NPR Blogs

The Salt
12:07 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Soil, Weedkillers And GMOs: When Numbers Don't Tell The Whole Story

Farm statistics: usually illuminating ... occasionally misleading.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 4:12 pm

I love numbers. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but I think a good bar graph can be worth a thousand pictures.

But three times in the past few days, I've come across statistics in reputable-looking publications that made me stop and say, "Huh?"

I did some investigating so you don't have to. And indeed, the numbers don't quite tell the story that they purport to tell.

So here goes: My skeptical inquiry into statistics on herbicide use, soil erosion, and the production of fruits and nuts.

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The Two-Way
11:42 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Boston Bombing Survivors Will Be Guests At State Of The Union

An emergency responder and volunteers, including Carlos Arredondo, in the cowboy hat, push Jeff Bauman in a wheelchair after he was injured in one of two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 4:53 pm

The White House began releasing the guest list for President Obama's State of the Union speech on Tuesday.

As The Boston Globe reports, sitting with first lady Michelle Obama will be two survivors of the bombing at the Boston Marathon last year.

The paper reports:

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The Two-Way
11:39 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Relic Containing Pope John Paul II's Blood Stolen

Pope John Paul II in 1982
Hulton Archive Getty Images

One of only three known containers holding what's said to be Pope John Paul II's blood was stolen over the weekend from a small church in the mountains of Italy's central Abruzzo region.

According to the BBC, the thief or thieves "left the collection box, but took a crucifix and the priceless relic, which contains a piece of gauze once soaked in the blood of the late pope."

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Monkey See
11:15 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Pharrell Williams And The Power Hat

Pharrell Williams wore an unexpected piece of headgear to Sunday's Grammy Awards.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

When folks first saw Pharrell Williams in this hat at the Grammy Awards, there were a couple of obvious references. Smokey The Bear was probably the one I heard the most. Well, that and Arby's. And Mounties.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:57 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Must Science Murder Its Darlings?

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 11:56 am

"The great tragedy of Science," wrote Thomas Henry Huxley, is "the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact."

Of course, part of what makes science so powerful is its very willingness to see its darlings go by the wayside. New facts come in, new ideas emerge and once-valued notions make their way from science texts to history books.

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The Two-Way
10:46 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Book News: Caldecott For 'Locomotive'; Newbery For 'Flora & Ulysses'

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 12:18 pm

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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The Two-Way
9:56 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Egypt's El-Sissi Promoted, Military Says He Should Run For President

Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in April 2013, when he was a general and defense minister.
Jim Watson AP

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 1:58 pm

Update at 1:53 p.m. ET. El-Sissi Should Run For President:

NPR's Leila Fadel sends us this update from Cairo:

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces says that Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi should heed the calls of the people to run for president and that el-Sissi is free act as his conscience guides him. El-Sissi hasn't explicitly declared but what is clear is he will run for president.

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The Two-Way
8:34 am
Mon January 27, 2014

UPDATED: Ukrainian President Offers To 'Scrap' Anti-Protest Law

A protester guards a barricade in Kiev, Ukraine, on Monday.
Darko Vojinovic AP

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 5:29 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Kiev

Update at 5:23 p.m. ET. President Offers To Scrap Anti-Protest Law:

As the protests continued, Ukraine's president made another concession on Monday: He said he would scrap a law that made protesting illegal. The law fueled already violent protests and helped them spread into areas of the country that were loyal to President Viktor Yanukovych.

The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Mon January 27, 2014

VIDEO: Grammy Highlights, Including A Bit Of Paul And Ringo

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 7:57 am

Our friends at Monkey See and The Record covered Sunday night's Grammy awards from start to finish, so we won't repeat their good work.

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Shots - Health News
3:35 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Silencing Many Hospital Alarms Leads To Better Health Care

Amanda Gerety, a staff nurse at Boston Medical Center, checks monitors that track patients' vital signs. Fewer beeps means crisis warnings are easier to hear, she says.
Richard Knox NPR

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 9:46 am

Go into almost any hospital these days and you'll hear a constant stream of beeps and boops. To most people it sounds like medical Muzak.

But to doctors and nurses, it's not just sonic wallpaper. Those incessant beeps contain important coded messages.

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Shots - Health News
3:31 am
Mon January 27, 2014

How Parents And The Internet Transformed Clubfoot Treatment

Alice Snyder, with her parents Mary and Ryan, during a checkup with Dr. John Herzenberg, who treated her clubfoot without surgery.
Jenny Gold Kaiser Health News

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 7:35 am

Mary Snyder found out at her 19-week ultrasound that her unborn baby had clubfoot. Both of the fetus's feet were completely turned inward, forming the twisted U-shape typical of clubfoot.

The condition is one of the most common birth defects, affecting about 1 out of every 1,000 babies, but that was little comfort to Snyder.

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The Two-Way
4:39 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Heinrich Himmler's Private Letters Published In German Newspaper

Heinrich Himmler (left) and Adolf Hitler (third from left) observe Stormtroop maneuvers in January 1941.
Keystone Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 6:00 pm

"The Handwriting of a Mass Murderer" is how Germany's Die Welt newspaper bills its eight-part series featuring excerpts of Heinrich Himmler's personal letters accompanied by family photos, which are reportedly being published for the first time.

(An English-language version is here.)

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The Two-Way
3:35 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Hospital In Texas Removes Life Support From Brain-Dead Woman

Timm Hobbs, along with his two sons, Keegan and Layton, were part of a group near John Peter Smith Hospital supporting the decision of JPS in the case of Marlise Munoz and her baby earlier this month.
Ben Noey Jr. MCT/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 10:08 am

A Fort Worth, Texas, woman who was 14 weeks pregnant when she was found unconscious and brain-dead after suffering a pulmonary embolism, has been taken off life support after a weeks-long court battle by the hospital to keep the ventilator on.

A ventilator that had kept Marlise Munoz's heart and lungs functioning for two months was switched off at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, a family attorney said.

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The Two-Way
1:46 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Deal Gives Women, Children Safe Passage From Besieged Syrian City

A child clears damage and debris in the besieged area of Homs on Sunday.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 2:17 pm

Syrian peace talks in Geneva have produced their first tangible result — an agreement to allow women and children to escape the city of Homs, which has been under government siege for more than a year.

"What we have been told by the government side is that women and children in the besieged area of the old city are welcome to leave immediately," Brahimi told reporters.

Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad confirmed the agreement, but said it was "armed groups" that were preventing their movement.

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