NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
8:52 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Sold! First Parcels Auctioned For Future Offshore Wind Farms

The offshore wind farm in the North Sea near Borkum, Germany, is nearly complete. The Riffgat facility, seen here on June 23, includes 30 turbines, each with a generating capacity of 3.6 megawatts.
David Hecker Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 6:01 pm

A Rhode Island company was the highest bidder in the federal government's first-ever auction for the right to build an offshore wind farm.

After 11 rounds, Deepwater Wind outbid two other companies for two patches of ocean off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The winning bid was $3.8 million.

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The Two-Way
7:30 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

House Votes To Cut Student Loan Rate, Sends Bill To Obama

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 8:08 pm

The Republican-controlled House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill to cut the cost of borrowing for federal student loans, sending the measure to President Obama for his signature.

The bill, which had easily passed the Democratic-controlled Senate last week, would retroactively cut higher rates — which on July 1 had jumped to at least 6.8 percent.

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The Two-Way
7:01 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

NSA Chief To Hackers: Analysts Don't Abuse Their Power

U.S. Army Gen. Keith Alexander, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National Security Agency (NSA), testifies during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, on Wednesday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

The director of the National Security Agency faced a tough crowd at the premier yearly gathering of hackers in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Army Gen. Keith Alexander gave the keynote address at the Black Hat USA convention on the same day the British newspaper The Guardian published more details on a top-secret program that collects vast amount of data transmitted over the Internet.

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The Two-Way
5:04 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Reports: Major League Baseball Warns Players Union Of Suspensions

Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees in the dugout of the team's minor league affiliate Charleston River Dogs during a July 2 game in Charleston, S.C.
Streeter Lecka Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 7:31 pm

According to several news reports, Major League Baseball has given the players union a list of those facing suspensions because of doping.

In truth, this is another pit stop in the long march toward what is rumored to be the suspension of some of baseball's A-listers. Of course, the biggest target is rumored to be Alex Rodriguez.

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The Salt
4:52 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

For The Love Of Beer: How Empty Cans Made A House A Home

The Beer Can House in Houston in 2011. It's estimated that more than 50,000 beer cans were used to cover the entire house.
Bill Rand Flickr

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 6:34 pm

At first, all John Milkovisch wanted in 1968 was a covered patio where he could drink his beer at the end of the day. But a bigger idea was brewing. For years, he had been saving his empty beer cans.

"While I was building the patio I was drinking the beer," he said in an interview in 1983. "I knew I was going to do something with them aluminum cans because that was what I was looking for ... but I didn't know what I was going to do." (Milkovisch died in 1988.)

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Shots - Health News
4:13 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Potential Treatment For Snakebites Leads To A Paralyzing Test

The bite of a cobra can paralyze its victims and, if enough venom is released, fatally stop their breathing. It's estimated that more than 75 percent of patients in India who die from a snake's bite never make it to the hospital.
STRDEL AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 11:38 am

Each year, as many as 125,000 people around the world die from venomous snakebites, often because they live in remote, rural areas and didn't get to a hospital in time to get treatment. Toxins in the venom of snakes like cobras and kraits slowly paralyze their victims, who ultimately die of suffocation.

A San Francisco emergency room physician says he may have the beginnings of a workaround that could fend off paralysis and save many of those lives.

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Shots - Health News
3:25 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Nurse Charged With Assisting In Her Father's Death

Barbara Mancini with her father, Joe Yourshaw.
Barbara Mancini via Compassion & Choices

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 6:22 pm

A Philadelphia nurse has been charged with assisted suicide for allegedly providing her 93-year-old father with a lethal dose of morphine.

Authorities say Barbara Mancini, 57, told a hospice nurse and a police officer on Feb. 7 that she provided a vial of morphine to her father, Joe Yourshaw, to hasten his death.

Mancini and her attorneys acknowledge she handed the medication to her father, but maintain she never said she intended to help him end his life and was only trying to help her father ease his pain — an act they say is legally protected, even if it causes death.

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The Two-Way
3:23 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Federal Reserve Will Continue Bond Buying Program

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke in May of 2013.
Alex Wong Getty Images

After a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve said it will continue to buy $85 billion in bonds every month and will leave the federal funds rate at the historic rate of near zero.

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The Two-Way
2:25 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

'Guardian' Report Sheds Light On NSA's Internet Spying

A top-secret presentation slide published by The Guardian.
Guardian

In its latest report stemming from leaked documents provided by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, The Guardian newspaper outlines a tool that gives intelligence analysts access to a wide range of data collected on the Internet.

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The Salt
2:08 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Can The Smell Of Oranges Help Dieters Resist Sweet Treats?

Women in a recent study who were trying to diet ate about 60 percent less chocolate after smelling oranges.
GrenouilleFilms iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 3:00 pm

Whenever we give in to temptation, be it for a helping of something divine, like fine chocolate, or just a so-so piece of saltwater taffy abandoned next to the office coffeepot, there's something more than self-control at work.

Woven into the complexities of food choices and eating behaviors are all sorts of subtle factors that we're likely not even aware of.

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Monkey See
1:34 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Coffee Break: People Arguing And Counting And Singing And Getting Gassed Edition

iStockphoto.com

* If you're anywhere near Winston-Salem, please note that Tonya Pinkins, whose chops are so considerable that I don't entirely know where to start with her amazingness, so just Google her, is in cabaret thereabouts, as part of the biennial National Black Theatre Festival. This is a thing that makes me want to go to North Carolina. [Winston-Salem Journal]

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The Two-Way
1:22 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Texas Author John Graves Dies At 92; Wrote 'Goodbye To A River'

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 7:23 am

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The Two-Way
12:39 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Luxury Watch Store Robbed Days After Riviera Hotel Heist

Police investigate outside the Kronometry shop in the French Riviera town of Cannes after two armed men robbed the luxury watch store on Wednesday.
Valery Hache AFP/Getty Images

In an amazing string of coincidences, a luxury watch store in Cannes, France, has been robbed just three days after an armed man successfully stole diamonds and other valuable jewels from a nearby hotel.

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The Two-Way
12:37 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

U.S. Declassifies Documents About Surveillance Programs

A new National Security Agency data center is set to open in Bluffdale, Utah, in the fall.
George Frey Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 3:01 pm

The National Security Agency declassified more documents that shed light on formerly secret programs that collect a vast amount of metadata on the phone calls made in the United States, as well as the electronic communication of foreigners.

In a statement, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said the release was "in the public interest."

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Shots - Health News
12:28 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

More Moms Are Breast-Feeding, But Many Babies Still Miss Out

More than three quarters of new babies get at least a start at breast-feeding, according to the CDC.
iStockphoto.com

Three quarters of new mothers gave breast-feeding a try in 2010, and mothers are sticking with breast-feeding longer, according to federal data.

Almost 50 percent of babies are still being breast-fed at least sometime at 6 months of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's up from 35 percent in 2000.

The number of babies breast-feeding at 12 months also rose, from 16 percent in 2000 to 27 percent in 2010. Go moms!

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