A lot of Americans identify themselves by their work. It's often how we introduce ourselves or describe our friends and parents: "I'm a police officer." "I'm a spot-welder." "My dad was a druggist." "My mom was a teacher." "My wife is a pilot." "My friend is a firefighter." "I sell insurance."
Our work has been a kind of identity stamp, defining us as much as our last name or place of birth. As Studs Terkel wrote in his 1974 classic, Working, "Our jobs give us daily meaning as well as daily bread."
Sophia Greenwalt, 13, is the founder of Helping Hats, a fundraising program in the Reeds Spring School District. Once a month, students and staff can wear a hat to school for a dollar donation. The money raised that day goes to a non-profit organization in the community.
In 2012, Sophia has gotten nine local businesses on board to match the money raised by the school. Helping Hats has raised more than $20,000 for organizations such as the Joplin School District (after a devastating tornado), the Humane Society and others.
It's estimated that as many as 3,000 wild pigs are on the loose in Michigan. Nationwide, they cause more than $1.8 billion in damage to farms each year. So recently, the state's Department of Natural Resources put Russian boar on the state's invasive species list.
Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 6:27 pm
Every nation stockpiles vital resources — think of the U.S. Petroleum Reserve, for instance. In Canada, they have warehouses holding millions of pounds of maple syrup. And recently, one of them was the site of what may be "the sweetest heist of all time," as The Vancouver Sun reports.
Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 2:22 pm
You've probably heard of thalidomide, the infamous sedative that ended up causing birth defects in the children of mothers who took it.
Back in the late 1950s, the drug was sold in 46 countries, though not the U.S., and was particularly popular in then-West Germany, the U.K. and Australia. But in 1961, the drug was taken off the market after the link to birth defects emerged.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
As they leave the convention in Tampa, Republican Party leaders are hoping their efforts in Florida will win over more Latino voters. Hispanic lawmakers were given high-profile speaking roles, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who introduced Mitt Romney last night. Recent polls suggests President Obama leads Romney 3 to 1 among Hispanics.
NPR's Cheryl Corley reports from Tampa on this week's Republican efforts at outreach.
Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 7:38 pm
Brazilian singer Luciana Souza has worked in many genres, from jazz and bossa nova to classical music and even, as a small child, commercial jingles. A graduate of Berklee and the New England Conservatory of Music, Souza has been nominated for four Grammys and worked at a prolific pace. In fact, she's just released two albums of covers, Duos III and The Book of Chet; the latter finds her covering the works of Chet Baker.
President Obama's re-election campaign won a big victory today in Ohio. A federal judge in Columbus has ordered the state to restore early voting in the three days prior to the November election. The state had eliminated it, except for voters in the military, and Ohio's attorney general insists he will appeal.
NPR's Pam Fessler has been covering this story. She joins me now. And, Pam, why is it such a big deal for the Obama campaign?
Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 6:39 pm
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Harvard University is investigating what it calls an unprecedented case of cheating. College officials say around 125 students may have shared answers and plagiarized on a final exam last spring. From member station WBUR in Boston, Curt Nickisch has reaction on campus.
CURT NICKISCH, BYLINE: This is not what a brand-new class of carefree 18-year-olds expected to be talking about as they went through freshman orientation today.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. The floodwaters have begun to recede in Louisiana and Mississippi as the remnants of Hurricane Isaac move north. Utility companies are scrambling to restore power to hundreds of thousands of customers. In some places, floodwaters are hampering the recovery. That includes an area about 30 miles west of New Orleans where we find NPR's Joel Rose.
Should Muslims convicted of terrorism be allowed to gather together in prison to pray? That's the question being raised by John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban.
The U.S. citizen converted to Islam as a teenager. Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Lindh was caught in Afghanistan. He pleaded guilty to aiding the now defunct Taliban government there and to carrying a weapon.
The Albany Bicycle Coalition started in my backyard in 2003 when a small group of mechanically inclined bike enthusiasts-volunteers gathered to learn bike repair skills and repair bikes that were headed to the dump. The rescued bikes were then donated to local organizations for kids.
Eventually we grew and moved into a community center basement, where the focus is on teaching kids skills while improving community relations.
