In Fairbanks, Alaska, residents are using wood stoves to heat their homes during the frigid winter months. But, smoke created by these wood burners is contributing to some of the worst air pollution in the country. Cathy Cahill discusses air quality in the Last Frontier.
A women's group protests Tuesday outside the courthouse in Pretoria, South Africa, where Oscar Pistorius was attending his bail hearing. Violence against women is widespread in South Africa, and was already part of the national debate before the Pistorius case.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 10:48 am
No place has been as riveted by Oscar Pistorius and the Valentine's Day shooting death of his girlfriend as South Africa.
But even before this sensational story burst into the headlines, South Africans were fiercely debating issues that are more or less permanent fixtures in this country — crime, and violence against women.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 10:26 am
Many a mom has reached for a glass of wine after a long day of tending children. But only fruit fly moms use their version of Chardonnay to guard their babies from harm.
When fly moms see marauding wasps, they seek out the alcohol in fermenting fruit, and lay their eggs there, according to new research. The alcohol is toxic to the wasps, but not to the fruit flies. They've evolved a tolerance for hooch.
In an instance of truth in advertising, this week's NPR round-table pop-culture podcast offers almost a full hour of mostly Oscars analysis. All four of us saw all nine Best Picture contenders, so we'll be covering everything from what happened when Stephen Thompson finally sat down to watch Les Miserables after quoting the featurette for months to Glen's surprising theories about Amour. (Very surprising.)
"About the third or fourth time [I sneaked into a famous casting director's office], I jumped up on his desk and started dancing. So he said, 'Look. Just sit down. I'll give you five minutes.' And it was like having five minutes with God."
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 8:54 am
Tim Tebow has bowed out of a promise to appear at the opening of a new megachurch in downtown Dallas whose pastor has been criticized for making derogatory remarks about non-Christians and homosexuals.
You may know this week's V.I.P. (Very Important Puzzler) Steve Guttenberg from such iconic films as Diner, Cocoon, and Three Men and a Baby. But he wears plenty of other hats – author, reality show contestant, even Guinness World Record holder. In this episode we'll explore all things Gute. Plus, we'll dine out on some soft rock, give movies the Randy Newman treatment, and find out that Mark Twain isn't all he's cracked up to be.
Since President Obama and congressional Republicans have decided to blame each other for the impending sequester, this week's podcast is dedicated to pointing fingers at everyone, including Jesse Jackson Jr., Pete Domenici and Joe "Buy a Shotgun" Biden. And if the podcast is not interesting? Blame NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving.
Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 11:24 am
If you only read the cheery, overly optimistic press releases from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on its upcoming musical throw-down this Sunday – Adele will be performing! And Norah Jones! And Barbara Streisand! And there's going to be some kind of tribute to musicals of the last 10 years (but not all of them)! – you might think that the Academy loves and understands music.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 9:39 am
The biggest winter storm this season is causing delays and cancellations, and has brought traffic to a near-standstill in the Plains and Midwest, but it's providing much-needed relief for drought-stricken farmers.
According to Weather Underground Chief Meteorologist Jeff Masters, Wichita has its fifth biggest snowfall on record.
Winter Storm Q has dumped up to 17 inches of windswept snow in parts of Kansas and Missouri and is expected to extend its reach well into the Midwest on Friday.
[This story originally ran on Feb. 22, 2013, but still applies today.]
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the Valentine's Day cards that got returned with no forwarding address is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how music fans could and should approach SXSW, the gigantic music festival held every March in Austin, Texas.
Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. At a school in Windsor, Ontario, teachers suspected an eighth grader was going through a teacher's desk. So they planted brochures for a beautiful class trip to Disney World. They even made a presentation, and then said: just kidding. The snooping student got his comeuppance but other kids and parents were furious. The school apologized. The real student trip will be to a bowling alley. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
A boy in Brockton, Massachusetts really did not want to go to bed. He's 10 years old, after all, getting to be a big kid and it was only 8:00. His mom insisted. The boy replied, I'm going to call the cops on you. His mom said, Go right ahead, and so the boy did, calling 911 to complain about his nagging mother. The Enterprise newspaper says police came and gently explained when it's appropriate and not to dial the emergency number.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 2:09 pm
You may perhaps not have noticed, but the 85th annual Academy Awards are coming up this weekend. In Oscar's honor, we dug into the archives for some of the best books about the movies — and the books that became movies. And Cary Grant, because we love him even though Oscar didn't.
Let's talk about another meeting happening today. Senior officials from Boeing are sitting down with the head of the Federal Aviation Administration. Boeing wants its 787 Dreamliner fleet back in service. It's been grounded for more than a month. Neither Boeing nor safety investigators have discovered exactly what caused two 787 batteries to overheat and in one case catch fire last month. But, Boeing believes, it can mitigate any future risk with a series of fixes.
NPR's business news starts with a Japanese visit to the White House.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with President Obama at the White House today. For Abe, the primary focus of the summit is re-vitalizing Japan's security alliance with the United States in the face of the threat from North Korea as well as tensions between Japan and China.
But as NPR's John Ydstie reports, the leaders will also discuss economic issues.
