U.S. News

Education
10:11 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Getting To The Root Of The Problems In School Districts

Host Michel Martin continues the conversation surrounding Missouri's controversial school transfer policy with Don Marsh of St. Louis Public Radio; Ty McNichols, who leads the city's Normandy School District; and Eric Knost, Superintendent of Mehlville School District.

Architecture
1:03 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Size Does Matter, At Least In The Tallest Building Debate

The view from the Willis Tower, formerly known as Sears Tower, in Chicago.
FleishmanHillard

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 12:20 pm

There's a question that's looming over the new skyscraper at the World Trade Center site in New York: Should it count as the tallest building in the country?

The developers say yes. But by some measures, the Willis Tower in Chicago — formerly known as Sears Tower — can still lay claim to the title.

Now, an obscure organization known as the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat is preparing to settle the debate.

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Around the Nation
4:13 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Trim Recess? Some Schools Hold On To Child's Play

Students play tag at Ruby Bridges Elementary in Alameda, Calif. The school has expanded recess time with help from the nonprofit group Playworks.
Eric Westervelt NPR

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 4:51 pm

It's recess time at Ruby Bridges Elementary School and a third-grader is pummeling a plastic tetherball with focused intensity. He's playing at one of more than a half-dozen recess play stations on the school's sprawling cement playground — there's also wall ball, basketball, capture the flag, sharks and minnows, a jungle gym and tag.

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Politics
4:13 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

How Kennedy's Assassination Changed The Secret Service

The limousine carrying President John F. Kennedy races toward the hospital after he was shot in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, with Secret Service agent Clint Hill riding on the back.
Justin Newman AP

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:45 am

Nov. 22 will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, a moment that left an indelible mark on those who remember it.

It also permanently changed the agency charged with protecting the president — the U.S. Secret Service.

Looking back at the images of Kennedy, first lady Jackie Kennedy, Texas Gov. John Connally and his wife waving as they rode through the streets of Dallas in an open Lincoln, it all looks terribly innocent and naive.

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It's All Politics
3:57 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

AFL-CIO Lets GOP Speak For Itself In New Immigration Ads

Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., announces his plans to run for the U.S. Senate in February. A new AFL-CIO ad features a comment made by Broun regarding illegal immigrants.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 5:07 pm

The nation's biggest labor group is taking its support for an immigration overhaul to the TV airwaves, with Spanish-language ads that hammer Republican House members.

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Shots - Health News
3:44 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Doctors Slow To Embrace Recommended HPV Testing

The human papilloma virus causes most cervical cancers. That's why HPV testing is now recommended for women ages 30 to 65.
Science Photo Library

For decades the annual Pap test was women's chief protection against cervical cancer. That all changed when a test for human papillomavirus, the cause of most cervical cancer, was approved in 2003.

With the HPV test, women don't need to get Pap tests as often. But that message hasn't gotten through to many doctors.

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It's All Politics
3:27 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

All In The Family: Jimmy Carter's Grandson Runs For Governor

Former President Jimmy Carter and his grandson, Georgia state Sen. Jason Carter, watch a baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies in Atlanta on Aug. 14.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 3:29 pm

Jimmy Carter's grandson is running for Carter's old job — governor of Georgia.

Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter formally announced Thursday he will challenge Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, joining a long list of relatives of famous politicians on ballots in 2014.

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All Tech Considered
3:17 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Nick Bilton On Twitter's Creation Myth & 'Forgotten Founder'

A worker unveils a floor mat bearing the logo of Twitter on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:21 am

On arguably the biggest day in Twitter's history, we wanted to look back to find out just how it all started, because like many Silicon Valley companies, its origin story is fraught.

That's the subject of Nick Bilton's new book, Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal. On Thursday, he chatted with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish about the 140-character service's complicated history, how Twitter made his book reporting easier and the forgotten founder of Thursday's stock darling.

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All Tech Considered
2:45 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

On Twitter's IPO Day, A Look At How 5 Tech Stocks Have Fared

Rick Wilking Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 4:09 pm

As eyes turned to the markets on Twitter's first day of trading, NPR wondered how some other tech stocks have performed since their IPOs. (Twitter closed at $44.90 Thursday, about 73 percent above its IPO price of $26 a share.)

Some of these stocks have soared. Others have stumbled.

National Security
2:32 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

When It Comes To Public Opinion, More News Is Not Good News For NSA

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 4:51 pm

New public opinion polls show distaste for National Security Agency surveillance does not break cleanly across party lines. Despite the administration's attempts otherwise, one new study finds that the more people know about the NSA, the more they dislike it.

Around the Nation
2:32 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Here, Drink A Nice Glass Of Sparkling Clear Wastewater

One man's sewage is another man's drinking water. As wastewater comes through this pipe, straw-like filters get rid of any contaminants wider than a human hair. That's just one step of the purification process.
Amy Standen KQED

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 4:51 pm

In California's Silicon Valley, there will soon be a new source of water for residents. That may not sound like big news, but the source of this water – while certainly high-tech — is raising some eyebrows.

