Here's a fact worth pondering: Farming accounts for 70 percent of all the water that's used for any purpose, worldwide. And demand for it is growing, along with the planet's population and our increasing appetite for meat. That's according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which recently published this poster and others in a striking series on the vital role of water in growing our food.
Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 8:05 am
When Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced plans to run for president, he made a point of noting that it was his wife, Anita, who urged him to go for it, to get out of his "comfort zone."
Step into the fray, she urged.
That fray in recent days has taken a toll on Perry, who had a roundly-panned performance at GOP presidential debate last week followed by a surprising drubbing in Saturday's Florida Republican presidential straw poll.
Joblessness can be particularly tough for those in middle age. The recession hit this age group hard, and they aren't getting rehired as quickly during the sluggish recovery.
Middle-aged workers face more financial demands than other age groups and are too young to retire, yet they also don't have as much time to work their way up again from the bottom rung like younger workers.
Some of our best ideas supposedly come to us in the shower: a business to start, an industry to shake up. Or maybe not, says entrepreneur Eric Ries.
"When we're in the shower, when we're thinking about our idea — boy, does it sound brilliant. But the reality is that most of our ideas are actually terrible," he says. "But it's hard to know which are the brilliant ones, and which are the crazy ones, until we actually test them against reality."
Vladimir Putin's planned run for the presidency next year comes as no surprise to U.S. policymakers. But it may make their lives more complicated and signal a return to more troubled times in U.S.-Russian relations.
Russia's dominant political party, United Russia, nominated Putin as its presidential candidate on Saturday. That virtually assures him that he will return to his old job, which he held from 1999 to 2008. The current president, Dmitry Medvedev, will be the candidate to replace Putin as prime minister.
In the coastal Mexican city of Acapulco, teachers are out on strike — not over wages, working conditions or pensions, but because of crime.
Teachers say they're being extorted, kidnapped and intimidated by local gangs and they're refusing to return to their classrooms until the government does something to protect them. Over the last two years, drug cartels fighting for control of Acapulco have terrorized the once-popular tourist resort.
Most baby boomers say they're planning on an active and healthy retirement, according to a new poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. And, in a switch from earlier years, more than two-thirds recognize the threat of long-term care expenses to their financial futures.
But some experts worry that when it comes to their health, boomers are still woefully unprepared — or worse, in denial.
After seven months of protests in Syria, the international community has stepped up economic pressure, and some of Syria's traditional allies have turned into critics.
Yet President Bashar Assad presses on with a relentless and bloody crackdown, and his government seems to be operating on its own timeline when it comes to the uprisings that have already toppled several Arab regimes.
The events in Syria suggest it's time for a reassessment of the Arab spring, according to Vali Nasr, a former U.S. government adviser and Middle East scholar at Tufts University.
Adam: When I say "Henry Shrapnel, Jules Leotard, Robert Bunsen," you think — what? Me: That they're inventors? Adam: No. Better than that. Each one has become immortal. They're nouns! Me: Is that a good thing, becoming a noun? ... Adam: Are you kidding? It's a wonderful thing. A thing to sing about. Me: You're going to sing? Adam: If I may ...
In an interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, Pakistan's foreign minister said her country and the United States "need each other" and "are fighting against the same people" but "Pakistan's dignity must not be compromised."
Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 6:04 pm
The Census Bureau released a revised estimate Tuesday of the number of same-sex married couples living in the United States: More than 130,000 same-sex households recorded themselves as married. Another 500,000 same-sex households indentified themselves as unmarried.
Seven former and current students from a prestigious New York high school have been arrested for allegedly running an SAT cheating ring.
The Nassau County district attorney announced today that Samuel Eshaghoff, a 19-year-old Emory University student, took the SAT exam for at least six John L. Miller Great Neck North High School students. Each one of those students paid Eshaghoff between $1,500 and $2,500. Eshagoff graduated from Great Neck in 2010.
In a move that's bound to stress Israeli-Palestinian relations further, Israel's Interior Ministry announced it would allow 1,100 Israeli homes to be built in East Jerusalem. Palestinians want that area as the capital of their future state.
Reporting from Jerusalem, NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro filed this report:
The homes will be built in Gilo, a huge east Jerusalem settlement. The United Nations and the European Union criticized the move today restating their position that settlement activity is illegal under international law.
Over the next two weeks, some 5,000 people will fill the sanctuaries at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C., to pray, worship and remember their spiritual roots.
"Rosh Hashana is a time of renewal, and it's a time of reconnecting with what really matters for us as a Jewish people," Rabbi Gil Steinlauf says.
The Jewish New Year is a time of spiritual awe — and practical considerations. Unlike churches, most synagogues charge membership dues to keep the lights on and fund the programs, because they are autonomous and do not receive funding from a national body.
While Rep. Michele Bachmann's recent flap over the HPV vaccine was a reminder that some Americans are unsure that new vaccines are good for their children, Africans are in a very different boat.
Young children there still die daily from infectious diseases that vaccines can easily prevent. And now that new vaccines are available to prevent a common cause of severe diarrhea and pneumonia, African countries are clamoring for them.
In that April commentary for Morning Edition, Dr. Mark Lachs said of his patient that:
"Unusual longevity often has a genetic basis, and Reichert probably does have a gene that contributes to her unusual longevity. But she also exhibits a powerful trait geriatricians call adaptive competence.
At the end of 2010, the federal government announced a settlement with Bank of America in which the bank bought back $2.87 billion in mortgages that did not meet Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's standards — that is these were mortgages where, for example, someone inflated their income to guarantee a loan.
BJ Casey, Director of the Sackler Institute at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, studies brain development in teenagers. After Talk of the Nation had her on the show last week to talk about why some kids like to take risks and push boundaries, listeners had so many questions that she returned today to answer a couple more.
Greek lawmakers approved a controversial new property tax Tuesday that aims to boost revenue as the country struggles to obtain a critical installment of international bailout loans that will prevent it from default.
The new tax passed 154 votes to 143 against in the 300-member parliament. It was announced earlier this month after international debt inspectors suspended their review of Greek reforms amid talk of missed revenue targets and delayed implementation of austerity measures. The inspectors are expected to return to Athens this week.
Just days after it received intense criticism from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), some other lawmakers and privacy advocates, General Motors' OnStar service has agreed that it won't keep its data connections open to customers who have canceled the service.
"I believe the US owes itself to create a 21st century tax policy for individuals as well as businesses," Kent told the paper. He also went on to criticize the complexity of the tax code, as well as the fact that American companies have to pay taxes on income earned abroad. The FT adds: