This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira today. You know the phrase you are what you eat? Well, new research suggests a slight modification: Your gut bacteria are what you eat. And if you eat more red meat, for example, you'll nurture populations of microbes that like to eat red meat, too, which might not seem like a bad thing except that researchers have pinpointed a compound in red meat called L-carnitine that when broken down by gut bacteria might contribute to heart disease.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman. Later in the hour, a teenage science activist and the plight of the monarch butterfly. But first, researchers have developed a new way to fight antibiotic-resistant microbes by borrowing a trick from a longtime foe of the bacteria, the bacteria phage.
Next up, a case of life imitating art. A few months ago, we talked to writer Barbara Kingsolver about her latest book, "Flight Behavior." The book is a fictional account of an ecological disaster in the making, and the fate of millions of monarch butterflies is at the center of the plot. Would the species survive? That's the art part.
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Up next, another mover and shaker in the alimentary canal - coffee. Whether you're a home brewer or a latte devotee, whether you take it light and sweet or on ice, your coffee is guaranteed to be chock full of chemistry. It starts in the bean, which is actually not a bean at all.
It's a seed, according Harold McGee, author of "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen" along with other books on science and food. And we caught up with Harold, to hear more about how coffee gets its signature taste.
A few days after Rehtaeh Parsons' mother turned off the hospital life support systems and allowed her daughter to die, computer activists claiming to be affiliated with the hacker group Anonymous are threatening to reveal the identities of Parsons' alleged rapists.
Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 1:31 pm
Update at 11:50 a.m. ET. Radio 1 Will Play A Snippet:
There's word from NPR's Philip Reeves in London that BBC's Radio 1 now says its weekend Official Chart show will play "a clip in a journalistic environment" of "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead," which critics of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher pushed up the British charts this week after the Iron Lady's death.
Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 11:56 am
A severance package of $20 million might have seemed reasonable to American Airlines CEO Tom Horton, but a U.S. bankruptcy judge says it's too much.
The proposed payout, part of a deal that would merge American parent AMR and US Airways Group, first caught the attention of U.S. Trustee Tracy Hope Davis, a Department of Justice official monitoring AMR's Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Authorities in Arizona say a package addressed to controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was safely destroyed Thursday after a test for explosive residue confirmed it "contained black powder," The Arizona Republic writes.
Good morning. I'm David Greene. Conspicuous consumption is the art of buying lots of expensive stuff to show off. It is part of daily life in the Emirate city of Dubai, even for the police. They just added a slick green and white Lamborghini with a $400,000 price tag to their force. It goes more than 200 miles per hour, which is useful in the fast moving kingdom.
Police say about 15 percent of the speeding tickets go to motorists going more than 130 miles per hour. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
For most of us, the office vending machine is good for a mid-day pick-me-up; that's pretty much it. But for one Japanese man it is much more. He hosts a blog called "I Take a Picture of the Vending Machine Every Day or So, I'm Very Sorry." Since 2005 he's taken nearly daily pictures of the same vending machine. Over the years the sodas move, the ads change, and there was that true moment of drama - the machine started taking digital payments.
Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 12:00 pm
Walking a line meant to show both resolve and willingness to trust in diplomacy, Secretary of State John Kerry warned North Korea on Friday not to engage in more warmongering — but also said the U.S. is willing to talk with that communist state if it's serious about discussing denuclearization.
"No one is going to talk for the sake of talking," Kerry said, but the U.S. does want to see a peaceful resolution of the latest crisis on the Korean peninsula.
And our last word in business today is, what do you want on your burger? The CEO of Burger King Worldwide is stepping down. Forty-three-year-old Bernardo Hees has been wearing the Burger King crown since 2010, when the fast food chain was bought out by 3G Capital.
Hugo Chavez, the late president of Venezuela, had a touch for the dramatic. He appeared on television all the time. It turns out, he also admired dramatic acting. In the 1990s, when he was in prison for an attempted coup, he never missed an episode of his favorite TV drama.
Once he gained power, a deeper drama developed. Venezuela was a huge exporter of Latin-American multi-episode dramas called telenovelas, until President Chavez's government changed that. NPR's Jasmine Garsd reports.
In 1998, John Curtis and David Wikiera adopted a son from Vietnam and named him John Wikiera.
"I had always wanted to be a parent," Curtis tells his now 11-year-old son during a visit to StoryCorps in Rochester, N.Y. "So it was a dream I had, but I never dreamed would come true because Papa and I are gay. But we had some friends who started thinking about adoption and that got us thinking.
A top executive at News Corp. dropped a bombshell this week when he said the company is considering taking Fox's over-the-air network to cable. The announcement follows a court win for a startup company that streams broadcast channels online.
That startup's CEO, arguably the most feared man in television right now, is soft-spoken and rather techy.
When President Obama released his 2014 budget for the federal government on Wednesday, much of it was spreadsheets and tables. But one corner of NASA's budget looked like something out of a movie script.
The tax code is full of complicated loopholes and deductions that require professional translation. So I called a bunch of accountants and tax lawyers and asked them: What are your favorite, most confusingly named deductions — and what do they actually mean?
Intangible Drilling Costs
"The government will pay you to dig a hole in the ground," says Howard Rosen, a CPA in St. Louis. "You can write it all off immediately."
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. A stunning revelation today from a member of Congress. It came from Republican Doug Lamborn, of Colorado, during an exchange on Capitol Hill with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Lamborn cited a Defense Intelligence Agency report on North Korea's military capability, one that had not yet been released. Here's what Rep. Lamborn said.
Currency traders were stunned last week by aggressive action from Japan's central bank. The Bank of Japan embarked on a bond-buying program that, by one measure, is twice the size of the extraordinary moves by Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve in the United States. The BOJ's move is an effort to shock the Japanese economy out of more than a decade of sluggish growth and deflation.
"A man of genius makes no mistakes," James Joyce wrote in Ulysses. "His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery." Looks like Ireland's Central Bank has taken that message to heart.
The bank announced Wednesday the launch of a limited-edition coin to honor the Irish writer. The coin features a portrait of Joyce and a quotation from Ulysses, arguably his most famous novel. Trouble is Joyce was misquoted.