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5:05 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Sunday Football Helps NBC Reclaim Top Spot

For years, NBC has struggled at the bottom of the pile of big broadcast networks, ratings-wise. However, this season it's on top, thanks in part to Sunday Night Football.

U.S.
5:05 am
Thu October 25, 2012

In Calif., A Death Penalty Proponent Changes Course

Ron Briggs, a member of the Board of Supervisors in El Dorado County, Calif., and his father helped expand the state's death penalty in 1978. Now Briggs wants the death penalty repealed and replaced with life without parole. Renee Montagne speaks with Briggs about his shift from death penalty supporter to death penalty opponent.

Science
5:05 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Algae As Car Fuel: Possible, But Not Sustainable?

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's take a look at alternative energy now. There's growing interest and investment in the process of extracting oil from algae and turning it into fuel for vehicles and airplanes. It requires a lot of water, nutrients and land. And a new report from the National Research Council says that will make it challenging to turn algae into a sustainable source of energy.

NPR's Richard Harris reports.

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Strange News
5:05 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Obama Says Beef With Trump Goes Back To Childhood

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Donald Trump returned to the headlines, offering $5 million if President Obama would release college and passport records. Jay Leno brought this up when the president appeared on "The Tonight Show."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE TONIGHT SHOW")

JAY LENO: What's this thing with Trump and you? I don't - it's like me and Letterman. What has he got against you?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya.

Strange News
5:05 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Cocoa City, Fla., To Citizens: Pull Up Your Pants

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's All Politics
3:02 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Watchdog Groups Prep For Voter Intimidation, Fraud

A sign directing voters to a polling place is seen during the first day of early voting on Monday in Washington, D.C.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 5:05 am

Concerns about problems at the polls appear to be greater and coming earlier than usual this election year. Already, mysterious phone calls in Florida and Virginia have told voters they can vote by phone — which they cannot do.

And until this week, there were anonymous billboards in Ohio and Wisconsin warning that voter fraud is a felony — which it is.

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All Tech Considered
2:39 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Watching TV Online Often Exposes Slow Bandwidth

In much of America, the availability of online video is often frustrated by slow broadband speeds. In this 2011 photo, Valerie Houde waits for a dial-up Internet connection in East Burke, Vt.
Andy Duback AP

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 9:20 am

There are more ways than ever to watch TV programs on the Internet, from Netflix and Amazon to Hulu. But many viewers discover that watching TV on the Web can be frustrating. Their favorite show might suddenly stop, stutter and be replaced by a note that reads "buffering." The problem is lack of bandwidth: The data that is the video just can't squeeze through the wires and onto the screen.

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Africa
2:38 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Poachers Decimate Tanzania's Elephant Herds

Tanzania has been identified as the leading exporter of illegal ivory in recent years. An estimated 10,000 elephants are being slaughtered in the country annually. Here, elephants walk in the Serengeti National Reserve in northern Tanzania in 2010.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 9:17 am

"The word 'ivory' rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it." — Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness

Conrad wrote more than a century ago, when there were no laws against shooting elephants. If anything, today's restrictions on the ivory trade have only increased its value.

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National Security
2:37 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Energy Independence For U.S.? Try Energy Security

A drilling rig near Kennedy, Texas, on May 9. U.S. oil output is surging so fast that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest producer.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 12:17 pm

Gone from this year's presidential campaign are most mentions of climate change, environmental pollution, or green jobs. Former Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential nominee, prefers to call attention instead to the country's continuing dependence on foreign energy sources.

"I will set a national goal of North American energy independence by the year 2020," Romney declared in August.

The line is now a standard part of Romney's stump speech, and he repeated it in his first two debates with President Obama.

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Author Interviews
2:37 am
Thu October 25, 2012

From Ship To Sherlock: Doyle's 'Arctic' Diary

On Thursday, July 29, 1880, Doyle wrote, "Came across a most extraordinary natural snow house, about 12 feet high, shaped like a beehive with a door and a fine room inside in which I sat. Traveled a considerable distance, and would have gone to the Pole, but my matches ran short and I couldn't get a smoke."
Courtesy of University of Chicago Press

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 5:05 am

On June 15, 1880, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a vivid sentence in his diary. It read, "The only difference in the weather is that the fog is thicker and the wind more utterly odious and depraved."

Knowing that he was the creator of Sherlock Holmes, you might think Doyle is referring to the thick London fog drifting outside the windows of 221B Baker Street. But this sentence was written years before the first Holmes novel and it describes a considerably harsher environment — the thick fog and depraved wind of the Arctic, where Doyle traveled when he was 20.

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It's All Politics
5:08 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Obama, Romney Tweak Each Other In Swing States

President Obama at a campaign rally at City Park in Denver Wednesday.
Ed Andrieski AP

With 13 days left until the Nov. 6 election, President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, both included trips to Iowa and Nevada on their schedules. Each tried to fire up his supporters and cast doubts about the other to gain an advantage in a race that appears essentially tied.

