NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
7:27 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Judge Orders New Trial In New Orleans Bridge Shooting Case

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 8:19 pm

A federal judge ordered a new trial for five former New Orleans Police Department officers convicted in connection to the shooting deaths of two men on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans.

The shootings gained national attention because they took place during the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports the judge ordered a new trial because of the "grotesque" misconduct of federal prosecutors. The paper adds:

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The Two-Way
6:19 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Car Factories Turn Robots And Humans Into Co-Workers

A robot arm helps make engine components at a Volkswagen factory in Germany. For the first time, robots are working alongside humans without guards or other safety barriers between them.
Universal Robots

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 7:24 pm

Robots are working alongside humans on car production lines, taking what Technology Review calls "a huge step toward revolutionizing the role of robots" at car factories. Previously, robots had been seen as being too unsafe to place them shoulder-to-arm-joint with humans on the assembly line.

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The Two-Way
5:48 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Alleged Navy Yard Shooter Got Clearances Despite Troubled Past

Police say Aaron Alexis, who was killed Monday, gunned down 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.
FBI Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 6:44 pm

A day after police say a 34-year-old civilian contractor and ex-Navy reservist killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, questions are being asked about how a man with a troubled service record and signs of mental instability had clearance to be on base.

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The Two-Way
5:36 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Stephen Hawking Backs Assisted Suicide For The Terminally Ill

British scientist Stephen Hawking appears during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games in London last year.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 6:54 pm

Cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who has lived for years with the progressive and debilitating motor neuron condition known as Lou Gehrig's disease, tells the BBC that he favors assisted suicide for people with terminal illnesses.

Hawking, 71, who uses a wheelchair and speaks through a computer speech synthesizer activated by his eye movements, said: "We don't let animals suffer, so why humans?"

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The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Court OKs Forfeiture Of New York Building With Ties To Iran

The Piaget Building is seen on November 13, 2009 in New York.
Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

A decision by a federal judge paves the way for the forfeiture of a 36-story Manhattan building that the U.S. alleges is secretly owned and controlled by the government of Iran.

The court agreed with the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York that the owners are a front for the Iranian government and therefore in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which restricts commerce with Iran.

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The Two-Way
4:28 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

New Private Spacecraft Set For Mission To Resupply Space Station

An artist's rendering of the Cygnus spacecraft approaching the International Space Station.
Orbital Sciences

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 5:18 pm

The SpaceX Dragon may have gotten there first, but Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft is set to become the second private robotic ship to dock with the International Space Station after a Wednesday launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The launch is scheduled for 10:50 a.m. EDT on Wednesday from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops.

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The Salt
4:14 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Auto-Brewery Syndrome: Apparently, You Can Make Beer In Your Gut

Most of us prefer drinking fermented beverages,€” not producing them in our gut.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 6:29 pm

This medical case may give a whole new meaning to the phrase "beer gut."

A 61-year-old man — with a history of home-brewing — stumbled into a Texas emergency room complaining of dizziness. Nurses ran a Breathalyzer test. And sure enough, the man's blood alcohol concentration was a whopping 0.37 percent, or almost five times the legal limit for driving in Texas.

There was just one hitch: The man said that he hadn't touched a drop of alcohol that day.

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The Two-Way
3:22 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Wiring Damaged By Sandy Caused N.J. Boardwalk Fire

Firefighters stand at the scene of a massive fire that destroyed dozens of businesses along an iconic Jersey shore boardwalk on September 13, 2013 in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Officials said a fire that raged along the famous boardwalk in the New Jersey Shore last week was caused by faulty electrical wiring likely damaged by last year's Hurricane Sandy.

The Newark Star-Ledger reports:

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The Two-Way
2:13 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Who Was Aaron Alexis? Records Offer Clues Of Instability

The FBI is asking the public to help fill in the profile of Aaron Alexis.
FBI.gov

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 4:13 pm

Focusing only on public documents and on-the-record statements paints a complicated picture of the man police say walked into a building at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday and shot dead 12 people before being killed himself.

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The Two-Way
2:04 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Brazilian Leader Postpones State Visit Over Spying Concerns

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff attends the first working meeting of the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday.
Handout Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 7:16 pm

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Tuesday that she would not travel to the United States for a state visit on Oct. 23.

It is the first concrete diplomatic consequence of the revelations made by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed widespread spying by the U.S. government on foreigners.

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The Salt
1:23 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Golden Rice Study Violated Ethical Rules, Tufts Says

Genetically modified to be enriched with beta-carotene, golden rice grains (left) are a deep yellow. At right, white rice grains.
Isagani Serrano International Rice Research Institute

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 6:30 pm

Tufts University announced Tuesday that one of its researchers broke ethical rules while carrying out a study of genetically modified "golden rice" in China.

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Shots - Health News
1:01 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Uninsured Numbers Drop A Bit On The Eve Of Health Law Debut

Medicare coverage can be a big help for adults under 65 with disabilities.
istockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:33 am

In one last snapshot before the Affordable Care Act's health exchanges open for business, the Census Bureau reported today on the state of health insurance in 2012. And the numbers were surprisingly not that bad.

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Shots - Health News
12:51 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

15-Plus Drinks A Night: Teenagers Binge At Dangerous Heights

Beer pong and other drinking games are popular among teenagers, and play a role in binge drinking.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 1:31 pm

When teenagers drink, it's all too often all out, downing five or more beers in a session. But some teenagers are drinking even more, a study finds, boosting the upper limits of binge drinking to 15 drinks or more.

In a poll of high school seniors, 20 percent said they'd had five or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks. That's what health officials consider binge drinking.

But 10 percent said they'd had 10 or more drinks at a time, and 5.6 percent said they'd had 15 or more drinks.

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Monkey See
12:50 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Fox's 'Dads': If It Weren't Giving Offense, It Wouldn't Be Giving Anything At All

Brenda Song and Seth Green in Fox's Dads.
Jennifer Clasen Fox

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Shots - Health News
12:39 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Healthful Living May Lengthen Telomeres And Lifespans

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:22 pm

Scientists claim they have evidence that explains why lifestyle changes known to be good for you — low-fat diets, exercise, reducing stress — can lengthen your life.

Based on a small, exploratory study, researchers say these good habits work by preventing chromosomes in our cells from unraveling. Basically, they assert that healthy living can reverse the effects of aging at a genetic level.

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