Nation/World

Pages

Shots - Health News
7:19 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Saving Babies' Lives Starts With Aquarium Pumps And Ingenuity

Neonatal nurse Florence Mwenifumbo monitors a newborn receiving bubble CPAP treatment in Blantyre, Malawi. The device was developed by students at Rice University in Houston.
Rice 360/Rice University

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 8:59 am

Good ideas don't only come from experts. An innovative engineering program in Texas has been proving that college undergraduates can tackle — and solve — vexing health challenges in developing countries.

Two engineers at Rice University in Houston are tapping the potential of bright young minds to change the world.

Big Problems, Simple Solutions

Read more
Music News
7:19 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Pushing A Tradition Forward, Bandolim In Hand

A master of the Brazilian bandolim, Hamilton de Holanda is determined to show the world what the instrument can do.
Betto Arcos

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 1:38 pm

Read more
Law
7:19 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Transgender Issues Follow Path Blazed By Gay Rights

Laverne Cox, left, plays Sophia, a transgender character in Netflix's Orange is the New Black.
Eric Leibowitz AP

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 1:38 pm

It may have been "the gayest year ever," as some gay and lesbian activists put it — 2013 saw the Defense of Marriage Act struck down by the Supreme Court and the number of states offering marriage rights to same-sex couples doubled, to a total of 18.

But as 2014 begins, another issue is gaining traction: transgender rights.

Read more
Research News
7:19 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Want Perfect Pitch? You Might Be Able To Pop A Pill For That

Jazz singer Ella Fitzergerald was said to have perfect pitch.
Klaus Frings AP

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 9:13 am

In the world of music, there is no more remarkable gift than having perfect pitch. As the story goes, Ella Fitzgerald's band would use her perfect pitch to tune their instruments.

Although it has a genetic component, most believe that perfect pitch — or absolute pitch — is a primarily a function of early life exposure and training in music, says Takao Hensch, professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard.

Read more
Sports
7:19 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Football Fans Say Farewell To The Bowl Championship Series

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 1:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. And it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: College football fans are saying goodbye forever to the bowl championship series, and as NFL playoffs skip a kickoff today, wild card weather could be a game changer. For more, I'm joined by NPR's sports correspondent, Tom Goldman. Good morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Happy New Year to you.

Read more
Code Switch
7:03 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Comic Artist Yumi Sakugawa On Friend-Love, Identity And Art

Yumi Sakugawa's book I Think I Am In Friend Love With You helps define the joys of modern friendships.
Yumi Sakugawa

About a month ago, I asked my followers on Twitter if they had any recommendations for a comic artist whose work I should check out. Person after person brought up Yumi Sakugawa, a California-based artist. And I was familiar with her work: she's the brains behind the ever-nostalgic strip, "Claudia Kishi: My Asian-American Female Role Model Of The 90s."

Read more
Tiny Desk Concerts
7:03 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Van-Anh Vanessa Vo: Tiny Desk Concert

Van-Anh Vanessa Vo performs a Tiny Desk Concert in October 2013.
Meredith Rizzo Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Van-Anh Vanessa Vo is a veteran when it comes to taking risks, and it pays off in her compelling music. As a young girl in Vietnam, she knew she wanted to be a traditional musician, even though it was a world dominated by men. It was risky, then, when she pestered a master teacher for three years to give her lessons. He finally gave in, taking her on as an apprentice.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:00 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Phil Everly Dies; Transformed Rock 'N' Roll With Brother Don

The Everly Brothers (Phil on the left, Don on the right) singing on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1957.
CBS/Landov

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 2:58 pm

  • A bit of 'Bye Bye Love'
  • Don Everly talking with NPR's Noah Adams in April 1986

One half of one of the most influential duos in rock 'n' roll history has died.

Phil Everly, 74, died Friday in a Burbank, Calif., hospital. His son Jason tells The Associated Press, NPR and other news outlets that the legendary singer suffered from chronic pulmonary disease.