At rallies in Davenport, Iowa, and Denver, both swing states where the election is fluid, Obama trotted out attack lines he's used in recent days against the former Massachusetts governor.

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The Two-Way
4:41 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

U.S. Sues Bank Of America Over Mortgage Loans To Fannie And Freddie

The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan filed a lawsuit today that alleges Bank of America Corp. cost American taxpayers more than $1 billion when it sold toxic mortgages — originally issued by Countrywide Financial — to the government controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

NPR's Margot Adler explains it like this to our Newscast unit:

"U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara described the conduct of Countrywide as 'spectacularly brazen in scope.'

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The Salt
4:06 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Data Linking Aspartame To Cancer Risk Are Too Weak To Defend, Hospital Says

Diet soda
Maggie Starbard NPR

We almost brought you news today about a study that appeared to raise some troubling questions about aspartame, the popular sugar substitute found in many common foods like diet soda. Note the key word — almost.

A study due to be published at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and released to reporters earlier in the week under embargo found some correlation between drinking diet soda and an increased risk of leukemia and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, as well as a few other rare blood-related cancers.

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Around the Nation
3:53 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Vote While You Shop: 'Pop-Up' Poll Sites Sweep Iowa

Satellite voting locations, like this one at a Latino grocery in Des Moines, Iowa, are designed to make early voting more convenient.
Sandhya Dirks for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 4:37 pm

In a number of swing states, early voting means many people are already casting their ballots. Typically, that entails voting by mail or visiting a county elections office.

But in Iowa, satellite voting — where "pop-up" polling stations allow people to vote at convenient times and nontraditional locations — is growing in popularity.

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Media
3:53 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Newspaper Endorsements: Prized, But Often Ignored

The power of newspaper endorsements has faded, but candidates still compete for them.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 7:02 pm

This weekend, a slew of newspapers in key swing states including Ohio are expected to release their endorsements for the presidency and other elected positions.

Such external validation is highly prized by candidates, but it's no longer entirely clear why.

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The Two-Way
3:44 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Rajat Gupta, Former Goldman Sachs Director, Sentenced To Two Years

Rajat Gupta as he arrived at the federal courthouse in Manhattan in June.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Rajat Gupta, who was once a director at Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble, has been sentenced to two years in prison, after a federal jury convicted him of insider trading.

Gupta was convicted of leaking information to Galleon Rajaratnam, the billionaire co-founder of Galleon Group who was found guilty of fraud and conspiracy.

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World
3:30 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

As Somalia's War Ebbs, Mogadishu Dares To Rebuild

Somalis chat at a beach-side restaurant earlier this month. After two decades of civil war, Somali's capital, Mogadishu, is beginning to recover.
Feisal Omar Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 5:37 pm

There is a remarkable change going on in Mogadishu, Somalia — often dubbed the world's most dangerous city. For starters, it may not deserve that title anymore.

Last year, African Union forces drove the Islamist militant group al-Shabab out of Mogadishu. Now, Somalia has a new president and prime minister who have replaced the corrupt and unpopular transitional government.

Hope is edging aside despair, and Mogadishu is coming back to life.

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U.S.
3:28 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

As World Series Begins, Detroit Catches Tigers Fever

Fans make their way into the ballpark prior to the Detroit Tigers hosting the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park in Detroit.
Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 4:12 pm

In Detroit, Tigers fans are preparing for the return of their beloved team to the grand stage of the World Series. In a city largely known for hard times these days, the World Series means far more than just a chance at a championship.

Facing high unemployment and crime rates and teetering on the edge of financial collapse, Detroit needs something to celebrate. Maybe something along the lines of the celebration that broke out after the Tigers won the World Series again in 1968.

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It's All Politics
3:01 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Obama Campaign Invokes '537' To Get Out The Vote

Broward County canvassing board member Judge Robert Rosenberg examines a disputed ballot Nov. 24, 2000, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee AP

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 3:10 pm

The Broward County judge who famously helped analyze Florida ballots in 2000 resurfaced Wednesday in an Obama campaign ad that's all about a get-out-the-vote message.

The ad — called "537" — airing in eight swing states begins with images of the 2000 Florida recount in the presidential race between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore.

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Law
2:43 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Three Ballot Measures Would OK Pot Beyond Medicine

A marijuana bud at a marijuana dispensary in Denver. Colorado, Oregon and Washington could become the first to legalize marijuana this fall.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 3:53 pm

Marijuana legalization is back on the ballot this year. California voters defeated a legalization proposal in 2010, but now similar measures have cropped up in three more Western states. This time around, some of the most intense opposition is coming from the earlier pioneers of legalization — the medical marijuana industry.

