NPR Blogs

Shots - Health News
3:33 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Why Even Radiologists Can Miss A Gorilla Hiding In Plain Sight

Notice anything unusual about this lung scan? Harvard researchers found that 83 percent of radiologists didn't notice the gorilla in the top right portion of this image.
Trafton Drew and Jeremy Wolfe

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 9:37 am

This story begins with a group of people who are expert at looking: the professional searchers known as radiologists.

"If you watch radiologists do what they do, [you're] absolutely convinced that they are like superhuman," says Trafton Drew, an attention researcher at Harvard Medical School.

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Shots - Health News
5:42 pm
Sun February 10, 2013

Obscure Chagas' Disease Takes Costly Toll

Don't let the name fool you. The kissing bug, or Rhodnius prolixus, transmits the Chagas parasite when it bites someone's face.
Erwin Huebner, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada Wikimedia.org

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 5:11 pm

There's been a lot of talk recently about an old malady that seems to be on the rise.

It's called Chagas' disease, and it's transmitted by the so-called kissing bug, a bloodsucking insect that bites your face and lips.

Health economists have now put a price tag on the global cost of Chagas, and the illness is taking a heavier toll than previously appreciated.

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The Two-Way
5:41 pm
Sun February 10, 2013

California State University Seeks Black Students From The Pews

Students stand in the back row of a filled chemistry class at the California State University East Bay in Hayward, Calif., in September 2009. Officials from the Cal State system are seeking new prospective African-American students in church pews.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 2:25 pm

At church on Sundays, African-American students are hearing a possibly unexpected pitch alongside the familiar sermon: Come to Cal State University.

Officials from the California State University system have been pioneering a program of seeking new prospective African-American students in church pews — a program that's serving as a model for similar efforts elsewhere.

Blacks make up about 6.6 percent of California's population, according to 2011 census data. Jorge Haynes, a Cal State spokesman, said the university system's African-American population is 5 percent.

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The Two-Way
10:02 am
Sun February 10, 2013

Chinese 'Pingpong Diplomacy' Player Dies

The Chinese table tennis player who was instrumental in the pingpong diplomacy that paved the way for President Nixon's groundbreaking visit to China has died. Zhuang Zedong was 73.

Here's more from the BBC about the 1971 incident that led to pingpong diplomacy:

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The Two-Way
7:03 am
Sun February 10, 2013

Islamists Make Sufi Shrines A Target In North Africa

A woman tries to salvage items from a burnt out Sufi shrine outside the Tunisian capital, Tunis, last October. Hard-line Islamists, known as Salafists, have attacked many Sufi shrines in Tunisia recently.
Fethi Belaid AFP/Getty Images

When radical Islamists lash out at cultural sites they consider un-Islamic, a frequent target is Sufi Islam shrines.

Islamists in Tunisia have attacked almost 40 Sufi shrines in recent months, Sufi officials told AFP.

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The Two-Way
7:03 am
Sun February 10, 2013

Will Syria Become An Islamist State?

A Syrian rebel prays on a street in the northern city of Aleppo in January. Many Syrians are debating what role Islam should play in Syria if the current secular government is toppled.
Muzaffar Salman Reuters/Landov

The author, a Syrian citizen living in Damascus, is not being identified by NPR for security reasons. Many Syrians interviewed for this piece asked that their full names not be used, for their safety.

In most every Arab country where there's been an uprising in the past couple of years, Islamists have gained influence or come to power. Is the same thing destined to happen in Syria if President Bashar Assad's secular government is ousted?

Syrians may not know the answer, but they certainly are talking about it.

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The Two-Way
3:31 pm
Sat February 9, 2013

From Making Snow Angels To Sledding, Finding Ways To Have #FunInTheSnow

The Northeast's latest winter storm, which the Weather Channel named Nemo, is winding down, but it has left behind more than 30 inches of snow in some places. It's also left a lot of people stranded, either #CoopedUp indoors or stuck in cars overnight on the Long Island Expressway.