Everly's brother Don, now 76, is among the other survivors.

Read more
Around the Nation
6:08 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Boeing Machinists Approve Contract To Secure 777X Work

Boeing workers cry after learning that the Boeing machinists union voted to accept the company's latest contract offer to keep the assembly of the Boeing 777X airplane in Washington state.
Ted S. Warren AP

The stakes were high and the vote was close as Boeing production workers agreed to concede some benefits in order to secure assembly of the new 777X airplane for the Puget Sound region.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Boeing hailed Friday's vote, which proponents said solidifies the aerospace giant's presence in the Seattle area.

"Tonight, Washington state secured its future as the aerospace capital of the world," Inslee declared.

Read more
Poetry
4:57 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Ice Cube Sculptures, Tulips And Death: A 2014 Poetry Preview

Matthea Harvey's upcoming collection mixes poetry with visual art — like this image. Faces drawn by Monika Zarzecna.
Matthea Harvey Graywolf Press

What's in store for us in 2014? Season 3 of Girls and Homeland sans Brody. The dawning of the smart watch. Smoother sailing for healthcare.gov? Growing tensions in Russia and Syria. It's enough to make one giddy and terrified all at once — thankfully, we have poetry to express all our powerful and conflicted feelings.

Read more
Author Interviews
4:53 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Lovebirds + String + Watering Can + Dog = Rube Goldberg Magic

Rube Goldberg drew many of his devices, like this one for a machine that disposes of cigarette ashes, for his series, "The Inventions of Professor Lucifer G. Butts, A.K," published in Colliers magazine between 1929 and 1931.
Copyright Heirs of Rube Goldberg Abrams ComicArts

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 1:38 pm

Many people know Rube Goldberg as an adjective — a shorthand description for a convoluted device or contraption. But Rube Goldberg was a real person — one who earned a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning and who captivated imaginations with drawings of complex chain reactions that completed the simplest of tasks.

Goldberg died in 1970, but Jennifer George, his granddaughter, has collected the zany world he created in a coffee table book, The Art of Rube Goldberg: (A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius.

Read more
Music News
9:52 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Phil Everly Of The Everly Brothers Dies At 74

The Everly Brothers, Phil, left, and Phil, perform in 1964.
AP

Phil Everly, who with his brother Don formed an influential harmony duo that touched the hearts and sparked the imaginations of rock 'n' roll singers for decades, including the Beatles and Bob Dylan, died Friday. He was 74.

Everly died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at a Burbank hospital, said his son Jason Everly.

Read more
Technology
7:43 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

For The Blind, Connected Devices Create A Novel Way To Read

This Braille reader connects to a smartphone.
John Suchocki The Republican/Landov

Saturday is World Braille Day, commemorating the birth of Frenchman Louis Braille, who was blinded in an accident when he was a toddler. Undeterred, he became a brilliant student but was frustrated that he couldn't read or write.

In school, he learned about a system of dots used by soldiers to communicate at night. Braille adapted that system into something that would transform the lives of the blind and visually impaired.

Read more
Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:17 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Not My Job: Jim Gaffigan Takes A Quiz On Gwyneth Paltrow

Mark Mainz Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 11:52 am

This segment was originally broadcast on July 26, 2013.

Comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan lives happily with his wife and his five young children in a two-bedroom apartment in lower Manhattan. You read that right: Five kids. Two parents. Two bedrooms. His latest book, Dad Is Fat, reflects on the challenges and triumphs of raising a big family in a small space.

Read more
Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:17 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Comedian Tig Notaro Plays Not My Job

Courtesy of Ruthie Wyatt

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 11:52 am

This segment was originally broadcast on July 19, 2013.

In 2012, comedian Louis C.K. tweeted: "In 27 years doing this, I've seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo." The set C.K. was referring to was Notaro's performance the day she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. That set became "Tig Notaro: Live," which is now out now on iTunes.

