U.S. News

Education
6:17 am
Fri February 7, 2014

What's Wrong With Getting Help On A 'Personal' Essay?

Rhodes Scholars study at Oxford for at least a year.
iStockphoto

Applying for a Rhodes Scholarship this year? A new rule means you won't be able to get any help writing or editing your application essay.

The organization that hands out the prestigious scholarship says American students have been sending in too many "formulaic" and "predictable" essays. They usually go something like this, according to Charles Conn, warden of the Rhodes House at Oxford and CEO of the Rhodes Trust:

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Code Switch
5:02 am
Fri February 7, 2014

'Blazing Saddles,' The Best Interracial Buddy Comedy, Turns 40

Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder in a scene from Blazing Saddles in 1974.
Time & Life Pictures Time

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 9:41 am

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The Two-Way
4:46 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

A Legend At The Plate And In The Booth: Ralph Kiner Dies At 91

Ralph Kiner, seen here in 1982 with fellow Hall of Famer Willie Mays, has died at 91.
Harry Harris AP

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 9:26 am

Ralph Kiner, a home run-hitting Hall of Famer who starred for the Pittsburgh Pirates and later helped define the New York Mets' broadcasts, has died at 91. He was a frequent all-star who later became a favorite of Mets fans and players.

Outside of sports fans' circles, Kiner's name might not ring a bell. But as the New York Daily News reports, he was most definitely a "somebody" for nearly all of his long life:

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Around the Nation
3:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Maryland Drug Officials Worry Over A Deadly Mixture

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Tomorrow in Maryland, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration will sit down with other law enforcement groups to talk through some big questions. Tainted heroin has recently killed at least 50 people across several states, and they want to find out where it's coming from. The heroin is laced with the powerful painkiller fentanyl. While the DEA races to find the drug's source, NPR's Allison Keyes reports community groups are scrambling to warn addicts of the danger.

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Around the Nation
3:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

The Avalanche And The Alaskan City Finding Its Way Out

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The city of Valdez, Alaska is no stranger to avalanches but this year has been a whopper. A series of massive avalanches buried the highway into the city, cutting off traffic for two weeks. Snowpack that crashed down the mountains filled a canyon and left the road covered with snow 40 feet deep for a quarter mile stretch. Well, yesterday, after the avalanche, debris was finally cleared, the Richardson Highway was opened to traffic again.

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Around the Nation
3:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Powerless In Pennsylvania And Awaiting The Storm's Return

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:55 pm

Over 400,000 people in Pennsylvania still have no power following this week's ice storm. Many won't get back their power back before Sunday — but another winter super storm is expected over the weekend, worrying officials and residents over how they will stay warm.

Technology
3:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

AeroCop: Police Put An Eye In The Sky

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Europe
3:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Leaked Ukraine Phone Call Puts U.S. Credibility On The Line

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Around the Nation
3:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Another Florida Case Puts 'Stand Your Ground' Back In Court

Michael Dunn (right), who faces first-degree murder charges in the death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, stands with his attorney Cory Strolla (left) at Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday.
Bob Mack Florida Times-Union/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:55 pm

They're events that took just several minutes, but in a courtroom in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday, prosecutors and the defense laid out different versions of how Michael Dunn, who is white, came to shoot and kill Jordan Davis, a black teen.

It was in 2012, the day after Thanksgiving, that Davis, 17, and three friends stopped at a gas station and convenience store in Jacksonville. They were in an SUV and were playing their music — loud.

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Politics
3:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

As Deficit Anxiety Fades, Debt Rears Its Ugly Head

President Obama tours a Costco location in Lanham, Md., on Jan. 29, before speaking about raising the federal minimum wage.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:55 pm

Democrats and Republicans have exhausted themselves politically after failing to reach a grand bargain to reduce the debt. Now there's a new economic debate in Washington over economic growth, mobility and income inequality.

But without dealing with the debt, Republicans and Democrats might not be able to navigate even the issues they agree on.

Moving Away From The Deficit

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The Salt
2:56 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Food Industry Groups Say They'll Label GMOs, On Their Terms

A woman shops at a supermarket in New York City.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 1:51 pm

Remember those ballot initiatives in California and Washington that aimed to get food companies to label products containing genetically modified ingredients?

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The Two-Way
2:26 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Who 'Won' The Creation Vs. Evolution Debate?