With freshwater becoming more scarce in many parts of the country, the public may have to overcome its aversion to water recycling.

Ah, The Stench Of Drinking Water

If text could transmit odor, you'd know where this water is coming from.

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The Salt
2:15 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

FDA Moves To Phase Out Remaining Trans Fats In Food Supply

Crisco was the original product made with partially hydrogenated soybean oil, which contains trans fats. Today, Crisco has only small amounts of the fats.
Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 4:51 pm

If the Food and Drug Administration has its way, an era of food technology will soon end. The agency announced Thursday it is aiming to ban partially hydrogenated vegetable oils from all food products.

Margaret Hamburg, the FDA commissioner, said at a press conference that her agency has come to the preliminary conclusion that the oils "are not generally recognized as safe for use in food."

If the agency makes this decision final, it will mean a complete ban on this ingredient.

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It's All Politics
1:42 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Why Chris Christie's Popularity May Tear His Party Apart

Gov. Chris Christie visits with students at Jose Marti Freshman Academy in Union City, N.J., on Wednesday.
Rich Schultz AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 3:11 pm

Chris Christie has become a national phenomenon.

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Shots - Health News
10:36 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Why Doctors Are Testing An Epilepsy Drug For Alcoholism

Gabapentin, sold under the brand name Neurontin, helps some people cut down on drinking.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 5:36 am

In the hunt for new ways to help people fight alcoholism, doctors are studying gabapentin, a generic drug that's commonly used to treat epilepsy and fibromyalgia.

In a 12-week clinical trial conducted by the Scripps Research Institute, people taking taking gabapentin were much better at reducing their alcohol intake than those who got a placebo. The research, involving 150 people, was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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The Salt
9:41 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Washington State Says 'No' To GMO Labels

Cars in Tacoma, Wash., promote a "yes" vote on a ballot initiative that would have required genetically engineered foods to be labeled.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 11:58 am

Voters appear to have defeated another attempt to require labels on genetically modified foods in Washington state. In early counts, the "no" campaign has what appears to be an insurmountable lead with 54 percent of votes.

The ballot initiative would require labels on the front of packages for most food products, seeds and commodities like soy or corn if they were produced using genetic engineering.

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Education
9:37 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Florida School District Aims To Block School-To-Prison Pipeline

The "school-to-prison pipeline" is what many activists call education policies that push troubled kids out of class, and into the criminal justice system. Broward County has taken steps to address those concerns by moving away from "zero tolerance" rules of discipline. Guest host Celeste Headlee discusses the new program with Marsha Ellison of the Broward County NAACP, and Michael Krezmien, a professor of student development at University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Shots - Health News
12:57 am
Thu November 7, 2013

How The Affordable Care Act Pays For Insurance Subsidies

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 1:44 pm

The new health care law will provide around $1 trillion in subsidies to low- and middle-income Americans over the next decade to help them pay for health insurance.

Johanna Humbert of Galien, Mich., was pleasantly surprised to discover that she qualifies for an insurance subsidy, since her current plan is being canceled. Humbert makes about $30,000 a year, so she'll get a subsidy of about $300 a month. The new plan is similar to her current one, but it will cost $250 — about half of what she pays now.

But where will the money come from to pay for subsidies like these?

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U.S. Commutes: The Way We Get To Work
12:55 am
Thu November 7, 2013

To Get Around Town, Some Cities Take A Step Back In Time

Construction of the Atlanta streetcar line has hurt many businesses along the route, but there is hope that economic gains will increase once the line opens next spring.
Kathy Lohr NPR

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 10:17 am

This story is part of a project on commuting in America.

Cities across the country are investing in old-fashioned streetcars to solve what's known as the "last mile" problem. The hope is that trolleys will make it easier for people to get to their final destination.

Atlanta is one of the latest, laying steel rails for a 2.6 mile line. The tracks will run downtown from Peachtree Street to the Martin Luther King Jr. historic district on the east side of the city. Some see this as a big step forward.

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It's All Politics
3:47 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Virginia Result Driven by Obamacare? Shutdown? Not So Much

Democrat Terry McAuliffe speaks to supporters Tuesday in Tysons Corner, Va. McAuliffe defeated Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia governor's race.
Drew Angerer Getty Images

Virginia Tea Party Republican Ken Cuccinelli lost a closer-than-expected contest for governor Tuesday to Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a weak but well-financed and well-connected candidate.

By Wednesday morning, the political world was busy debating the meaning of the outcome in Virginia, where exit polls showed that voters expressed increasing antipathy to the Tea Party, and that it was women — particularly unmarried women — who propelled McAuliffe over the finish line.

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Shots - Health News
3:17 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

IVF Doesn't Raise Overall Risk For Childhood Cancers

Tina Nevill of Essex, England, holds Poppy, who was conceived by in vitro fertilization. The U.K.'s health system records all IVF cycles performed in the country.
Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 7:51 pm

Children who were conceived with in vitro fertilization have the same overall chance of developing childhood cancers as those conceived naturally, scientists reported Wednesday.

