NPR Blogs

Shots - Health News
4:01 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Congressmen Berate Sebelius For Cancellations, Website Woes

"I apologize," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday at a congressional hearing on problems with HealthCare.gov.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 5:21 pm

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius headed to Capitol Hill Wednesday for a date with lawmakers frustrated by the rocky rollout of the HealthCare.gov website.

What she got at the House Energy and Commerce Committee was four hours of venting from Democrats and Republicands alike.

Like Medicare and Medicaid chief Marilyn Tavenner a day earlier, Sebelius opened her testimony with an apology.

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The Salt
3:58 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Why Are Kids Who Get Less Candy Happier On Halloween?

Kids might be more satisfied if they get one good treat instead of one good treat and one lesser treat.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 11:03 am

What makes trick-or-treaters happy is candy. And more candy is better, right?

Well, it turns out that might not actually be the case. A few years ago researchers did a study on Halloween night where some trick-or-treaters were given a candy bar, and others were given the candy bar and a piece of bubble gum.

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The Two-Way
7:35 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Dell: 'Manufacturing Process' Made Laptops Smell Like Cat Urine

There's more than Intel inside Dell's Latitude 6430u laptop — some customers have reported a distinct and unpleasant smell emanating from the machines:

"A few weeks ago I got a new [Latitude] 6430u for work," one user called "Three West" complained on Dell's hardware support forum. "The machine is great, but it smells as if it was assembled near a tomcat's litter box. It is truly awful!"

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The Two-Way
7:10 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

U.S. Budget Deficit Falls Under $1 Trillion; Lowest Since 2008

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 7:19 pm

The U.S. government ran a deficit of $680 billion in the financial year that ended last month — the first time since 2008 that the annual shortfall has been under $1 trillion. It represents a fall from $1.09 trillion in 2012, but as the AP reports, "It's still the fifth-largest deficit of all time."

The Treasury Department announced the news along with the White House budget office Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
6:12 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Obama Vows HealthCare.gov Problems Will Be Fixed 'ASAP'

President Obama speaks Wednesday at Boston's Faneuil Hall about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Darren McCollester Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 6:23 pm

President Obama on Wednesday said he takes full responsibility for the troubled HealthCare.gov website and is determined to make sure it gets fixed "ASAP."

"The website hasn't worked the way it's supposed to in these past few weeks," he told an audience in Boston. "There's no denying it. The website is too slow ... and I'm not happy about it."

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The Two-Way
6:09 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Game 6 Of The World Series: What You Need to Know

For Game 6, the World Series returns to Boston's Fenway Park, where the home team hasn't clinched a championship since 1918. Here, Red Sox players warm up in front of the Green Monster.
Jared Wickerham Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 9:33 pm

Only one team has a chance of winning the World Series tonight in Game 6 at Fenway Park: the Boston Red Sox. The St. Louis Cardinals have a chance to lose the series — or they can kick off a two-game sweep to win it all on the road. For Boston fans, this is the first time they would be able to celebrate a home World Series win since 1918.

Game 6 begins at 8:07 p.m. ET; it's being televised by Fox. Here are the big storylines we're seeing:

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Shots - Health News
6:00 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Notices Canceling Health Insurance Leave Many On Edge

One person who got a letter canceling his health insurance was Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo. He holds up the letter during a congressional hearing Wednesday on insurance problems. He says his family chose to buy private insurance rather than use the congressional plan.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

President Obama repeated this line or a variation of it many times during the campaign to pass his landmark health care bill: "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period."

But while that might be true for people who get health insurance through their employer, it's not true for many people who buy their policies in the individual market — about 5 percent of the nation's policyholders.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
5:26 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Every Child Is Born A Scientist

To children the world is a vast experiment, a laboratory of how things interact with one another.
iStockphoto.com

This morning I had to turn the radio off. It was all about death: suicide bombers in Iraq killed 75 people; a bus exploded in India, killing 72. My 7-year-old son, sitting in the back, was horrified.

"Geez dad, and you think video games are violent?"

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The Two-Way
5:15 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Police: 'Jihadists' Detained In Tiananmen Square Car Crash

Police cars block off the roads leading into Tiananmen Square as smoke rises into the air after a vehicle crashed in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on Oct. 28.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 5:35 pm

Police in China have arrested five men described as Islamic jihadists in connection with a deadly car crash and fire that killed two tourists and injured 40 others this week in Tiananmen Square.

The incident on Monday, in which a car crashed into a bridge near the Forbidden City before three occupants set the vehicle and themselves ablaze near the iconic portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong, was described by police for the first time as a "violent terror attack" that was "carefully planned and organized."

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The Salt
5:15 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Soylent: An Offbeat Food Idea Investors Are Taking Seriously

There are people who'd rather not eat food? Yes. And Silicon Valley investors are betting they'll buy Soylent.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 3:18 pm

Back in April, we described Rob Rhinehart's experiment concocting something that could give him all the nutrition and none of the hassle of food.

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Shots - Health News
5:15 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Online Advice Can Hurt Teens At Risk For Suicide, Self-Harm

Illustration by Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 4:54 pm

If you're wondering how to conceal the wounds caused by cutting, a form of self-harm, the Internet can tell you how.

"Those long gloves, the cool stripey ones that cover half your arms, could help," advises one post on an online forum.

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The Two-Way
4:12 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

WATCH: Boy Upstages Pope's Speech

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis reads his message as a young boy plays in front of him on the stage.
AP

Protocol is a concept that's often lost on young children, and this boy — one of a group of children invited to sit near the pontiff during a speech — didn't see any reason why he shouldn't hang out for a bit with the guy in white.

Dressed in jeans, sneakers and a polo shirt, the unidentified youngster crawled up onstage and stood next to Pope Francis during a service at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican over the weekend.

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The Two-Way
3:52 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Priceless Italian Treasure Is Shown Off In Rare Exhibition

A necklace of Saint Januarius, in gold, silver and precious stones, is displayed in Rome. The riches are from a treasure trove in Naples that is said to be worth more than the British crown jewels.
Gabriel Buoys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 5:07 pm

Dazzling with diamonds, emeralds and gold, 70 pieces of treasure — said to be some of the most valuable in the world — have been transported from a vault in a Naples cathedral to a museum in Rome. They'll stay there until February, marking the first time they've ever been displayed outside of Naples.

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Shots - Health News
3:00 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

The Long List Of Health Apps Features Few Clear Winners

He's not checking your blood glucose levels. He's playing Words with Friends.
Anna Zielinska iStockphoto.com

Here at Shots we get all kinds of pitches about the latest smartphone app that promises a profound improvement in our health. But truth be told, Candy Crush gets a lot more exercise than all those medical apps we've downloaded. And it turns out we're not alone.

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The Two-Way
2:56 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

For Now, Fed Will Stand Firm On Bond Buying

The Fed pointed to a somewhat weaker housing market in recent months.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 3:36 pm

The Federal Reserve's message, at least for now, is to take a wait-and-see approach to the economy before tapering off on its bond-buying program.

In a statement issued after Wednesday's meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee said that while it has seen signs of "growing underlying strength in the broader economy" it awaits "more evidence that progress can be sustained."

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