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All Tech Considered
3:40 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Twitter Lets Customers Skip Recordings, And Make Choices

For customer Laura Hargrove, the choice between moving-truck companies Budget and Penske came down to how they use Twitter.
NPR

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 8:48 am

Once used mostly for one-time promos and marketing, Twitter is now something businesses are relying on to provide customer service. For instance, Southwest Airlines tweets to alert folks about delays. And Best Buy responds to questions and complaints via Twitter. And they're not alone.

Let's say you're thinking of ordering a pair of shoes online and you want to know the store's exchange policy. You could pick up the phone — but then you'll hear the old recording: "To ensure quality service, your call may be monitored or recorded."

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Law
3:39 am
Wed August 15, 2012

The Law — And Reality — Of Gun Access

Federal law bars gun sales to the mentally ill only if they've ever been deemed by a judge to be mentally incompetent or involuntarily committed. States reporting of such things to the federal database is spotty, and very often, it doesn't show up when a gun seller does a background check.
Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 6:44 am

Timothy Courtois' family had been worried about him for weeks. They repeatedly told police in Biddeford, Maine, that the 49-year-old was off his meds for bipolar disorder. And police were also told he had guns. But still, because he wasn't doing anything that rose to the legal definition of imminent threat, police said their hands were tied.

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National Security
3:38 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Taliban Showing New Willingness On Prisoner Swap

This image provided by IntelCenter on Dec. 8, 2010, shows a frame grab from a video released by the Taliban containing footage of a man believed to be Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The 26-year-old Army sergeant was captured by the Taliban more than three years ago.
AP

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 5:14 am

There are new glimmers of hope for the only known U.S. prisoner of war held captive in Afghanistan — 26-year-old Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban more than three years ago. After lengthy discussions, it appears his captors may be more receptive than ever before to finding a way to send him home.

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Around the Nation
3:34 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Young Illegal Immigrants Seek To Avoid Deportation

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 8:21 am

Young people brought to the U.S. illegally began applying for a deportation deferral and a two-year work permit on Wednesday. It's the boldest immigration program yet by the Obama administration — putting into effect elements of the so-called DREAM Act even though it has not passed Congress.

Lizbeth Mateo has high school and college diplomas from California and evidence that she has been in the country continuously for at least five years. What she wants now is assurance that she won't be deported.

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Humans
2:51 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Changing Climate May Have Led To Earliest Mummies

A photo from a recent National Geographic story shows a long-buried corpse, preserved by one of Earth's driest climates, Chile's Atacama Desert, where it has retained centuries-old skin, hair and clothing.
Enrico Ferorelli National Geographic

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 5:14 am

A couple of thousand years before the Egyptians preserved some of their dead, a much simpler society made the first known mummies.

The Chinchorros, the first mummy makers, lived about 7,000 years ago in South America, on the coast near the border between modern-day Peru and Chile. The desert area where they lived was so dry, dead people turned into mummies naturally.

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The Record
2:48 am
Wed August 15, 2012

My American Dream Sounds Like The White Stripes

The White Stripes.
Autumn De Wilde Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 3:27 pm

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Sweetness And Light
10:03 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Feeling Just Wild About Wild Cards

Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is out at second against Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar. Despite less-than-stellar statistics, the Orioles are contenders in the American League wild-card race.
Nick Wass AP

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 1:46 pm

Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, has persuaded his owners and the players to add an extra wild-card team to the playoffs, so now five teams per league will qualify.

Not only is this terrific for the fans, but Selig also wisely managed to make it so that the wild-card teams engage in a one-game showdown for the privilege of being the team that joins the three division winners in the battle for the league championship.

I have just the old-fashioned word for this newfangled development: nifty.

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The Two-Way
6:51 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Fast-Moving Washington Wildfire Burns 60 Homes

As embers still smolder, family members sift through the remains of their home that was destroyed in a wildfire.
Elaine Thompson AP

A wildfire burning near Cle Elum, Wash., has destroyed 60 homes, as it rushed through 45-square-miles of land.

The Seattle Times reports that the fire is still on the move and more homes and ranches are in its path.

The Times adds:

"The fire is proving difficult to fight.

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Election 2012
6:27 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Will Florida Seniors Accept Ryan's Medicare Vision?

An audience member looks on during a campaign rally for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in St. Augustine, Fla., on Monday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 1:07 pm

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate may help energize support from conservative voters who like his tough approach to overhauling the federal budget.

But there's a risk that Ryan may turn off an important voting bloc: senior citizens.

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
5:29 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Medalist Claressa Shields Gets A Hero's Welcome

Olympian Claressa Shields visits the USA House in London before leaving for her home in Flint, Mich. Shields was greeted by a marching band and a motorcycle escort in her hometown.
Joe Scarnici Getty Images for USOC

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 1:07 pm

Hundreds gathered in Flint, Mich., Tuesday, to celebrate the return home of Olympian Claressa Shields. At 17, Shields became the first U.S. woman ever — and the only American this summer — to win a gold medal in boxing.

