NPR News

Shots - Health Blog
1:18 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Fox In Socks! Dartmouth Names Its Medical School After Dr. Seuss

An imagined new facade for Dartmouth's school of medicine (with apologies to Dr. Seuss).
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 3:04 pm

At the college of Dartmouth, in the year '24
There lived a young humorist named Theodor.
Though boozing was banned as a crime and a sin,
Theo hosted a party with plenty of gin.
But then in through the door without even a knock
Burst the grinch who stole gin-mas: Dean Craven Laycock.

The dean started shouting. His face turned bright red.
"Put down your tumbler and listen up, Ted!
I'm kicking you out of those clubs that you're in.
Your work won't be published at Dartmouth again!"

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It's All Politics
1:16 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Craigslist Founder Takes On Voter ID Laws By Infographic

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 1:19 pm

It's about a week after it became available on the Internet but no less interesting now than it was then is the infographic by Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, which skewers voter ID laws cropping up in various states. One of his points — the cure is far worse than the disease.

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Animals
1:01 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

White-Nose Syndrome: A Scourge In The Bat Caves

A little brown bat with white-nose syndrome hangs in Greeley Mine, Vt., in March 2009. The disease is spreading across the country, currently affecting bat populations in 19 states.
Marvin Moriarty U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

A disease that has killed more than 5.5 million bats in the eastern United States and Canada is making its way west. White-nose syndrome has now been diagnosed in three Missouri bats — the first confirmed cases west of the Mississippi. And scientists say it won't stop there.

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Environment
12:54 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Feds Interview New Witnesses In Polar Bear Probe

Two polar bears spar on the shoreline of the Hudson Bay in November 2007.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Federal agents interviewed new witnesses this week in an ongoing investigation of government scientists that's been called "polar bear-gate," according to the scientists' lawyer.

The controversial probe, now entering its third year, is looking into allegations of scientific misconduct related to a 2006 report by wildlife researchers Charles Monnett and Jeffrey Gleason, who described seeing dead polar bears floating in Arctic waters.

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The Two-Way
12:32 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

No One's Claimed Mega Millions Win, Maryland Lottery Official Says

We still don't know who bought the three winning tickets in Friday's $656 million Mega Millions lottery drawing — one in Illinois, one in Kansas and one in Maryland.

And we still don't know what's going on with Mirlande Wilson, the Maryland woman who has made headlines by claiming to have purchased a big winner, but who hasn't yet provided any proof.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:17 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Across America, The Grip of Prescription Painkillers Tightens

Hydrocodone is a key ingredient in the prescription painkiller Vicodin.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 6:58 am

Tens of millions of Americans turn to powerful painkillers to ease their sufferings. But an analysis on the sales of two prescription drugs over a decade is particularly worrisome.

Check out The Associated Press' interactive map at the end of this post. It uses data from the Drug Enforcement Agency to show how sales of oxycodone and hydrocodone ballooned from 2000-10.

You can click on individual states to see which areas had the biggest increases.

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The Two-Way
11:58 am
Thu April 5, 2012

'Three Cups' Author Mismanaged Charity, Will Repay $1 Million

Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea and Stone Into Schools, with schoolchildren in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan.
Central Asia Institute

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 11:59 am

The author of Three Cups of Tea has agreed to repay $1 million to a charity he founded, after the Montana Attorney General's office found that he had mismanaged the nonprofit by spending charity money on personal items.

The AP reports that Greg Mortenson misspent Central Asia Institute funds on "family vacations and millions on charter flights."

The AP adds Mortenson pretty much had unchallenged control of the non-profit:

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The Two-Way
11:55 am
Thu April 5, 2012

'Kill The Head, The Body Will Die,' NFL's Gregg Williams Heard Telling Players

Gregg Williams, then a coach with the New Orleans Saints, in August 2011.
Bill Haber AP

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 11:57 am

Former New Orleans Saints defensive coach Gregg Williams is heard telling his players to target specific opponents and he goes so far as to mention the types of injuries those opponents might be vulnerable to in an audio recording posted online by a documentary filmmaker.

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U.S.
10:46 am
Thu April 5, 2012

How Lawyer Got Nation Talking About Trayvon Martin

Benjamin Crump (right), the attorney for Trayvon Martin's family, is joined by the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson at a protest in Sanford, Fla., last week. Crump has enlisted the help of prominent civil rights activists to draw attention to the case.
Roberto Gonzalez Getty Images

The prosecutor investigating the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., has not yet decided if she will bring charges against the shooter, George Zimmerman.

It took several weeks for the Feb. 26 shooting to draw the nation's attention — after Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Trayvon Martin's family, launched a campaign to get the case before media and civil rights activists nationwide.

Two days after the shooting, the high-profile civil rights attorney started getting calls about the case. "My phone was buzzing," Crump says.

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The Two-Way
10:18 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Security Company Says About 600,000 Macs Infected With Trojan Virus

A map released by Dr. Web shows where the anti-virus software company found infected Macs.
Dr. Web

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 11:51 am

A Russian computer security firm says it has discovered that about 600,000 Apple computers have been infected with a "Flashback Trojan" virus.