"It's a reassuring finding," says pediatrician Alastair Sutcliffe of University College London, who led the study. "It's a bellwether to the future health of these kids as they grow up."

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It's All Politics
3:07 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

How Long Must Rand Paul Stay In 'Detention' For Plagiarism?

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is sorry for the plagiarized material in his speeches and op-eds. And he thinks some journalists are just plain sorry.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 4:16 pm

If you were a high-profile politician caught plagiarizing, would you:

  • A) Say something like "my bad," apologize profusely, promise to sin no more and quietly move on, hoping reporters would do likewise? Or ...
  • B) Acknowledge that mistakes were made, then lash out at the news media?

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has been going with the second option lately.

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Law
3:01 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Supreme Court Examines Anew Prayer At Government Functions

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments in a case exploring prayer at government functions.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 2:06 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court delved into a subject Wednesday that has bedeviled it for decades: how to reconcile a tradition of public prayers with the Constitution's ban on establishment of religion. At issue were almost exclusively Christian prayers that took place at town board meetings in Greece, N.Y.

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Around the Nation
3:01 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

The Nut Job: Central California Sees Rise In Walnut Heists

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 4:21 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, a crime story from California's Central Valley, well north of us here in Culver City. If Hollywood were to make a screen version it would be called "The Nut Job." Last week, more than 140,000 pounds of walnuts went missing overnight. That's three big trailer loads of hulled and dried walnuts. Joining us from the news room of the Oakdale Leader is reporter Rich Paloma. Rich, thank you for taking the time out to talk with us.

RICH PALOMA: Thanks for having me.

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Around the Nation
3:01 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

San Franciscans Nix Waterfront Development Plans

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 4:21 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The subject of affordability in American cities came up in a referendum yesterday in San Francisco. Voters rejected measures that would have given a green light to a major luxury condo development. The city is enjoying a construction boom. And some San Franciscans saw this vote as a fight over the kind of city they want.

Here's NPR's Richard Gonzales.

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Around the Nation
3:01 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

New Jersey Votes To Increase Minimum Wage

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 4:21 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is celebrating an impressive reelection victory but he also suffered a defeat. Voters handily approved a measure to raise the state's minimum wage. That's a measure Christie had opposed.

As NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, New Jersey is the fifth state this year to raise the minimum wage.

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Law
3:01 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

There May Be A Green Light For Pot, But Not For Driving High

In Washington state, dogs don't need to sniff out pot anymore, but troopers are keeping an eye out for high drivers.
Matthew Staver Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 6:44 pm

Western states have led the way in the legalization of marijuana, first with medical marijuana, and then with the legalization of recreational pot in Colorado and Washington last November.

It's been quite an adjustment for the police. Washington State Patrol is adapting to the new reality in a variety of ways, from untraining dogs that sniff out pot, to figuring out how to police high drivers.

A Smell Once Forbidden

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Education
3:01 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Michigan Works To Match Dropouts With Degrees Already Earned

At Lansing Community College in Michigan, students who've moved on to four-year schools can come back and claim their credits, and maybe even a degree.
David Shane/Flickr

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 9:15 am

There's a nationwide search underway to find former students who don't know they've already done all or most of the work needed to earn a credential that might help them land a better-paying job.

In Michigan, several hundred community college dropouts were recently surprised to learn they had enough credits to qualify for an associate degree. There are also ex-students who apparently didn't know they're just a few credits shy of a two-year degree.

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The Two-Way
2:58 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

This Is Nuts! Heist Nabs $400,000 Worth Of Walnuts

A walnut orchard in California's Central Valley.
PRNewsFoto California Walnut Commission

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 3:27 pm

This case is proving a tough nut to crack: Thieves have been making off with shipments of walnuts and almonds in California's Central Valley. The latest heist is valued at $400,000.

Rich Paloma, a reporter with The Oakdale Leader, tells NPR's All Things Considered that in the most recent nut job — he's counted six thefts of walnuts and almond shipments in recent months — the thieves cut through a fence.

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All Tech Considered
2:50 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

4-D Printing Means Building Things That Build Themselves

H. Jerry Qi, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Colorado University, holds simple models printed using polymers that have "shape memory." The flat piece on the left can reshape itself into a box with the application of heat.
Glenn J. Asakawa University of Colorado

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 4:12 pm

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The Two-Way
2:07 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Another Election?! Relax, This One's To Name A Baby Panda

You can help select a name for the National Zoo's new panda cub.
Abby Wood Smithsonian's National Zoo

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 2:45 pm

Fresh off Tuesday's election, another is just around the corner: The National Zoo wants you to help name its new panda cub by casting a vote at Smithsonian.com.

You can vote online (no photo identification required and the balloting continues until Nov. 22).

At NPR, we always strive to ensure that our audience is informed of the candidates — even when they're names for pandas.

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