NPR News

Pages

Iraq
10:01 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

No U.S. Troops, But An Army Of Contractors In Iraq

As many as 5,000 private security contractors will be protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq. The U.S. Embassy compound (above) and several consulates will have about 15,000 workers, making it the largest diplomatic operation abroad.
Lucas Jackson Reuters/Landov

The U.S. troops have left Iraq, and U.S. diplomats will now be the face of America in a country that remains extremely volatile.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, along with several consulates, will have some 15,000 workers, making it the largest U.S. diplomatic operation abroad. Those diplomats will be protected by a private army consisting of as many as 5,000 security contractors who will carry assault weapons and fly armed helicopters.

Read more
News
2:15 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

With 'Occupy' Protests, Police Aimed For Restraint

This fall American police were confronted with something they hadn't seen in 40 years: prolonged, simultaneous political protests across the country. In most cities, police showed restraint. But there have been exceptions — sometimes involving copious amounts of pepper spray. Those flashpoints have become a cause for concern.

Read more
Economy
2:00 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

What's Holding Back One 'Job Creator'? Not Taxes

"We've got the space, we have equipment, we've got the cash, we've got the customers, we have the product," says Tim O'Keeffe, owner of G.L. Huyett. "We have everything we need — except the people."
Frank Morris KCUR

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 7:53 am

There aren't many people on the broad Kansas prairie, but there is industry.

At G.L. Huyett, boxy machines jammed into a big metal building grind steel into heavy transmission parts.

"We're a supplier of last resort," says Tim O'Keeffe, who owns the company. If you have disruptions in the supply chain and someone can't meet a shipping time, he says, G.L. Huyett can step in.

Read more
The Record
1:31 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

It Was A Good Year For Swag

Lil B.
Courtesy of the artist.

2011 was a good year for the word "swag". Not trinkets, or party favors, not an acronym for Stuff We All Get, "swag" comes from swagger. This year a term that hip-hop artists have been using for nearly a decade enjoyed a moment in the spotlight.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

The Fact, And Fiction, Of 'My Week With Marilyn'

The new bio-pic My Week with Marilyn chronicles the making of The Prince and the Showgirl, in which Laurence Olivier acted with and directed Marilyn Monroe. Sarah Churchwell, author of The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, talks to Robert Siegel about what elements of the film ring true.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

In Iowa, All Eyes On Republican Hopefuls

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 2:28 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

Read more
Afghanistan
1:00 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

In Kabul, Banking On Luxury Accommodations

A five-star hotel in Afghanistan may seem a risky business proposition. But not to the Marriott chain, which is going to manage a six-story hotel under construction in Kabul. Part of the U.S. and NATO security bubble, it will likely draw foreign businesspeople hoping to sign reconstruction deals.

Health Care
1:00 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

Hospitals Move To Curb Elective Early Deliveries

More hospitals in Massachusetts and across the country are saying no to elective deliveries of babies before 39 weeks unless medically necessary. Doctors cite increased health risks associated with early deliveries, not costs — though Texas' Medicaid program has stopped paying for such births.

Animals
11:38 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Endangered Turtle Survives Trans-Atlantic Journey

A Kemp's ridley sea turtle like this one traveled 4,600 miles across the Atlantic ocean in 2008. After being rehabilitated in Portugal, it is being reintroduced into its native Gulf of Mexico waters on Tuesday.
US EPA via flickr

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 2:28 pm

On Florida's Gulf coast Tuesday, there will be a celebrated homecoming. For a turtle. This is no ordinary turtle: Known as Johnny Vasco da Gama, after the 15th-century Portuguese explorer, it crossed the Atlantic twice — by sea and by air.

Johnny, as his human friends call him, is a critically endangered Kemp's ridley turtle. Only a few thousand of these sea-turtles exist, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico. Normally, they do not migrate across the Atlantic.

