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The Two-Way
11:50 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Report: Former Pope Benedict Says God Told Him To Resign

Pope Benedict XVI, on Saturday at the Vatican.
Andreas Solaro AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 1:58 pm

When Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI announced his retirement in February, he surprised pretty much everyone. He was, after all, the first pope to resign since Pope Gregory XII in 1415.

At the time, Benedict cited his age and diminishing strength as his reasons for resigning.

Today, we get word from the Catholic wire service Zenit that Benedict resigned because "God told [him] to."

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Shots - Health News
11:37 am
Wed August 21, 2013

An Alaska-Sized Price Difference For Circumcisions

Dr. Charles Ryan checks on a patient.
Annie Feidt

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:10 am

It's not just patients who are stunned to see what a hospital charges for services.

Two groups of pediatricians are taking a stand in Anchorage, Alaska, after learning that Alaska Regional Hospital is charging $2,110 for a circumcision — almost 10 times more than the $235 that Providence Hospital, the city's other major health facility, charges. Those prices are on top of a doctor's bill.

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The Two-Way
10:56 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Sales Of Existing Homes Rose 6.5 Percent In July

A "sale pending" sign in San Anselmo, Calif., earlier this year.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 11:22 am

There was a strong increase in sales of existing homes in July, the National Association of Realtors reports, in yet another sign that the important housing sector is back on its feet.

In fact, says The Associated Press, sales approached "a healthy level for the first time since November 2009."

According to the NAR:

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The Two-Way
10:47 am
Wed August 21, 2013

In Fort Hood, Hasan Rests His Case Without Calling Witnesses

Maj. Nidal Hasan faces 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder for the November 2009 shootings at Fort Hood, Texas.
Bell County Sheriff's Office Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 11:18 am

Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people during a 2009 shooting rampage in Fort Hood, Texas, rested his case Wednesday without calling any witnesses during his military trial.

Reuters reports:

"Hasan is acting as his own defense attorney on charges stemming from the shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:31 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Imperfection Makes The Universe Beautiful

CERN's CMS detector during the search for the Higgs boson." href="/post/imperfection-makes-universe-beautiful" class="noexit lightbox">
High-energy physics in action: an image of an event in CERN's CMS detector during the search for the Higgs boson.
CERN

To celebrate the publication of the paperback edition of my book A Tear at the Edge of Creation, I want to go back to some of its themes, given that it's been three years and a lot has happened since then. From the discovery of the Higgs boson to the rampant absence of evidence for supersymmetry, it is fair to say that the predictions in Tear have held true.

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The Two-Way
10:17 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Tech Giants Launch Internet.org, A Global Plan To Widen Access

A new project announced by Facebook seeks to make it more affordable to access the Internet via cellphones around the world. In Africa, 16 percent of the population currently uses the Internet. Here, a man looks for a network signal in Somalia.
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

Citing the billions of people worldwide who can't access the Internet, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the leaders of other technology firms are launching an ambitious project to narrow the digital divide Wednesday. The plan focuses on widening access via mobile phones.

"There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy," Zuckerberg says. "Internet.org brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making Internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it."

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The Two-Way
9:48 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Release Mubarak, Egyptian Court Orders

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sits in the dock during a June 8 court hearing in Cairo.
Amr Abdallah Dalsh Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:57 am

An Egyptian court has ordered that former President Hosni Mubarak be released from custody while he awaits a retrial on charges related to the killing of protesters during the 2011 protests that led to the toppling of his government, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Cairo.

Peter adds that even though that case and others related to corruption charges are still active, Mubarak's release would "likely spark anxiety that the military-backed government now in charge is returning Egypt to the authoritarian state it was in before the Arab Spring."

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Shots - Health News
9:19 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Teen Girls' Yen For Indoor Tans Sparks Battle Over Risks

Almost one-third of white high school girls say they seek out indoor tans.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 11:50 am

Teenage girls remain big fans of tans.

So a report in JAMA Internal Medicine that found about a third of white high school girls indulge in indoor tans wasn't exactly startling. What was a bit startling was how the tanning industry responded, saying, in effect, that we should be worrying more about skin cancer in middle-aged men, not girls.

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The Two-Way
7:24 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Book News: Barnes & Noble Founder Pulls Plug On Buyback Plan

A Barnes & Noble store in Bethel Park, Pa.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 9:19 am

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

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The Two-Way
6:41 am
Wed August 21, 2013

New Reports Of Chemical Weapons In Syria; Many May Be Dead

Free Syrian Army fighters man an anti-aircraft gun on the back of a truck in Deir al-Zor on Tuesday.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 11:14 am

(We most recently updated this post at 9:10 a.m. ET.)

"Two Syrian pro-opposition groups are claiming that dozens of people were killed Wednesday in a poisonous gas attack near Damascus," NPR's Jean Cochran reported earlier this morning on our Newscast. The groups are blaming the attack on government forces, she said.

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The Salt
3:05 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Young Farmers Break The Bank Before They Get To The Field

Eva Teague, 31, is trying to start her own pig farm in Colorado but is running into financial obstacles typical of many young farmers trying to break into the business.
Luke Runyon KUNC/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 1:29 pm

As the average age of the American farmer has crept up to 60, fewer young people are filling in the ranks behind them. That's prompted some to ask if young people even want to farm anymore.

The quick answer is yes, just not in the same numbers as they used to. And surveys indicate many of them don't want to farm in conventional ways.

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Shots - Health News
7:05 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Golden Arches: Human Feet More Flexible Than We Thought

The healthy human foot's outer arch may be more flexible than previously thought.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:22 am

The notion that sport shoes and inserts should keep the human arch stiffly supported is a decades-old assumption that could use some rethinking, according to a British gait analyst who has closely studied more than 25,000 footsteps of healthy people.

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The Two-Way
6:32 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Wildfire Forces Kick Into Highest Gear

The 2013 wildfire season hit a milestone Tuesday: Preparedness Level 5, an officious way of saying resources are stretched thin and it could quickly get worse.

Preparedness Level 5 is the highest on the national wildfire preparedness scale, which the National Interagency Fire Center uses to chart wildfire activity, the deployment and availability of firefighters and equipment and the likelihood that more big fires are coming.

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Shots - Health News
5:34 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Fla. Balks At Insurance Navigators As Obamacare Deadline Nears

The federal government has awarded about $67 million in grants to groups around the country that will help people shop for health coverage. But Florida Gov. Rick Scott says the guidelines for these so-called navigators are inadequate.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 10:02 pm

A key part of the Affordable Care Act takes effect on Oct. 1. That's when Americans shopping for health insurance can begin enrolling in the program.

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