Now, before we move on, you should know that the company making the announcement is Dr. Web, which sells anti-virus software that will protect a computer against that kind of virus. It's also important to note that many of the parties weighing in are part of a security community that makes money off selling anti-virus software.

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The Two-Way
10:04 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Two Years After W. Va. Mine Disaster: Grief, Anger And Questions Linger

Tonight, in Whitesville, W.Va., mourners will silently walk with candles on sidewalks lined with luminary lights to remember the 29 coal miners who died two years ago today in the nation's worst mine disaster in 40 years.

That memorial will follow a 3 p.m. ET event in Beckley,W. Va., where an honor guard will ring a bell 29 times to mark the moment the Upper Big Branch coal mine erupted in a massive explosion.

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Race
10:00 am
Thu April 5, 2012

In Trayvon Martin Case, Who's Considered White?

Race is central to the debate surrounding Trayvon Martin, the black Florida teen shot by neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman. Many media outlets first identified Zimmerman as "white," but his father describes him as a Spanish-speaking minority. Host Michel Martin explores the question, "who is white?" with sociologist Jean Halley.

Education
10:00 am
Thu April 5, 2012

NYC Chancellor On Turning Around City's Schools

Dennis Walcott oversees a school system with more than one million students. Graduation rates are below the national average, and studies suggest most of the city's high school graduates are not ready for college. But Chancellor Walcott tells host Michel Martin that, after one year on the job, New York City schools are on the mend.

The Salt
9:57 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Chocolate Bilbies, Not Bunnies, For An Australian Easter

The bilby is an endangered Australian marsupial that has been run out of its habitat by humans and rabbits.
Courtesy of Australia's Queensland State Government.

In the turf war between rabbits and bilbies that plays out in burrows dug into Australia's arid grasslands, rabbits, those aggressive and fertile European immigrants, have largely won out.

But the chocolate bilby has staked its claim on the springtime candy shelf — an honor that could help the threatened species make a real comeback.

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Million Dollar Donors
9:11 am
Thu April 5, 2012

For Romney, Family Ties To Marriott Heirs Pay Off

J.W. Marriott dines with his son Bill in a Hot Shoppe in March 1969. The elder Marriott was close to Mitt Romney's father, George.
Dennis Brack Landov

Mitt Romney has been far and away the best-funded of the Republicans running for president. In addition to his own campaign chest, he has the wealthiest superPAC backing him, Restore Our Future.

Among the donors to Restore Our Future, are hotel tycoons J.W. and Richard Marriott. Each gave $750,000 so far this campaign cycle.

Humble Roots

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It's All Politics
7:32 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Thursday Political Grab Bag: Poll Puts Romney Ahead In PA

Mitt Romney has taken the lead in voter support in Pennsylvania, according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling which shows the Republican frontrunner ahead of Rick Santorum, the former U.S. senator from the Keystone State, 42 percent to 37 percent. That lead was just on the 4.9 point margin of error, suggesting a tie. That's bad news for Santorum, however, as he dropped six percentage points while Romney gained 17 percent from a month ago.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Jobless Claims Stay Around Four-Year Low

The number of people filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance stayed around a four-year low last week, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

It says there were 357,000 such applications, down 6,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 363,000.

Claims have been running at the lowest rate since March and April 2008 for several weeks now.

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Shots - Health Blog
6:31 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Cancer Diagnosis Raises Risk Of Death From Heart Attack, Suicide

The danger of death by heart attack or suicide is greatest in the first week after a cancer diagnosis.
Max Delson Martins Santos iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 8:51 am

Finding out that you have cancer greatly increases the risk of death by heart attack or suicide, according to a new study. That risk is especially big in the first week after getting the bad news.

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The Two-Way
5:55 am
Thu April 5, 2012

The Masters Begins: Will Tiger Woods Win? Do You Want Him To?

Tiger Woods, teeing off during a practice round at Augusta National on Thursday.
Streeter Lecka Getty Images

They're teeing off this morning in Augusta, Ga. It's the Masters, the first of the "major" tournaments for men each year.

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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Thu April 5, 2012

In Greece, Retiree's Suicide Sparks Protests And Clashes With Police

Demonstrators clashed with riot police in Athens overnight.
Aris Messinis AFP/Getty Images

The human toll from the financial crisis in Greece now has a human face.

After 77-year-old retired pharmacist Dimitris Christoulas killed himself Wednesday outside the parliament building in Athens, a suicide note he left was reported to say that he felt he must take a "dignified end to my life" because austerity measures and "annihilated all traces for my survival," particularly his pension.

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Environment
1:35 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Shake It Off: Earth's Wobble May Have Ended Ice Age

A wobbling of the Earth on its axis about 20,000 years ago may have kicked off a beginning to the end of the last ice age. Glaciers in the Arctic and Greenland began to melt, which resulted in a warming of the Earth, a new study says. Above, Greenland's Russell Glacier, seen in 1990.
Veronique Durruty Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 7:25 am

The last big ice age ended about 11,000 years ago, and not a moment too soon — it made a lot more of the world livable, at least for humans.

