NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
7:45 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Hundreds Dead, Hundreds Missing After Typhoon Slams Philippines

A woman carries a child through a flooded road on the island of Mindanao.
AFP/Getty Images

"The death toll from a typhoon that ravaged the Philippines jumped to 238 Wednesday with hundreds missing, as rescuers battled to reach areas cut off by floods and mudslides," The Manila Times writes.

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The Salt
2:36 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Milk Producers Peer Over The Dairy Cliff

Dairy farmer Bob Andrews feeds heifers in the same barn his grandfather used. He says today "the harder you work, the further you get behind."
David Sommerstein NCPR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

There's more than one cliff drawing controversy this month. The federal farm bill is one of many items caught in congressional gridlock. The bill resets U.S. agriculture policy every four years, and most farmers are still covered by crop insurance and other programs until next planting season. But there's one exception: dairy.

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The Salt
2:34 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Palestinian Olive Harvest Turns Bitter As Economy Sputters

Palestinian women harvest olive trees near the occupied West Bank village of Deir Samet near the town of Hebron.
Hazem Bader AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 9:12 am

Across the West Bank, olive harvesting season is drawing to a close once again. But this year, the usually joyous occasion has become grimly purposeful because the Palestinian economy, according to some economists, is being held hostage to politics, and is on the verge of collapse.

In the West Bank village of Deir Ibzie, Amal Karajeh and her husband, Basem, comb through the leaves and branches of an olive tree in their front yard.

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Shots - Health News
5:20 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Computerized Health Records Breed Digital Discontent For Some Doctors

Electronic medical records can have drawbacks, too.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

Two years and $8.4 billion into the government's effort to get doctors to take their practices digital, some unintended consequences are starting to emerge.

One is a lot of unhappy doctors. In a big survey by Medscape, an online site for doctors, 38 percent of the doctors polled said they were unhappy with their electronic medical records system.

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Monkey See
5:20 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Home Video Review: 'Lawrence Of Arabia' On Blu-Ray

Peter O'Toole was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as the titular Lawrence of Arabia.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

Time now for some home-viewing advice from our movie critic, Bob Mondello. This week, a 50th-anniversary Blu-ray release of the ultimate sand-and-sandals picture: Lawrence of Arabia.

Sand dunes for days, armies astride camels, and 29-year-old newcomer Peter O'Toole as British Army Lt. T.E. Lawrence, leading Bedouin warriors on a charge that would shake the Ottoman empire and shake up moviemaking for decades.

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Shots - Health News
5:15 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

The Perilous Politics Of The Health Insurance Tax Break

MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber, who explained the ins and outs of health overhaul in a comic book, says that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is a terrible idea, at least from an economist's point of view.
Macmillan

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

There's not much in health care that economists agree on. But one of the few things that bring them together is the idea that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is nuts.

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The Two-Way
5:00 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

The First Book Printed In British North America And A Church's Decision To Sell It

Jeff Makholm holds the Bay Psalm Book.
Monica Brady-Myerov WBUR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 11:34 am

This past Sunday, the Old South Church in Boston made a decision that cuts to the heart of not only the congregation's history, but to the very beginning of this country's founding.

With an overwhelming 271 to 34 vote, the church decided to give its board the power to sell one copy of the Bay Psalm Book, the first book ever printed in British North America.

Only 11 of the original 1,600 copies of the book printed in Cambridge in 1640 remain. And of those, the church owns two.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
4:15 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Welcoming Climate Skeptics Back To Science

A wake-up call? The Rockaways area in New York after Sandy.
Brigitte Dusseau AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 5:47 pm

It was a revolution in the deepest sense of the word. A new science, quantum mechanics, was sweeping across physics. Its advocates were piling up impressive explanations for new phenomena while its detractors stood on the sidelines complaining bitterly that none of it made sense. Surveying the progress and the carnage one of the new science's founders, Max Planck, penned these now famous words:

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The Salt
3:13 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

A Hidden Hanukkah Tale Of A Woman, An Army And Some Killer Cheese

This Hanukkah lamp, made in Italy in the 19th century, depicts Judith holding a sword in one hand and the severed head of Holofernes in the other.
The Jewish Museum, New York / Art Resource, NY

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 9:11 am

At Hanukkah, many Jewish families celebrate with foods such as latkes and donuts that are fried in oil. The tradition honors the story of the miracle that occurred when a one-day supply of oil burned for eight days inside a temple under siege by the enemy .

Some Jews also eat dishes like kugel, cheesecake or rugelah that all share one ingredient — cheese. But how did cheese make it onto the holiday menu?

It starts (as many of these tales do) with a woman. This woman was Judith.

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Shots - Health News
2:59 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

A Polio Outbreak In Pakistan Reveals Gaps In Vaccination

A child is inoculated with the polio vaccine at a traffic checkpoint just outside Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. Roadside vaccinations help health workers reach children in mobile populations.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:55 am

Pakistan has made a lot of progress this year in wiping out polio. There are signs that one type of poliovirus is gone and transmission of other strains seems to be slowing.

But a recent outbreak of polio there has health officials concerned about the overall effectiveness of the effort to eliminate polio in that country.

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The Two-Way
2:48 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

NATO Approves Turkey's Request For Patriot Defense Missiles

An Israeli army Patriot missile battery is deployed at an unidentified base in central Israel.
Shaul Schwarz Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 2:49 pm

NATO has announced that it will deploy Patriot defense missiles that Turkey had requested to protect itself against attacks from Syria that have so far killed five Turks.

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The Two-Way
2:43 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Remembering Kim Jong-Il ... And His Parka

Kim Jong Il and his favorite parka in 2009.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 4:16 pm

For three generations now, the dynastic Kims who have ruled North Korea for more than six decades have been a rich source for parodies.

Before Kim Jong Il died in December 2011, his trademark pompadour hairdo attracted its share of attention.

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The Two-Way
1:43 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Europeans Summon Israeli Diplomats On Settlement Plan

Construction workers are seen at the E1 construction site near the West Bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem in 2007.
Sebastian Scheiner AP

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 9:11 am

The U.S. has called the latest Israeli settlement plan "counterproductive," and now the Europeans have weighed in, with even more pointed criticism.

Israeli ambassadors to Britain, France, Denmark, Spain and Sweden were summoned Monday to hear opposition to the settlement plan.

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The Two-Way
1:35 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Report: Bloomberg Urged Hillary Clinton To Run For NYC Mayor

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as she is introduced to speak at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Belgium in Brussels.
Kevin LaMarque AFP/Getty Images

The New York Times broke one of the more intriguing political stories of the week, last night: In a phone call "not long ago," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged Hillary Clinton to consider running for his job after she ended her tenure as secretary of sate.

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The Two-Way
12:34 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Betrayed By Metadata: John McAfee Admits He's Really In Guatemala

A Facebook page shows photos of John McAfee, the founder of the eponymous anti-virus company.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 11:05 am

The story of John McAfee just keeps getting weirder. If you remember, the McAfee anti-virus software founder is on the lam, wanted for questioning in Belize for the shooting death of Gregory Faull, another expat who lived near him.

McAfee claims he's innocent and the victim of a corrupt government who is trying to get him.

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