A firing range might seem like an unlikely venue to launch a campaign for tougher gun laws. Guest host Linda Wertheimer speaks with astronaut Mark Kelly, who's on tour with his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, to promote background checks for gun purchasers.
A mannequin in night-vision goggles is part of a display at a border-security expo in Pheonix last year. Defense companies are seeking growth in markets in the developing world, or in homeland and cybersecurity.
Defense manufacturers worldwide are facing tough times ahead, as tight budgets force Western governments to cut spending. But while the West is cutting back, developing countries around the world are spending more on defense — a lot more.
Last fall, defense contractors warned of massive layoffs if the U.S. government enacted the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. Now, sequestration is in effect, but job losses are limited, in part because many Pentagon contracts were already in place and will keep assembly lines rolling for much of this year.
One week ago, the Yarnell Hill Fire covered only a few hundred acres, burning in dense brush 85 miles northwest of Phoenix. Then last Sunday, it exploded. Powerful winds and dry fuel propelled the fire across thousands of acres in a matter of hours, engulfing 19 elite firefighters who were trying to keep it from reaching the nearby town of Yarnell.
Nearly 700 firefighters stepped in to battle the blaze after that. A week later, the fire is nearly contained.
Many of the flowers at Hillwood are doing well despite the ever-changing local climate.
Credit Emily Files / NPR
Once the Washington, D.C., home of cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, the Hillwood Estate has a number of gardens. Like home gardeners, professionals here are trying to adapt to a changing climate.
Credit Emily Files / NPR
Credit Emily Files / NPR
To keep the flowers healthy, gardeners have to check leaves for fungus and bacteria.
At the Hillwood Estate gardens in Washington, D.C., the new norm is: "Expect the unexpected." So says volunteer coordinator Bill Johnson, who has worked on property belonging to the heiress of the Post cereal fortune for 30 years.
Like home gardeners, the horticulturalists and professional gardeners at Hillwood are confronting an unpredictable climate.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that would require women seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound. The bill also puts restrictions on doctors who perform abortions, reports Marti Mikkelson of member station WUWM in Milwaukee.
America's hugely productive food system is one of its success stories. The nation will export a projected $139.5 billion in agricultural products this fiscal year alone. It's an industry that supports "more than 1 million jobs," according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
But all that productivity has taken a toll on the environment, especially rivers and lakes: Agriculture is the nation's leading cause of impaired water quality, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The search for true relaxation can be a taxing one. You take some time off to get away thinking of paradise and then harsh reality sets in. That's the sort of experience we're chronicling this summer in a series we call...
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
(SOUNDBITE OF SCREAM)
SIEGEL: ...Horror Stories.
JIM MCLAUGHLIN: Hi, my name is Jim McLaughlin, and I live in Hershey, Pennsylvania. My wife, my sister, and our combined four children...
The latest employment report is encouraging to many economists because the stronger job growth doesn't appear to be just a one-month blip. But some worry that it's so strong the Federal Reserve may pull back efforts to boost the economy.
The Labor Department's newest data released Friday shows the U.S. added 195,000 jobs in June. The prior two months were also revised upward — above 190,000 for both April and May.
Now, a story about table etiquette from our friends at Slate.com. They ask this question. Do you cut and switch? Meaning, do you hold your fork in your left hand and cut with your right and then put down your knife so you can switch your fork to your right hand before you take a bite? Contributing writer Mark Vanhoenacker writes that while the practice has origins in France, they and other Europeans long ago abandoned it.
People are often told to take low-dose aspirin to reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. But that preventive remedy doesn't work for a lot of people.
Researchers say they've found genetic variations that might be used to identify people who don't respond well to aspirin. If the results prove out, there could soon be a blood test to tell who benefits from aspirin, and who needs to look for other treatments to reduce cardiovascular risk.
One word came to mind this week when we saw the stories about Texas physical education teacher Dale Irby and how he had worn the same "groovy shirt and sweater vest" for every school photo in the past 40 years:
Before we explore his awesomeness, though, here's some background.
We assigned our trusty interns to document the feeling of watching fireworks on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. They focused on the crowd's reactions while basking in the warm glow of the display. The images capture the gasps and sheer amazement from spectators of all ages.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
The search for six Americans and one British man lost in the seas between New Zealand and Australia was called off Friday after extensive aerial searches failed to turn up any sign of the 85-year-old wooden sailing boat they were traveling on.
