NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
10:51 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Tepid Reception To Windows 8 Blamed For Drop In PC Sales

Visitors tried out Windows 8 last month at the 2013 CeBIT technology trade fair in Hanover, Germany.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 4:21 pm

Sales of new PCs plummeted nearly 14 percent globally in the first three months of the year, and much of the blame is being placed on Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system.

International Data Corp. reported Wednesday that shipments of PCs totaled 76.3 million worldwide in the first quarter of 2013, down 13.9 percent from the same period the previous year.

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The Two-Way
10:47 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Why Does Anyone Care About Minutes Of Weeks-Old Fed Meetings?

The Federal Reserve's headquarters in Washington, D.C. What goes on inside there is of intense interest to investors.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 12:30 pm

There's been a bit of a brouhaha over the Federal Reserve's inadvertent early release Tuesday evening of minutes from its closed-door March 19-20 policy meeting.

As The Associated Press writes, "employees at JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs Group, Wells Fargo and Citigroup were among those to receive [the] market-sensitive information."

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Shots - Health News
10:06 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Why Obama's Budget Could Make Health Waves

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (center), flanked by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner (left) and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, speaks during a budget briefing in Washington on Wednesday.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 3:16 pm

OK, the conventional wisdom about the budget President Obama sent to Congress yesterday is that's irrelevant.

It's two months late, after all, and the House and Senate have already approved their own spending blueprints for fiscal 2014.

But here's why it matters when it comes to health.

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The Two-Way
9:51 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Japanese Car Makers Recall Millions Of Vehicles Over Faulty Airbags

The 2002 Toyota Corolla. At least some of them are subject to recall.
Jeff Kowalsky AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 1:14 pm

Some 3.4 million vehicles produced by four Japanese automakers are being voluntarily recalled due to faulty airbag inflators.

The inflators were installed in some of Toyota's top-selling Camry and Corolla models produced since 2000. Certain Honda Civics and Mazdas are also subject to recall, which also reportedly includes the Maxima and Cube, according to Reuters.

The defective passenger-side airbag inflators were produced by Tokyo-based Takata at a Mexican plant, Reuters says.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
9:18 am
Thu April 11, 2013

When Animals Mourn: Seeing That Grief Is Not Uniquely Human

An elephant at the Emmen, Netherlands, zoo stands at the edge of a ditch in 2009, a day after another elephant fell into the ditch and died.
Olaf Kraak AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 9:56 am

Eleanor was the matriarch of an elephant family called the First Ladies. One day, elephant researchers in Kenya's Samburu National Reserve saw that Eleanor was bruised and dragging her trunk on the ground. Soon, she collapsed.

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Monkey See
9:10 am
Thu April 11, 2013

The Downside Of Flexibility: A Plea For Must-See TV At A Must-Watch Time

In a scene from Friends' eighth season, Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) react to Rachel's pending pregnancy. The birth of the baby was a major plot point of the Emmy-winning season of the series.
Warner Bros. Televison

I remember riding the bus to school in the early 2000s, listening as the older kids argued passionately about was going to happen on that night's episode of Friends. In the background, radio ads on the local Top 40 pop station dramatically intoned that maybe Rachel was finally going to admit she really loved Joey and not Ross, but you wouldn't know unless you tuned in to NBC at 8:00 on the dot.

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The Two-Way
8:52 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Jobless Claims Fell Sharply Last Week

Many Americans hope to see more signs like this in coming months. (Photo taken earlier this year in San Rafael, Calif.)
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 11:52 am

There were 346,000 first-time claims for unemployment benefits, down 42,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

Meanwhile, the "4-week moving average" of claims was 358,000, up by 3,000 from the previous week's 355,000. That measure smooths out some of the volatility in the numbers.

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The Two-Way
8:29 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Shark! Fisherman Gets Quite A Scare, Catches Scene On Video

Isaac Brumaghim had his video recorder running when a tiger shark came by and grabbed his catch.
YouTube.com/AQAHNTR

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 1:31 pm

Isaac Brumaghim was reeling in a tuna Sunday about two miles off Hawaii's Oahu Island when he came as close as anyone wants to get with a tiger shark that weighed 400 to 500 pounds.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Book News: NYC To Pay Occupy Wall Street For Destroyed Books

Books from the Occupy Wall Street library damaged in the November 15 eviction of Zuccotti Park and recovered from a New York city sanitation depot.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

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

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The Two-Way
7:06 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Will North Korea Claim Victory And Stand Down?

On Wednesday, a North Korean soldier looked on from the banks of the Yalu River on the border with China.
Wang Zhao AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 8:21 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Frank Langfitt and David Greene discuss the latest news from the Korean peninsula

As the world waits for what's expected to be another ballistic missile test by North Korea sometime in the next few days, NPR's Frank Langfitt reports there's reason to think that tensions on the Korean Peninsula might soon ease.

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Shots - Health News
7:34 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

A New Way To Make The Most Powerful Malaria Drug

An extract of sweet wormwood has been used in China for thousands of years to treat malaria, but being able to make mass quantities of the extract has been elusive, until now.
Sarah Cuttle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 7:39 pm

Researchers in California described Wednesday their new method for mass-producing the key ingredient for the herbal drug artemisinin, the most powerful antimalarial on the market. Already, the French drugmaker Sanofi is ramping up production at a plant in Italy to manufacture the ingredient and the drug.

Global health advocates say they expect this new method of producing artemisinin will at last provide a stable supply of the drug and cut the overall cost of malaria treatment.

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Shots - Health News
7:17 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

How Much Does It Hurt? Let's Scan Your Brain

A technique for imaging the brain allowed researchers to distinguish between physical and emotional pain.
Courtesy of Tom Wager

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 3:16 pm

Scientists reported Wednesday that they had developed a way to measure how much pain people are experiencing by scanning their brains.

The researchers hope the technique will help doctors treat pain better, but the work is also raising concerns about whether the technique might interfere with doctors simply listening to their patients.

Now, when someone is in pain, a doctor has no way to judge its severity except to ask questions, a method that often is inadequate.

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The Salt
5:22 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Cities Turn Sewage Into 'Black Gold' For Local Farms

Thick jets of processed sewage arc out 30 to 40 feet from giant moving spreaders at Birmingham Farm in Kansas City, Mo.
Frank Morris for NPR

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 12:07 pm

On a normal day, Kansas City, Mo., processes more than 70 million gallons of raw sewage. This sewage used to be a nuisance, but Kansas City, and a lot of municipalities around the country, are now turning it into a resource for city farmers hard up for fertilizer.

After the sewage has been processed at a treatment plant, it's piped out to Birmingham Farm on the north side of the Missouri River.

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The Salt
4:29 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

As Promised: Obama Wants To Overhaul Global Anti-Hunger Efforts

Palestinians unload bags of flour donated by USAID, or the United States Agency for International Development, at a depot in the West Bank village of Anin in 2008.
Mohammed Ballas AP

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 5:10 pm

The White House unveiled its proposal Wednesday for drastic changes in government programs that donate food to fight hunger abroad — and surprised no one.

As we reported last week, rumors of such an overhaul had been circulating for weeks, arousing both hope and anger among organizations involved in global anti-hunger programs.

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