But exactly what caused the big thaw isn't clear, and new research suggests that a wobble in the Earth kicked off a complicated process that changed the whole planet.

Ice tells the history of the Earth's climate: Air bubbles in ice reveal what the atmosphere was like and what the temperature was. And scientists can read this ice, even if it's been buried for thousands of years.

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Election 2012
1:32 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Longtime GOP Sen. Lugar Faces Stiff Tea Party Fight

Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (right) speaks with potential voters on March 31 in Evansville, Ind.
Tamara Keith NPR

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 7:03 am

Six-term Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana is facing his first primary challenge since winning the job in the 1970s. The race is attracting big money from outside groups and superPACs, and is seen as a test of the strength of the Tea Party movement versus the power of incumbency.

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Governing
1:31 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Boycotts Hitting Group Behind 'Stand Your Ground'

Selina Gray of Sanford, Fla., shows her sign at a rally protesting the death of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teen shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer. Authorities have cited the state's "stand your ground" law as a reason charges have not been filed in Martin's death.
Julie Fletcher AP

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 8:37 am

Two of America's best-known companies, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, have dropped their memberships in the American Legislative Exchange Council, a low-profile conservative organization behind the national proliferation of "stand your ground" gun laws.

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Religion
1:29 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Vatican, Israel Spar Over Disputed Last Supper Site

This room, known as the Cenacle on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, is venerated as the site of Jesus' Last Supper. Jews and Muslims also consider the building to be a holy site, and it has been a source of contention for years. Israel and the Vatican may be nearing an agreement.
Richard T. Nowitz Corbis

If there's one building in Jerusalem that represents the city's tangle of religions, this is it. The ground floor is a Jewish holy site said to house the tomb of the biblical King David. The second floor is the Cenacle, a Christian holy site, the room believed to be the site of Jesus' Last Supper. On the roof, there's an old minaret from when this place was marked a Muslim holy site.

One building, three religions, decades of property disputes. And the fight isn't over.

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Europe
1:28 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Two Decades After Siege, Sarajevo Still A City Divided

Twenty years ago this week, the Bosnian war began with the siege of Sarajevo, the capital. In this photo, smoke billows from a building in downtown Sarajevo, April 22, 1992, after a Serbian mortar attack.
H. Delich AP

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 8:30 am

April 6 marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the Bosnian war and the siege of Sarajevo. It was the longest siege of a capital city in modern history, and produced the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II.

Over three-and-a-half years of war, 100,000 people were killed, and half of Bosnia's population of 4.4 million — made up of a plurality of Muslims — fled their homes.

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Coroner Says White Powder, Spoon Found In Whitney Houston's Hotel Room

Pop diva Whitney Houston was found dead in her Beverly Hills hotel room on the eve of the 54th Grammy Awards.
Getty Images Getty Images

A final report from Los Angeles coroner is shedding some light on Whitney Houston's last hours.

According to the report, the pop super star complained of a sore throat and an assistant suggested she take a bath. By the time the assistant got back to the room after running an errand, she found Houston lying face down on in the tub "in approximately 13-inches of water," People Magazine reports.

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The Salt
4:21 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Milk Not Jails Makes Partners Out Of Farmers And Ex-Cons

A dairy farmer drives some of his Holstein cows out to pasture in the Madison County, N.Y. town of Lenox.
Jim Commentucci The Post-Standard /Landov

What's plentiful in upstate New York? Cows and prison inmates, to name a few things.

Reformists in the two communities don't make natural allies, but organizer Lauren Melodia is trying to do just that.

"I was living in this prison town, and at the same time, the dairy industry was in a lot of turmoil," Melodia tells The Salt. "We thought this [dairy] might be the perfect ally in trying to build a different economy in upstate New York, and shift some of the economic dependency away from the prison system."

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It's All Politics
4:08 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Santorum Adviser Says Calls To Exit GOP Race Are Premature

Rick Santorum at Bob's Diner in Carnegie, Pa., Wednesday.
Jae C. Hong AP

Much of the Republican political establishment, many GOP voters and political analysts were telling Rick Santorum that the time had come for him to end his quest for his party's presidential nomination even before Tuesday when he failed to win any of three primaries.

Those calls had only increased by Wednesday as Santorum fell further behind Romney in the delegate count.

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The Two-Way
4:04 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Play Ball: On Opening Day, A Look A The Quirky New Marlins Park

A mechanical sculpture by Red Grooms will animate everytime a home run is hit yb a Marlin.
Mike Ehrmann Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 9:22 pm

Growing up in Miami, there seemed to be two eternal debates: When Castro would finally kick the bucket and when the city would get its act together and strike a deal for Los Marlins to finally get their own stadium. The franchise spent its first 19 years sharing a stadium with the Miami Dolphins. For baseball, the stadium was cavernous and uninviting.

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