NPR Blogs

13.7: Cosmos And Culture
7:01 am
Wed March 27, 2013

The Origin Of The Universe: From Nothing Everything?

A computer simulation of the formation of large-scale structures in the Universe, showing a patch of 100 million light-years and the resulting coherent motions of galaxies flowing towards the highest mass concentration in the centre. The snapshot refers to an epoch about 10 billion years back in time.
Klaus Dolag/VIMOS-VLT Deep Survey ESO

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 9:23 am

Last week, I started a discussion of what I call "The Three Origins," focusing first on the origin of life. Although we are far from knowing how non-living matter became living organisms on primitive Earth some 3.5 billion years ago (or more), or how to repeat the feat in the laboratory, I consider this the "easiest" of the three questions.

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The Two-Way
6:46 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Myanmar Imposes New Curfews Amid Anti-Muslim Violence

A man walks amid debris of buildings destroyed during ethnic unrest between Buddhists and Muslims in Meikhtila, about 340 miles north of Yangon, Myanmar, on Monday.
Khin Maung Win AP

The government of Myanmar has imposed a dawn-to-dusk curfew in three townships amid growing anti-Muslim violence that is drawing closer to the main city of Yangon.

Violence against Muslims has been a major problem in the country as President Thein Sein introduces democratic changes after decades of military rule.

Here's more from The Associated Press:

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The Two-Way
6:44 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Gun Store Owner Says He's No Longer Selling Mark Kelly A Rifle

Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly attend a news conference on March 6, 2013 in Tucson, Arizona.
Joshua Lott Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 9:09 am

A gun store owner in Arizona says he is refusing to sell Mark Kelly a semi-automatic rifle.

Kelly, along with his wife Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head during a shooting rampage at an event with her constituents, have become advocates for stricter gun controls. Kelly posted on Facebook that he had bought an AR-15. He said he didn't have possession yet, but he was planning on turning it over to Tucson Police once he did.

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The Two-Way
5:40 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Indian Political Row Over Sri Lanka Spills Over Into Sport

The Kolkata Knight Riders celebrate their win against the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League final in Chennai, India, on May 27, 2012. Citing security concerns, the IPL announced Tuesday that it won't feature Sri Lankan players in the city.
Aijaz Rahi AP

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 6:23 pm

A political dispute in India over relations with Sri Lanka has spilled over into the country's national pastime: cricket.

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Shots - Health News
5:23 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Employers Try To Spur Healthy Behaviors With Health Plan Rewards

Chick-Fil-A employees Jennifer Cummins, right, and Joshua Figaretti work out in the gym during lunch at the company's corporate headquarters office in Hapeville, Ga. Increasingly employers are offering health plan incentives to encourage healthy behaviors from workers.
Ric Feld AP

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 6:24 pm

As employers try to nudge employees toward healthy behaviors, a growing number are taking aim at the medical expense accounts linked to the health plans they offer their workers.

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The Two-Way
4:56 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

China, Vietnam Clash Over Disputed Islands

Aerial view of the city of Sansha on an island in the disputed Paracel chain, which China considers part of its territory.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 5:23 pm

China is once again at odds with a maritime neighbor over disputed islands, this time — as often — leading to a little shooting and a lot of posturing.

The latest confrontation is with Vietnam over the mostly uninhabited Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. Hanoi has accused Beijing's forces of firing on a Vietnamese vessel engaged in fishing near the islands, which both sides claim.

Vietnam did not say if anyone was hurt in the incident that occurred last Wednesday, but it described the matter as "very serious."

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The Two-Way
4:45 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

William Shatner Says He's 'Appalled' At IRS 'Star Trek' Parody Video

This video image from an Internal Revenue Service video shows an IRS employee portraying Mr. Spock.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 6:54 pm

William Shatner has made up his mind about the Star Trek parody video produced by the Internal Revenue Service. He tweeted:

"So I watched that IRS video. I am appalled at the utter waste of US tax dollars."

