In a case considered pivotal to the future of science and medicine, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court seemed skeptical Monday about a claim that human genes can be patented.
Contending that genes can be patented are the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, which see patents as the keys to new scientific exploration. On the other side are doctors, patients and many scientists, who see gene patents as an attempt to monopolize and block future exploration in the new universe of genetics.
Anne Mostue is a reporter from member station WGBH, in Boston. She was there, covering the race, at the time of the explosions, and she joins us now. And Anne, where were you, exactly, when these bombs went off?
ANNE MOSTUE, BYLINE: I'm - I was a block away, just on Newbury Street, which is parallel to Boylston - where those bombs went off.
Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 7:33 am
People near the finish line of the Boston Marathon described horrific scenes of the chaos that followed two loud explosions in quick succession this afternoon, sending spectators rushing away from the scene in panic as others lay bloodied and wounded on the ground.
One witness, Aaron Michael told member station WGBH that he heard first one explosion and then another.
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 4:16 pm
Texas homebuilder Bob Perry was a behind-the-scenes political player who helped bankroll the Mitt Romney campaign last year, and who even before the era of superPACs spent tens of millions of dollars to influence the nation's politics.
Imagine for a second what it would be like if you could talk to your radio, and your radio would actually listen. To get an idea of what this might be like, I downloaded an app called Talk to Esquire, from the magazine of the same name.
When I opened it, the app asked me a question: What's your favorite type of liquor? That's a little forward, but it's Esquire so I played along and told the app that I'm more of a beer drinker.
Christopher Scott, Johnnie Lindsey and Billy Smith drive down a desolate highway toward a prison in East Texas. They've all been there before, serving hard time — 63 years among the three of them.
But this time it's different. They're driving a Hummer. They're dressed to the nines. And they're on a mission. They aim to get an inmate out — a friend of Scott's named Jimmy O'Steen, aka Big O. But this will be a slow-motion prison break. Scott, Lindsey and Smith are all exonerated prisoners.
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 3:06 pm
Is small-batch hard apple cider the next microbrew? It seems everybody and their brother is experimenting with ways to make the potent stuff profitable. Sales of domestically produced hard cider have more than tripled since 2007, according to beverage industry analysts — and that's not counting Europe, where it has held a steady popularity for centuries.
It's fair to say that the bakery employees who hooted and jeered "tax maaaaaan" when mild-mannered auditor Will Ferrell showed up in Stranger than Fiction were no fans of the Internal Revenue Service. In that, they're like a lot of us, no?
So it's intriguing that Hollywood generally treats tax inspectors as nice guys. On the big screen, it's typically their IRS bosses who are the bad ones.
Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 7:37 am
The new batch of Pulitzer Prize winners has just been announced, with novelist Adam Johnson winning the fiction prize with The Orphan Master's Son. The winners of the prizes for Americans' best work in journalism, drama, music, and writing also receive a $10,000 cash award.
The explosions happened in quick succession four hours after the beginning of the race, the world's oldest and one of the most prestigious road races in the world. At that point, the majority of 27,000 runners had crossed the finish line. Thousands, however, were still out on the course.
Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 6:20 am
Germany is preparing for its most important terrorism trial in decades.
Ten people — eight of them of Turkish descent, one of Greek extraction and one a German policewoman, were gunned down between 2000 and 2007. For years, German authorities failed to see a link between the crimes, even though the same gun was used in all of the shootings. They also rejected any link to right-wing extremism.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 1:04 pm
Ever since Neanderthal man first cooked mammoth eggs over a fire, we've been looking for newer and better ways to cook eggs. Finally, the Egg Rollie is here. Take a second to watch the video above, then recoil in horror, then read our review.
Ian: "EGG-cellent!" I love the way it "EGG-scretes" the eggs!
Bitcoins are a digital currency, attractive to those who prefer not to leave a paper trail when they buy and sell things online. Over the past two years, the Bitcoin community has widely expanded and the value of the currency has fluctuated wildly.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Celeste Headlee in Washington. Imagine April 15 but without tax returns, without the mad scramble to finish them, the long wait at the post office, the piles of receipts piling up for deductible expenses, in other words an America without tax returns.
In 2003, police in Somerset County, N.J., arrested a hospital nurse named Charlie Cullen who was suspected of injecting patients with lethal doses of a variety of medications. Cullen would turn out to be one of the nation's most prolific serial killers, murdering dozens, perhaps hundreds of people in nine hospitals over a 16-year period.
Journalist Charles Graeber spent six years investigating the Cullen case, and is the only reporter to have spoken with Cullen in prison. In his new book, The Good Nurse, Graeber pieces together the elements of Cullen's story.
Vietnam has sent what analysts believe could be the remains of a member of the American military who died in the country during the Vietnam War. After a repatriation ceremony at the airport in Da Nang Sunday, the remains were sent to Hawaii for examination and possible identification.
No one is certain why food allergies are on the rise. By now nearly 15 million Americans have a food allergy, ranging from moderate to severe. One of every 13 children has one. Nuts, soy, milk, egg, wheat and shellfish are some of the foods that most commonly set off allergic reactions. In some cases, the reaction can be so severe that it results in the throat swelling up and closing, leading to death. For a child with a severe food allergy, every meal that isn't made under appropriate supervision can be hazardous.
Oh Sit! (The CW, 8:00 p.m.): When the CW first announced that it was going to have a show called Oh Sit!, which would basically be a game of musical chairs with a punny scatological name, it seemed like it would be exciting in its sheer stupidity. But as it turns out, having seen the previews, it seems like it's really just ABC's Wipeout in disguise. I feel defrauded somehow, as if I was promised a wretchedness diamond and received a cubic zirconia.
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 4:27 pm
Hi, it's another installment of Ask A Banker. We've gotten lots of good questions, and also lots of bad questions, on Twitter and email, but answered only a fraction of them, in part because in some columns I just answered questions that I or Planet Money made up. Sorry. So let's make up for lost time by giving short answers to a bunch of real questions from real people, or at least real email accounts.
More than 23,600 people were victims of human trafficking in Europe during a recent three-year period, according to a new European Union report that says the problem is growing worse. Its authors say the official figures do not come close to describing the crime, which has "hundreds of thousands of victims."
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 2:54 pm
Ethiopian runner Lelisa Desisa won the men's division at this year's Boston Marathon on Monday, finishing the 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 22 seconds. It's the first win at Boston for the 23-year-old.