Read more
Conflict In Libya
10:55 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Injured In Battle, Libyans Recuperate In U.S. Hospital

Dr. Ryan Zaklin and other doctors at Spaulding Hospital are wearing name tags in English and Arabic to help their Libyan patients. There are also small sticky notes with English words written on them scattered throughout the hospital to help the patients learn terms for common objects.
Sacha Pfeiffer for NPR

Libya's civil war toppled a dictator and put the country on a path to democracy, but many of the rebel fighters who helped create that change are still recovering from battle injuries. Spaulding Hospital in Salem, Massachusetts, near Boston, is treating about two dozen of them — the only hospital in the country providing this kind of care.

Handwritten signs in Arabic are hung in a physical therapy room at the hospital, where several Libyan patients are getting rehab for injuries to their shoulders, hands and arms.

Read more
Digital Life
10:24 am
Mon December 26, 2011

The Touchy-Feely Future Of Technology

While many think of the tablet computer as a new idea, the concept can traced back to the original Star Trek series and Arthur C. Clarke's 1968 novel 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Noel Celis AFP/Getty Images

In 1975, when then-composer and performer Bill Buxton started designing his own digital musical instruments, he had no way of knowing he was helping to spark the next technological revolution. But nine years — and a master's in computer science — later, that all changed.

Read more
The Record
10:00 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Skylar Grey: And The Hits Keep Coming

Skylar Grey.
P.R. Brown Courtesy of Universal Music Group

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 12:41 pm

Read more
Technology
9:38 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Timeline: A History Of Touch-Screen Technology

The University of Illinois released its PLATO IV touch-screen terminal in 1972.
Courtesy of the University of Illinois Archives

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 8:15 pm

1948 The Electronic Sackbut
The history of touch technology begins with touch-sensitive music synthesizers. According to the Canada Science and Technology Museum, Hugh Le Caine's Electronic Sackbut, completed in 1948, is widely considered to be the first musical synthesizer. The Sackbut is played with the right hand on the keyboard and the left hand on control board above the keyboard. The right hand controls volume by applying more or less pressure on the keys, while the left hand controls four different sound texture options.

Read more
The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
9:15 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Jimmy Fallon's 'Thank You Notes' For Everything

Jimmy Fallon says he spends almost 12 hours each day at the Late Night offices, which makes the rest of his life difficult. "If I want to play video games now, I have to schedule it," he tells Terry Gross.
Virginia Sherwood NBC

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 9:18 am

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on May 23, 2011.

Read more
It's All Politics
9:02 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Paul Disavows Newsletters, But In '95 Video He Seems To Claim Credit

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas speaks during a campaign stop in Fort Madison, Iowa on Dec. 21.
Chris Carlson AP

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 10:15 am

Ron Paul's struggles to distance himself from some decades-old controversial newsletters got a bit tougher over the holiday weekend.

Read more
It's All Politics
7:12 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Gingrich Ballot Stumble In Virginia Could Be Sign Of Delegate Fight Ahead

A supporter takes a photo with a cell phone as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich greets supporters Dec. 22 in Richmond. Gingrich said then that he would gather enough signatures to make the Virginia ballot, but over the weekend he failed to qualify.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Every four years, a small subset of political junkies starts salivating over the prospect that no one candidate will garner enough delegates to win his or her party's nomination for the presidency. That would lead to the junkie's greatest fantasy: a brokered convention.

Read more
The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
7:11 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Waits: Paying Homage To Outcasts On 'Bad As Me'

Tom Waits.

Jesse Dylan

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on October 31, 2011.


Read more
Around the Nation
5:10 am
Mon December 26, 2011

NBA Commissioner Turns Boos Into Cheers

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 5:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's All Politics
5:07 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Silent For A Night (Or Two) In Iowa, Candidates Keep Pace In Ads

Around the Nation
5:05 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Santa Trackers Set Record On Christmas Eve

The North American Aerospace Defense Command keeps an eye on Saint Nick's progress from an Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo. NORAD volunteers in elf hats fielded more than 100,000 calls from kids checking on Santa.

Around the Nation
4:00 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Milwaukee VA Cuts In-Patient Stays

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 5:16 am

The VA hospital in Milwaukee is shortening its residential mental health treatment programs. Doctors there say the shortened stay — from 90 to 45 days — will mean more intense treatment and will make it easier for veterans to transition back into society sooner. Some patients worry about being pushed out too soon.

