Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 7:09 am
Go to the doctor with knee pain, and they might say you've got a meniscus tear and need surgery to fix it. But surgery for this common problem might not be any better at relieving pain than having no surgery at all, according to researchers who went to the trouble of performing fake surgery to find out.
The gold standard for medical research is a randomized controlled trial, but it's hard to sign people up if they might undergo pretend surgery.
Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 12:12 pm
Whether or not you like the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, this news may warm your heart:
Jon Kitna, who is coming out of retirement to be the team's emergency quarterback on Sunday, plans to donate his $53,000 paycheck from the game to the Tacoma, Wash., high school where he now teaches math and coaches football.
Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna first caught our attention a few years ago with her rich, textured voice. Since then, she's grown as an artist in many ways, from collaborating with huge talents like Pharrell to starting her own fashion line.
Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 11:41 am
An American development worker and Peace Corps veteran who was kidnapped more than two years ago from his home in Pakistan by men claiming to be affiliated with al-Qaida, asks President Obama in a newly released video "to instruct your appropriate officials to negotiate my release."
Warren Weinstein, 72, is also heard saying he feels "totally abandoned and forgotten."
Legendary artist Faith Ringgold began her career in 1963 — the same year as the March on Washington. She talks to guest host Celeste Headlee about her life, work and why no one originally wanted to hear her story.
Food banks are struggling to provide dwindling supplies to a bigger base of recipients. Guest host Celeste Headlee talks with Bloomberg Businessweek contributor Roben Farzad about how food banks are coming up with new ways to feed the hungry.
Most high school students say they've cheated on a test in the past year, and even more say they've copied homework or other assignments, according to a recent survey. Author Jessica Lahey says it isn't all the students' fault. Lahey and Professor James Lang speak with guest host Celeste Headlee about creating cheat-free classrooms.
A new book of poetry narrates the life and death of civil rights leader Medgar Evers through a series of imagined monologues. Evers was the first NAACP field secretary in Mississippi. In that role, he organized boycotts, investigated and brought attention to the murder of Emmett Till, and helped James Meredith integrate the University of Mississippi.
Evers was gunned down in his Jackson, Miss., driveway by KKK leader Byron De La Beckwith in 1963. But it took more than 30 years for De La Beckwith to be convicted of his murder.
Out of the four things on house musician Jonathan Coulton's list, try to figure out which one does not belong and why. His clues cover everything from nursery rhymes, to wonders of the world, to a certain song by Mr. Rick Astley.
And afterwards, Coulton covers a song about a person who is not like the others: Radiohead's "Creep."
When it comes to pets, it's hard not to treat them as little versions of yourself. Just ask Katy Perry, who fondly named her cat Kitty Purry. (True story.) In this game, we focus on people who are a little more highbrow, while simultaneously subjecting them the lowest form of humor. Host Ophira Eisenberg asks you to make animal puns out of the names of world leaders, like "Chairman Meow."
An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms, such as "deafening silence" or "living dead."Speaking of contradictory, house musician Jonathan Coulton applies his mellow acoustic guitar to a song by the electric wizard, Jimi Hendrix, because all clues in this round are sung to the tune of "Foxy Lady."
Just as last week's figures may been distorted by temporary factors related to the holiday season that made things look worse than they really are, the word Thursday that there's been a sharp drop in claims for unemployment insurance needs to be accompanied by the same sort of caveat.
"Amazon and UPS said Thursday they would offer refunds to customers who did not receive their Christmas orders on time, after a surge in last-minute online shopping caught the shipping giant off guard."
We told you on Wednesday about a Las Vegas cab driver who found $300,000 in the back seat. He gave the cash to his dispatcher, and it was returned to the passenger. As Cabbie of the Year, he'll get a $1,000 prize and dinner for two at a swank restaurant.
An Illinois man was accused of soliciting $25 million from investors for a fictitious device. Named after Dr. McCoy in the science-fiction series, it supposedly delivered medical data like the tricorder on the TV show. Prosecutors said his actions were valid only in another dimension.
Recently my colleague Steve Inskeep heard an Israeli journalist give a talk. The journalist said that people in Israel had over the past few decades forgotten their nation's narrative.
ARI SHAVIT: We've lost this basic understanding that we are the ultimate victims of the 20th century. We are the ultimate victims of Europe. And Israel, with all its flaws, is a remarkable project of life-saving of a nation that was facing extinction and took its own fate in its own hands and tried to save itself and in many ways succeeded.
In a year filled with great TV performances, our critic says the work of one actress stood out above all others. Tatiana Maslany of the BBC show Orphan Black plays seven different characters, all clones raised in wildly different circumstances.
Our series on the future continues with a discussion about education. Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep talks to Linda Darling-Hammond, a former adviser to President Obama, who is dismayed to see his administration build on the high-stakes testing requirements introduced by the Bush administration.
Some of the most painful stories of 2013 came from a small community in Oklahoma, the town of Moore. It was hit by a monster F5 tornado in May. Two dozen people died. More than a thousand homes were wiped away. The damage was estimated at $2 billion. But when NPR's Wade Goodwyn returned to Moore recently, he found the worst damage might not be visible.
WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: Stand in the middle of Lakeview Drive in Moore, and you're surrounded by a lot of wide-open Oklahoma. Turns out an F5 tornado can clear quite a stretch of land.
Now NPR's Zoe Chase, from our Planet Money Team, reminds us about one industry that played a big role in NAFTA's passage: men's underwear.
ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: Now you're used to the labels: made in Mexico, made in China, made in Bangladesh. But back in the '80s, when they were first talking about NAFTA, about half of American clothing was made in America, by people like this.
BERTHA MARR: Graduated from the eighth grade, then went straight on in to working at Fruit of the Loom.