Bill Nye (left) and Ken Ham debated whether creation is a viable model of origins in the modern scientific era during a lengthy debate Tuesday. The points they raised have fueled an online conversation that continues.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:07 pm

Days after a wide-ranging debate on creationism and evolution between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, the event is driving an online conversation. Themes of belief and literalism, logic and faith — and, for some, relevance — are being aired and disputed. And some wonder what the debate accomplished.

The video of the more than two-hour debate, in which Nye and Ham presented their views on how the Earth and its surroundings were created, has been viewed more than 830,000 times on YouTube. At one point, the live event drew more than 500,000 viewers.

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Shots - Health News
2:05 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Start Early To Cut Women's Stroke Risk

Exercise helps lower stroke risk, but birth control pills and pregnancy can be problematic for younger women.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 3:16 pm

Women are at greater risk for strokes than men, and for the first time women and their doctors have evidence-based guidelines on how to reduce that risk.

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Technology
10:29 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Hackathon Organizers Ask, Could A Smart Phone App Have Saved Trayvon?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Around the Nation
10:29 am
Thu February 6, 2014

'Smart Guy' Weighs In On Common Sense

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for Backtalk. That's where we hear from you. And editor Ammad Omar is with us once again. What do you have today, Ammad?

AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Hey, Michel. You talked a little bit on Tuesday about rules, if you can just remind us about that.

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Beauty Shop
10:29 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Mean Girls Online: Can We Draw A Line In Social Media?

Feminists criticizing feminists online: How does it impact the movement?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 6:57 am

Last week, an article about online feminist activism set off a heated debate. The Nation's Michelle Goldberg examined criticism aimed at feminists by other feminists. "Is it good for the movement? And whose movement is it?" Goldberg asked.

She wrote:

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Shots - Health News
8:29 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Less Sleep, More Time Online Raise Risk For Teen Depression

Teenagers' sleep patterns may be a clue to their risk of depression.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 12:26 pm

The teenage years are a tumultuous time, with about 11 percent developing depression by age 18. Lack of sleep may increase teenagers' risk of depression, two studies say.

Teenagers who don't get enough sleep are four times as likely to develop major depressive disorder as their peers who sleep more, according to researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. They tracked the habits of more than 4,000 adolescents over a year.

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The Two-Way
6:22 am
Thu February 6, 2014

It's Freezing, And Power's Out For Hundreds Of Thousands

In Philadelphia on Wednesday, a woman ducked under a utility line that was brought down when an ice-covered tree fell.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 9:06 am

Temperatures are going to stay below freezing for the next few days across the Northeast, and that's not good news for a half-million or so households and businesses in southeastern Pennsylvania. Many won't have electricity again until Friday or the weekend.

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National Security
3:16 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Hagel Concerned By Ethical Lapses In Armed Forces

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:59 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The American military is trying to get to the bottom of a series of scandals. Air Force nuclear missile officers cheated on tests, Navy sailors are accused of the same, and more - enough that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is concerned that there's a pattern here, a problem with ethical lapses across the armed services. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman joins us now to talk about this. Good morning.

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

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Economy
2:23 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Reining In Health Care Costs Key To Trimming Deficit

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 11:47 am

The Congressional Budget Office earlier this week said this year's deficit is likely to be about one-third the size it was in 2009, when the Great Recession bottomed out. A recovering economy is the main reason for the deficit's improvement, but moderating health care costs have also contributed.

Harvard economist and health policy specialist David Cutler says getting the federal government's finances under control is all about health care.

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The Salt
1:26 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Woolly Mammoths' Taste For Flowers May Have Been Their Undoing

Woolly mammoths depended on tiny flowering plants for protein. Did the decline of the flowers cause their extinction?
Per Möller/Johanna Anjar

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 3:01 pm

They were some of the largest, hairiest animals ever to walk the Earth, but new research shows a big part of the woolly mammoth's diet was made up of tiny flowers.

The work is based on DNA analysis of frozen arctic soil and mammoth poop. It suggests that these early vegans depended on the flowers as a vital source of protein. And when the flowers disappeared after the last ice age, so too did the mammoths that ate them.

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The Two-Way
5:41 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Police Officer Arrests Firefighter At Accident Scene In California

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 5:50 pm

How do we explain the arrest of a firefighter by a police officer at the scene of an accident — after an argument over where a fire truck should park? The authorities are still discussing the incident, which took place Tuesday night on California's I-805, where a car had rolled over at the center road barrier.

