News From NPR

Pages

The Far Reach Of The West's Drought
3:37 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

The Search For Drinking Water In California Has Led To The Ocean

Extreme drought conditions in California have state officials looking for alternative sources of water, including desalinated ocean water.
Richard Vogel AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 9:08 am

California is getting some much needed rain this week, but more than two-thirds of the state is still in extreme drought conditions, and that has the state thinking about alternative ways of getting water.

On the coast in Carlsbad, Calif., construction workers are building what will be the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. When finished in early 2016, it is expected to provide up to 50 million gallons of fresh drinkable water every day.

Read more
Parallels
2:43 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

U.S. Has Little Leverage To Stop Political Violence In Venezuela

A demonstrator confronts riot policemen during an anti-government protest in Caracas, Venezuela's capital, on Feb. 22.
Raul Arboleda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 9:08 am

The escalating political crisis in Venezuela has set off alarms in Washington. But there's little the U.S. has been able to do, aside from criticize the jailing of opposition figures or the rising death toll as protesters continue to take to the streets, blaming the government for high inflation and crime.

Read more
The Record
2:42 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Paco De Lucia, Modern Superstar Of Flamenco, Dies

Paco de Lucia in 1982.
Paco Junquera Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 9:08 am

Paco de Lucia, considered by his fans and critics to be the world's greatest flamenco guitarist, died Wednesday in Mexico of a heart attack. The 66-year-old musician was a modern superstar in a Roma, or Gypsy, tradition that is hundreds of years old.

Read more
The Salt
2:36 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Maybe That BPA In Your Canned Food Isn't So Bad After All

Should you fear a chemical inside metal food containers like the ones that hold beans? Government scientists say no.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 9:39 am

Maybe BPA isn't so bad after all.

The plastic additive has been vilified by environmental advocacy groups. But the chemical had no effect on rats fed thousands of times the amount a typical person ingests, government scientists are reporting in the journal Toxicological Sciences.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:35 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Blood Test Provides More Accurate Prenatal Testing For Down Syndrome

The new test scans a mother's blood for bits of a fetus's DNA.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 8:24 am

A new blood test offers pregnant women a safe and much more accurate way to screen for Down syndrome.

A study that evaluated the test in 1,914 pregnancies found that the test, which checks DNA, produces far fewer false alarms than the current screening techniques.

Read more
All Tech Considered
1:47 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

With Tech Outsourcing, The Internet Can Be 'A Scary Place'

When it comes to Internet security, many experts agree outsourcing can create added risks, even if they disagree on the merits of outsourcing in the first place.
Igor Stevanovic iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 9:08 am

When you hear the word outsourcing, you might think of threats to American jobs. To cyber experts, there's another threat: to our data.

This week, thousands of the industry's leading minds from around the world are discussing the Internet and security at their annual powwow in San Francisco, the RSA Conference. These topics matter more and more to us non-experts, especially as people become the victims of cybercrime.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:32 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

You Got What In The Mail? Home Test Boosts Colon Cancer Screening

Instructions for the colon screening test were devised so they can be understood in any language.
Courtesy of Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 5:57 am

Everybody's supposed to get screened for colon cancer starting at age 50, but many of us haven't gotten around to it. That's especially true in the Latino community, where about half of people are up to date on screening, compared to 66 percent of non-Latino whites.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:29 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Scientists Question Safety Of Genetically Altering Human Eggs

Up till now, all babies have had two genetic parents. That could soon change.
Klöpper & Eisenschmidt GbR iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 9:08 am

A panel of government advisers has expressed serious concerns about a controversial proposal to allow scientists to try to make babies using eggs that have been genetically altered to include DNA from another woman.

Members of the Food and Drug Administration panel said they were worried that not enough research has been done to know whether the experiments would be safe.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:11 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Massachusetts Launches Health Care Shopping Experiment

Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts signed the law enacting the state's latest phase of health care on August 6, 2012.
Eric Haynes/Governor Deval Patrick's Office

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 9:08 am

To shop for health care, it would help to know what childbirth or a CT scan will cost ahead of time. But is it possible to actually list prices for medical procedures? And will patients armed with the information look for bargains when they seek care?

Massachusetts is trying to find out. Since Jan. 1, hospitals and doctors there have been required to tell patients how much things cost, if they ask. It's part of the state's health care cost control law. We set out to run a test.

Read more
Music Reviews
1:11 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

The Spotlight Shines Bright On A Consummate Sideman's Debut

Benmont Tench has a reputation in rock as the guy you want playing on your album. You Should Be So Lucky is his solo debut.
Sam Jones Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 9:08 am

If you ever form a band, you'll be very lucky to find a collaborator like Benmont Tench. You may know him as the consummate sideman, keyboardist and co-founder of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Or as a renowned session musician who has played with Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and dozens of other artists.

Read more
Education
1:11 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Fed Up With Zero Tolerance In Schools, Advocates Push For Change

De'angelo Rollins got into a fight with a fellow student at their middle school in Bryan, Texas. He was sent to the principal's office — and, later, adult criminal court.
Laura Isensee KUHF

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 12:34 pm

In 2010, De'angelo Rollins got into a fight with a bully at his new middle school in Bryan, Texas. His mother, Marjorie Rollins Holman, says her shy son reported the bullying, but the teacher didn't stop it.

Then it came to blows.

"The boy ended up hitting my son in the face first," Holman says. "My son hit him back, and they got in a little scuffle."

That scuffle landed her then-12-year-old son in the principal's office — and in adult criminal court after the school police officer wrote the sixth-grader a ticket.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:57 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Federal Judge Voids Texas Gay Marriage Ban

Couples Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman and Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss speak with reporters outside the U.S. Federal Courthouse in San Antonio earlier this month. The judge in their case ruled Texas' ban on gay marriage unconstitutional Wednesday.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 4:01 am

Saying that a Texas law barring same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and demeans the dignity of homosexuals, a federal judge struck down the law Wednesday. The ruling from U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia doesn't mean gay marriages can be held in Texas, however; he placed a stay on the decision, anticipating an appeal by the state.

Read more
All Tech Considered
12:57 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Supersonic Jet Throws Traditional Design 'Out The Window'

Slim screens embedded into the walls of the aircraft can be dimmed or changed to one of many stored images.
Spike Aerospace

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 4:28 pm

In our Weekly Innovation series, we pick an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use our form.

Requesting the window seat on a flight is about to take on a new meaning.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:56 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Is Freedom Just An Illusion? Maybe We Don't Want To Know

A computer designed by hobbyists to look like a brain on display at a Berlin fair in 2012. What happens when we go from crude models to complete working simulations of this all-important organ?
Britta Pedersen DPA/AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 1:25 pm

The possibility that machines will be able to simulate the human brain is all over the news these days. In the United States, President Obama's Brain Initiative promises $100 million to fund research into "how we think, learn, and remember." In Europe, the Blue Brain Project, headed by Henry Markram, will attempt to recreate the human brain in all of its minute detail so as to engender an artificial mind.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:17 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

'Planet Bonanza' Indeed: NASA Unveils 715 New Worlds

This artist rendering provided by NASA, shows Kepler-11, a sunlike star around which six planets orbit.
AP

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 1:47 pm

The job of NASA's Kepler mission is to peek at the far reaches of space in the hopes of finding potentially habitable planets. The space agency announced a stunning success, saying that Kepler had identified 715 new planets that orbit 305 stars. The discovery boosts the number of verified planets by around 70 percent.

"Four of the planets are about twice the size of Earth and orbit in their star's so-called habitable zone," NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports for our Newscast unit, "where temperatures might be suitable for liquid water."

Read more

Pages