NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
5:33 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Scientists Demonstrate Leaner System For Quantum Encryption

Navajo encryption boxes seen at right in 2003 employ principles of quantum physics. The latest research has shown the ability to run larger networks with less such hardware.
Elise Amendola Associated Press

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 8:48 pm

Scientists have demonstrated the ability to scale-up an 'uncrackable' computer encryption system that utilizes quantum physics to ensure security.

The technique is based on information that is carried by photons, the basic particles of light. While it's been demonstrated on a small scale, the team headed by Andrew Shields and publishing in Nature says they've shown that up to 64 users can share a single photon detector, eliminating the need for each one to have such an (expensive) device.

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Food
5:27 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Fixing Stove Hoods To Keep Pollution Out Of The Kitchen

Cooking on gas and electric stoves can create indoor air pollution. The best way to avoid it is to buy a good range hood that vents outside, experts say.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 6:47 pm

Hot summer days often mean air pollution warnings in big cities. But the air inside your kitchen can sometimes be just as harmful. Cooking fumes from your stove are supposed to be captured by a hood over the range — but even some expensive models aren't that effective.

Jennifer Logue spends a lot of time thinking about what happens when she cooks. She's a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where she studies indoor air pollution.

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Shots - Health News
5:27 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Multitasking After 60: Video Game Boosts Focus, Mental Agility

Strenuous mental exercise like reading difficult books, solving tricky math problems — or, maybe, playing the right video game — can help keep a healthy brain sharp, research suggests.
Images.com/Corbis

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 5:22 pm

A brain that trains can stay in the fast lane. That's the message of a study showing that playing a brain training video game for a month can rejuvenate the multitasking abilities of people in their 60s, 70s and 80s.

"After training, they improved their multitasking beyond the level of 20-year-olds," says Adam Gazzaley, one of the study's authors and a brain scientist at the University of California, San Francisco.

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Shots - Health News
5:27 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Bill Clinton Steps Up To Dispel The Confusion Over Obamacare

He's back! Unabashed wonk and former president Bill Clinton detangles the health care law.
Danny Johnston Associated Press

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 5:22 pm

With the launch of the major piece of the Affordable Care Act less than a month away, the Obama administration is escalating the public relations push with one of their most effective weapons – former President Bill Clinton, now known to many as explainer in chief.

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The Salt
5:05 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

A Farm-To-Table Delicacy From Spain: Roasted Baby Pig

Roel Basalm Alim, a cook at Restaurante Botín, displays a plate of cochinillo asado, or roast suckling pig.
Lauren Frayer/NPR

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 6:52 pm

On the windswept plateau where Madrid is perched, it's too dry to raise cattle and most crops. So pork has long been a mainstay, from jamón ibérico and charcuterie tapas to stews of pigs' ears and entrails.

But when locals want a really special treat, they go for an entire piglet roasted whole — head, hooves and all — on an oak wood fire.

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The Two-Way
4:41 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Montana Prosecutors Will Appeal 30-Day Rape Sentence

Protesters gathered outside the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, Mont., on Thursday, call for the resignation of a state judge over comments he made about the teenage victim in a rape case.
Matt Brown AP

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 7:01 pm

Montana prosecutors on Wednesday decided to appeal a 30-day jail sentence given to a former teacher who admitted to raping a 14-year-old student.

District Judge G. Todd Baugh unleashed a firestorm of criticism when he issued the lenient sentence saying that the victim, who later committed suicide, "seemed older than her chronological age."

The former teacher, Stacey Dean Rambold, 54, has already begun serving his sentence.

The AP reports:

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Shots - Health News
3:45 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

The Inside Story On The Fear Of Holes

Beautiful or creepy? A recent survey found that an image of a lotus seed head makes about 15 percent of people uncomfortable or even repulsed.
tanakawho Flickr.com

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 9:25 am

Trypophobia may be moving out of the urban dictionary and into the scientific literature.

A recent study in the peer-review journal Psychological Science takes a first crack at explaining why some people may suffer from a fear of holes.

