NPR Blogs

13.7: Cosmos And Culture
4:03 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

More Is Different: Nature's Unruly Complexity

Like layers in a pizza, each layer of material organization in Nature needs to be understood on its own terms and cannot be reduced to a base that explains the whole.
iStockphoto.com

According to reductionism, every system, no matter how complex, can be understood in terms of the behavior of its basic constituents. The focus is on the bottom layer of the material chain: matter is made of molecules; molecules of atoms; atoms of electrons, protons, and neutrons; protons and neutrons of quarks; we don't know if the buck stops here or not.

At the biological level, organisms are composed of organs; organs of cells; cells of organic macromolecules; those of many atoms, etc.

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The Salt
2:18 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Outbreak Traced To Pomegranates Reveals Flaws In Global Food Chain

A fruit thought by some to be what Eve used to tempt Adam has been grown in the Middle East for centuries.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 4:10 pm

Disease detectives have traced the continuing outbreak of hepatitis A that has so far sickened 136 people in the U.S. to a shipment of pomegranate seeds from the Anatolian region of Turkey.

As a result, the Food and Drug Administration has ordered any new shipments from the company that shipped the suspect fruit, Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading, to be seized at American ports.

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The Salt
12:47 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Civil War Soldiers Needed Bravery To Face The Foe, And The Food

How did the food taste? These faces say it all. Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, Meade in Virginia, August-November 1863.
Timothy H. O'Sullivan Library of Congress

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 1:11 pm

War is hell, Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman is famously said to have uttered.* And the food, he might as well have added, was pretty lousy, too.

As the nation marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg — a turning point in the Civil War — it's worth remembering that the men who fought on that Pennsylvania field did so while surviving on food that would make most of us surrender in dismay.

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The Two-Way
12:40 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Accused Cleveland Kidnapper Is Ruled Competent For Trial

Ariel Castro sits with his defense attorneys Craig Weintraub (left) and Jaye Schlachet during Wednesday's hearing, at which he was found mentally competent to stand trial.
Jason Miller AP

Ariel Castro, the man accused of kidnapping and raping three women while he held them prisoner in his house for about 10 years, has been declared mentally competent to stand trial. The finding comes one week after a Cleveland judge ordered Castro to undergo an evaluation.

The results of that analysis were presented at a court hearing this morning.

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The Two-Way
12:19 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Ecuador Says Its London Embassy Was Bugged

A covert microphone was found in the office of the Ecuadorean ambassador in London, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ricardo Patiño announced during a news conference in Quito.
AFP/Getty Images

Ecuador's foreign minister says a microphone has been found hidden inside the country's embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been living for the past year. The listening device was found last month, says Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño, when he traveled to the embassy to meet with Assange.

The covert microphone was reportedly discovered in the office of the ambassador, Ana Alban.

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The Two-Way
10:55 am
Wed July 3, 2013

As Mandela Lies In Hospital, Family Fights Over Kin's Graves

In 1990, Nelson Mandela (wearing a dark suit, pointing down) visited the graves of family members in Qunu, South Africa. A grandson's 2011 decision to move some relatives' remains to another site was followed by a lawsuit and court action.
Juda Ngenya Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 7:25 pm

Former South African President Nelson Mandela remains in stable but critical condition at a Pretoria hospital, where he's been since June 8 for treatment of a serious lung infection.

The anti-apartheid hero, who survived 27 years in jail and decades of oppression, is 15 days shy of his 95th birthday.

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The Two-Way
8:54 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Good Signs: Jobless Claims Dip And Job Growth Picks Up

A help wanted sign in the window of a clothing store in Pasadena, Calif., last month.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Three reports Wednesday morning all offer at least modestly good news about the U.S. economy:

-- There were 343,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits last week, down 5,000 from the week before, says the Employment and Training Administration.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Here's How One Weird Play Saved Homer Bailey's No-Hitter

Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds during the no-hitter he pitched Tuesday.
Joe Robbins Getty Images

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Homer Bailey tossed the second no-hitter of his major league career Tuesday night as his Reds beat the San Francisco Giants 3-0.

