost Rhino Brewing Co. in Ashburn, Va., tested a dozen yeasts before finding one that was perfect for making bone beer.
Ryan Kellman NPR

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 5:54 pm

What happens when an amateur paleontologist with a love for beer teams up with a microbiologist? Bone beer, or beer made from yeast scraped from a 35-million-year-old whale fossil, to be precise.

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Shots - Health News
5:18 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

What's Going On In There? How Babies' Brains Practice Speech

The magnetoencephalograph can record electrical signals from a baby's brain without requiring the child to be perfectly still.
University of Washington

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 8:08 am

A baby's first words may seem spur of the moment, but really, the little ones have practiced their "Mamas" and "Dadas" for months in their minds.

Using what looks like a hair dryer from Mars, researchers from the University of Washington have taken the most precise peeks yet into the fireworks display of neural activity that occurs when infants listen to people speak.

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The Salt
4:06 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

U.S. Customs Seize Giant African Snails Bound For Dinner Plates

A single snail from an air cargo shipment of 67 live snails that arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on July 1. Officials said that the 35 pounds of snails arrived from Nigeria along with paperwork stating they were for human consumption.
Greg Bartman AP

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 12:21 pm

Oh no! Snails are getting a bad name in the U.S.

I'm not talking about the delicate garlic-and-butter escargots that the French favor and savor.

It's giant African land snails, also known as Archachatina marginata, banana rasp snails or a number of other names they go by.

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The Two-Way
3:08 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Two Former State Attorneys General Arrested In Utah

Former Utah attorneys general Mark Shurtleff (left) and John Swallow were taken into custody Tuesday as part of a bribery investigation.
Salt Lake County Sheriff AP

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 5:03 pm

Two former Utah state attorneys general were arrested Tuesday. Both face numerous charges, including receiving and soliciting bribes.

Mark Shurtleff served as attorney general for a dozen years before completing his third term at the beginning of 2013. John Swallow was elected to succeed him but resigned in November, less than a year into the job. Both are Republicans.

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The Two-Way
2:06 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Odin's Beard! Marvel Announces A New Thor — And She's A Woman

The new Thor.
Marvel

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 2:47 pm

The Mighty Thor, the Son of Odin, the God of Thunder, the comic book god with the hammer is a woman.

Not quite — but here's the tweet announcing the new Thor:

"No longer is the classic Thunder God able to hold the mighty hammer, Mjölnir, and a brand new female hero will emerge worthy of the name THOR," Marvel said in a statement.

The new Thor will be written by Jason Aaron with art by Russell Dauterman.

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The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

In Response To Dwindling Applications, Peace Corps Makes Big Changes

In this 2011 photo, more than 100 Peace Corps volunteers are sworn in before heading to villages in southern Cambodia.
Heng Sinith AP

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 1:49 pm

In a bid to shore up sagging numbers, the Peace Corps on Tuesday announced significant changes to its application process.

Sixty-page forms that used to take more than eight hours to fill out have now been shortened and streamlined and can be completed online in less than an hour, Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said on NPR's Here and Now.

The number of people who actually complete the application process has fallen by more than a third from its peak in 2009.

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The Two-Way
12:08 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Plan To Make 6 States Out Of California May Head To Ballot

An image from the Six Californias website shows the proposed borders of its plan to slice the state into areas that the plan's backers say would be more manageable.
Six Californias

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 1:01 pm

Backers of a plan to cut California into six states say they now have enough signatures from supporters to get their proposal on a general-election ballot in the state. The plan would create new states with names like Jefferson, Silicon Valley and South California.

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The Two-Way
11:54 am
Tue July 15, 2014

In Worst Attack In Years, 89 Afghans Killed By Suicide Bomber

Afghan doctors assist civilians wounded by a suicide bomber in Paktika province on Tuesday.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 2:37 pm

At least 89 people were killed Tuesday by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. It was the deadliest attack on civilians in that country for several years.

The attack occurred near a busy market and mosque in Urgun, a town in the eastern province of Paktika. In addition to the dead, 42 people were injured, according to the Defense Ministry.

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Monkey See
11:51 am
Tue July 15, 2014

At This Summer's TV Press Tour, A Resounding Sense Of 'Meh'

Executive producer Anne Heche (left) and actress Kate Walsh speak at the Bad Judge panel during the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 12:30 pm

There's a widespread belief that critics hate everything, revel in hating everything, and cannot be pleased. It's widespread and wrong, though.

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The Salt
11:41 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Will Camu Camu Be The Next Amazonian 'It' Fruit?

Camu camu berries grow wild on trees alongside flooded rivers in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and Peru.
Ronaldo Rosa Courtesy of EMBRAPA

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 4:13 pm

Editor's Note: Here at The Salt we get a lot of pitches from companies extolling the virtues of a new "superfood."

Recently, a company called Amazon Origins wrote to us about its supplement made with camu camu berry, "the Amazon's latest superfruit." According to Amazon Origins, World Cup fans were discovering the berry in Brazil and getting hooked. Camu camu, they claimed, would soon dethrone açai — another Amazonian berry that's earned a place in the crowded U.S. health food market.

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The Two-Way
10:44 am
Tue July 15, 2014

NPR News Executive Leaves For Job At The Atlantic

Margaret Low Smith is leaving her post as NPR News' senior vice president to become president of AtlanticLIVE.
Stephen Voss NPR

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 12:14 pm

Margaret Low Smith, a longtime NPR executive who has served as senior vice president for news for three years, is leaving the company to become the president of The Atlantic's live events business.

"Her departure will be felt as profoundly as any in recent memory," NPR Chief Content Officer Kinsey Wilson wrote in a memo to staff Tuesday.

He added that Smith's final day at NPR will be at the end of July. She joined the company in 1982 as an overnight production assistant on Morning Edition.

Wilson added that:

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Shots - Health News
10:40 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Most Employers See A Benefit In Covering Contraceptives

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 9:32 am

Despite questions raised by the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, women in most health plans will still be able to get their birth control covered with no out-of-pocket expenses.

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The Two-Way
9:39 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Kerry Cites Progress In Iran Nuclear Talks But Says Gaps Remain

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 12:14 pm

Update at 11:59 p.m. ET

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to Washington today to brief President Obama on talks with Iran about its nuclear program, and about the possible need to extend negotiations past a July 20 deadline.

NPR's Peter Kenyon, who is reporting on the talks from Vienna, says that with just five days to go, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was showing some flexibility with Kerry and the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany.

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The Salt
8:48 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Calorie Counting Machine May Make Dieting Easier In The Future

A model of General Electric's automatic calorie counter, fitted over a plate of food.
Courtesy of GE

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 12:51 pm

Part of losing weight boils down to making tweaks to the simple equation of calories in versus calories out.

Americans spend over $60 billion a year on diet and weight loss products, according to market research, but the weight often comes right back. That may be because it's such a hassle to count calories — tracking everything you order or cook at home.

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