NPR Blogs

The Salt
5:04 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

If Caffeine Can Boost The Memory Of Bees, Can It Help Us, Too?

Adam Cole/NPR iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 6:13 pm

Who knew that the flower nectar of citrus plants — including some varieties of grapefruit, lemon and oranges — contains caffeine? As does the nectar of coffee plant flowers.

And when honeybees feed on caffeine-containing nectar, it turns out, the caffeine buzz seems to improve their memories — or their motivations for going back for more.

"It is surprising," says Geraldine Wright at Newcastle University in the the U.K., the lead researcher of a new honeybee study published in the journal Science.

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Shots - Health News
4:44 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Shrimp Trawling Comes With Big Risks

John Berthelot, top, and Hosea Wilson, bottom right, release the nets from their shrimp boat, Monday, May 3, 2010, at the Venice Marina in Venice, La.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 6:03 pm

Think your job is bad? Quit whining, unless you're a shrimper in the Gulf of Mexico.

Commercial fishermen have the highest rate of on-the-job fatalities of any occupation in the country — 116 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2010. A majority of the deaths happen when a fishing vessel sinks. About a third occur when someone goes overboard.

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The Two-Way
4:39 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

In The Iditarod Race, 'Pee Pants' Get An Endurance Test

Several female mushers in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race are trying out new attire that allows them to skip bathroom stops. Here, a musher and his team pass fans at the ceremonial start of the race in Anchorage.
Dan Joling AP

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The Salt
4:09 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Plague Of Locusts Has Israelis Asking: Are They Kosher For Passover?

An Israeli cook displays locusts at a restaurant in Jerusalem, at a 2010 event promoting locusts as a tasty kosher treat.
Olivier Fitoussi AP

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 4:54 pm

A swarm of locusts that has devastated crops in Egypt made its way into neighboring Israel this week. And with Passover just around the corner, many news outlets couldn't resist noting the shades of the biblical tale of Exodus, when the insects were one of 10 plagues that descended upon Pharaoh and his people.

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The Two-Way
3:57 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Senate Approves Nomination Of John Brennan As CIA Chief

John Brennan testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee in Washington, on February 7, 2013.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

After an epic filibuster by Sen. Rand Paul that lasted into the early morning hours, the Senate voted this afternoon to confirm the nomination of John Brennan as the country's next Central Intelligence Agency director.

As we reported, Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, stood on the floor of the Senate for nearly 13 hours, repeatedly asking for an explanation of the Obama administration's targeted killing program.

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The Two-Way
3:07 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Ahmadinejad Says Chávez Will Rise With Christ; Is Chastised By Cleric

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

Just before leaving for Venezuela to attend the funeral of Hugo Chávez, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad penned a laudatory tribute for the late president.

"[Chavez] is alive, as long as nations are alive and struggle for consolidating independence, justice and kindness. I have no doubt that he will come back, and along with Christ the Saviour, the heir to all saintly and perfect men, and will bring peace, justice and perfection for all," Ahmadinejad wrote in a letter he sent the Venezuelan vice president.

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The Two-Way
2:53 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

How Did Strom Thurmond Last Through His 24-Hour Filibuster?

Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina after his 24+ hour filibuster in 1957. He was a Democrat then. Later, Thurmond would switch to the Republican Party.
AP

As he ended his nearly 13-hour filibuster early Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) indirectly said it was nature's call that forced him to stop talking:

"I would try to go another 12 hours and try to break Strom Thurmond's record, but there are some limits to filibustering and I am going to have to go take care of one of those here," he said.

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Shots - Health News
2:47 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

To Make Mice Smarter, Add A Few Human Brain Cells

These drawings by Santiago Ramon y Cajal, published in 1899, show cortex neurons.
Santiago Ramon y Cajal Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 6:13 pm

For more than a century, neurons have been the superstars of the brain. Their less glamorous partners, glial cells, can't send electric signals, and so they've been mostly ignored.

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The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

South Florida Beaches Reopen After Shark Scare

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 2:30 pm

Several beaches in South Florida are open again following their closure earlier this week as a precautionary measure after thousands of migrating sharks were spotted near shore.

The Palm Beach Post reports that as of 9 a.m. ET, all Palm Beach County beaches were open because no more sharks had been spotted swimming near shore.

According to the newspaper:

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The Two-Way
2:09 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Holder Responds To Paul About Drone Strikes On U.S. Soil

A Predator drone.
General Atomics Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 2:22 pm

As he rose to begin his nearly 13-hour filibuster Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said "no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court." He would filibuster John Brennan's nomination to be CIA director, Paul said, because he wanted a clear statement from the Obama administration acknowledging that U.S.

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The Two-Way
1:20 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Please Tell Us You've Done This Too: Ever Worn Mismatched Shoes?

The left foot didn't know what the right foot was wearing.
Mark Memmott NPR

If your shoes say a lot about you, as we learned last year, what does it say if the ones you're wearing don't match?

-- That it's not a good idea to get dressed in the dark?

-- That perhaps this blogger needs to pay more attention to what he's doing in the morning?

-- Or that he buys boringly similar shoes?

Imagine my surprise when I looked down at my feet after getting to work this morning.

Now, please make me feel better:

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The Two-Way
1:06 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Newtown, Conn. Students Are Granted A Waiver On Exams

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 2:08 pm

The student victims of the Connecticut school shooting rampage that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead in December have been granted an unprecedented one-time waiver on taking standardized tests.

The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
12:59 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

China's Citizens Hide As Much As $2.34 Trillion In Income, Researcher Says

As much as $2.34 trillion in yearly income goes unreported in China, an economics scholar says. Here, an imported car passes a shopping mall in Beijing.
Vincent Yu AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 2:19 pm

China's citizens do not report as much as $2.34 trillion of what they make every year, hiding "gray income" that would represent nearly 20 percent of the country's GDP, Chinese economics scholar Wang Xiaolu says, in a report from the news site Global Voices.

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The Two-Way
12:41 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

NPR's Brenda Box, An Excellent Editor, Wicked Wit And True Friend, Dies

Brenda Box, NPR Newscast editor and good friend.
Kathy Rushlow NPR

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 1:38 pm

Before The Two-Way launched in May 2009, a smart decision was made: We would sit with, and work closely with, the producers, editors and anchors on the NPR Newscast Desk. It made sense to put the hosts of a breaking news blog with the team that gets breaking news on the air. The Newscast team has helped us in countless ways.

The Two-Way lost a dear friend Thursday, someone who brought her sharp mind and editing skills to NPR's newscasts and always gave us good guidance. She also had a wickedly funny sense of humor that made it fun to come to work.

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The Salt
12:31 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Startup Wants To Redefine How Local Foods Get To Your Door

Employees of Good Eggs deliver produce, meat and other local foods from producers in the Bay Area of California.
Courtesy of Good Eggs

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 2:13 pm

Rising consumer demand for local foods has changed the job description for ranchers like Doniga Markegard.

Markegard, co-owner of Markegard Family Grass-Fed in San Gregorio, Calif., loves working with cattle, but she's not fond of the hours of phone calls and emails it can take to sell directly to a customer.

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