Read more
Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:17 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Amy Sedaris Plays 'Not My Job'

Getty Images Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 11:52 am

Originally broadcast Feb. 14, 2009.

Actress, comedian and writer Amy Sedaris plays our game called "Drinking this much will win me a Pulitzer Prize, or make not winning a lot easier to take." She answers three questions about the drinking habits of great authors taken from the book Hemingway and Bailey's Bartending Guide.

Health Care
4:31 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

This Is Not Your Parents' Health Insurance

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. It's been years since a new for-profit health insurance company launched in the U.S. The industry's dominated by large established firms. But some young tech entrepreneurs in New York believe they can take on the big guys, offering plans on the New York Exchange. NPR's Dan Bobkoff has their story.

Read more
Around the Nation
4:31 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Big Cities See Violent Crime Rates Fall In 2013

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At the start of this new year, a number of cities in the United States, including its five largest, have a common story to tell about crime. In 2013, they all saw violent crime rates drop significantly. Some also saw murder rates drop to historic lows. From Chicago, NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

Read more
NPR Story
4:31 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Explanatory 'Verticals' Give Big-Name Journalists More Power

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 11:26 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Recently we've heard of some big changes at several news organizations involving some of their most prominent journalists. At the Washington Post, the founder of the popular policy site Wonkblog, Ezra Klein, is weighing a departure. And the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are both scrambling to set up dedicated news teams to replace journalists who have left in pursuit of more money and independence. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik joins us from our studios in New York.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:18 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

This Week's Massive Winter Storm, Seen From Space

A composite image shows large portions of the United States covered by snow, as a winter storm moved eastward across the country Thursday.
NASA/GSFC/Aqua/MODIS

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 7:38 am

NASA caught our eye earlier today when the space agency tweeted a composite image of the huge winter storm that has covered parts of the Midwest and Eastern U.S. with a deep blanket of snow.

The photos that make up the image were taken Thursday, NASA says, during several passes of its Aqua satellite. The craft used its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer — MODIS — "to capture this true-color image of a massive winter storm moving up the eastern seaboard," the agency says.

Read more
It's All Politics
4:08 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

House GOP Puts Another 'Target' On Obamacare

House Republicans plan to start the new year with a vote on HealthCare.gov that will place Democrats in a politically tough spot.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:32 pm

Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET

When Congress returns next week, House Republicans will welcome their Democratic colleagues with a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't vote.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has let it be known that the House will vote on legislation ostensibly meant to protect Americans from HealthCare.gov data breaches. Several Republicans have introduced HealthCare.gov-related security bills, so Cantor has plenty of material to work with.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:37 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

The NSA's Quantum Code-Breaking Research Is No Secret

The National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. The agency has been trying to build a quantum computer, The Washington Post reports — but that news doesn't surprise experts in the field.
Saul Loeb Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

So the world's most clandestine spy agency is working on something called a quantum computer, The Washington Post tells us. It's based on rules Einstein himself described as "spooky," and it can crack almost any code. That's got to be top-secret stuff, right?

Read more
NPR Story
3:30 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Composer Caroline Shaw Nominated For Grammy

Violinist, singer and composer Caroline Shaw is the youngest person ever to win a Pulitzer Prize for music.

Her voice bending piece “Partita For 8 Voices” captured the attention of the Pulitzer judges this spring.

And she has been nominated for a Grammy award in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category, also for “Partita For 8 Voices.”

Read more
NPR Story
3:30 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

New Mayor Vows To Outlaw A Central Park Tradition

A horse-drawn carriage is seen near Central Park January 2, 2014 in New York. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced he would like the city council to outlaw the horse-drawn carriages and have them replaced by electric antique cars. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

The horse drawn carriages are a staple in New York’s Central Park and an almost mandatory destination for the hoards of tourists that visit the city each year.

They have been around for more than 150 years–ever since Central Park first opened in 1858.

But this year, New York’s new mayor Bill DeBlasio is vowing to do away with Central Park’s horse drawn carriages.

