NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
7:07 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Arizona Mom Released From Mexican Jail

Yanira Maldonado talked to reporters late Thursday after her release from a prison on the outskirts of Nogales, Mexico.
Cristina Silva AP

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 10:20 am

This is our first, and possibly last, mention of a story that's been getting lots of play on cable news:

"Mexican Court Frees Arizona Mom Accused Of Drug Smuggling." (CNN.com)

"I'm free now ... and I'm very grateful," Yanira Maldonado told reporters early Friday.

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The Two-Way
6:42 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Reports: Texas Man Questioned About Latest Ricin Letters

None of the possibly ricin-tainted letters mailed to President Obama have reached the White House, authorities say. They were intercepted at a remote mail handling facility.
Larry Downing Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 10:19 am

"Authorities, including the FBI, questioned a New Boston, Texas, man Thursday night in connection with an investigation of ricin-laced letters sent to government officials, including President Barack Obama," KSLA-TV in Shreveport, La., reports.

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Shots - Health News
3:22 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Proton Beam Therapy Sparks Hospital Arms Race

A construction worker paints walls at the Maryland Proton Treatment Center in Baltimore. Each of the center's five rooms will contain a massive piece of equipment that will rotate around a cancer patient to deliver a special kind of radiation.
Jenny Gold Kaiser Health News

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 10:41 am

When it comes to reining in health care spending, it still seems like each hospital administrator thinks the guy at the other hospital should do it.

Hospitals are still racing to offer expensive new technology — even when it hasn't been proved to work better than cheaper approaches. Case in point: proton beam therapy, a high-tech radiation treatment for cancer.

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The Salt
3:20 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Michigan Tracks Cattle From Birth To Plate

Whenever a steer or cow leaves a farm in Michigan or goes to a slaughterhouse, it passes by a tag reader, and its ID number goes to a central computer that keeps track of every animal's location.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 10:54 am

When you pick up a cut of beef at the store, would you like to know that animal's life history? The technology to do this does exist — at least in Michigan, where the state requires all cattle to carry electronic ear tags. It's the only state that requires such tags.

Michigan's cattle-tracking system was forced on farmers because of a crisis. Fifteen years ago, cattle in part of the state started catching tuberculosis from wild deer.

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The Two-Way
7:37 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

TSA: No More Graphic, Full-Body Airport Scans

A U.S. Transportation Security Administration employee demonstrates the less intrusive Automated Target Recognition software in 2011.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 7:40 pm

The Transportation Security Administration has told Congress that it's finished retrofitting airport scanners to blunt a widely criticized technology that shows graphic detail of a passenger's body as he or she goes through security checkpoints.

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The Two-Way
5:51 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

A Kiss Is But A Kiss, But To French Kiss Is 'Galocher'

French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault kisses his wife, actress Salma Hayek, in Paris in 2009.
Francois Mori AP

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 8:29 pm

It might come as a surprise that for centuries the French have been sans a term for "French kiss."

But, voila! The newest edition of the Petit Robert 2014 dictionary has rectified that with a new verb — "galocher," meaning "to kiss with tongues." It's a clever derivation of la galoche, a word for an ice-skating boot, and so evokes the idea of sliding around the ice — or the lips and tongue.

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Shots - Health News
5:30 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Administration Touts Competition In Insurance Exchanges

The Obama administration is countering criticism that the new health insurance exchanges will be lacking in competition, though it's doing so a bit quietly.

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Around the Nation
5:17 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Congress Debates How Much Support To Give Farmers

An Illinois corn and soybean farmer walks to his tractor while cultivating his field.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 6:40 pm

For decades, farmers have been getting checks from the federal government as part of a safety net to help protect against, for instance, the financial ruin of drought or floods.

So last year when a big drought hit the Midwest, who paid for it? You did.

As my colleague Dan Charles has reported, payouts from crop insurance policies added up to about $16 billion, and much of it was paid by taxpayers.

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The Salt
5:02 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

No, Frosted Mini-Wheats Won't Make Your Kids Smarter

YouTube

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 5:23 pm

  • Hear Robert Siegel's Interview With Attorney Tim Blood

If you thought sugar-coated pockets of shredded wheat could boost your brain power, we're here to break it to you gently: No, they can't. But a check in the mail may soon ease your disappointment.

Breakfast foods purveyor Kellogg has agreed to a $4 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit alleging it ran a deceptive marketing campaign for the sugary cereal.

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The Two-Way
4:24 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

U.S. Shot Putter Awarded Gold, Years After 2004 Olympics

Adam Nelson (left), has been awarded the gold medal in the men's shot put, after original winner Yuriy Bilonoh of Ukraine was found to have violated doping rules.
Nick Laham Getty Images

U.S. shot putter Adam Nelson has been awarded a gold medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics, after his rival at those games, Yuriy Bilonog of Ukraine, was stripped of the victory last December for violating doping rules. The International Association of Athletics Federations and the International Olympic Committee made the change official Thursday.

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Shots - Health News
4:00 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Headed To Mars? Watch Out For Cosmic Rays

NASA/SDO

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 8:42 am

There was great fanfare when the Mars Science Laboratory launched in November 2011, and again when its precious cargo — NASA's Mars rover Curiosity — touched down on the red planet in August 2012.

The eight months in between had drama of their own. Curiosity was constantly bombarded with radiation as it traveled through space — high-energy protons thrown out by the sun, and galactic cosmic rays slicing through the solar system from distant supernovas.

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The Two-Way
3:59 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Father Of Chechen Killed In Florida Says His Son Was Executed

Abdul-Baki Todashev, father of Ibragim Todashev, shows pictures he says are of his son's bullet-riddled body, at a news conference in Moscow on Thursday.
Andrey Smirnov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 5:18 pm

The father of the Chechen immigrant who was killed in Florida during an FBI interrogation over his ties to one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects says his son was killed execution-style.

At a news conference in Moscow, Abdul-Baki Todashev showed reporters 16 photos he said were of his son, Ibragim, in a Florida morgue.

"I want justice. I want an investigation," Todashev said. "They come to your house like bandits, and they shoot you."

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The Two-Way
3:23 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Four Men In A Small Boat Face The Northwest Passage

A European Space Agency photo of the McClure Strait in the Canadian Arctic. The McClure Strait is the most direct route of the Northwest Passage and has been fully open since early August 2007.
AP

Only a few years ago, even large commercial vessels wouldn't take on the ice-bound Northwest Passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific via the Canadian north — but climate change has changed all that.

Now, a group of hearty adventurers hopes to be the first to row the 1,900-mile route this summer.

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The Two-Way
3:02 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Ubuntu Marks 'Bug No. 1' As Fixed, After Nearly Nine Years

Since it was first filed in August of 2004, Ubuntu's Bug #1 attracted many comments. With comment number 1834, Mark Shuttleworth declared the issue fixed today.
Launchpad

In the more than eight years since it was written, the open-source operating system Ubuntu's "Bug #1" has been seen as a rallying call. After all, the bug's title is "Microsoft has a majority market share."

But the entry was officially closed Thursday, partly because the "broader market has healthy competition" as Ubuntu leader Mark Shuttleworth writes in his comments on closing the bug today.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
3:02 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

What Big Data Means For Big Cities

Information, like light, flows through cities in interesting, often beautiful, patterns.
Valery Hache AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 9:23 pm

Sometimes the most powerful and transformative technologies emerge by accident, an unintended consequence of other developments. When this happens, the scope and power of the new technology can't be fully appreciated until after we have embedded it in our culture.

Big Data is all that and much, much more.

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