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Animals
2:31 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

In Animal Kingdom, Voting Of A Different Sort Reigns

A school of manini fish passes over a coral reef at Hanauma Bay in 2005, in Honolulu. Researchers say schooling behavior like the kind seen in fish helps groups of animals make better decisions than any one member of the group could.
Donald Miralle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 7:57 am

As part of NPR's coverage of this year's presidential election, All Things Considered asked three science reporters to weigh in on the race. The result is a three-part series on the science of leadership. In Part 1, Alix Spiegel looked at the personalities of American presidents.

Voters could learn some things about choosing a leader from a fish. Or a chimp. Or an elephant.

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Book Reviews
2:26 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

'Middlesteins' Digs Into The Dark Side Of Food

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 3:53 pm

Food appears so often and takes on so much importance in Jami Attenberg's novel The Middlesteins, that while reading it I sometimes felt like I was on a kind of literary cruise ship. But excess isn't presented here wantonly; instead, it's laid out and explored with sympathy, thought and depth. Early on, the parents of the main character think, "Food was made of love, and was what made love, and they could never deny themselves a bite of anything they desired." And so the novel takes off from the evocative starting point known as appetite.

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The Two-Way
2:24 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

More Than 700 Kurdish Prisoners Now on Hunger Strike in Turkey

Turkish soldiers block a street as Kurds demonstrate on September 3 in the center of Beytussebap, about 25 miles from the Iraqi border.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 2:44 pm

As the war in Syria rages unabated and Turkey struggles to manage an increasingly dire refugee situation and cross-border retaliations, another conflict simmers.

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It's All Politics
1:54 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Political Memes: Fast, Cheap And Out Of Control?

DailyKos.com

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 8:49 am

Even if you didn't watch any of the three presidential debates, chances are you're familiar with Big Bird, binders and bayonets.

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It's All Politics
1:46 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Florida Republican Rep. David Rivera Charged In Ethics Probe

Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., talks during a freedom for Cuba march in Miami on Feb. 24, 2011.
Alan Diaz AP

Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., was charged Wednesday by Florida authorities with alleged ethics violations while he was in the state Legislature, perhaps imperiling his bid for re-election to the House in an already tight contest.

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The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Texas Attorney General Sends Warning To International Election Observers

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott speaks to reporters 2011.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 8:47 am

The Texas attorney general is warning international election observers not to mess with Texas.

"Your opinion is legally irrelevant in the United States, where the Supreme Court has already determined that Voter ID laws are constitutional," Greg Abbott wrote in a letter sent to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which monitors elections across the world.

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Author Interviews
1:09 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Tom Wolfe Takes Miami's Pulse In 'Back To Blood'

Author and journalist Tom Wolfe's books include The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Bonfire of the Vanities and I Am Charlotte Simmons, among others.
Jim Cooper AP

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 7:37 am

Tom Wolfe wrote his new novel, Back to Blood, entirely by hand. But the author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Bonfire of the Vanities also says that wasn't entirely by choice — he'd rather have used a typewriter.

"Unfortunately, you can't keep typewriters going today — you have to take the ribbons back to be re-inked," Wolfe tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "There's a horrible search to try to find missing parts."

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Music Interviews
12:29 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Stephen Colbert's Most Meaningful Musical Moments

Stephen Colbert (right) performs with Ben Folds on the set of his TV show, The Colbert Report.
Kris Long

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 8:12 am

Stephen Colbert loves music and loves to sing. That's why Fresh Air's Terry Gross asked him to bring a few songs that mean a lot to him and tell her why. For example, as a kid, Colbert discovered his first lesson about character acting through "King Herod's Song" from Jesus Christ Superstar, even though he thought the words were scandalous at first: "Oh, so you are the Christ? You're the great Jesus Christ. Prove to me that you're no fool. Walk across my swimming pool."

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Shots - Health News
12:05 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Geneticists Breach Ethical Taboo By Changing Genes Across Generations

An image of researchers at Oregon Health & Science University removing the nucleus from the mother's cell before it's inserted into the donor's egg cell.
Courtesty of Oregon Health & Science University

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 12:21 pm

Geneticist reported Wednesday that they had crossed a threshold long considered off-limits: They have made changes in human DNA that can be passed down from one generation to the next.

The researchers at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland say they took the step to try to prevent women from giving birth to babies with genetic diseases. But the research is raising a host of ethical, social and moral questions.

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The Two-Way
12:00 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Boeing Successfully Tests Electronics-Frying, Microwave Missile

Computers fried by CHAMP.
U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory

It's not the sexiest of weapons, because it doesn't cause big explosions, or fly around the world in minutes. But the effect is huge and could cripple a modern military without causing any casualties.

This week, Boeing announced that it has successfully tested a missile that can send out targeted, high-power microwaves that fry electronics without actually causing an explosion.

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