In a rare moment of joy, Flint greeted the high school student with a marching band and a motorcycle escort.

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All Tech Considered
5:22 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Could The New Air Traffic Control System Be Hacked?

The current radar-based air traffic control system (shown here) will eventually be replaced with a new system called NextGen, which will rely on GPS. A number of computer security experts are concerned that NextGen is insecure and vulnerable to hackers.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 1:07 pm

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
5:19 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Scorching Phoenix Plans For An Even Hotter Future

A Metro Light Rail train rolls by the Devine Legacy apartment building along Central Avenue in Phoenix. The energy-efficient complex includes 65 "urban style" apartments.
Courtesy of Mica Thomas Mulloy

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 6:37 pm

It's been a record hot summer in many cities across the nation. Phoenix is no exception. This Sonoran Desert metropolis already records more days over 100 degrees than any other major U.S. city. Now, climate models predict Phoenix will soon get even hotter.

A hotter future may mean a more volatile environment — and along with it, natural disasters, greater pressure on infrastructure, and an increased physical toll on city residents.

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The Salt
5:18 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Sneaking A Bite During Ramadan's Long, Hot Days

Palestinians order food at a coffee shop in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday.
Tara Todras-Whitehill Tara Todras-Whitehill for NPR

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 11:01 am

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan has fallen on the longest and hottest days of the year, which means up to 15 hours of fasting in soaring temperatures.

This seems to have increased the number of Muslims who aren't fully observing the fast, and may be sneaking a bite or a drink — though no one wants to say so on the record.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:15 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Exposed Nearby City To Little Radiation

Care managers tend elderly people in March 2012 in Minamisoma, Japan. The home's residents were evacuated eight days after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station was crippled by the March 11, 2011 tsunami.
Koji Sasahara AP

After a tsunami disabled the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in March of 2011, residents of the nearby city of Minamisoma, just 14 miles from the plant, were evacuated.

But within a few months, most returned to their homes. Still, many communities near the plant have remained skeptical and concerned about possible radiation exposure.

To find out how much radiation exposure these people have received, Japanese researchers measured levels of radioactive cesium in nearly 10,000 residents starting six months after the incident.

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Television
4:55 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

What Will Fill The TV Void Left By The Olympics?

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 6:04 pm

Now that the Olympics are over, what's there to watch on TV? Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times says there is more fun programming than anything else. He tells Audie Cornish that he'll be watching HBO's Hard Knocks series on the Miami Dolphins training camp, TNT's Major Crimes, Discovery's Shark Week and others.

It's All Politics
4:49 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Ryan's Mission For Fed: Focus On Prices, Not Unemployment

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., shakes hands with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the close of the committee's hearing on the state of the economy in February 2011.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 1:07 pm

Mitt Romney's new running mate has authored some provocative policy proposals to cut budget deficits and overhaul Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But Rep. Paul Ryan has also been an advocate for a different course for the central banking system of the United States, the Federal Reserve.

For the past 35 years, the Fed has had a dual mandate from Congress: to set interest rates at levels that will both foster maximum employment and keep prices stable. Put another way, the Fed's goals are to get unemployment as low as possible while keeping inflation in check.

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The Two-Way
4:33 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

British Bank Agrees To $340 Million Settlement Over Laundering Charges

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 5:27 pm

Britain's fifth-largest bank has agreed to pay $340 million to settle charges by New York regulators that it laundered money for Iranian clients.

NPR's Chris Arnold filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"In court documents, the regulator alleged that for 10 years Standard Chartered Bank quote 'schemed with the Government of Iran and hid from regulators roughly 60,000 secret transactions... involving $250 billion dollars and reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in fees for the bank.'

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Presidential Race
4:30 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Romney Focuses On Coal And Energy Policy In Ohio

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 6:04 pm

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned in Ohio on Tuesday, where his focus was on coal and energy policy.

It's All Politics
4:02 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Candidates Trade Fire Over Coal In Ohio

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets coal miners during a campaign rally in Beallsville, Ohio, on Tuesday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 4:32 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in far eastern Ohio on Tuesday — seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

But Beallsville is in the middle of coal country, and this site was carefully chosen. There's a battle over messaging on coal in Ohio, a state with huge coal reserves and an important but troubled coal industry.

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The Two-Way
3:55 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

First Openly Gay General: DADT Repeal Is More About Recognition Of Family

Army Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith (right) with her wife, Tracey Hepner.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 6:10 pm

Last Friday, when Tammy Smith was promoted to Army brigadier general, her wife, Tracey Hepner, was the one who pinned her star on her uniform.

With that, Smith became the first openly gay general in the country. When Smith joined the military 26 years ago, the moment would have been unthinkable. But she explains the historic moment by focusing on its simplicity.