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The Two-Way
10:53 am
Sat February 9, 2013

Knights Of Malta Celebrates 900th Anniversary At Vatican

Knights of the Order of Malta walk in procession toward St. Peter's Basilica to mark the 900th anniversary of the Order of the Knights of Malta, on Saturday at the Vatican.
Andreas Solaro AFP/Getty Images

Pilgrims and tourists visiting the Vatican received a special treat Saturday, when some 4,000 members of the Knights of Malta marched in procession to the tomb of St. Peter.

The last of the great chivalrous orders is celebrating the 900th anniversary of its official recognition by Pope Paschal II. On Saturday, the Knights attended Mass in St. Peter's Basilica and received an audience with Pope Benedict XVI.

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The Salt
10:18 am
Sat February 9, 2013

What To Do With All That Snow? Cook It

For a "Cooking With Snow" class taught through Knowledge Commons DC, instructor Willie Shubert made baobing, a shaved ice dessert from China.
Courtesy of Rachel Sadon

Two feet of snow can be a major inconvenience. We feel for you, friends in the Northeast. To help you work through that serious snow surplus, we shuffled through our virtual recipe box for snow cuisine.

It's like being given lemons and making lemonade, though you definitely don't want to be doing anything with lemon-colored snow you find outside.

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The Two-Way
10:11 am
Sat February 9, 2013

The Blizzard 'Nemo' Highlights The Hype Cycle Of Storms

Two women look for a taxi in New York's Times Square on Friday.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 1:53 pm

If you've wondered why the blizzard dumping snow on the Northeast has a name, look no further than The Weather Channel. At the start of this storm season, the 24-hour-weather network announced, much to the chagrin of The National Weather Service, that it would give names to winter storms.

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The Salt
7:47 am
Sat February 9, 2013

British Outrage Grows As Horsemeat Pops Up In More Foods

Frozen-food company Findus recalled its beef lasagne meals earlier this week because they contain horsemeat.
Scott Heppell AP

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 8:42 am

They like riding them. They like racing them. They bet on them, hunt on them and patrol the streets on them.

But to most who live in the land of the Beefeater, the idea of eating a horse in peacetime is as generally repugnant as grilling one the queen's corgis and gobbling it up with ketchup and fries.

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Krulwich Wonders...
4:59 am
Sat February 9, 2013

Yes, Cats Know How To Fall On Their Feet. But These Guys Do It Better

Agence Nature Science Source

The champ has met its challenger.

Drop a cat and it will swing its head to a horizontal, rearrange its rear, arch its back, splay its legs, and — amazingly often — land on its feet.

This is what cats do. They're famous for it. But now they have a rival.

This is an aphid.

Aphids spend their days sucking sap from leaves. Those leaves can be high off the ground. "High" of course, being a relative term, but think of it this way: Five feet high up is 381 aphids tall. Which is why things get so dicey when a ladybug comes by.

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The Two-Way
4:54 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

As The Blizzard Hits, Here's Coverage From Local NPR Member Stations

As what could be a historic blizzard pummels the Northeast, NPR member stations and reporters in the path of the storm will offer their updates on what they see in their region.

The list on this page will automatically refresh with the latest coverage.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Shots - Health News
4:44 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Widely Used Stroke Treatment Doesn't Help Patients

An angiogram of a 48-year- old patient after treatment for a stroke. A blockage was targeted with clot-busting drugs using a catheter.
Zephyr Science Source

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 5:09 pm

It's another case of a beautiful idea colliding with some ugly facts.

The beautiful idea is the notion that clearing the blocked artery of a stroke patient with a device snaked right up to the blockage would salvage threatened brain cells and prevent a lot of disability.

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The Two-Way
4:43 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Amish Beard-Cutting Ring Leader Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison

Sam Mullet outside his home in Bergholz, Ohio, earlier this year.
Amy Sancetta AP

The leader of a breakaway Amish sect convicted in a series of beard-cutting attacks across Ohio was sentenced to 15 years in prison, today.

Reuters reports:

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