NPR Blogs

Shots - Health News
4:56 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Need A Price For A Hip Operation? Good Luck With That

If you bought this 1954 Buick when it was new, the price was just about as mysterious as it is today for hip replacement surgery.
Hugo90 Flickr

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 9:44 am

Let's say your 62-year-old granny is feeling creaky. One of her hips has been giving her trouble, and her doctor tells her it's time to get it replaced with an implant.

There's a catch. Grandma isn't old enough for Medicare and she doesn't have health insurance. She does, however, have a stack of cash in the bank and is willing to pay for surgery right away.

So how much will it cost her?

Who knows. Seriously.

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The Salt
4:30 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Pig Manure Reveals More Reason To Worry About Antibiotics

Pigs at a farm in Beijing peer out at visitors. Half of all the pigs in the world live in China.
Ng Han Guan AP

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 2:52 pm

There's a global campaign to force meat producers to rein in their use of antibiotics on pigs, chickens and cattle. European countries, especially Denmark and the Netherlands, have taken the lead. The U.S. is moving, haltingly, toward similar restrictions.

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The Salt
3:32 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Sandwich Monday: Mountain Dew A.M.

They're not kidding.
tacobell.com

Look, I know this isn't a sandwich. And it barely even qualifies under the Sandwich Draft Principle. But when we heard Taco Bell was selling something called Mountain Dew A.M. — Mountain Dew mixed with Orange Juice, as a breakfast drink — we felt duty-bound to drink it.

Eva: It's hard to tell if mixing Mountain Dew and Orange Juice together ruins the Mountain Dew, or the Orange Juice, or my entire day.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

A Papal Resignation: Sifting Through Theology And The Effect On The Office

A Statue of St Peter outside St. Peter's basilica at the Vatican.
Vicenzo Pinto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 4:10 pm

As The National Catholic Reporter points out, one of the reasons Pope Benedict XVI's resignation is so surprising is because "most modern popes have felt resignation is unacceptable. As Paul VI said, paternity cannot be resigned."

Indeed, as Mark noted earlier, a papal resignation hasn't happened for nearly 600 years.

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The Two-Way
2:07 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Vote On Names For Pluto's Little Moons; 'Nemo' Not Among Nominees

An artist's illustration, which Hubble Site says shows the Pluto system from the surface of one of its moons.
NASA.gov

Most Two-Way readers who answered our question weren't big fans of calling this past weekend's blizzard by the name "Nemo."

So, many may be relieved to know that Nemo is not among the 12 choices on the SETI Institute's list of nominated names for Pluto's two smallest moons.

The list:

  • Acheron
  • Alecto
  • Cerberus
  • Erebus
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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Toy Fair: Markers That Don't Blot Walls, Sand Without The Mess

Pac-Man joins opening ceremonies at Toy Fair to celebrate the launch of new Pac-Man Toys from Bandai of America.
Fernando Leon Getty Images

Toy Fair 2013 in New York started Sunday and runs until Wednesday. NPR's Neda Ulaby had the tough assignment of sizing up the acres of fun offerings. She brings us this report:

The venerable industry convention Toy Fair celebrates its 110th anniversary this week. But it might as well be the 1970s or '80s within the great glassy expanse of New York City's Javits Center.

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The Salt
1:43 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Icelandic Herring Had A Tough Winter, But There's Still Herring Ice Cream

Lack of oxygen probably caused this mass herring die-off on Feb. 3 in an Icelandic fjord.
Brynjar Gauti AP

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 11:34 am

Icelandic herring have been having a very bad winter. But that may be just a blip in the fish's reinvention as a trendy Nordic nosh.

On Feb. 1, an estimated 22,000 tons of herring were found dead in West Iceland's Kolgrafafjordur fjord. Even more fish — as much as 30,000 tons — were found floating in the same shallow fjord last December.

According to Gudmundur Oskarsson, a senior scientist at Iceland's Marine Research Institute, this accounts for about one-eighth of the total population of Icelandic herring.

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The Two-Way
1:18 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Pentagon Details Which Benefits Will Be Extended To Same-Sex Partners

In 2011, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Alejandra Schwartz, and her daughter Destiny Bautista, were living in San Diego, Calif., with Schwartz's then-fiance, U.S. Navy Counselor 1st Class Luz Bautista, who was pregnant at the time. Then, same-sex partners weren't able to get the benefits that heterosexual couples could.
Lucy Nicholson Reuters /Landov

Commissary privileges, family center programs, dependent I.D. cards, joint duty assignments and space-available travel on military aircraft are among the military benefits the Pentagon will now extend to same-sex partners, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday.

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:40 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

The Egg Makes Its Move In A New Version Of Which Came First: The Chicken Or the Egg?

Robert Krulwich NPR

Which came first? I just bumped into a new take on this old puzzler.

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Shots - Health News
12:33 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

U.S. Fertility Rates Fall To All-Time Low

NPR

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 2:08 pm

Here we go again.

The rate at which American women are having babies fell by 1 percent in 2011, continuing a decline that's been under way for years.

There were 63.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 in 2011 (the lowest on record), compared with 64.1 in 2010 and 66.2 in 2009.

A deeper look at the numbers reveals some other noteworthy trends.

Births to teenagers hit another low — 31.3 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19, down from 34.2 in 2010.

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The Two-Way
12:26 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Esquire Magazine: Bin Laden 'Shooter' On His Own; No Pension, No Healthcare

Young Pakistani boys play near demolition works while Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan is demolished.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 2:34 pm

Update at 8:12 p.m. ET. SEAL Is Eligible For Benefits

Stars and Stripes is reporting that all combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are "automatically eligible for five years of free healthcare through the Department of Veterans Affairs."

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The Two-Way
12:16 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Cruise Ship Drifts In Gulf Of Mexico, Will Be Towed To Port

In a photo from 1999, the Carnival Cruise line Carnival Triumph, foreground, arrives in Miami. Measuring 893 feet in length, the ship has been adrift in the Gulf of Mexico for more than 24 hours, after a fire hit its engines.
Andy Newman AP

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 12:49 pm

More than 3,000 cruise ship passengers who thought they'd be heading home today have instead been told they'll remain in the Gulf of Mexico until Wednesday, stranded by an engine fire that set their ship, the Triumph, adrift. Onboard power and sewer system outages have been reported. The ship, which was 150 miles north of the Yucatan Peninsula when the fire struck early Sunday, has a crew of more than 1,000.

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The Two-Way
11:56 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Medal Of Honor Recipient Thinks About Men 'He Was Not Able To Save'

Former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha when he was on duty in Afghanistan.
North Dakota National Guard

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 12:09 pm

  • From 'Morning Edition': Jake Tapper talks about Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha

A story of heroism and bravery will be told at the White House Monday afternoon when President Obama awards the Medal of Honor to former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha of Minot, N.D.

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The Two-Way
10:41 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict Leaves Behind A Mixed Legacy

Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.
Gerard Cerles AFP/Getty Images

When Pope Benedict XVI steps down at the end of the month, he will be remembered for his efforts to strengthen the Catholic Church's core beliefs and for his powerful and eloquent encyclicals, but also for a mixed record in handling the sexual abuse scandal.

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The Two-Way
9:22 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Developing: Shots Fired At Delaware Courthouse

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 12:21 pm

Update at 12:10 p.m. ET. Gunman Opened Fire In Lobby:

Many questions remain unanswered, but we're starting to get a clearer picture of what happened Monday around 8 a.m ET at the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del., when a gunman opened fire.

According to WDDE, Delaware's NPR News station:

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