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The Salt
3:54 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Secret Side Of The Drought: Many Corn Farmers Will Benefit

President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (second from right) inspect drought-damaged corn on the McIntosh farm in Missouri Valley, Iowa.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 11:28 am

You've all heard a lot about this year's devastating drought in the Midwest, right? The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last Friday that the average U.S. cornfield this year will yield less per acre than it has since 1995. Soybean yields are down, too.

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Planet Money
3:38 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

What A Very Old Menu Tells Us About The Price Of Steak

Matt Sayles Associated Press

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 11:08 pm

Delmonico's, the New York City steakhouse, has been around forever.

The New York Public Library's archival menu collection doesn't go back quite that far. But it does have a Delmonico's menu from 1918. The archive also, sort of randomly, has a Delmonico's menu from 1988. Delmonico's current menu is online.

One item that's on all three menus: filet mignon.

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Europe
2:49 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Germans Confront The Costs Of A Nuclear-Free Future

A worker on a newly constructed transmission tower near Buetzow, Germany, earlier this month. The German government plans to shut down nuclear power plants and is seeking to replace that production with power from renewable energy sources, especially wind turbines and solar parks. New power transmission lines will be needed.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 1:07 pm

After Japan's Fukushima disaster last year, Germany announced a groundbreaking energy plan: It would phase out all of its domestic nuclear power in a decade and make a transition to safer, carbon neutral energy.

The goal is to have solar, wind and other renewables account for nearly 40 percent of the energy for Europe's largest economy in a decade, and 80 percent by 2050.

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Presidential Race
2:44 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Tale Of The Tape: The VP And His Challenger

Vice President Joe Biden and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.
Evan Vucci/Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 2:49 pm

Who Is He?

Joe Biden: Biden, whose own presidential aspirations sputtered in 1988 and again in 2008, brought to the Democratic ticket foreign policy chops and an ability to relate to working-class voters. In his 36 years representing Delaware in the U.S. Senate, he became known as more pragmatist than ideologue. He has also made a somewhat dubious name for himself because of his volubility and not infrequent verbal stumbles. But he has parlayed those potential liabilities into an effective, if occasionally unpredictable, campaign trail presence.

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Around the Nation
2:34 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

The Anatomy Of A Hate Group

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 3:47 pm

The murders of six people at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., by a gunman with ties to white supremacists has raised questions about the prevalence and influence of hate groups in America — who they are, what they do, and how they recruit new members.

Movie Interviews
2:28 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Julie Delpy, Keeping It Real In '2 Days In New York'

Julie Delpy stars in 2 Days in New York, which she also directed, produced and co-wrote.
Jojo Whilden Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 1:07 pm

Actress Julie Delpy first beguiled American audiences in 1995, playing the enigmatic French student in Richard Linklater's film Before Sunrise. Ever since, Delpy has enjoyed life on the Hollywood fringe, preferring indie projects where she can help shape her roles.

She co-wrote the Oscar-nominated script to Linklater's sequel, Before Sunset, and has also begun directing her own projects. For her latest, 2 Days in New York, she directed, produced and helped write the script.

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NPR Story
2:23 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

How Books Shaped The American National Identity

This 1951 copy of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is one of 88 books on display as part of the Library of Congress' "Books That Shaped America" exhibit.
Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 4:14 pm

Books can change the way we think and can continue to influence events long after they were written. The Library of Congress exhibit "Books That Shaped America" features 88 books — from Thomas Paine's Common Sense to Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat — that have influenced national identity.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:22 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Family's Fight Against Bipolar Disorder Leads To Shock Therapy Success

Linea Johnson, left, and her mother, Cinda, in May 2012 at the launch of their book on the family's struggle with Linea's bipolar disorder.
Tommy Voeten

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 2:56 pm

The Mayo Clinic's confirmation Monday that Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is receiving care there for bipolar depression is a reminder that the condition, which affects around 2.3 million Americans, can be treated.

But figuring out the right treatment for each patient can be a long and difficult road, as a new memoir called Perfect Chaos: A Daughter's Journey to Survive Bipolar, a Mother's Struggle to Save Her shows.

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NPR Story
2:21 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

What Life Holds For Athletes After The Olympics

American swimmer Carrie Steinseifer, left, hugs Nancy Hogshead after they tied for the gold medal in the 100 meter freestyle competition during the 1984 Olympics.
Courtesy of Nancy Hogshead-Makar

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 4:14 pm

As a kid, Nancy Hogshead-Makar wanted to be the best swimmer in the world. At 14, she got her wish when she was ranked number one in the world for 200-meter butterfly at age 14. Four years later, she was part of U.S. team that boycotted the Moscow Olympics, and at 22, she swam in five Olympic finals at the 1984 Los Angeles games, winning three gold medals and one silver medal.

"I knew that the 1984 Olympics were really going to be my swan song," she tells NPR's Lynn Neary. She retired after those games and went to finish out a year and a half at Duke University.

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From Our Listeners
2:21 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Letters: Doctor Shortage, Studying Abroad

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 3:47 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

It's Tuesday and time to read from your comments.

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