Toilets, as most of us know them, haven't changed much since the 1800s--they use a lot of water, and require an infrastructure that many communities can't afford. Ira Flatow and guests look at the problem of access to sanitation, and how engineers are making toilets better.
Reporting in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers write that complete strangers are capable of spotting individuals with a genetic predisposition to empathy and sociable behavior. Author Sarina Saturn discusses the study, and how sociability has evolved across cultures.
With the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade less than a week away, it's crunch time for the balloon technicians. Science Friday goes behind the scenes at Macy's design studio to find out about the final preparations for the parade.
Originally published on Sun November 20, 2011 11:22 am
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has spoken.
After more than a year of deliberations and an unprecedented public hearing in June, the agency has revoked approval of the biotech blockbuster Avastin, a medicine that chokes off the blood supply to various cancer cells, as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer.
Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 12:09 pm
"Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, who outlined an emergency plan two days ago, isn't wasting any time taking action" in tackling his city's financial crisis, our colleague Micki Maynard at the Changing Gears project reports. "Today, Bing said the city will lay off 1,000 employees, or about 9 percent of the city's payroll, by Feb. 25."
"It is virtually certain that on a global scale hot days [will] become even hotter and occur more often" in coming decades, according to a report released today from a group of more than 100 scientists convened by the United Nations.
This interview was originally broadcast on June 2, 2011. Beginners is now available on DVD.
Filmmaker Mike Mills' parents met in junior high school. For 45 years, they lived together, raising Mills and his older sisters, until Mills' mother died in 1999. Six months later, Mills' father — a 75-year-old retired museum director — announced that he's gay.
An index that's designed to forecast how the economy will be doing in coming months rose a solid 0.9 percent in October from September, the business research group The Conference Board reports. It had risen just 0.1 percent in September and had fallen 0.3 percent in August.
All parents hope their children will be smart. But no parents want their children to grow up to have problems with drugs like cocaine, marijuana and amphetamines.
So it's no surprise that a study out this week linking high IQ in children with illegal drug use as adults has been giving parents the willies. "I think it's kind of scary that this article is out there," says Lisa Boesky, a mom in San Diego.
It's not the final word, but scientists at the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics report today that "new tests conducted at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory of INFN by the OPERA Collaboration, with a specially set up neutrino beam from CERN, confirm so far the previous results on the measurement of the neutrino velocity."
An Associated Press reporter was on hand last night in Tennessee when two representatives from the Occupy Memphis movement sat down with about 75 members of the Mid-South Tea Party and had what's described as a "sometimes strained and confrontational, but mostly civil discussion."
In these hard times, Britain's Royal Academy of Chemistry has come up with the cheapest meal of all: a toast sandwich. They found the recipe in the Victorian bestseller: Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management. It's a piece of toast between two buttered slices of bread and costs 12 cents to make.
Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne. The Columbia University Marching Band is known for its sense of humor, but their joke fell flat at a recent football game against Cornell. In a parody of the school fight song, the band sang: We always lose, lose, lose by a lot; sometimes, by a little - which is accurate. Their loss to Cornell was their ninth straight this year.
The athletic department wasn't amused. They banned the marching band from the final game of the season. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 12:24 pm
When he announced early today that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will visit Myanmar next month, President Obama cited "flickers of progress" on respect for human rights in the country also known as Burma as grounds for the first visit by an American secretary of state in 50 years.
Among those signs: the release of some political prisoners new President Thein Sein's government and relaxing of some restrictions on the media.
Let's consider now, those vehicles that offer something really cheap - the food trucks that have become so popular. At the L.A. Auto Show, Nissan has on display a new truck specially designed for mobile restaurateurs. Our last word in business today is: culinary concept car.
Italy's new prime minister has pledged far-reaching reforms. An economist himself, Mario Monti has managed to win a vote of confidence for his new national unity government by an overwhelming majority in Italy's senate. Still, Europe's debt crisis is gathering more steam and now pushing borrowing costs for Spain and France sharply higher. As NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, pressure is mounting on the European Central Bank to act to stem the crisis.
Football has long been beloved at Penn State, and the program is one of the most lucrative in the country. But as the biggest scandal in the school's history continues to roil the campus, some in State College, Pa., are beginning to question football's influence.
At his news conference this week, interim Penn State football coach Tom Bradley tried to focus on Saturday's game in Columbus.
The outcome in Italy is, of course, of huge importance to Germany. Germany is the strongest economy in the eurozone and has a deep historical interest in the euro's success. We asked the economist Nicolas Veron to remind us of Germany's role in this grand monetary experiment.
The Occupy Wall Street movement saw mostly peaceful demonstrations across the country yesterday. In cities including Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., and Portland, occupiers were marking the second month of their movement. Dozens were arrested at a rally in Los Angeles and even more in New York City, where protesters tried to shut down Wall Street. NPR's Margot Adler reports.
And it is always fun to be in the audience for Susan's cranberry relish sequels. Kenneth Turan says there's a sequel opening in theaters today that's not as much fun as the first. Five years ago "Happy Feet" won the Oscar for best animated feature. Now the penguins are back.
The child sex abuse scandal at Penn State is raising more and more questions about who knew what, when and what actions were, or were not taken. Elements of the unfolding scandal remain quite confusing. Former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is charged with abusing young boys.
The Los Angeles Auto Show begins today. It's the first of America's car shows and it's where manufacturers put their best foot forward or try to reinvent themselves. One those carmakers is Honda. Honda's production was badly hurt by Japan's earthquake and tsunami, and as it was getting back on track, the floods in Thailand crippled production again. But as NPR's Sonari Glinton reports from the L.A. Auto Show, natural disasters may be the least of Honda's problems.
NPR's business news starts with oil prices hovering around $99 a barrel. Oil has gone up sharply since last month, partly because of signs of improvement in the U.S. economy. Also because of tensions in some oil producing regions, which could affect supplies. Still, the debt crisis in Europe is holding prices below that psychologically important $100 a barrel mark. Benchmark crude was trading in Asia this morning at about $98.90. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu appeared before a House oversight subcommittee Thursday to defend his agency's decision to lend $500 million in federal money to Solyndra, a company that made solar panels and is now bankrupt. The company is the subject of numerous federal investigations.