NPR Blogs

The Salt
6:28 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

What's The Most Important Thing Food Labels Should Tell Us?

Illustration by Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 7:29 pm

Food labels have become battlegrounds. Just last week, voters in Washington state narrowly defeated a measure that would have required food manufacturers to reveal whether their products contain genetically modified ingredients.

Supporters of the initiative — and similar proposals in other states — say that consumers have a right to know what they're eating.

But there are lots of things we might want to know about our food. So what belongs on the label?

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Shots - Health News
5:30 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Insurers Aren't Keen On Obama's Pledge To Extend Coverage

In a White House news conference Thursday, President Obama said he had thought that "98 percent" of policyholders would see no change in their current policies, or get a better deal.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 6:53 am

Remember when President Obama said, "If you like your health plan you can keep it?" Now it's more like, "If you like your health plan you can keep it — for another year, and only if your insurance company says it's OK."

It's not clear whether the administration's proposal to let insurers extend the policies they've been canceling for the past couple of months will solve the president's political problem. But it's sure not going over very well with the insurance industry.

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The Two-Way
5:18 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Obama To Congress: 'Let's See' Before Any New Iran Sanctions

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 6:26 pm

President Obama on Thursday asked Congress to hold off on imposing any new economic sanctions on Iran to give negotiators more time to forge a deal on Tehran's nuclear program.

"My message to Congress has been that let's see if this short-term, phase-one deal can be completed to our satisfaction," Obama told reporters during a White House briefing.

"Let's test how willing they are to actually resolve this diplomatically and peacefully," he said.

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The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Denver's Smell-O-Scope Targets Marijuana's Skunky Scent

A man uses the Nasal Ranger to detect smells in the southern U.S., in this photo provided by St. Croix Sensory. In Denver, the device is being used to monitor complaints of strong marijuana smells.
Courtesy of Nasal Ranger

Recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado. But that doesn't mean residents want the air to smell like a pot rally. Denver is getting more calls to enforce an odor ordinance that can impose a buzz-killing fine on violators. To find them, the city relies on a device called the Nasal Ranger.

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The Two-Way
4:42 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Images Of Tacloban: Before And After Typhoon Haiyan

A composite image of Tacloban, Philippines, before and after Typhoon Haiyan.
Google and DigitalGlobe

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 11:53 am

Typhoon Haiyan caused widespread destruction in parts of the Philippines when it tore through on Friday. One of the hardest-hit areas was the city of Tacloban and its more than 220,000 residents. "Virtually all of the structures, if they were not made out of concrete or steel, are gone," a top U.S. military commander said.

These satellite images from Google and DigitalGlobe show how Tacloban and the Anibong district looked in February 2012 and then two days after Haiyan made landfall.

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Shots - Health News
4:26 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Oregon Shines On Medicaid, As Texas Stalls On Sign-Ups

Kyle Thompson and his family are all going to have health coverage in Oregon, thanks to the state's successful effort to enroll people in Medicaid.
Kristian Foden-Vencil

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 7:29 pm

Oregon might be seen as a complete failure or a surprising success when it comes to its health insurance exchange.

One the one hand, the state's website has yet to allow a single person to enroll. That's a big problem for the folks who are hoping to qualify for subsidies and buy insurance that will start Jan. 1.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
3:59 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

New Study Shows Brain Benefits Of Bilingualism

Telugu Talli poses for the camera during a celebration in Hyderabad, home to a study that seems to show the onset of dementia is delayed for people who speak more than one language." href="/post/new-study-shows-brain-benefits-bilingualism" class="noexit lightbox">
An Indian schoolgirl dressed as Telugu Talli poses for the camera during a celebration in Hyderabad, home to a study that seems to show the onset of dementia is delayed for people who speak more than one language.
Noah Seelam AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 3:18 pm

The largest study so far to ask whether speaking two languages might delay the onset of dementia symptoms in bilingual patients as compared to monolingual patients has reported a robust result. Bilingual patients suffer dementia onset an average of 4.5 years later than those who speak only a single language.

