Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:58 am
Around a million people get hip or knee replacements a year, and those operations cost Medicare and private insurers a lot of money. For the first time, the federal government is evaluating how good a job individual hospitals are doing.
Medicare has identified 95 hospitals where elderly patients were more likely to suffer significant setbacks and another 97 hospitals where patients tended to have the smoothest recoveries. (It's a long list that you can sift through here.)
Are American kidsbeing adequately prepared in the sciences to compete in a highly competitive, global high-tech workforce? A majority of American parents say no, according to a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.
Four decades ago, Austin, Texas, had a population of 250,000 and a reputation as a laid-back oasis of liberal politics and live music. Today, the Austin metro area is home to 1.8 million people and has some of the nation's worst traffic congestion.
For years, the city has done little to address the growing problem. But most in the Texas capital now agree something has to change if Austin is to save what's left of its quirky character.
Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 5:00 pm
At the moment, Washington fiscal policy is a good news, bad news story.
The good news is that the budget agreement, overwhelmingly passed by the House last week in a bipartisan vote, is likely to be approved by the Senate this week. That takes another costly government shutdown off the table.
The bad news? Another debt ceiling fight, with all the attendant risks of a U.S. government default, appears to be right around the corner.
The Rev. Frank Schaefer, a United Methodist clergyman convicted of breaking church law for officiating at his son's same-sex wedding, enters a news conference at the Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia on Monday.
NPR's John Burnett reports that the Rev. Frank Schaefer was convicted in a church trial last month of violating the Methodist Book of Discipline — which opposes gay marriage — and given a 30-day suspension.
In hospitals, people are bathed with soaps containing the antibacterial triclosan to reduce the risk of serious infections in surgery. But that doesn't necessarily mean we should be using triclosan soap in the kitchen and the bathroom, the Food and Drug Administration says.
The agency on Monday took a step toward restricting the use of triclosan and other antibacterial chemicals widely used in soap, deodorant, cosmetics and hundreds of other consumer products.
When Dr. Tim Ihrig crosses the threshold of the Avelleyras home in Fort Dodge, Iowa, he steps over a doormat that says, "One nice person and one old grouch live here."
It doesn't take long to figure out who the nice person is.
Phyllis Avelleyra grew up on a farm in western Iowa and met her husband, Augie, in "the big city," otherwise known as Fort Dodge. Population 25,000. The couple has been married for 60 years. They have five daughters, the oldest of whom is already a grandmother herself.
Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:59 am
Tech giants aren't on the best terms with the Obama administration lately, with the NSA's surveillance revelations getting more widespread by the day. But a lot of big tech names have agreed to visit the White House for a chat.
Tiny plastic beads used in some cosmetics and toothpaste are making their way into the bellies of fish in the Great Lakes, and it's raising concern among environmentalists. Dr. Sherri Mason, a chemistry professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia, has been researching the issue, and she joins Audie Cornish to explain what this means for the Great Lakes ecosystem.
From, NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
City College of San Francisco is one of the biggest community colleges in the country and it may be about to close. Its accreditation is in jeopardy. The problems aren't in the classroom, they're financial and administrative. And a lot of people in higher education are watching closely.
This week the Fed's influential Open Market Committee meets to discuss some unfinished business. With Chairman Ben Bernanke getting ready to turn things over to Janet Yellen, Fed policymakers must decide whether it's time to start winding down the "quantitative easing" program put in place years ago to protect the recovery.
The police chief in Miami Gardens, Florida, has stepped down and the force is facing allegations of racial profiling. For more why the department is under fire and how residents are responding, host Michel Martin speaks with Miami Herald reporter Julie Brown and pastor Horace Ward.
Holiday shopping season is in full swing, but some people might be getting more than they paid for. Host Michel Martin talks about racial profiling, and what to do if you're a target. She's joined by Rutgers professor Jerome Williams and attorney Melba Pearson .
Bill Battle peers through the window of a pickup truck at his catfish farm, Pride of the Pond, near Tunica, Miss. The land is pancake-flat, broken up by massive ponds, some holding up to 100,000 pounds of catfish.
Cormorants fly low over the ponds, keeping an eye out for whiskered, smooth-skinned fish. Battle keeps a shotgun in the front seat; business is hard enough without the birds cutting into his profit.
About one-third of American adults say they have problems falling asleep. And prescriptions for sleeping medications are on the rise, with about 4 percent of people using the drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But sleep specialists say people should exercise caution before deciding to take medication to help them sleep.
Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 10:15 am
South Korean Kim Dong-hwan, a professional StarCraft II player, has received a special U.S. visa, normally reserved for baseball players and other athletes.
The five-year P-1A visa given to the video game player last week is for "internationally recognized athletes." This follows another visa given to a Canadian League of Legends player earlier this summer.
Mitt Romney speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on March 15. New research suggests Democrats and Republicans had different perceptions of his physical appearance during the 2012 election.
It's clear that Republicans and Democrats had different political opinions about Mitt Romney. But did Romney literally look different to the two sides? A forthcoming study suggests that might be the case.
According to new research from Ohio State University psychologists, individual political biases might have caused 2012 GOP presidential nominee's physical appearance to appear different to Republicans and Democrats.
Most of us like to think we comport ourselves with a certain level of civility. But apparently, phone calls with customer service representatives of all stripes can lead us into more colorful speech. And some people like to track it.
"There's just something about big data and sailor-cursing that complement each other — like peanut butter and mothereffing jelly," writes Megan Garber of The Atlantic.