NPR Blogs

Shots - Health News
5:39 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Congress May Be Getting Its Own Obamacare Glitch Fixed

If you worked here, you'd be worried about losing your employer-funded health insurance contributions.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 10:16 pm

As its last official action before leaving for a five-week summer break, the House today voted — for the 40th time — to block implementation of the federal health law.

But it was something that happened late Thursday night affecting members of Congress and their staffers' own health insurance that attracted more attention around the Capitol.

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Supreme Court Denies California Delay On Prisoner Release

A California Department of Corrections officer looks on as inmates at Chino State Prison exercise in the yard in 2010.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant California an extension on an order issued by the justices more than two years ago for the state to release some 10,000 inmates from its overcrowded prisons.

The high court's original May 2011 ruling held that congested conditions in the California's 33 prisons amounted to cruel and unusual punishment as defined by the Eighth Amendment. The court gave the state two years to comply with an order to free the prisoners and alleviate the overcrowding.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

House Votes To Quash Obamacare, For The 40th Time

The chamber of the House of Representatives.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 3:20 pm

The House of Representatives voted Friday to suppress President Obama's signature legislative accomplishment for the 40th time since the law was passed in 2010.

The vote to gut the Affordable Care Act — or Obamacare — was a near-party-line 232-185 vote. And like the previous 39 times, this is a symbolic vote, because the Democratic-controlled Senate will not take up the measure.

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Shots - Health News
3:13 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Could Hotter Temperatures From Climate Change Boost Violence?

A police officer guards Cambodia's famed temple of Angkor Wat. The powerful city-state collapsed in 1431 after suffering through two decades of droughts.
Heng Sinith AP

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 3:48 pm

Rates of homicide and other violent crimes often spike in cities during heat waves. People get cranky. Tempers flare.

So as the Earth gets hotter because of climate change, will it also become more violent?

Many scientists have thought so. And now a team of economists offers the first quantitative estimates for just how much weather changes might amplify human conflict.

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The Two-Way
1:02 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Ohio: 75 Police Officers Face Punishment In Deadly Car Chase

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 9:04 am

Dozens of police officers acted outside the rules and could be disciplined for their role in a massive car chase in Cleveland last fall, according to city leaders, after an official review of the 19-mile pursuit that resulted in two deaths. The review found that 13 officers fired 137 shots. The fleeing driver, Timothy Russell, and his passenger, Malissa Williams, were killed.

Update at 9 a.m. ET, Monday Aug. 5: 75, Not 74, Officers Involved

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Shots - Health News
12:46 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

That Face-Lift May Buy You Only Three Years Of Youth

Plastic surgeons tend to say a patient is going to look "refreshed," not younger.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 3:48 pm

The lighting in the NPR newsroom isn't doing me any favors. Maybe it's time to get some "work" done? Then again, cosmetic surgery makes people look only about three years younger and no more attractive, according to a study that tries to add some objectivity to a very subjective field of medicine.

The researchers took before and after photos of 49 people who underwent facial cosmetic surgery at a private practice in Toronto. The patients ranged in age from 42 to 73. Some had face-lifts and neck-lifts; others had brow-lifts or had their eyelids done.

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The Two-Way
12:41 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

WATCH: So Cute! Baby Elephant Splashes In Kiddie Pool

A 300-pound baby playing in a pool.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 4:14 pm

We'll get back to the real news, soon enough. But right now, we're pausing for a moment of cute.

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The Two-Way
12:17 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Whitey Bulger Decides Not To Take The Stand

James "Whitey" Bulger, in an image released by the U.S. Marshal's Service in August 2011.
EPA /Landov

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 12:18 pm

One of the most anticipated testimonies in a criminal trial will not happen: James "Whitey" Bulger, the notorious Boston gangster, decided not to testify in his own defense, today.

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The Two-Way
11:49 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Nepal To Clamp Down On Everest Expeditions

Mountaineers on the summit of Mount Everest in May.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 12:54 pm

The Nepalese government says it will tightly monitor next year's ascents of Mount Everest after an embarrassing high-altitude brawl in April between a European climbing team and their Sherpa guides.

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The Two-Way
11:18 am
Fri August 2, 2013

State Department Issues Worldwide Travel Alert

The State Department issued a worldwide travel alert Friday, warning of potential terrorist attacks.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 6:28 pm

The U.S. State Department has issued a worldwide travel alert because of an al-Qaida threat that is particularly significant in the Middle East and North Africa.

"Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August," State said in a statement. "This Travel Alert expires on August 31, 2013."

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The Salt
11:11 am
Fri August 2, 2013

FDA Approves Gluten-Free Label

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 5:01 pm

The Food and Drug Administration issued Friday the first legally binding rules for what food companies can legally label "gluten-free."

The rules should help millions of Americans who can't tolerate gluten in their diet.

Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley and rye. Bakers appreciate its gluey texture for making bread. But when people with celiac disease eat it, it causes their immune systems to attack their small intestines.

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The Two-Way
11:07 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Giant Lion May Be King Of All Football Field Logos

At 50 yards wide, a new lion dominates the new field at Texas A&M University-Commerce's Memorial Stadium.
Lion Athletics

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 11:28 am

"That's a big ol' lion." How else to describe the new golden cat on the field at Texas A&M University-Commerce's Memorial Stadium that stretches from sideline to sideline, dominating the area between the 25-yard lines?

That description of the giant cat, which may be the largest on-field logo in America, comes from Mark Haslett of NPR member station KETR, which is based at the school in eastern Texas.

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Monkey See
10:58 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Rushing The Revolution: Television Is Disrupted! (Sort Of)

Vasca iStockphoto.com

Television is in the middle of a cataclysmic upheaval, in which there's no more season or midseason, no more requirement that a series run for 22 episodes at a time, no more stigma surrounding film actors going to television, no more assumption that television is watched on a television, no more assumption that people watch things when they're on, an explosive presence for social media that unites fans, and a growing sense on the part of a lot of people that television is pulling just as much of the cultural storytelling weight as film.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:55 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Why Dentists Should Fear Snails

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 4:30 pm

She was 34, on a trip to Europe, got sick from a flu or maybe it was a virus, had to lie down and stay in bed — for months and months. A friend brought her a snail. You might enjoy its company, she was told.

"Why, I wondered, would I enjoy a snail?," Elisabeth Tova Bailey asks in her book The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. "What on earth would I do with it?"

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The Two-Way
10:25 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Postmaster: We Photograph Your Mail, But Not To Snoop

A 2002 photo of the San Francisco Processing and Distribution Center.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 11:32 am

The head of the U.S. Postal Service has acknowledged that every piece of domestic mail is photographed for processing and that the information is sometimes made available to law enforcement, according to The Associated Press.

In an interview with the news agency, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says that exterior images of individual pieces of mail are snapped at some 200 processing facilities around the country primarily for sorting purposes, but that the images have been used "a couple of times" by law enforcement to trace letters in criminal cases.

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