Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Heat, Drought Pressure Oklahoma's Water Supplies

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin talks about the state's response to the drought during a news conference Monday in Oklahoma City. At right is state Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Tue August 16, 2011 9:28 am

It's been so hot and dry this summer that climatologists say the southern part of the United States is going through an "exceptional drought."

Parts of Oklahoma have seen little rain since October — not to mention a string of 100-degree days. The steamy conditions are pressuring the state's water needs.

About 1.2 million people live in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, and they are putting a drain on the city's water supplies.

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Law
10:01 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Cell Service Shutdown Raises Free Speech Questions

The shutdown of mobile phone service in Bay Area subway stations has got constitutional experts hitting the law books.

Authorities for Bay Area Rapid Transit, or BART, blocked wireless signals in certain stations on August 11 in an attempt to prevent protests opposing the July 3 shooting death of Charles Blair Hill by BART police. Police say Hill came at them with a knife.

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National Security
10:01 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Next In Line For The TSA? A Thorough 'Chat-Down'

Boston's Logan Airport will become the first in the nation this week to require every single traveler to go through a quick interview with security officials trying to spot suspicious behavior.

Until now, the so-called behavioral profiling — used successfully in Israel — has been used only sporadically in U.S. airports. As the system expands, so are questions about how behavioral profiling works, and how effective it might be in the U.S.

Unlike the usual security pat-down, the profiling process is what you might call a "chat-down."

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Asia
10:01 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Chew On This: Indians Trading Betel For Tobacco

In India, the centuries-old tradition of chewing betel leaves, or paan, spread with spices and sweeteners is losing popularity. In this file photo from 2006, an Indian shopkeeper arranges silver foils of paan at his roadside shop in New Delhi.
Manan Vatsyayana AFP/Getty Images

For centuries, Indians have chewed betel leaves, or paan, regardless of caste or economic lines. It's been the daily chew of everyone from the poorest farmer and rickshaw puller to the richest maharaja and gold merchant.

A plump little bundle of flavor, paan consists of various spices and sweeteners, spread on a betel leaf and folded into a neat packet.

But the leaf and the traditional ritual of preparing it are rapidly giving way to an even more dangerous habit: chewing tobacco.

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Small Businesses, Big Problems
10:01 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Credit Troubles Teach Entrepreneur Better Business

Daphne Wilson (center) and her engineering team review plans for project at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wis.
Erin Toner WUWM

As the country continues to dig out of the recession, many small businesses are still having trouble getting back on their feet. That's in part because most banks severely tightened lending to small firms.

In Milwaukee, Wis., one entrepreneur was turned down for credit by four banks and says the experience has actually helped her become a better business person.

The heat and humidity are relentless in Jones Island, a peninsula just south of downtown Milwaukee.

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The Two-Way
5:16 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Boy Makes $50K Hockey Shot, But It's The Wrong Boy

Pat Smith and his twin sons, Nate and Nick, were at a charity hockey game Thursday when he purchased three $10 raffle tickets for a chance to hit a near-impossible hockey shot, with a $50,000 prize. One of his sons hit that shot — but as Pat told organizers the next day, it wasn't the one whose name was on the ticket.

The Faribault, Minn., arena was in a state of pandemonium after Nate Smith sent a hockey puck from center ice into the goal — the 3-inch puck traveled 89 feet down the ice and into a 3.5-inch hole in a board laid over the mouth of the goal.

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It's All Politics
4:40 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Bus-Touring Obama Goes After GOP Presidential Hopefuls

President Obama's Midwest bus trip is part listening tour to show that he's concerned about the problems of actual Americans, part rolling bully pulpit that gives him a chance to make the case for compromise (and to blame congressional Republicans for not doing enough on that score.)

But it also was a chance to try and score a few points on the would-be Republican nominees.

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Joe Neel is NPR's deputy senior supervising editor and a correspondent on the Science Desk.

As a leader of NPR's award-winning health and science coverage, Neel focuses on stories about medical research and health-care delivery. Neel assigns stories to reporters and correspondents, helps them produce the stories and edits the pieces for broadcast or publication on NPR.org. He is a frequent guest or contributor to NPR's programs, blogs, and podcasts.

The Two-Way
4:17 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Uniform: Not Just A Word, For Public Health Service's Commissioned Corps

Service members model the Modified Service Dress Blue Sweater. The Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service requires that members wear either the sweater or a windbreaker.
Commissioned Corps of The U.S. Public Health Service

I am not making this up.

With temperatures barely out of the 100s and even higher in many areas, the Commissioned Corps of The U.S. Public Health Service has some helpful tips for officers who stray outdoors from the lab or the clinic.

"Being that it is summer and heat indices have been over 100 degrees here in the National Capitol Region," the Corps' latest newsletter says, "be reminded you have to wear either the sweater or windbreaker jacket when outdoors."

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The Two-Way
3:56 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

The Uneasy Trust Between Exonerated Inmates And Their Attorneys

The use of DNA evidence to exonerate people wrongfully convicted of crimes — and in some cases, free them after decades in prison — is verging on becoming commonplace. It's one reason several states have ceased or slowed down their use of capital punishment. But for some exonerees, the large compensation payment they're often owed brings another clash, with their attorneys.

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