He says that the practice is cruel and essentially amounts to animal abuse.

DeBlasio says doing away with this NY tradition will be one of the first changes he makes in office.

Read more
NPR Story
3:30 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Snowy Owls Head South In Biggest Numbers In 50 Years

Perched upon a car tire in a clam flat at Long Wharf in New Haven on December 15, 2013, a young male Snowy Owl scans its surroundings. In the background is Five Mile Point light in New Haven harbor. (Matt Messina/WNPR)

Birders in the Northeast are enjoying a rare spectacle this winter: sightings of the snowy owl.

Low supplies of food in the birds’ usual habitat — the Arctic — have sent some snowy owls south in search of prey, and they are sparking the imaginations of those who get a glimpse of the rare bird.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Patrick Skahill of WNPR went searching for snowy owls along the Connecticut coast.

Read more
Arts & Life
3:29 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

'Playboy' Gets Pranked: Group Flips The Script On Sex

You can't buy these panties at your local Victoria's Secret. While they mimic the look of that brand's Pink line, they're actually part of a project by FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture.
Courtesy of FORCE

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

Rebecca Nagle sometimes finds herself asking the question: What would Hugh Hefner say?

"The only sex that is good is when it's good for everyone," she says, laughing. "And I've only ever had good sex."

Hefner didn't actually say that. Nagle wrote it.

"But you can really imagine Hugh Hefner saying that," she insists.

Read more
This Week's Must Read
3:26 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Tough Commute This Morning? Your 'Journey' Could Have Been Worse

Members of Robert Falcon Scott expedition's at the South Pole pose for the camera: Robert F. Scott, Lawrence Oates, Henry R. Bowers, Edward A. Wilson, and Edgar Evans.
Herbert George Ponting Library of Congress

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 8:10 pm

Jynne Martin is a poet who recently served as Antarctica's writer in residence.

If like many East Coasters, you had a miserable commute today through the blinding snow, just remember that it could be worse. You could've been one of the 74 passengers and crew aboard the ship trapped in Antarctica sea ice on Christmas Eve, who waited a week to be rescued, then got stuck again, enduring high winds, freezing cold, and what must have been a painful number of Crazy Eights games.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:26 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

California County Pushes Drugmakers To Pay For Pill Waste

Ground zero for a new approach to prescription drug disposal.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

The leftover prescription drugs you have around your house are at the center of a battle between small government and big pharmaceutical companies.

The immediate aim is to have the pharmaceutical companies take care of disposing of extra drugs. But Alameda County in northern California wants to make manufacturers think about the life cycles of their products — from their creation to what happens when they're no longer needed.

Read more
Around the Nation
3:26 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Skier Vies For A Spot On Team USA After Breaking Both Legs

Alice McKennis speeds down the course during the women's downhill at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, in February.
Alessandro Trovati AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

On a cold, cloudy day in Colorado, ski racer Alice McKennis suits up. She buckles her boots, puts on a back protector and dons a tightfitting speed suit.

She's training at the U.S. Ski Team's Speed Center at Copper Mountain near Vail, Colo. — and how she got here is exceptional.

Read more
Parallels
3:26 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

From The Ruins Of A Tsunami, A Rebuilt Aceh Rises Anew

A man rides a motorcycle near houses that were rebuilt in an area in Banda Aceh, the capital of Indonesia's Aceh province, that was devastated by the tsunami that hit on Dec. 26, 2004.
Heri Juanda AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 8:09 pm

As survivors of Haiyan — November's super typhoon in the Philippines — slowly put their lives back together, the rest of Asia has been marking the anniversary of another disaster.

Shortly after Christmas nine years ago, a huge tsunami swept across the region, killing at least a quarter of a million people.

Some of the worst damage was in the Indonesian province of Aceh, where whole villages were swept away by a wall of water so powerful it picked up ships and left them several miles inland.

Read more

Pages