Shots - Health Blog
2:50 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

As More Women Smoke, Their Risk of Bladder Cancer Grows

An increase in toxic chemicals in cigarettes may also be to blame for the high risk of bladder cancer for women who smoke.

Smoking rates have dropped over the last several years, but they now seem to be stuck at about 20 percent for the nation. And nearly as many women now smoke as men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more
It's All Politics
2:48 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Ron Paul Wears Invisibility Cloak In News Media's Eyes

Busted. That's what we in the news media are in the matter of the presidential campaign of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

Famous and not so famous critics have pointed out in the past day that journalists for the most part have ignored Paul even when he succeeds at a level other Republican presidential candidates haven't.

As far as many political reporters have been concerned, the congressman might as well be wearing one of those Harry Potter invisibility cloaks. He's there but we apparently can't see him.

Read more
Research News
2:26 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Cups Down: Scientists Crack 'The Coffee Ring Effect'

Scientists now know why coffee rings have have dark, well-defined edges, as seen in the image above. The research finding may have implications on the development of inks and paints.
Marina Dominguez NPR

A lot of simple things in science turn out to be quite complicated. Take, for example, coffee: you may have noticed that a spilled drop of coffee doesn't dry as a brown blob, but rather as a clear blob with a dark ring around the edge.

It's taken physicists more than a decade to figure out why this effect, known technically as "the coffee ring effect," happens. But now they think they have an answer.

Read more
All Tech Considered
2:12 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Air Force Eyes Artificial Birds, Bugs That Can Spy

A carbon fiber tobacco moth wing created by Maj. Ryan O'Hara flaps 30 times per second and was photographed using a strobe light.
Noah Adams NPR

At the Wright–Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, some Ph.D. candidates are working on micro air vehicles, or tiny flying machines that are remotely piloted.

The micro machines are often "bio-inspired" — study a bird or an insect and then build one.

"If you close your eyes and think of a fat pigeon, that's about the biggest size that we want to use." says Leslie Perkins, who worked with the micro program at the Air Force Research Laboratory. She says the smallest would be about the size of a dragonfly.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:09 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Bill Frist: In Somalia, The World Is Responding But The Need Is Greater

Former Senator Bill Frist just came back from a fact finding-finding mission to the border of Kenya and Somalia. He and Jill Biden, the vice president's wife, visited the Dadaab camp, which was designed for 90,000 but its population of Somalian refugees has swollen to 430,000.

Read more
1:00 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Mixed Feelings Abound As Obama Visits Iowa

President Obama listens to questions during a Monday town hall meeting in Decorah, Iowa.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 10:38 am

As President Obama travels on a three-day, three-state Midwestern bus tour to talk about the economy and jobs, one of the places he has visited is the city of Decorah in northeast Iowa.

The tiny college town — whose economy is doing considerably better than the nation as a whole — is friendly territory for the president. Obama carried the county by a wide margin in 2008.

Among voters now, you'll find plenty of loyalists — but also plenty of frustration.

Read more

Martin Kaste is a correspondent on NPR's National desk. He covers the news throughout the Northwest, with an emphasis on technology and privacy stories.

In addition to general assignment reporting throughout the region, Kaste has contributed to NPR News coverage of major world events, including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2011 uprising in Libya.

Focusing on technology and privacy issues, Kaste has reported on the government's wireless wiretapping practices as well as the data-collection and analysis that goes on behind the scenes in social media and other new media. His privacy reporting was cited in a US Supreme Court opinion concerning GPS tracking.

The Two-Way
12:41 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Congress' Approval Rating Plummets, Especially Among Independents

The new Gallup poll, which finds that only 13 percent of the U.S. public approves of how Congress is doing its job, is the group's first sampling since the debate over the federal debt ceiling. Many Americans watched an 11th-hour vote on that deal on TV, as pictured here.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Only 13 percent of the American public approves of how Congress is doing its job, according to a new Gallup poll. The low-water mark ties the all-time low set this past December, when Americans grew tired of the lame-duck Congress.

Read more
Around the Nation
12:39 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Crumbling Viaduct Divides Seattle

Washington Department of Transportation surveyors Mark McDonald (left) and Richard Torres work atop Alaskan Way Viaduct in downtown Seattle in 2009. The viaduct, which was constructed in the 1950s, is slated to be replaced by a deep-bore tunnel. A 2001 earthquake seriously weakened the structure, and engineers say another hard shake could bring it down.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

Downtown Seattle is one earthquake away from a transportation catastrophe. The city's last big quake in 2001 seriously weakened an elevated highway called the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and engineers say another good shake could bring the double-decker structure down. Although the city has been living with the threat for 10 years, residents and politicians still can't agree what to do about it.

Read more
Hidden World Of Girls
12:09 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

From China To The U.S.: Student Juggles Two Worlds

Mandy with her parents at the Beijing airport.
Courtesy of Mandy Lu

The end of high school and the beginning of college is a momentous time for any teenager — a time of shifting identities and evolving family relationships. Now imagine going through all of that in a country other than your own. Mandy Lu, 19, did just that. Here are her reflections on the two worlds she straddles — as a college student in Greensboro, N.C., and as the daughter of migrant workers from northeastern China.

A couple months ago, I went back to China for the first time since before I started college in the U.S. It was my first trip home in two years.

Read more