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The Salt
8:03 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Coke Changed Caramel Color To Avoid Cancer Warning; Pepsi In Transition

Pepsi says it plans to reformulate all its colas sold in the U.S. by February 2014 to eliminate 4-MEI, a chemical listed as a carcinogen by the state of California.
PR Newswire

In 2011, the state of California created a problem for the soda industry.

The caramel color that Coke and Pepsi used to give colas that distinctive brown hue contained a chemical, 4-methylimidazole — 4-MEI — that is listed as a carcinogen by the state.

And in accordance with California's Proposition 65 law, the levels of 4-MEI found in sodas would have warranted a cancer warning label on every can sold in the state.

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The Two-Way
7:21 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Book News: Authors Lose Class-Action Status In Google Books Case

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

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The Two-Way
7:01 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Egypt's President Morsi Is Ousted From Power By Military

Protesters gather at Tahrir Square. Morsi remained defiant as the military pressed the president and his political opponents to strike a compromise.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 7:27 am

(Click here for most recent update: 7 p.m. ET.)

A huge celebration has begun in Egypt's Tahrir Square, after army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi proclaimed that Mohammed Morsi is out as president and the country's constitution has been suspended. The new plan calls for Egypt's chief justice to lead an interim government and set a date for early presidential elections.

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Shots - Health News
3:39 am
Wed July 3, 2013

One Man's Quest To Make Medical Technology Affordable To All

Patients sit with their eyes bandaged at an Aravind Eye Care clinic in Madurai, India after cataract surgeries. Aravind performs more than 300,000 cataract surgeries annually.
Reinhard Krause Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 2:47 pm

David Green is a man on a mission to drive down the cost of medical devices and health services.

His tactic: Use market forces and slightly tweaked business strategies to make health care accessible to even the poorest people. And he's had some amazing success.

I caught up with Green (no relation to NPR's David Greene) at a company he is launching in Chicago that's taking on the high cost of hearing aids. He's demonstrating how to program his company's new hearing device on a cellphone.

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The Salt
3:37 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Guess Who's Fighting To Keep Indiana Dry On Sundays?

Kyle Fronke inventories the wine in Kahn's Fine Wines and Spirits in Indianapolis last year. Only liquor stores in the state can sell cold beer, and on Sunday, practically all carry out alcohol sales are prohibited.
Darron Cummings AP

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 9:52 am

When you think summer, you might think of cold beer at a barbecue, maybe a bottle of wine with a Sunday picnic. A lot of people take it for granted that they can just go to the store and pick up alcohol.

Not in Indiana.

While many states have laws restricting liquor sales, Indiana is the only one where you can't buy packaged beer, wine and liquor on Sundays, and it's the only state that regulates alcohol sales based on temperature. Only liquor stores can sell cold beer.

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The Two-Way
7:25 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Egypt's Morsi Says He Won't Step Down, Defies Army's Demand

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi says he will not resign, despite a military demand that he reach a compromise with critics. Here, Morsi supporters take part in a drill during a demonstration in the suburb of Nasr City Tuesday.
Ed Giles Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 7:26 pm

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET. Morsi Addresses The Nation:

In a broadcast speech Tuesday night, President Mohammed Morsi refused to step down, saying it would undermine the legitimacy of the country's constitution.

"Legitimacy is the linchpin for security," he said. "It is the only guarantee that no violence can be embraced."

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The Two-Way
7:05 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Wildfire Season So Far: Tragic, Destructive And Below Average

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 9:13 am

It may seem like wildfire Armageddon out there, given the tragic deaths of 24 wildland firefighters this year, more than 800 homes and businesses burned to the ground, nearly 1.6 million acres scorched and over 23,000 blazes requiring suppression.

But as dramatic as it's been, the 2013 wildfire season has yet to kick into high gear.

"We have seen, overall, less fire activity so far this year," says Randy Eardley, a spokesman at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

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