On Sunday, nominees who do not win an Academy award will nevertheless take home about $47,000 worth of consolation gifts - which sounds like a lot, but in 2010 the swag was worth a lot more - more than $90,000.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
This year, goodies include trips to places like Australia, Hawaii and Mexico. The gift bags may also include such useful items as hand illustrated tennis shoes, portion controlled dinnerware, and a book by Leeza Gibbons.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:58 am
A flaming meteor streaked through the skies over Russia last Friday. It exploded with the force of 20 atomic bombs over the Siberian city of Chelyabinsk. A thousand people were injured; most of them were watching it and were cut when the shock wave shattered windows.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:02 am
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
NASCAR drivers start their engines on Sunday for the first time this Season, at the Daytona 500. And all eyes will be on the woman leading the pack at the starting line. Danica Patrick will be the first woman to start in pole position for any race in the history of NASCAR's premier Sprint Cup Series. Patrick's milestone comes at a critical time for NASCAR, which has seen a steep decline in ticket sales over the last few years and has some big TV contract negotiations coming up.
A lot of kids have the day off from school today, thanks to a huge winter storm in the Midwest. A foot of snow fell on Kansas City, one of the worst storms in the city's history. That city declared a state of emergency, as did several others in the region. Frank Morris, of member station KCUR, reports.
The Buckeye Tool Expo in Dalton, Ohio, is held in a massive hall filled with bearded men in black hats and women in white bonnets. A few horses and buggies are tied up outside.
The Amish have chosen to forgo many of the delights of the modern world, but they still need to drill, sand and cut wood. This trade expo shows off all the loopholes that let the Amish get their hands on power tools.
Comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo addresses supporters at a rally on Feb. 12 in Bergamo, Italy. Many pollsters say his populist Five Star Movement could come in third in this weekend's election.
Credit Giuseppe Cacace / AFP/Getty Images
Figurines representing the main candidates of the upcoming Italian general election are on display in a shop in Naples. Seen (clockwise from left) are magistrate Antonio Ingroia, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Oscar Giannino, outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti, Grillo and the Democratic Party's Pier Luigi Bersani.
Italy's election campaign has been dominated by an upstart comedian-turned-politician whose Five Star Movement is soaring in the polls. The movement is not expected to win in the weekend vote, but its strong presence in Parliament could be destabilizing and reignite the eurozone crisis.
Beppe Grillo is a standup comedian and the country's most popular blogger; 63 years old, with a mane of grey curly hair, he's hyperactive and foul-mouthed. His last name means "cricket," and he's the most charismatic politician in Italy today.
<strong>Ultraviolet (false color).</strong> Bees and other pollinators can see the ultraviolet end of the spectrum. They are guided by patterns on flowers that are invisible to humans.
Credit Kevin Collins
<strong>Fragrance plume (artist's depiction).</strong> Bees follow specific odors to locate flowers and, once they arrive, use scent maps to move toward the center of the flower. Fragrance that clings to a bee provides information for other bees back at the hive.
Credit Adam Cole / NPR
<strong>Electric field (artist's depiction).</strong> Flowers have a weak negative electric charge relative to the air around them. Different flowers have different electric fields, often with charge concentrated at the tips of the petals.
Credit Adam Cole / NPR
<strong>Visible spectrum.</strong> Certain bright colors and petal shapes attract certain pollinators.
Flowers are nature's ad men. They'll do anything to attract the attention of the pollinators that help them reproduce. That means spending precious energy on bright pigments, enticing fragrances and dazzling patterns.
Now, scientists have found another element that contributes to flowers' brand: their distinct electric field.
Anne Leonard, who studies bees at the University of Nevada, says our understanding of pollinator-flower communication has been expanding for decades.
Here's a headline that may sound familiar: Miami is in the middle of a condo boom.
Just seven years ago, Miami had a similar surge in condo construction. But it all came crashing down. There was an international banking crisis, and the Florida real estate bubble burst — taking down investors and many developers.
But new towers are once again reshaping the city's skyline.
Peter Zalewski, a real estate consultant with Condo Vultures, says 19 condo towers are now in the works in Miami, with 7,000 total units.
Some former prisoners of re-education through labor camps and their supporters hold signs in Beijing declaring, "No Re-education Through Labor." Popular opposition to the camps has grown as China's state-run media has highlighted particularly egregious cases.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
Tang Shuxiu, 51, was sent to a re-education through labor camp in 2011 after she complained that her local government work unit failed to give her an apartment. She holds a mock-up of her labor camp ID card in order to publicize the abuses of labor camps and push for change.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
Shen Lixiu, 58, says she had her front teeth kicked out in a re-education through labor camp. She says authorities had her beaten so she would sign a compensation agreement for the government demolition of her karaoke parlor in Nanjing.
Officials in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing knocked down her karaoke parlor for development. She says they then offered her compensation that was less than 20 percent of what she had invested in the place.
Shen complained to the central government. Local authorities responded by sentencing her to a "re-education through labor" camp for a year. Once inside, Shen says, camp workers tried to force her to accept the compensation.