Sports
3:26 am
Mon December 26, 2011

NBA Stars Didn't Disappoint In Season Openers

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 5:16 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Perhaps more than any other major professional sports league in this country, the National Basketball Association is star-driven. And yesterday, the stars did not disappoint. A Christmas slate of season-opening games featured the electric play of the league's Most Valuable Player, Derrick Rose, and the NBA's top scorer, Kevin Durant, and this guy named LeBron James as well. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman monitored as much as he could of 13 hours of NBA action. And he joins me now.

Good morning, Tom.

Read more
Europe
3:18 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Russians Keep Up Protests For Free Elections

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 5:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Read more
Children's Health
2:20 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Philadelphia Practice Flight Helps Autistic Kids Fly

People travelling through Philadelphia International Airport Terminal A West Transit Corridor. The airport is the 12th busiest in the world.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 5:16 am

Air travel horror stories typically involve lost luggage, missed connections and overzealous security staff. But families affected by autism face other challenges in navigating airports and planes.

A Philadelphia program is bringing families, airport employees and airlines together to help autistic kids fly more comfortably.

Airports are loud, hectic places: blaring announcements, glaring lights and long lines can spell trouble for people with autism. They often can't tolerate noise, bright lights and close quarters.

Read more
Business
2:00 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Business News

Steve Inskeep and Linda Wertheimer have business news.

Business
2:00 am
Mon December 26, 2011

The Top Gadgets Of 2011

Linda Wertheimer talks to Rich Jaroslovsky, tech columnist for Bloomberg News, about his top gadget picks for 2011.

It Was A Good Year For...
10:01 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Now Hovering Above Us All: 'The Cloud'

The cloud became a common term in 2011. Here, a screengrab from the Dropbox website shows how the cloud-based data storage service shares the same information on multiple devices.
NPR

The digital cloud became a household word in 2011.You can now store and share things via the Internet in ways you never could before. But what does the cloud look like, and where can we find it?

The section of the cloud we visited has a lot of concrete and security.

Behind a ballistics-grade door, data center owner David Sabey ushers us into a spotless Seattle-area facility the size of nine football fields. It's crammed full of racks upon racks of powerful servers, sophisticated computers that serve up information. There are lots of blinking lights and wires everywhere.

Read more
Research News
10:01 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

The Wisdom Of Trees (Leonardo Da Vinci Knew It)

Leonardo DaVinci noted that when trees branch, smaller branches have a precise, mathematical relationship to the branch they sprang from.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 11:15 am

Hurricanes topple plenty of trees, but when you think about it, the more amazing thing is that many trees can stand up to these 100-mile-per-hour winds.

Now a French scientist has come up with an explanation for the resilience of trees. And astonishingly, the answer was first described by Leonardo da Vinci 500 years ago.

Leonardo noticed that when trees branch, smaller branches have a precise, mathematical relationship to the branch from which they sprang. Many people have verified Leonardo's rule, as it's known, but no one had a good explanation for it.

Read more
The Record
10:01 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

The Music Stories We Missed This Year

The Edge and Bono performing in June at the Oakland, Calif., stop of U2's 360˚ Tour — the most successful in history.
Tim Mosenfelder Getty Images

This year, Morning Edition covered the death of Amy Winehouse, Spotify's arrival in America and the end of R.E.M. Listen above to host Steve Inskeep and Ann Powers catch up on the year's musical stories the show didn't cover.

Read more
Sports
10:01 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Horse Breeders Seek To Rein In Bets On Barrel Races

Barrel racing champion Charmayne James rides during a demonstration at a new arena in Gretna, Fla., that plans to hold wagering on the sport.
Brendan Farrington AP

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 5:16 am

At rodeos, barrel racing has long been a popular event. Riders, often young women, race their horses in a cloverleaf pattern around barrels in an arena. Using quarter horses, the sport has grown in popularity in recent years and has its own circuit of races and competitive riders.

But in Gretna, Fla., a plan to turn barrel racing into a betting proposition has run into opposition. Quarter horse breeders and trainers are suing to stop it, saying the new event could destroy their industry.

Read more

Pages