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Around the Nation
4:43 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

More Than 80,000 Tons Of Coal Ash Flow Into N.C. River

Volunteers with the Dan River Basin Association, graduate students from Duke University and staff with the environmental group Appalachian Voices collect water samples on the Dan River after a massive coal ash spill.
Eric Chance Appalachian Voices

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 8:23 pm

Over the weekend at an old power plant in Eden, N.C., a stormwater pipe that goes under a coal ash pond broke, sending about 82,000 tons of ash into the Dan River.

The river stretches more than 200 miles from North Carolina, through Virginia and into the Atlantic Ocean. It's home to all sorts of wildlife, and a popular destination for fishermen and kayakers.

On Wednesday, Jennifer Edwards, with the Dan River Basin Association, was checking the water and sediment about a mile downriver from the spill.

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Around the Nation
4:42 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Scientists Help Western States Prepare For Drought As New Norm

Frank Gehrke, chief of snow surveys in California, looks at wind speed, snow depth and moisture data collected at a survey site in Yosemite National Park.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 8:23 pm

At a 10,000-foot summit in Yosemite National Park, Frank Gehrke clicks into his cross-country skis and pushes off down a small embankment onto a meadow of crusty snow. He's California's chief of snow surveys, one of the most influential jobs in a state where snow and the water that comes from it are big currency. He's on his monthly visit to one of a dozen snowpack-measuring stations scattered across the high country of the Sierra Nevada.

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It's All Politics
4:32 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Black Openly Gay Judge Would Be Federal Bench's First

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has indicated he won't block the nomination of Judge Darrin Gayles, who would be the first openly gay black man to serve on the federal bench.
AP

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 7:33 pm

Darrin P. Gayles, a Florida state circuit judge, appears to be on track to become the nation's first openly gay black man to serve on the federal bench.

President Obama on Wednesday nominated Gayles, a former assistant U.S. attorney, to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

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The Two-Way
4:32 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

'Almost Otherworldly': The Sea Caves Of Lake Superior, On Ice

Scenes from the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Bayfield, Wis., where Lake Superior's ice is thick enough to walk to the area's sea caves for the first time in five years.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 3:28 pm

This winter's intense cold has brought a fringe benefit to people who live around southern Lake Superior: They can walk to the uniquely beautiful, and currently frozen, sea caves of the Apostle Islands. It's the first time the lake's ice in that area has been thick enough to walk on since 2009.

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It's All Politics
4:19 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Celebrities Turn Star Power Toward Political Stage

Three of the seven cast members shown here on the set of the 1987 film Predator would later run for governor in their home states. Two of them, Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger, won. Sonny Landham (second from right) lost.
Sunset Boulevard Corbis

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 1:50 pm

If you wanted to pursue a career in politics, you could have done worse than appearing in the 1987 movie Predator.

That movie featured not only Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura — future governors of California and Minnesota, respectively — but Sonny Landham, who later ran for governor and senator in Kentucky.

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

U.S. HVAC Firm Reportedly Linked To Target's Data Security Breach

Hackers who broke into Target's computer network and stole customers' financial and personal data used credentials that were stolen from a heating and air conditioning subcontractor in Pennsylvania, according to digital security journalist Brian Krebs.

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The Salt
2:09 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

California Is So Dry, Some Diners Won't Get Water Unless They Ask

In California, some restaurants are changing their policy to serve water to patrons only upon request.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 3:39 pm

California's drought is getting very serious — so serious that even those water refills you didn't ask for at restaurants are now under scrutiny.

"We have not had this dry a time period in all of California's history since we've been keeping records — that's how bad it is," Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., who represents a district in the Central Valley, told reporters on Tuesday.

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It's All Politics
1:57 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

White House Creates 'Climate Hubs' To Help Rural Towns, Farmers

Farmers in Iowa are among those around the country who will get help coping with climate change through a new federal program.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 11:00 am

The White House on Wednesday rolled out a high-profile plan to help farmers and ranchers adjust to climate changes that have already begun to upend growing seasons and threaten livestock.

The "climate hub" initiative was praised by environmentalists, though they were quick to warn President Obama that it would not provide him cover on another environmental issue in the headlines: the Keystone XL pipeline.

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