NPR Blogs

13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:44 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Can Science Explain Everything?

Is science more like a pyramid, or a sun-dappled patch of ground?
Fayez Nureldine AFP/Getty Images

Is science complete and unitary? Does it offer an overarching and all-inclusive description of reality, reaching from the foundations of space-time to the self-illuminating capacities of consciousness? This question strikes at the heart of much of the debate between science and religion as atheists argue that the explanatory powers of science make religion irrelevant. Stepping beyond the forever-contentious arena of science vs. religion, the question of completeness stands at the center of hard-core philosophical debates about the nature of world and our access to it.

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The Two-Way
10:41 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation Names New CEO

Susan Desmond-Hellmann, the chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, will be next chief executive officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world with a $40 billion endowment.

The AP reports that the foundation has been looking for a CEO since Jeff Raikes announced his retirement in September.

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The Two-Way
10:06 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Many Steps, Many Countries To Get Chemicals Out Of Syria

Norwegian marines patrol the waters around the Norwegian frigate HNOMS Helge Ingstad, which was docked in Cyprus over the weekend. The frigate, and the Danish warship HDMS Esbern Snare, will escort Danish and Norwegian cargo ships transporting Syria's most dangerous chemical weapons.
Pavlos Vrionides AP
  • On 'Morning Edition': Tom Goldman explains how chemicals will be removed from Syria

With the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons expected to on Tuesday unveil its final plan for how to rid Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime of its chemical weapons, NPR's Tom Bowman has looked at how the deadly ingredients will be removed even as Syria's civil war continues to rage.

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The Two-Way
9:56 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Six U.S. Soldiers Reported Killed In Afghan Crash

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 11:11 am

The crash of a military aircraft Tuesday in Afghanistan killed six members of the International Security Assistance Force who were on board, military officials say, and NPR's Tom Bowman has been told by military sources in a position to know that all six were Americans.

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The Two-Way
9:53 am
Tue December 17, 2013

India-U.S. Row Over Diplomat's Arrest In New York Escalates

Indian workers remove Tuesday a barricade that had been erected as a safety measure outside the main entrance of U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. The move follows the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York.
Saurabh Das AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 8:03 am

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

At issue is the arrest last week of Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York.

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Shots - Health News
9:42 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Medicare Names Best And Worst Hospitals For Joint Replacements

Before you have get a new hip, you might want to check the government's list of best and worst hospitals for the operation.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 9:58 am

Around a million people get hip or knee replacements a year, and those operations cost Medicare and private insurers a lot of money. For the first time, the federal government is evaluating how good a job individual hospitals are doing.

Medicare has identified 95 hospitals where elderly patients were more likely to suffer significant setbacks and another 97 hospitals where patients tended to have the smoothest recoveries. (It's a long list that you can sift through here.)

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The Two-Way
9:27 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Florida School Named After KKK Grand Wizard Will Get New Name

Confederate general Nathan B. Forrest.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 1:53 pm

After decades of blistering debate about the balance between honoring Southern history and glorifying slavery and white supremacy, the Duval County School Board in Jacksonville, Fla., voted unanimously on Monday to rename Nathan B. Forrest High School.

Forrest is a polarizing figure from the Civil War era. Forrest was considered a succesful and fearless general, but it was also Forrest and his men who, after overpowering Union forces in Fort Pillow, near Memphis, went on to execute black soldiers after they had surrendered.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:53 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Why We Need Grandpas And Grandmas (Part 1)

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 5:55 pm

Oldsters, it turns out, matter. They matter a lot. And not just in human families. I've been reading a new book called The Once and Future World, by J. B. MacKinnon, which points out that when we humans hunt game, when we fish the sea, we often prize the biggest animals because they have the biggest tusks, or the most protein, so they're the ones we kill first.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Edward Snowden Seeks 'Permanent Political Asylum'

Edward Snowden, seen during a video interview with The Guardian.
Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 1:24 pm

Updated at 11:04 a.m.

Edward Snowden says "permanent political asylum" will give him the freedom to talk about U.S. surveillance programs.

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The Two-Way
8:03 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Book News: Was Gollum Done In By Vitamin D Deficiency?

Gollum: Maybe if he took a daily vitamin, improved his diet and got outside more he'd have done better.
Warner Bros. AP

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

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt And KISS Are In The Rock Hall

Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain in 1993. He took his own life in 1994.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 8:23 am

We can stop wagging our tongues about KISS not being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The hall says its 2014 inductees are:

-- Cat Stevens

-- Peter Gabriel

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The Salt
3:15 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Forget Golf Courses: Subdivisions Draw Residents With Farms

The Bucking Horse subdivision in Fort Collins, Colo., will include a working CSA farm, complete with historic barn, farm house and chicken coop.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 10:00 am

When you picture a housing development in the suburbs, you might imagine golf courses, swimming pools, rows of identical houses.

But now, there's a new model springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement: Farms — complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees — are serving as the latest suburban amenity.

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The Two-Way
7:39 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Country Singer, Bandleader Ray Price Dies At 87

Ray Price performs during Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival 2010 held at The Empire Polo Club on April 24, 2010 in Indio, California.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 9:04 pm

Singer-bandleader Ray Price, who had more than 100 country hits in his decades-long career, has died at the age of 87 of complications related to pancreatic cancer, his family said.

Price was a Grammy Award winner and a Country Music Hall of Fame inductee (1996).

Quoting family members, The Associated Press writes:

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The Two-Way
5:33 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Pastor Says He Will Minister To Gays Even If He's Defrocked

The Rev. Frank Schaefer, a United Methodist clergyman convicted of breaking church law for officiating at his son's same-sex wedding, enters a news conference at the Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia on Monday.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:06 pm

A Methodist minister in Pennsylvania who was suspended after defying church authorities by presiding over his gay son's wedding has vowed to continue his work as a clergyman even if he is defrocked.

NPR's John Burnett reports that the Rev. Frank Schaefer was convicted in a church trial last month of violating the Methodist Book of Discipline — which opposes gay marriage — and given a 30-day suspension.

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