NPR Blogs

Shots - Health Blog
5:16 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

HIV Prevention Drug Truvada No Quick Fix For Brazil's Epidemic

Researchers with HIV medication at a public research lab at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, or Fiocruz, in Rio de Janeiro.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Yesterday the Food and Drug Administration gave the first green light on a drug to prevent HIV transmission.

Many experts say the drug will help hasten the end of the AIDS pandemic. But experts in Brazil say the drug alone isn't the answer.

One of the drug trials the FDA considered was done at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation Research Institute, also known as Fiocruz, in Rio de Janeiro.

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The Two-Way
5:01 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Human Rights Watch Says Chávez's Government Intimidates Opponents

A report (pdf) released today by Human Rights Watch accuses the government of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela of consolidating power in the executive branch and using that power to intimidate his opponents.

"The accumulation of power in the executive, the removal of institutional safeguards, and the erosion of human rights guarantees have given the Chávez government free rein to intimidate, censor, and punish Venezuelans who 'offend' the president or obstruct his political aims," the report found.

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The Two-Way
3:53 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Pot Growers May Be Killing Rare Creatures With Poison, Researchers Say

A fisher. It now has another challenge.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Already among the animals that may be added to the list of those protected by the Endangered Species Act, the weasel-like fisher now faces this deadly threat:

Rat poison that illegal marijuana growers put out to protect their crops in California.

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Sometimes, 4Chan Users Do The Right Thing

This is the photo posted on 4Chan last night.
Anonymous

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 3:42 pm

4Chan is a cesspool. That's not even editorializing. A few minutes on the notorious, free-for-all Internet message board that gave birth to Anonymous will — in the famous words of Gawker — "melt your brain."

But every once in a while, they do the right thing — like today.

As Hypervocal reports, last night a 4Chan user posted a picture of someone standing on two containers full of lettuce with the taunting caption: "This is the lettuce you eat at Burger King."

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Shots - Health Blog
2:17 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Cholera Vaccination Test Reached Targets In Haiti

A lone pig roots through trash dumped over the side of a sewage canal that runs from the center of Port au Prince through Cite de Dieu. During the rainy season, the canal overflows its banks and fills nearby houses with sewage, which can carry cholera.
John W. Poole NPR

The results are in on this spring's high-visibility pilot project to vaccinate 100,000 Haitians against cholera.

Almost 90 percent of the target population – half in Port-au-Prince and the other half in a remote rural area – got fully protected against cholera, meaning they got 2 doses of the oral vaccine.

The results defy the forecasts of skeptics who said in advance of the campaign that it would be lucky to protect 60 percent of the target populations.

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The Salt
1:54 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

FDA Bans Chemical BPA From Sippy Cups And Baby Bottles

FDA makes it official, banning the chemical BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups.
Fabrizio Balestrieri iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 3:04 pm

It's been years since manufacturers voluntarily stopped using the plastic additive BPA (Bisphenol A) in sippy cups and baby bottles. But now they have no choice. The FDA announced it has formally banned BPA from these products.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:39 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Athletes Look For Doping Edge, Despite Tests And Risks

An analyst works in the Olympic anti-doping laboratory in January. The lab in Harlow, England will test 5,000 of the 10,490 athletes' samples from the London 2012 Games.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Last weekend Debbie Dunn, a U.S. sprinter set to compete in the London Olympics, resigned from the team after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

And as the games draw closer, we expect to see more reports of elite athletes who have turned to prohibited substances in their search for stronger, faster, and leaner body.

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The Two-Way
1:28 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

William Raspberry, Pulitzer-Winning Columnist, Dead At 76

Washington Post columnist William Raspberry in 1994, after it was announced that he had won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
Denis Paquin AP

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:17 pm

William Raspberry, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his column in The Washington Post, died today at his home in Washington, his paper reported. He was 76.

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The Two-Way
12:16 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

U.S. Laboratory Breaks Laser Record, Delivering 500-Trillion-Watt Beam

The preamplifiers of the National Ignition Facility are the first step in increasing the energy of laser beams as they make their way toward the target chamber.
National Ignition Facility

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 2:32 pm

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has produced a record-breaking laser beam at its National Ignition Facility. The lab's system of 192 beams produced more than 500 trillion watts and 1.85 megajoules of laser light onto a 2-millimeter in diameter target.

And we know, those numbers sound like gibberish. But the laboratory puts it in every-day terms:

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
11:49 am
Tue July 17, 2012

How Good Were Climate Models 30 Years Ago?

Climate change as predicted in 1981. Grey shows predictions from global temperature rise via computer models run of Hansen et al 198. Red shows real world data taken since paper was published.
Geert Jan van Oldenborgh and Rein Haarsma, KNMI, RealClimate

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 5:10 pm

Pretty good it appears.

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The Two-Way
11:48 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Republican Lawmakers Seek To Block Funding On Black Lung Regulation

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 6:33 pm

Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee have inserted into a broad appropriations bill language that would block funding for a Labor Department effort to reduce the occurrence of black lung, the disease that afflicts coal miners exposed to excessive mine dust.

The bill covers appropriations for Fiscal Year 2013 for the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services. Tucked away deep inside the measure is this language:

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The Two-Way
11:13 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Boy Scouts Reaffirm Ban On Open Gays; Call It 'Absolutely The Best Policy'

In Mississippi last month, scouts took part in a flag retirement ceremony.
Philip Hall / Enterprise-Journal AP

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 11:56 am

"After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America has emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays," The Associated Press reports.

According to the wire service, Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said the 11-member committee decided that is "absolutely the best policy" for the organization.

The Boy Scouts' policy states that:

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Shots - Health Blog
10:50 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Health Insurance Prices For Women Set To Drop

Women pay extra for the coverage, but not for much longer.
iStockphoto.com

Any woman who has bought health insurance on her own probably didn't find herself humming the old show tune, "I Enjoy Being a Girl." That's because more than 90 percent of individual plans charge women higher premiums than men for the same coverage, a practice known as gender rating.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:45 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Five Men Agree To Stand Directly Under An Exploding Nuclear Bomb

Atom Central/YouTube

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 2:23 pm

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Monkey See
10:35 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Batman Really Begins: 'I Went From A Kid On The Farm To Robin'

Robert Lowery as Batman and John Duncan as Robin in 1949's Batman and Robin.
Columbia Pictures Photofest

Sure, The Dark Knight Rises may have cost a reported $250 million, but for all that money, will it have underground lairs, secret submarines, zombie henchmen and killer crocodiles? Will there be a chase every 15 minutes, and cliffhangers that leave you wondering if Batman died in the fiery car wreck, or just jumped out before it went off the cliff? Will our hero drive the Batmobile, or will he opt instead for a sleek, stylish Mercury?

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