Texas is full of rich, colorful town names â€” and many have great stories behind them. Melissa Block is highlighting some of them this week for Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas. Test your know-how with our quiz.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. And Melissa Block is not in our Washington, D.C. studio with me today.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
That's right, Robert. All this week I'm co-hosting from member station KERA in Dallas. And by just about every measure, Texas is booming. Jobs, population, GDP, they are all up, and they've been up for years to levels other states would envy, but big growth has big consequences - for schools, for communities and the environment.
Whale lovers scored a major victory today. For almost two decades, Japanese whalers have been killing whales in the Antarctic Ocean. The Japanese government claimed it was all for scientific, not commercial, purposes. NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports that today, an international court rejected that claim and said the whaling must stop.
We've heard a lot in the last few years about caring for returning veterans. We don't hear so much about the people who take care of them. A major study released today says more than a million Americans - mostly spouses and parents - are military caregivers. They get by without much government support, and they're suffering some serious consequences. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports.
The Air Force did something stunning last week. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James announced that nine officers had been fired over the cheating scandal at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. The nine had not themselves cheated on proficiency tests. The Air Force had investigated 100 officers for that and 79 will face some form of discipline as a result. The officers were held accountable for an organizational culture in which the cheating occurred.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James joins us from the Pentagon now. Welcome.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
It's been nine days since the devastating mudslide in the tiny community of Oso, Washington, and it's now apparent that the death toll will not be nearly so high as it once been feared. The loss is still terrible. State officials that 21 people are confirmed dead, dozens are listed as missing. But last week, more than 170 people were reported unaccounted for.
Well, I wanted to check out that shiny new city that he was talking about. I'm outside now at Klyde Warren Park. It's in downtown Dallas, about five acres of beautiful urban green space right in the heart of the city, opened about a year and a half ago, and it's built over an eight lane freeway. I see it right there, ducking under this park.
WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: You wouldn't have found it here 20 years ago.
BLOCK: And that's a familiar voice, NPR's Dallas correspondent Wade Goodwyn. Hey, Wade.
A deceptively simple leg brace is changing the lives of hundreds of wounded service members. Soldiers with badly injured legs who thought they'd have to live with terrible pain can walk and run again, pain-free.
Earlier this month, Army Spc. Joey McElroy took his first steps in the Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis, or IDEO (pronounced: eye-DAY-oh). The device squeaked a bit as he stepped briskly on an indoor track.
McElroy was hit by a car and thrown from his motorcycle on Dec. 5, 2012.
It is the last day of March, but there's still another weekend of March Madness to come. Four teams gather in Dallas this weekend for the Final Four. If you go strictly by seeding, the University of Kentucky is the longest shot to win the men's college basketball title. In fact, though, the eighth-seeded Wildcats suddenly are a very hot favorite after yesterday's thrilling win over Michigan in the Elite Eight.
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:08 pm
Hobie Alter, whose innovations helped thousands of people go surfing and sailing, died in California on Saturday at age 80. In the 1950s, Alter helped perfect a foam-core surfboard that revolutionized the sport. A decade later, his iconic Hobie Cat catamaran design opened the world of sailing to a wider audience.
If you smoked Colombian weed in the '70s and '80s, Tony Dokoupil would like to thank you: He says you paid for his swim lessons and kept him in the best private school in south Florida â€” at least for a little while.
Dokoupil's father started selling marijuana during the Nixon era, and expanded his operation until he became a partner in what his son describes as the biggest East Coast dope ring of the Reagan years, smuggling marijuana into the U.S.
The same week that Neil Young introduced his Pono music player designed to spark a huge boost in audio fidelity, I listened for the first time to a recording of a Grateful Dead concert I attended almost 40 years ago. And I realized that passions about good-sounding music go through cycles. Today, the lo-fi medium is MP3s through earbuds.
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:17 pm
The World Science Fiction Convention is a gathering of fans ranging from sci-fi movie buffs to gamers to comics aficionados â€” but at its heart, WorldCon is for lovers of literature, and it hosts the Hugo Awards, the Oscars of sci-fi and fantasy.
During the ceremony, one award is given that's not a Hugo: the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer. The Campbell celebrates potential: Nominees are often young, just starting out in the field (though not always), and it serves as a kind of signpost for fans, pointing the way to the next great read.
A convoy of hulking U.S. Army Stryker vehicles slowly makes its way through the main bazaar near the center of Panjwai district in southern Afghanistan. Kandahar province is the birthplace of the Taliban, and Panjwai district has seen some of the most brutal fighting of the Afghan war.
Some 90 NATO troops have been killed and more than 800 wounded in just this district.
But rather than having white-knuckled grips on their guns, U.S. soldiers are able to wave to the children in the streets. It's something that would have been unthinkable a year or two ago.
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 11:45 am
Bariatric surgery can help obese people lose weight, and excess weight is a big risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. So it makes sense to try to figure out whether the surgery could help control diabetes, too.
So far the answer is yes, at least for some people and for three years. But surgery doesn't work for everyone, and the long-term implications remain unclear.
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:54 pm
An hours-long protest against recent police shootings spun out of control late Sunday in Albuquerque, N.M., as officers in riot gear reportedly used tear gas and other methods to break up crowds. Hundreds of people took part in the rally, which spread over several streets.
Protesters eventually clashed with police, who threw gas canisters and charged at members of the crowd to break up the gathering, according to The Associated Press, which quotes the city's Mayor Richard Berry calling the situation Sunday night "mayhem."
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 11:56 am
Pervez Musharraf, the army chief who took over Pakistan in a 1999 coup and ruled as president for another nine years, was indicted Monday by a special court in Islamabad on five counts of high treason.
As The Associated Press says, those are charges that carry the death penalty and are "a sharp blow to the country's powerful military."
In the first-ever episode of the Australian series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, the central figure, Phryne Fisher, has to explain to her young, extremely Catholic new maid Dot what exactly is in the round, plastic case that Dot is holding in her hands. "Family planning," she says casually.
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 11:04 am
An international court has ordered Japan to revoke whaling permits in the Antarctic and stop granting new ones.
The country's government had argued that hunting whales was part of a research program, but the International Court of Justice ruled Monday that Japan hasn't generated enough scientific research to justify killing hundreds of whales. Critics said the hunts were instead a way to justify commercial hunting.
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 11:32 am
"The two Koreas exchanged artillery fire across the western maritime border on Monday after the North staged a live-fire drill that sent artillery shells into southern waters and prompted the evacuation of South Korean islanders," South Korea's Yonhap News writes.