A mashup of innovation and old-school hacking (though none of the participants was bent on doing harm, we're assured), the goal of the competition was to improve the nation's health system and help people navigate the complexities of the Affordable Care Act.
The nation's last coal-burning ferry, the SS Badger, sits on Lake Michigan in the port town of Ludington, Mich. The EPA permit that has long allowed the ship to dump coal ash into the lake is now under review.
Credit John Flesher / AP
Sally Cole, co-owner of Cole's Antiques Villa in Ludington, Mich., displays some of the shop's memorabilia from the SS Badger.
Credit Denise Stocker / Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images
The Badger pulls out of the Ludington harbor for its four-hour journey to Manitowoc, Wis.
On the shores of Lake Michigan, the tiny town of Ludington, Mich., is home port to the last coal-fired ferry in the U.S. The SS Badger has been making trips across the lake to Manitowoc, Wis., during the good-weather months since 1953. And as it runs, the 411-foot ferry discharges coal ash slurry directly into the lake.
An Environmental Protection Agency permit allows the Badger to dump four tons of ash into the lake daily. But now, the agency has put the permit under review — and that means the Badger could stop sailing.
President Obama will name Ernie Moniz as the next secretary of the Department of Energy. Moniz is a physicist and academic — but unlike his predecessor, he's a seasoned politico who knows Washington and Congress. Moniz will please and annoy both ends of the energy policy spectrum: He's a big solar and wind booster, but a fan of natural gas and nuclear power as well.
Sally Jewell was tapped last month for Interior Secretary but one of Alaska's senators, Republican Lisa Murkowski, announced she might block the nomination. At issue is a proposed gravel road in King Cove, Alaska. The town is so remote that the residents have no way to get in and out. The road would connect King Cove to a larger town nearby, but it would have to cut through a national wildlife refuge. Washington Post environment reporter Juliet Eilperin explains to Audie Cornish why the town of less than a thousand has an impact on a nomination for a national position
A child born with HIV has been cured of the virus, researchers say. Audie Cornish talks to Richard Knox about what was different about this child among the millions who've been treated in the past and what it means for the prospect of an HIV cure in adults.
"Life-threatening fire ant attack" may sound like a B-movie script, but for people living in the Southern third of the United States, it's no joke.
These ant stings can cause deadly allergic reactions, but most people aren't getting the allergy shots that could save their lives, a new study says.
Fire ants sting people, just like bees do, and 2 to 3 percent of people are allergic to the ant's venom. But where bee stings are rare, fire ant stings are incredibly common for people who live in Texas and other Southern states.
Scientists believe a little girl born with HIV has been cured of the infection.
She's the first child and only the second person in the world known to have been cured since the virus touched off a global pandemic nearly 32 years ago.
Doctors aren't releasing the child's name, but we know she was born in Mississippi and is now 2 1/2 years old — and healthy. Scientists presented details of the case Sunday at a scientific conference in Atlanta.
Students at Westlake High School in Waldorf, Md., participate in an interactive digital conversation with historian Kenneth C. Davis about late 19th and early 20th century American history on Thursday. The school uses a state of the art "telepresence center" for students to connect with experts all over the world.
The hallways at Westlake High School in Maryland are just like thousands of other school hallways around the country: kids milling around, laughing and chatting on their way to class.
On a recent morning, about 30 kids took their seats in a classroom that initially seems like any other. The major difference here is that instead of a chalkboard and a lectern at the head of the class, there are two enormous flat-panel screens and thin, white microphones hanging in four rows across the ceiling.
Bright lights are part of a city's ecosystem. Think of Times Square or the Las Vegas Strip or right outside your bedroom window.
Electric lighting is ubiquitous in most urban and suburban neighborhoods. It's something most people take for granted, but appreciate, since it feels like well-lit streets keep us safer. But what if all this wattage is actually causing harm?
"We're getting brighter and brighter and brighter," warns Paul Bogard, author of the upcoming book, End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light.
Host Rachel Martin speaks with congressional scholar Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution about the economic and political impact of sequestration. He is the co-author of a book about political gridlock, called It's Even Worse Than It Looks.
Karl Rove had a sharp message to California's Republican Party Saturday. He implored party leaders to "get up off the mat" and work to revitalize the state GOP. Republicans hold no statewide offices in California and have given up a supermajority to Democrats in the state legislature.
Host Rachel Martin talks with Judith Schulz of the Logic Puzzle Museum in Burlington, Wis., about its International Tongue Twister Contest. This weekend, new Tongue Twister champions were named, and their prizes ranged from a toy boat to a portion of a peck of pickled peppers.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is one of the biggest rodeos in the world. Rodeo athletes come from all over the U.S. and Canada to compete for some of the biggest cash purses in the sport. And it's not just cowboys in the ring. Cowgirls compete in the sport of barrel racing, where they trace a looping pattern on horseback against the clock.
Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill says efforts to find Jeffrey Bush, who disappeared in a sinkhole, have been discontinued. He says that the conditions at Bush's home have become too dangerous for rescue workers.
"At this point it's really not possible to recover the body," Merrill said at a news conference on Saturday.
He says workers will begin efforts to demolish the home on Sunday.
Wall Street hardly seemed rattled by the $85 billion across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect Friday. As just one indicator, the Dow closed the week within 100 points of hitting an all-time high. For more, host Scott Simon talks with New York Times columnist Joe Nocera.
It was a big week at the Supreme Court. The court heard arguments on a case challenging the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. Plus, the Obama administration filed an important brief in an upcoming gay marriage case. NPR's Nina Totenberg joins host Scott Simon for analysis.
Florida Atlantic University says it's standing by its deal to sell naming rights to its new football stadium to a controversial private prison company. The Boca Raton-based GEO Group faces allegations of abuse and neglect at some of its facilities, and there's a growing call on campus for the school to sever its ties.
Mushers can bring up to 20 dogs to the Iditarod but can start the race with only 16. In the days before the competition, the animals are taken to the Iditarod headquarters in Wasilla, Alaska, for pre-race exams.
Credit Russell Lewis / NPR
Teams of veterinarians inspect the dogs before the race begins. Greg Reppas uses a stethoscope to listen to a dog's heart and lungs.
In Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday, the "Last Great Race on Earth" begins.
Sixty-seven sled dog teams will start the 998-mile Iditarod race across the barren, frigid and unforgiving land. In this year's competition, there are a handful of first-time racers — but those aren't the only rookies.
One is veterinarian Greg Reppas, whose job is to ensure the dogs are healthy throughout the race.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
Sequestration is official. President Obama signed an executive order on spending late last night as required by law. He sent the order to Congress and that triggered budget cuts known as sequestration. Earlier in the day, the president met with congressional leaders and when they left without a deal, he took questions at the White House.