NPR Blogs

Shots - Health News
4:53 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Cold Weather Tips To Keep Your Pets In Good Health

Courtney Martin jogs through the snow with her dog, Theodore, in St. Louis. Missourians and their pets muddled through another frigid day Tuesday.
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 8:00 pm

Here I sit shivering, wishing I were a dog or cat to get through this cold snap.

A built-in fur coat, no commute and maybe some quality time by the fireplace. What could go wrong?

Quite a few things, it turns out.

The friendly animal lovers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's Ryan Hospital report seeing a few wintery problems for pets in the ER over the last few days. Some you might not have expected.

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

With Department Steeped In Scandal, L.A. County Sheriff Will Retire

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca announces his unexpected retirement on Tuesday in Los Angeles, Calif.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 6:55 pm

With his department steeped in scandal, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca announced he would retire at the end of the month.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Baca said he would not seek reelection for a fifth term as sheriff.

"The reasons for doing so are so many. Some are most personal and private, but the prevailing one is the negative perception this upcoming campaign has brought to the exemplary service provided to the men and women of the Sheriff's Department," Baca said.

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The Two-Way
4:39 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Ex-Defense Secretary Gates Takes Aim At Obama In New Book

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Obama salute during a farewell ceremony for Gates on June 30, 2011.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 6:37 pm

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in a book due out later this month, describes President Obama as "a man of personal integrity" who nonetheless was skeptical of his administration's "surge" strategy in Afghanistan and openly distrustful of the military leadership, The Washington Post and

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
3:51 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

GMOs And The Dilemma Of Bias

A field of transgenic soybeans, resistant to drought and salinity, in Argentina.
Juan Mabromata AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 7:20 pm

We have taken on the issue of science and politics a lot in this blog. As a culture saturated with science, one of the most pressing issues we face is how to evaluate research when its conclusions challenge our world-views. This is certainly the issue with climate change, where Al Gore's championing the case for climate action galvanized many against it.

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Shots - Health News
3:48 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Mindfulness Meditation Can Help Relieve Anxiety And Depression

Western medicine has questioned the medical benefits of meditation.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:38 am

People are increasingly turning to mindfulness mediation to manage health issues, and meditation classes are being offered through schools and hospitals.

But doctors have questioned whether this ancient Eastern practice really offers measurable health benefits. A fresh review of the evidence should help sort that out.

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The Two-Way
2:26 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Venezuelan Beauty Queen, Telenovela Star Killed In Robbery

The former Miss Venezuela and telenovela star Mónica Spear and her husband were killed after gunman opened fire during what police say was an attempted robbery in Venezuela on Tuesday.

The AP reports:

"It said the couple's 5-year-old daughter was in stable condition after getting medical attention for unspecified injuries."

"The family lived in the United States and was on vacation. Local news reports said they were awaiting a tow truck."

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Shots - Health News
2:23 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Drinking Too Much? Don't Count On Your Doctor To Ask

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Most of the people who have problems with drinking aren't alcoholics, and having a brief chat with a doctor is often all it takes to prompt excessive drinkers to cut back.

But, it turns out, doctors aren't bringing the topic up. More than 80 percent of adults say they've never discussed alcohol use with a health professional, a survey finds.

Young people and binge drinkers were most likely to be asked about alcohol use, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The Two-Way
2:17 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Extreme Cold Convinces Escaped Convict To Give Up: VIDEO

Robert Vick, in an undated photo provided by Kentucky Department of Corrections. After a cold night and day, he asked to be put back in prison.
AP

Sunday night, 42-year-old Robert Vick escaped from the minimum security Blackburn Correction Complex in Kentucky.

By Monday evening, he'd apparently had enough of the sub-zero temperatures gripping the Bluegrass State and much of the rest of the nation. Vick showed up at the office of the Sunset Motel in Lexington and asked the clerk to call the authorities.

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Monkey See
1:20 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

A Hong Kong Film Titan, With A Reach Well Beyond His Roots

Run Run Shaw, pictured with his wife and daughter in London, was knighted in 1978 for his philanthropic endeavors.
Central Press Getty Images

The Hong Kong entertainment magnate and philanthropist Run Run Shaw, who died today at 106 or 107, isn't that well known in the West. But his fans, from Quentin Tarantino to the Wu-Tang Clan, sure are.

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The Two-Way
12:59 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Scores Of Retired NYC Officers, Firefighters Charged In Fraud Case

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 6:16 pm

Eighty former New York City police officers and firefighters were charged on Tuesday in connection to a fraudulent scheme that prosecutors allege led to undeserved Social Security payments.

Authorities said the public servants falsely claimed that their actions in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, left them unable to work because of psychiatric conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

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The Two-Way
12:48 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

U.N. Suspends Counting Deaths In Syria's Civil War

Syrians inspect the rubble of destroyed buildings following a government airstrike in Aleppo, in this image provided Monday that was taken by a citizen journalist.
AP

The United Nations says it can no longer verify the death toll in Syria's civil war and, as of Tuesday, will leave the figure at 100,000, where it stood in late July.

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The Two-Way
12:22 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

What Is The Polar Vortex And Why Is It Doing This To Us?

Ice has built up along Lake Michigan in Chicago as temperatures have plunged in recent days. A dip in the polar vortex is to blame.
Scott Olson Getty Images
  • On 'Morning Edition': science writer Andrew Freedman talks with NPR's David Greene about the polar vortex

We've mentioned the polar vortex several times in recent days.

We've said, for instance, that it's "a low pressure system that's usually whirling around the North Pole but has weakened and come south."

But we're still getting asked this question:

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The Two-Way
12:13 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Frolicking Fido, Cozy Cats: How Your Pets Are Chilling Out

Izzy Haywood/Instagram

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 11:10 am

We asked you for photos of how your pets are dealing with the frigid weather — and you folks sure did deliver. Here are some of the images you tagged #nprfrostypaws on Instagram.

Just a reminder, though, that we are seeing record-breaking low temperatures in some places, so please keep your pets warm.

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The Salt
11:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Smithfield Prods Its Pork Suppliers To Dump Pig Crates

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 4:55 pm

Smithfield, the world's largest hog and pork buyer, announced Tuesday that it's asking the independent farmers with whom it has contracts to get rid of stalls for pregnant sows to improve the animals' living conditions.

To nudge these farmers to make the changes to their facilities by 2022, Smithfield is offering to extend their contracts once they've converted their gestational stalls into group houses, which are generally considered more humane.

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The Two-Way
11:42 am
Tue January 7, 2014

First Batch Of Chemical Weapons Material Shipped Out Of Syria

The first batch of chemical weapons material from Syria's stockpile has been loaded onto a Danish commercial ship and is now in international waters, a United Nations official said Tuesday.

Sigrid Kaag, special coordinator for the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told reporters that the ship was loaded with "priority chemicals," that eventually will be destroyed.

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