Trypophobia may be hard to find in textbooks and diagnostic manuals, but a brief Web search will show that plenty of people appear to have it.

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The Two-Way
3:33 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Senate Panel Passes Authorization For Force Against Syria

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., listens as the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, speaks before Wednesday's vote.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 8:05 pm

A Senate panel has voted to approve a resolution giving President Obama the authority to carry out punitive strikes against Syria for its use of chemical weapons.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the authorization by a 10-7 vote, with one senator voting present. The measure must be passed by a vote of the full Senate to come into force. The vote is likely to take place next week.

The vote marks the first time lawmakers have voted to authorize military action since the October 2002 vote giving President George W. Bush authority to invade Iraq.

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The Two-Way
3:16 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

U.S. Won't Enforce Laws Banning VA Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 7:03 pm

The Obama administration will stop enforcing two sections of a law that lays out benefits for U.S. veterans. The sections define marriage as between a man and woman and deny legally married same-sex couples Veterans Affairs benefits like health care and disability payments.

The Justice Department had in 2012 decided not to defend the statute in court. On Wednesday, in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, Attorney General Eric Holder explained the executive branch was going a step further.

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The Two-Way
2:39 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Economy Expanding At Moderate Rate, Fed Says

Doors for a Chevy Sonic hang on the assembly line at General Motors' Orion Assembly Plant in Lake Orion, Michigan, in 2011.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 6:59 pm

The U.S. economy held steady with "modest to moderate" growth between early July and late August, as Americans bought more cars and auto factories ramped up hiring.

The Federal Reserve's so-called Beige Book, comprising reports from 12 geographic districts around the country, showed that manufacturing activity "expanded modestly" and that several districts reported that "demand for inputs related to autos, housing, and infrastructure were strong."

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The Two-Way
2:32 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

S&P Accuses U.S. Of Suing To Retaliate For Credit Downgrade

The Justice Department claims Standard & Poor's knew that billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities were junk but still gave them positive ratings.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 6:03 pm

In a court filing, Standard & Poor's is accusing the U.S. government of using the Justice Department to retaliate for the agency's decision to downgrade U.S. debt in 2011.

The accusation by S&P was made while it tried to defend itself in a lawsuit filed against it by the U.S. government, which alleges S&P knew that billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities were junk, but still gave them positive ratings.

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The Two-Way
1:20 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

As Pentagon Adds Bombing Options, Kerry Warns Assad

As Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, "Code Pink" protesters behind him held up "bloody hands" to express their opposition to the prospect of U.S. military strikes on Syria.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 1:24 pm

"We are not asking America to go to war," Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee early Wednesday afternoon, as he and other top administration officials continued to push Congress to support President Obama's call for military strikes aimed at the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Lights Out In Venezuela; President Blames Opposition Saboteurs

Fans wait for play to resume Tuesday at a FIBA World Cup qualifying basketball game in Caracas, Venezuela. A blackout left about 70 percent of the country without electricity.
Ariana Cubillos AP

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 5:57 pm

Venezuela's President Nicholas Maduro said a massive power outage that plunged most of the country into darkness Tuesday, causing traffic chaos in the bustling capital of Caracas, was due to sabotage.

Officials said 70 percent of the country was without electricity, shutting down traffic lights and partially disrupting the underground transport system.

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The Salt
12:37 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

A Greener Way To Cool Your Foods On The Way To The Grocery Store

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 5:13 pm

Your produce and frozen foods could soon arrive at grocery stores in trucks that release fewer emissions. Researchers are developing a clean technology to keep your food cool while it travels.

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Shots - Health News
12:33 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Chronic Illnesses Outpace Infections As Big Killers Worldwide

Percentage of deaths each year due to neonatal disorders around the globe.
Courtesy of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 4:41 pm

People around the world are getting healthier and living longer.

Infectious diseases are declining around the globe. But at the same time, chronic health problems are on the rise, particularly in developing nations.

These are some of the key findings in the latest reports released by the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

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