Up next, you know, this week was Independence Day, and to celebrate, we're going to be looking at the life of Benjamin Franklin. We know him for his role in the American Revolution, but we're going to look at the great intellectual revolution he brought to America. Maybe you didn't know about that. Well, you can find out more about it in the new book, "The Society for Useful Knowledge: How Benjamin Franklin and Friends Brought the Enlightenment to America."
Exactly a year ago this week, a video on YouTube went viral. It was called "Heat Buckles Highway, SUV Goes Airborne." A road in Wisconsin buckled so badly from the heat that it sent cars flying. Well, this year, the buckling continues. But if you're in certain parts of the country, you don't need me to tell you that. It's hot, and I'm not going to use that but-it's-a-dry-heat line, either.
June job numbers are out, and the unemployment rate is still 7.6%. As the U.S. enters its fifth year of recovery, guest host Celeste Headlee asks Sudeep Reddy of the Wall Street Journal where we go from here.
Now it's time for Faith Matters. That's the segment on this program when we talk about issues of religion and spirituality in our lives. And today, we focus on the absence of faith.
(SOUNDBITE OF JERRY DEWITT SPEECH)
JERRY DEWITT: I realized I was standing on a rock. Yes, my friends, there was a rock and it was a rock of reason. I want you to understand that today you're changing the future. You're making life better. And there is hope after faith. Can I get a Darwin?
That sunscreen you dutifully spray throughout the day could actually get you burned.
We're not talking sunburn. We're talking people bursting into flames because they're wearing sunscreen.
Last year, the Food and Drug Administration recorded five incidents in which people were burned after their sunscreen caught on fire. One person was hurt after lighting a cigarette. Another stood near a citronella candle.
Common Core — the new set of national education standards in math and English language arts — will take effect in most states next year. This move toward a single set of standards has been embraced by a bipartisan crowd of politicians and educators largely because of what the Common Core standards are replacing: a mess.
In years past, the education landscape was a discord of state standards. A fourth grader in Arkansas could have appeared proficient in reading by his state's standards — but, by the standards of another state, say Massachusetts, not even close.
For the nearly 700 firefighters trying to smother the Arizona blaze that killed 19 of their own on Sunday, July 4th was another day on the hill. An interagency investigation team was collecting evidence to figure out what went wrong. And in nearby Prescott — home to the Granite Mountain Hotshots — the town went ahead with its holiday celebration.
Buster Sussman, 86, shown with his art instructor, Randall Williams, is a former real estate reporter who only recently started painting. His paintings were on display at the Burbank Senior Artists Colony.
Some famous writers, painters and musicians have done some of their best work in their later years — impressionist Claude Monet, for one. But at the North Hollywood Senior Arts Colony, older people are proving that you don't have to be famous — or even a professional artist — to live a creatively fulfilling life in old age.
With a fully equipped theater and painting and sculpture studios, there seems to be rehearsals or exhibitions of some sort going on here all the time.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
Time spent among people who do the same kind of work can boost morale, sharpen creativity, just go to a conference or a retreat. So some people involved in education thought how about giving teachers a place where are a lot of them can live under one roof. They're trying that in Philadelphia.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. The Statue of Liberty is once again welcoming visitors to New York Harbor. Lady Liberty reopened for tours today for the first time since Hurricane Sandy, more than eight months ago. While the statue itself was not harmed, the storm did cause extensive damage to the island below it.
The National Park Service has been working towards today's reopening ever since. Here's NPR's Joel Rose.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. Happy 4th of July. And we begin the hour by taking the nation's political temperature on a couple of points. First, immigration, and how that issue is playing in a key border state. In our series, Texas 2020, we've been covering the implications of changing demographics. One of the rising political stars in Texas is the son of a foreign-born father and American mother.
Dr. Linda Smith walks into a room at Providence Alaska Medical Center, ready with a stethoscope and a huge grin. She teases her patient, Dawn Dillard, saying that her spiky hair recently resembled a "faux hawk."
Dillard found out she had uterine cancer a year ago. Her oncologist gave her a year to live. The 57-year-old has beaten those odds, but now her kidneys are failing. After the laughs are over, Smith sits down on the edge of Dillard's bed, leans in, and starts talking about a procedure Dillard will have.