NPR Blogs

The Salt
5:08 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

International Culinary Competition Gold Eludes Americans Again

The plating of Team USA's Irish beef dish was based on Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater house.
Courtesy of Bonjwing Lee

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 12:29 pm

Americans may have perfected food television and exported our fast-food tastes around the world, but we still haven't made it to the podium in the so-called Olympics of Cooking. The prestigious Bocuse d'Or chef competition, held in Lyon, France, on Tuesday and Wednesday, saw Team USA unable to break its dry streak, with a seventh-place finish behind winners France, Denmark and Japan.

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Shots - Health News
5:03 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Why Some Families Won't Qualify For Subsidized Health Insurance

iStockphoto.com

Quite a few families with expensive job-based health insurance may be ineligible for federal subsidies to help them buy cheaper coverage through new online insurance markets, under final rules released Wednesday by the Internal Revenue Service.

The two rules, published by the Treasury Department here and here, uphold earlier proposals outlining what is considered affordable, employer-sponsored coverage.

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The Two-Way
4:06 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

South Africa's First Black Billionaire Pledges To Donate Half His Wealth

Patrice Motsepe in 2010.
Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 6:41 pm

If you were looking for good news, here's a bit of it from South Africa: Patrice Motsepe, the country's first black billionaire, announced today that he will donate half his fortune in order to help the poor.

Reuters reports:

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Shots - Health News
4:03 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Bellevue Hospital's Slow Comeback After Superstorm Sandy

When Superstorm Sandy came ashore, Bellevue Hospital was quickly submerged. Inspectors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency marked the flood line in the basement with orange tape or spray paint. In some areas, water was 14 feet deep.
Fred Mogul NPR

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 6:18 pm

When a ferry crashed in lower Manhattan earlier this month, ambulances took dozens of people to hospitals around the island.

Bellevue Hospital took in 31 passengers, but they all had minor injuries. The most seriously hurt patients from the crash went elsewhere. Dr. Suzi Vassallo said that's because Bellevue still can't handle serious traumatic injuries.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
4:01 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Big Science Paves The Way Forward

Big science in orbit: the Hubble Space Telescope
NASA

Arguments are often heard against big (read: expensive) scientific projects, especially those without an immediate pay off. "Why spend so much money building this machine or spacecraft, when there are so many pressing social issues we must deal with?"

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The Two-Way
3:58 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Israel Bombs Military Target Outside Damascus, Syria Says

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 7:38 pm

Israel's air force bombed a military facility in western Syria, the Syrian media said Wednesday, a development that could further complicate the already volatile conditions in the region.

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The Two-Way
2:54 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Report From Homeland Security Details 'Commonalities' In Mass Shootings

Mourners create a memorial at the fountain of the Aurora Municipal Center after a prayer vigil Sunday for the 12 victims of Friday's mass shooting at the Century 16 movie theater.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Back in November, one of the Homeland Security's intelligence analysis centers in New Jersey was tasked with finding "commonalities" of mass shootings in the United States.

Today, the website Public Intelligence received an unclassified version of that report through a Freedom of Information Act request. The New Jersey "Fusion Center" looked at 29 mass shootings in the United States since 1999.

The findings:

-- Nearly half of the shootings happened at a workplace.

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Krulwich Wonders...
2:11 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Pale Blue Blobs Invade, Freeze, Then Vanish

Courtesy of Emmanuel Coupe Kalomiris

It's a lake, yes. But it's also a bomb. Those pale blue blobs, stacked like floating pancakes down at the bottom of this photograph? They're astonishingly beautiful, yes, but they can be dangerous.

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The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Severe Weather Moves East; Tornado Overturns Vehicles In Georgia

A radar image showing a strong line of storms moving across eastern United States.
NOAA

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 5:44 pm

"The intense storm system that brought severe weather to the Mississippi Valley on Tuesday will move eastward on Wednesday, bringing a risk of severe weather from the upper Ohio Valley southward to the central Gulf Coast and eastward to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast coast," the National Weather Service warns this hours. "The main threat will be damaging wind along with the possibility of tornadoes, especially across eastern Ala. into western Ga."

In Georgia, a tornado has already touched down. WSB-TV has dramatic video of the funnel cloud raking through Adairsville, Ga.:

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The Two-Way
12:59 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Pennsylvania Judge Denies Sandusky Request For New Trial

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky as he walked into his sentencing hearing in October.
Patrick Smith Getty Images

A Pennsylvania judge on Wednesday denied a motion by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky for a new trial.

Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse of minors back in October. He was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in jail.

Michael Sisak of the The Citizens' Voice in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., reports on Twitter:

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The Two-Way
12:32 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

BlackBerry Maker Unveils New Phones, New Corporate Name

A member of the RIM team poses with one of the new touchscreen Z10 Blackberry devices.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 12:34 pm

It's no secret that Research In Motion is in trouble. The tablet device it released in 2011 did so poorly the company took a $485 million hit. Android phones and Apple's iPhone have left the company in the technology graveyard.

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The Salt
12:10 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Ukrainian Comfort Dish Chicken Kiev Claims French Parentage

Chicken Kiev made by Viacheslav Gribov, head chef at Kiev's Hotel Dnipro, comes with a small bone sticking out one end. If done properly, some of the butter inside will remain unmelted.
Amy Guttman

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 1:38 pm

You'd be forgiven for thinking chicken Kiev got its start in the Ukrainian capital. After all, a hearty dish of chicken filled with butter, wrapped in bread crumbs, and deep fried is the perfect meal to withstand subzero temperatures and cold winds blowing across the Dniepr River.

Ukrainian chefs say they have the only authentic recipe for the dish, but they concede that chicken Kiev, despite its name, has a far more sophisticated provenance: It's French.

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The Two-Way
11:34 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Massachusetts Gov. Picks Short Term Replacement For Sen. John Kerry

This undated photo released by the Massachusetts Governor's office shows William "Mo" Cowan, right, former chief of staff for Gov. Deval Patrick.
Uncredited ASSOCIATED PRESS

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has tapped a former aide to succeed Sen. John Kerry, who's been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the next U.S. Secretary of State. Patrick's office says he's chosen William 'Mo' Cowan to serve as the state's interim senator until a special election is held June 25 to vote on a candidate to fill out the rest of Kerry's term.

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Shots - Health News
10:14 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Did Penicillin, Rather Than The Pill, Usher In Age Of Love?

Would Woodstock have happened without penicillin?
AP

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 5:28 pm

We all know what fueled the sexual revolution: birth control and rock 'n' roll.

But what if that's not the whole story? What if America's libido was liberated not by the pill and heady doses of Jim Morrison, but by the lowly prescription drug penicillin.

Before penicillin was found to be effective against syphilis during World War II, sex brought with it the risk of syphilis, a disease that can cause blindness, dementia and paralysis.

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Monkey See
9:55 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Coastal Snobbery, 'The Masses,' And Respecting The Lowest Common Denominator

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 12:03 pm

There are three phrases that are almost always bad news for a piece of cultural writing.

They are:

1. "The masses."

2. "Middle America."

3. "The lowest common denominator."

All three are ways to separate the writer and her sensibility — which are presumed to be congruent with the reader and her sensibility — from invisible and undefined others, for whom bad cultural content is produced and by whom it is unquestioningly gobbled up.

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