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The Salt
3:39 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Food Fraud Database Lets Us All Play Detective

Spices are common targets for food fraudsters.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:45 am

By now we know that not every food is what it seems.

Beef might be horse meat, and tuna might be much cheaper escolar. Extra virgin olive oil is often nothing of the kind.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Obama Will Appoint Julia Pierson As Secret Service Director

Veteran Secret Service agent Julia Pierson is President Obama's choice to be the agency's new director.
U.S. Secret Service Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 6:12 am

President Obama has chosen 30-year veteran Julia Pierson to head the Secret Service. Pierson will become the first woman to hold that position and she takes the reins as the agency recovers from scandal.

The Washington Post reports:

"Pierson, 53, began her career in the Secret Service as an agent in Miami three decades ago. She serves as the service's chief of staff.

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The Two-Way
3:24 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Man Sentenced To 30 Months For Pointing Laser At Airplane

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 10:16 am

A man in California has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for pointing a laser at a small jet as it approached the runway at Burbank airport.

Adam Gardenhire, 19, of North Hollywood, was sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty in October to one count of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft, according to The Pasadena Star-News.

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The Two-Way
2:47 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Report: 3 Out Of 4 Found With Drugs By Border Patrol Are U.S. Citizens

The Center for Investigative Reporting has a report today that shatters some preconceived notions: A review of records from the Border Patrol, shows that three out of four people the patrol found carrying drugs were United States citizens.

CIR reports this finding goes against the many press releases issued by the agency highlighting Mexican drug smugglers.

The organization reports:

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The Two-Way
2:18 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Deke Richards, Motown Producer And Songwriter, Dies

  • Listen: A bit of The Jackson Five singing 'ABC'
  • NPR's Neda Ulaby on Deke Richards

Once we mention them, get these Jackson 5 songs out of your head:

-- "ABC"

-- "I Want You Back"

Or how about "Love Child" from The Supremes?

Deke Richards, "leader of the Motown songwriting, arranging and producing team known as The Corporation" that came up with those and many other hits, has died.

Richards was 68. According to Universal Music, he passed away at a hospice in Bellingham, Wash., from esophageal cancer.

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The Two-Way
2:08 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

In New Poll, Support For Stricter Gun Control Law Drops Since Newtown Shootings

Shotguns sit on display at a gun show in Stamford, Conn. in January.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

In the months following the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., polls showed greater support for stricter gun control laws.

A new CBS News poll released today, however, finds that growth has deflated back to pre-Newtown levels. CBS reports:

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
2:00 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

The Siren Call Of The Wilderness Can Be Heard On Mars, Too

Coprates Chasma in the Valles Marineris on Mars, photographed by the Mars Express spacecraft. Appearing in the top half of this image, it ranges from 60-100 km wide and drops 8-9 km below the surrounding plains.
G. Neukum ESA/DLR/FU Berlin

You step down from the all-terrain camper and out into the bright sunlight. Your boots crunch on the cold desert soil. It's been three solid months in the office with just Sundays off (at best). But now, finally, you are out in the open once again. Above you the sky is its usual brown-hued butterscotch color. Ahead of you is the trail leading to the canyon. The plan is to spend the day walking a trail at the edge of Coprates Chasma, a canyon almost a thousand kilometers long (more than twice the length of the Grand Canyon, they say).

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The Two-Way
1:24 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

SpaceX Dragon Splashes Down In Pacific After Leaving Space Station

Splashdown of SpaceX Dragon on Tuesday.
SpaceX

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 2:11 pm

The Dragon has landed.

The unmanned cargo capsule built by the private firm SpaceX splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after delivering the goods to the International Space Station.

"SPLASHDOWN! At 9:34am PT [12:34 p.m. ET], Dragon splashed down safely in the Pacific. Welcome home!" SpaceX tweeted.

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