U.S. student loan debt tops $1 trillion, and young people face disproportionately high unemployment. Writer Joel Kotkin points to these numbers when he claims today's millennial generation is getting the short end of the stick. Kotkin speaks with Tell Me More host Michel Martin about his Newsweek/Daily Beast article on what he calls the "screwed generation."
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, Frederic Yonnet is taking the harmonica to new places. We'll tell you more in just a few minutes.
But first, as we mentioned earlier, the Democratic National Convention starts this week, where the hope is that the president and his party can rally his Democratic base and energize voters, which they did so successfully four years ago.
Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 6:12 pm
As a tropical storm was gathering strength last week, fears were growing that the fierce winds might knock out Gulf Coast refineries, send gasoline prices soaring and seriously damage the U.S. economy.
But when Hurricane Isaac slammed into the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, it was only a Category 1 hurricane, far weaker than Katrina, the monster storm that hit seven years ago.
Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 4:39 pm
If you've paid any attention to the last day of the Republican National Convention, you've no doubt heard about Clint Eastwood's strange performance in which he laid into President Obama, whom he pretended was sitting in an empty chair.
How a cucumber creates its curling tendril has stumped scientists for centuries, including Charles Darwin and Asa Gray. With the help of time-lapse photography and prosthetic tendril fabricated in the lab, physicist Sharon Gerbode, biologist Joshua Puzey and colleagues figured out why tendrils twist, according to a new study in Science.
Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 5:16 pm
The Tryon area has been known as "Horse Country" for almost a century. People here take their equine economy seriously, it's a major source of jobs. Drought conditions and the economy have forced many horse owners into a predicament of how to feed their families and their horses.
So the Hay Pledge was born. Horse owners and hay growers "pledge" 10 bales of hay if asked — unless their supplies are too low to share. Calls for assistance are confidential. Some 500 bales have been delivered in 2012, but winter is coming and that number will go up significantly.
NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin discuss highlights of the Republican National Convention — the speeches, the delegates, and what it all means for this year's election. In other news, Rep. Ben Quayle loses the GOP congressional primary in Arizona. Does that signal the end of his political career?
And borrowing from the Republican convention slogan that grew out of a statement from President Obama on the campaign trail, it's the "We Built It" edition of the "It's All Politics" podcast.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. If you have a smartphone or a tablet, you might want to pay attention to this story because last week a jury in California reached a verdict in a major patent battle case between electronics makers Apple and Samsung, a fight over the way their mobile devices worked and looked.
Up next, the brains behind "Bones." If you go to the beach this weekend and check out what the other sunbathers are reading, there's a good chance you'll come across someone deep into a Temperance Brennan crime novel. Brennan is a forensic anthropologist, the person the police call when they find human remains that are, well, past their prime, if we say.
If you headed outside this Labor Day weekend, besides seeing that second blue moon of the month, just look up at the sky, would you believe that about half of those stars you see are actually two stars or more, the kind of double star system that's quite common? And this week, astronomers reported on the discovery of a planetary system orbiting such a binary star, two planets orbiting two suns. It's called Kepler-47 after the Kepler planet-hunting mission that spotted it.
On March 16, 1966, a potentially fatal problem gripped the Gemini 8 space capsule. Orbiting high above the Earth, it began spinning out of control. Spiraling towards unconsciousness and, perhaps, death, Neil Armstrong shut down the malfunctioning thrusters and wrestled Gemini back to stability. This was neither the first nor the last time that Neil Armstrong had escaped disaster. As an Naval pilot in Korea, he managed to guide a bullet-ridden aircraft, missing three feet of wing, back to friendly territory.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. You've probably heard of your distant cousins the Neanderthals, but how about a more secretive member of the family tree, the Denisovans? Yeah, ring a bell? No? That's because traces of Denisovans are hard to come by.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. Five years ago this month, the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed, sending a full load of rush-hour traffic into the Mississippi River. The disaster injured nearly 150 people, killed 13. The bridge was literally falling apart.
Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 1:51 pm
From one angle, Clint Eastwood's dialogue with an imaginary President Obama — using a tall chair as a prop — at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Thursday night was sharp-pointed and youthful and edgy and film-schoolish.
From another angle, it could be construed as the meanderings of an older man who is disenchanted by a shaky economy, an ongoing war and the perception of broken promises, but somehow can't put his disgruntlement into words.