NPR Blogs

The Salt
6:35 am
Sun November 17, 2013

MSG, Seasoned For A Comeback

According to legend, Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda discovered the food additive monosodium glutamate in 1908 after contemplating the meaty flavor of seaweed soup.
Jung K Oh iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 4:20 pm

Umami, that savory fifth taste — in addition to bitter, sour, sweet and salty — has become a sought-after flavor in the culinary scene.

Not quite so beloved is the umami additive monosodium glutamate — MSG, as it's more popularly known. For decades it's been vilified, maligned and, some say, misunderstood.

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The Salt
6:35 am
Sun November 17, 2013

'Anything That Moves' Explores America's Extreme Food Culture

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun November 17, 2013 4:20 pm

Author Dana Goodyear has spent a lot of time dining with foodies who champion bugs as a meal. And horses. And brains. Whales. Leaves. Weeds. Ash. Hay. Even plain dirt.

Goodyear, a staff writer for The New Yorker, set out to document the outer bounds of the extreme food culture that has taken hold among American foodies. Their quest for ever more exotic, challenging ingredients, she says, is raising fundamental questions about the nature of food itself and the assumptions that underlie what we view as acceptable to eat.

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The Two-Way
5:25 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

That Clam In Your Chowder Might Be Hundreds Of Years Old

Mike Cardew MCT/Landov

First we heard on Morning Edition that a clam scientists had opened up turned out to have been 507 years old.

That led us to stories with headlines like this: "Scientists accidentally kill world's oldest animal at age 507."

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The Two-Way
3:50 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

Holy Heartwarmer! No One Can Seem To Get Enough Of Batkid

The little cape crusader's fans were out on Friday in San Francisco.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 4:44 pm

One day after San Francisco was turned into Gotham City so that a little boy who battled leukemia could fight off some archcriminals, fans still can't seem to get enough of Miles Scott, a.k.a. Batkid.

Just explore #batkid on Twitter and you'll see what we mean.

The news networks also can't leave the story alone.

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Shots - Health News
3:25 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

New Medical Device Treats Epilepsy With A Well-Timed Zap

The device sits under a patient's skull and tracks brain activity.
Courtesy of NeuroPace

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 9:35 am

Imagine a tiny computer embedded under your scalp that's constantly tracking your brain activity and zapping you when it senses something awry.

That might sound like science fiction, but a medical device that does that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an option for people with epilepsy that's resistant to treatment with drugs.

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The Two-Way
2:35 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

Body Of Florida Man Who Fell From Plane May Have Been Found

The sky above the Atlantic Ocean near Miami. What happened up there?
Arthur Mitchell Landov

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 4:30 pm

One important clue to solving the mystery of what happened this week over the Atlantic Ocean near Miami may have been discovered:

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The Two-Way
1:47 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

U.S. Soldier Accused Of Murder In Deaths Of Deaf Iraqi Boys

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 4:13 pm

A U.S. Army sergeant who in 2007 allegedly shot and killed two unarmed deaf Iraqi boys who had no known ties to the insurgents then battling American forces, has now been charged with two counts of premeditated murder.

The story of what Sgt. 1st Class Michael Barbera allegedly did was spelled out in detail last December by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. An online version of the newspaper's 8-page report is posted here. It began its package of stories this way:

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The Two-Way
12:47 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

Princeton Meningitis Cases Spur Emergency Import Of Vaccine

Princeton University's Nassau Hall.
DANIEL HULSHIZER AP

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 3:48 pm

A seventh case since March of bacterial meningitis among students at New Jersey's Princeton University has federal health officials considering the use of "an emergency vaccine," The Star-Ledger writes.

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The Two-Way
11:49 am
Sat November 16, 2013

As He Retires, Cricket Superstar Gets India's Highest Honor

Students in Ahmadabad, India, honored cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar in their own way earlier this week.
Siddharaj Solanki AP

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 3:42 pm

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The Two-Way
10:43 am
Sat November 16, 2013

Suicide Bombing Causes Multiple Deaths In Afghanistan

An Afghan police officer stands near some of the wreckage after Saturday's suicide bombing in Kabul.
Anja Niedringhaus AP

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 3:37 pm

A suicide bombing Saturday in Kabul, Afghanistan, near the site where elders will meet next week to debate a security pact with the U.S. caused multiple deaths and injuries, NPR's Sean Carberry tells our Newscast Desk.

He reports that:

"The huge blast destroyed cars and shops and scattered debris for more than 100 yards. Witnesses describe seeing injured and dead civilians being pulled from the scene. Afghan officials claim the bomber was under surveillance and exploded his vehicle when stopped at the checkpoint."

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The Two-Way
10:00 am
Sat November 16, 2013

How'd They Do That? Jean-Claude Van Damme's 'Epic Split'

The easy part: Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme before the trucks started backing up and he did his "epic split."
Volvo Trucks

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 3:31 pm

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The Two-Way
8:28 am
Sat November 16, 2013

Estimate Of Number Left Homeless By Typhoon Soars

Patients injured during Typhoon Haiyan lie in the halls of the Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban, the Philippines. Despite severe damage to the ground floor and the loss of the roof, the staff of the hospital keep treating patients.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 5:05 pm

Update at 4:55 p.m. ET. Estimate Of Those Displaced Soars:

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The Two-Way
6:18 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

EPA Proposes Reducing Ethanol Requirements For 2014

The EPA proposes reducing the requirement for ethanol-blended gasoline.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Bowing to industry complaints, the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed cutting back the amount of renewable fuels, such as corn-based ethanol, that refiners must blend with gasoline.

The draft rule would roll back the 2014 requirement for renewables from 18.15 billion gallons to between 15 billion and 15.52 billion gallons.

According to Bloomberg:

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The Two-Way
6:15 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

JPMorgan Will Pay $4.5 Billion To Investors Of Toxic Securities

JPMorgan Chase & Co. says it will pay a $4.5 billion settlement to investors over mortgage-backed securities.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay $4.5 billion to settle claims from investors who lost money on mortgage-backed securities that went sour as the U.S. housing market imploded.

The settlement is with 21 institutional investors and is separate from the $13-billion-dollar agreement reached last month with the Department of Justice to settle civil charges related to wrongdoing by some of JPMorgan's units.

In Friday's deal, Reuters says:

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The Two-Way
5:52 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Holy Empathy! Batkid Lives Superhero Dream In San Francisco

Miles Scott, dressed as Batkid, talks strategy with Batman before saving a woman from peril in San Francisco on Friday. The Make-A-Wish Foundation turned San Francisco into Gotham City for Miles, creating a daylong event to grant the leukemia survivor's wish to be a superhero.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 6:50 pm

Friday was a busy day in the crime-fighting world. As a superhero might say, you never know when a dastardly plot will emerge. And sometimes you're outnumbered. But not in Gotham, and not today — because an entire city seemed to stand with Batkid, aka a 5-year-old boy named Miles, whose wish to be a superhero has been granted.

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