NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

NASA: Sun Getting Ready For A 'Field Flip'

NASA/SDO

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 3:05 pm

Our nearest star is about to pull a once-in-11-years move by swapping its north and south magnetic poles.

The sun's polarity switch is a natural part of "solar max" — the period of peak activity during what averages out to be roughly an 11-year cycle. According to NASA, this year will mark the fourth time since 1976 that scientists have observed the 180-degree pole flip.

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The Two-Way
12:41 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

'Dream 9' Activists Released From Immigration Detention

Nine young activists who have come to be known as the "Dream 9" were released from an immigration detention center on Wednesday, while their asylum cases come before a court.

The Los Angeles Times has the background:

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The Two-Way
11:42 am
Thu August 8, 2013

'New York Times' Is Not For Sale, Sulzberger Says

Ramin Talaie Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 12:37 pm

Responding to speculation that his newspaper would be next, New York Times Publisher and Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. has issued a flat "the Times is not for sale" statement.

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The Two-Way
11:17 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Judge Says Nidal Hasan Can Represent Himself In Fort Hood Trial

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

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 12:28 pm

The judge presiding over the case of Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people during a 2009 shooting rampage in Fort Hood, Texas, said Hasan can continue to defend himself, The Associated Press reports.

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The Two-Way
11:12 am
Thu August 8, 2013

World-Record Snakehead Fish Caught In U.S.

Caleb Newton, who lives in Spotsylvania County, Va., holds the 17-pound, 6-ounce northern snakehead fish he caught in June. The International Game Fish Association has approved a world record for his catch of the invasive predator.
Griffin Moores The Free Lance-Star

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 11:59 am

A Virginia man has caught the largest northern snakehead on record with a rod and reel, landing a 17-pound, 6-ounce specimen of the fish often called "Frankenfish" for their monster-like appearance and tenacious survival skills.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
11:06 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Gigging The Edible Frog: An Inhumane Tradition

iStockphoto.com

Late last Friday afternoon, just about to relax into the weekend, I checked NPR.org to see what was new and ran smack into a story about a cruel tradition here in the American South: frog gigging.

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The Two-Way
10:29 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Stars And Stripes: Pair Of Sumatran Tigers Born At National Zoo

A Tigercubcam view of the new cubs, born at the Smithsonian's National Zoo on Monday.
Smithsonian's National Zoo

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 1:03 pm

The Smithsonian's National Zoo has announced the birth of a pair of Sumatran tigers, a species that has dwindled to less than 500 in the wild. Both mother and cubs are reportedly doing well.

There was no immediate word Thursday on the sex of the cubs.

Four-year-old Damai gave birth on Monday. The new arrivals appear healthy, and so far, "Damai is being a great mom, and is nursing and grooming both cubs," the zoo says on its website.

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Shots - Health News
10:18 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Scientists Disclose Plans To Make Superflu In Labs

Some scientists think new types of bird flus should arise only in chickens, not in labs. Here a worker collects poultry on a farm in Kathmandu, Nepal, where the H5N1 virus was infecting animals in October 2011.
Prakas Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:56 am

Who do these guys think they are, the Dr. Frankensteins of virology?

First, two teams of virologists created more dangerous versions of the deadly H5N1 flu. Now they want to give the H7N9 virus, which has already sickened at least 134 people and killed 43 people in Asia, a few new capabilities: drug resistance, faster transmission between people and the ability to sneak past the immune system.

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The Two-Way
9:48 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Fannie Mae Books $10.1 Billion In Second-Quarter Profits

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 11:05 am

Driven by a recovery in the U.S. housing market, mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae netted profits of $10.1 billion in the second quarter, its sixth-straight quarter with positive results. The company, which has operated under federal conservatorship since 2008, reported its earnings Thursday.

Fannie Mae cited "a significant increase in home prices in the quarter," which nearly doubled that of last year's second quarter.

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The Two-Way
8:53 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Weekly Jobless Claims Hold Steady

The scene at a job fair in Manhattan earlier this year.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:54 am

There were 333,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, the Employment and Training Administration says. Claims were up 1.5 percent from the previous week's 328,000 — and basically remained at the lower end of the range where they've stayed for the better part of the last two years.

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Shots - Health News
8:00 am
Thu August 8, 2013

What Makes Good Bacteria Go Bad? It's Not Them, It's You

S.pneumoniae bacteria may look harmless, but don't rile them.
CDC

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:01 am

Imagine a friend of a friend brings his family to stay with you — his family of tiny survivalists. For weeks or months you all live quietly side by side with no problems. You share meals. Your kids play together.

Then one day you get sick — maybe felled by a bad cold or the flu. Suddenly certain the end is near, your jittery houseguest breaks out an armory's worth of chemical weapons. He abandons his community to save himself and hunt for a new home, wreaking havoc on the way out the door.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:58 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Watch Me Do Something Impossible In Three Totally Easy Steps

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 7:19 pm

Here's what the Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvard did. In 1934, he got himself a pen and paper and drew four cubes, like this.

Then he drew some more, like this.

And, then — and this is where he got mischievous — he drew one more set, like this.

He called this final version "Impossible Triangle of Opus 1 No. 293aa." I don't know what the "293aa" is about, but he was right about "impossible." An arrangement like this cannot take place in the physical universe as we know it.

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The Two-Way
7:43 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Book News: Publishers Object To Proposed Punishments For Apple

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:15 am

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

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Shots - Health News
3:20 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Obamacare Foes Make Final Push To Stop Health Law's Implementation

A screenshot from the FreedomWorks website, which is urging citizens opposed to the Affordable Care Act to opt out of the law's requirement to have insurance. It asks Americans to symbolically "burn your Obamacare card." In reality, no such card will exist.
FreedomWorks

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:47 am

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