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The Two-Way
3:53 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Police Arrest Hundreds In Global Child Porn Sting

Toronto police say they've cracked a massive child porn network, rescuing 386 children around the world and nabbing hundreds of suspects, including teachers, clergymen and doctors.

Of the 348 people arrested worldwide, 108 were in Canada and 76 in the U.S. Project Spade, as the sweep is known, is described by Canadian police as one of the largest-ever child porn busts.

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Shots - Health News
2:44 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Bacterial Competition In Lab Shows Evolution Never Stops

The plate on the left contains about equal numbers of colonies of two different bacteria. After the bacteria compete and evolve, the lighter ones have taken the lead in the plate on the right.
Courtesy of Michael Wiser

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 10:49 am

Evolution is relentless process that seems to keep going and going, even when creatures live in a stable, unchanging world.

That's the latest surprise from a unique experiment that's been underway for more than a quarter-century.

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The Salt
2:41 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Philadelphia Children's Hospital Bars Herbs And Supplements

Dietary supplements are generally defined as vitamins, minerals, herbs and extracts. They're regulated as a unique category of food by the Food and Drug Administration.
iStockphoto.com

One of the nation's largest and oldest children's hospitals is cracking down on parents who bring their kids herbs, extracts or other dietary supplements.

In what it describes as a break from other hospitals, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, or CHOP, last month removed most dietary supplements from its list of approved medicines, and established new policies for administering them.

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The Two-Way
2:33 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Tennessee Valley Authority To Close Several Coal-Fired Plants

An air-monitoring station near the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant in Kingston, Tenn. Stations such as this one are used to monitor clean-air compliance of TVA coal-fired plants.
Wade Payne AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 4:47 pm

The Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation's largest public utility, has decided to close six coal-fired power plants in Alabama and replace two others in Kentucky with a single new natural gas station.

CEO Bill Johnson made the announcement at a Thursday board meeting in Oxford, Miss., citing stricter environmental regulations and flat demand for power.

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The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Google Says It's Getting Far More User-Data Requests From Government

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 2:11 pm

Google says the number of requests it gets from the U.S. government for user information is rising — fast.

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The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Federal Reserve Nominee Yellen Navigates Confirmation Hearing

Janet Yellen, President Obama's nominee to become the next chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, is sworn in Thursday on Capitol Hill for her confirmation hearing.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 5:58 pm

Janet Yellen cleared a key hurdle Thursday, as her confirmation hearing to become the next chair of the Federal Reserve went smoothly. There were only a few snags in roughly two hours of questions and discussions between Yellen and members of the Senate banking committee.

Many of the senators lauded Yellen's extensive experience, as well as her adherence to views they heard her discuss in private meetings on Capitol Hill in recent weeks.

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Shots - Health News
12:25 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Common Test For Bladder Infections Misses Too Many Cases

Urine tests are the gold standard for diagnosing bladder infections. But one common test, the urine culture, can easily miss infections.
Ian Hooton http://www.sciencesource.com/

Most women know all too well the pain and discomfort of a urinary tract infection. They also know they'll probably have to trek to the doctor for a urine analysis so they can get a prescription for antibiotics.

Surely there's got to be a better way.

The first step for women with a history of urinary tract infections may be skipping a standard test isn't that good at spotting bladder infections anyway.

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The Two-Way
11:33 am
Thu November 14, 2013

What Amazing Thing Did Toronto's Mayor Say Today?

Mayor Rob Ford was wearing a Toronto Argonauts football jersey when at City Hall on Thursday. He was also making some rather crude comments in response to some of the latest allegations about his behavior.
Mark Blinch Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 12:59 pm

After admitting to smoking crack, to buying illegal drugs and to more than once being in a drunken stupor, it would seem like Toronto Mayor Rob Ford couldn't say anything else that would really shock anyone.

Well ...

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