NPR Blogs

Shots - Health News
11:03 am
Fri October 11, 2013

California Trains Helpers To Meet Demand For Health Insurance

Edward Avalos, one of the first certified enrollment specialists in California, is a very busy man.
Sarah Varney Kaiser Health News

Luisa Blue, head of the local Service Employees International Union in San Jose, Calif., has five more months to spend $1 million. The union received a grant from Covered California, the state's health insurance marketplace, to educate the public about the exchange.

SEIU is using some of the money to call people in their homes at night and on the weekend. "Over 4,000 (people) have said tell me more about Covered California and how can I enroll to get health insurance," Blue says of the union's first two weeks on the case.

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Monkey See
9:51 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Gravity' And The Thrill Of The Fiasco

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

I cannot lie: I love this week's podcast very much, and only partly because I got to include a song I probably haven't heard in over 20 years and got our special guest Gene Demby to reveal one of those little things that makes him apoplectic.

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The Two-Way
9:22 am
Fri October 11, 2013

JPMorgan, Dogged By Legal Costs, Reports Hefty 3Q Loss

People pass a sign for JPMorgan Chase at its headquarters in Manhattan last year.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 3:48 pm

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank by assets, is reporting a surprise third-quarter loss that comes on the heels of a nearly $1 billion settlement with federal regulators over risky trades.

The bank's $380 million loss for the July-to-September period compares to a then-record profit of $5.7 billion a year earlier.

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The Two-Way
8:20 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Top Stories: Nobel Peace Prize; Movement (Maybe) On Shutdown

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 11:42 am

Good morning, here are our early stories:

-- Chemical Weapons Watchdog Gets Nobel Peace Prize

-- No Deal Yet, But Maybe An Opening

And here are more early headlines:

Syria's Rebels Executed Civilians, Say Human Rights Watch (BBC)

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The Two-Way
8:01 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Book News: Gaiman's 'Neverwhere' Banned At New Mexico School

Neil Gaiman is also the author of Coraline, American Gods, Anansi Boys,Stardust and M Is for Magic. He was born in Hampshire, England, and now lives near Minneapolis.
Darryl James Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 2:55 pm

This post was updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

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

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The Two-Way
7:49 am
Fri October 11, 2013

No Deal Yet, But Maybe An Opening

Speaker of the House John Boehner during a news conference with members of the House Republican leadership at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday morning.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 4:37 pm

It's groundhog day — again — in Washington. Friday is playing out a lot like Thursday — that is, a lot of sound and fury, but very little clarity about what it all signifies.

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The Two-Way
7:36 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Chemical Weapons Watchdog Gets Nobel Peace Prize

A United Nations vehicle carrying inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) leaves a hotel in Damascus, on Wednesday. Some 19 OPCW arms experts are in Syria and have started to destroy weapons production facilities.
Louai Behara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 11:05 am

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a watchdog group that is overseeing efforts in Syria to eliminate its chemical stockpile, has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The group, based in The Hague, Netherlands, was formed in 1997. "Since then the OPCW has, through inspections, destruction and by other means, sought the implementation of the convention. 189 states have acceded to the convention to date," the Nobel committee said.

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Shots - Health News
6:57 am
Fri October 11, 2013

What Humans Can Learn From A Simple Kiss

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 1:14 pm

At a basic level, kissing is a biohazard. What is love then, if not the willingness to expose yourself to a host of nasty diseases lurking in your partner's mouth?

But could kissing also be a tool with a purpose?

Psychology graduate student Rafael Wlodarski, from the University of Oxford, wanted to find out. Results from his experiments supported two of the existing hypotheses about why we kiss. First, we kiss to assess potential mates. Second, we kiss the mate we've found to maintain attachment.

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The Two-Way
4:47 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Baby Veronica's Biological Dad, Cherokee Nation Drop Legal Fight

This July 21, 2013, photo provided by Shannon Jones, attorney for Dusten Brown, shows Brown with his daughter, Veronica.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 7:55 pm

In an emotional statement on Thursday, Baby Veronica's biological father said he and the Cherokee Nation were dropping the legal fight to regain custody of the 4-year-old girl.

"I know we did everything in our power to keep Veronica home with her family," Dusten Brown said in Oklahoma. "Veronica is only 4 years old, but her entire life has been lived in front of the media and the entire world. I cannot bear for [it to continue] any longer.

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The Salt
4:40 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Starbucks Pours Money, And Health Hype, Into Pricey Juice

Starbucks'-owned Evolution Fresh says its method of processing juice delivers more of the flavor and nutrients of raw fruits and vegetables.
Courtesy of Starbucks

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 3:17 pm

Most Americans don't get the 4 to 6.5 cups of fruits and vegetables we're supposed to consume every day, per government guidelines. But companies that make juice, especially high-end, "fresh" juice, are ready to come to our rescue.

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Monkey See
4:37 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Alice Munro, The Punchbowl And Everyday Villainy

Short story author Alice Munro, seen here in Dublin in 2009, won the Nobel Prize in Literature today. Her stories often touched on a less obvious form of evil.
Peter Muhly AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 5:59 pm

Alice Munro, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature today, taught me something important and abiding and true about evil.

Specifically, she taught me about that singular species of evil we swim through all our lives. It's the evil to which we petty humans default, even — especially — as we reassure ourselves that we are blessed creatures, generous of spirit. It's the evil born of thoughtlessness and self-regard, and it crouches, waiting, in every conversation, every appraising look, every single human interaction that fills up our days.

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The Two-Way
4:24 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Scott Carpenter, Second American To Orbit Earth, Dies

American astronaut Malcolm Scott Carpenter, the fourth American astronaut in space and the second to orbit Earth, died Thursday at the age of 88.
AP

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 6:14 pm

Scott Carpenter, the fourth American astronaut to fly in space and the second to orbit Earth, died on Thursday, a NASA official tells NPR.

Carpenter, an original Mercury 7 astronaut, was 88.

NPR's Russell Lewis filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Scott Carpenter's 1962 flight was just five hours, and his mission was to determine how well humans could function in weightlessness. His capsule circled the Earth three times before returning for a parachute landing.

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The Salt
3:02 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Catcher In The Fry? McDonald's Happy Meals With A Side Of Books

SerrNovik iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 5:12 pm

Fast-food giant McDonald's is set to become a publishing giant as well — at least temporarily. For two weeks next month, McDonald's says it will oust the toys that usually come in its Happy Meals and replace them with books it has published itself.

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The Two-Way
1:59 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Former Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick Sentenced To 28 Years

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on his way into court in March in Detroit.
Regina H. Boone MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 2:45 pm

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was once a rising star in the Democratic Party, to 28 years in prison over charges of corruption.

As we've reported, "Kilpatrick has faced a small mountain of charges in recent years and already served some time in prison for other crimes."

The AP reports:

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Shots - Health News
1:44 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Want To Feel 5 Years Older? Just Take A Memory Test

Playing this game won't make you feel older, unless you're already getting up there in age.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 4:11 pm

Researchers in a memory lab at Texas A&M University noticed that all the older people coming in as volunteers were really worried about how they'd do.

So the scientists decided to measure how taking a memory test affects a person's subjective sense of age.

Before the test, the 22 participants felt pretty darned good. Even though their average age was 75, they said they felt about 58.

Then they were given a list of 30 nouns, told to study them for two minutes, and then asked to recall as many of them as they could in three minutes.

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