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NPR science
10:57 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Scientists unveil 'Google Maps' for human genome

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 2:56 pm

Scientists unveiled the results of a massive international project Wednesday that they say debunks the notion that most of our genetic code is made up of so-called junk DNA.

The ENCODE project, which involved hundreds of researchers in dozens of labs, also produced what some scientists are saying is like Google Maps for the human genome.

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2012 elections
9:52 am
Wed September 5, 2012

One cute thing from the Dems convention: Julian Castro's 3-year-old's hair-flip

Carina Castro during the Democratic National Convention.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 10:12 am

There was one undeniably sweet moment, last night: As San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro got to the part of his speech where he mentioned his wife and his 3-year-old daughter, the camera panned over to Carina.

It seemed like she noticed herself on the big screens at the arena, because suddenly she stuck out our her tongue and flipped her hair.

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The Two-Way
7:48 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Nearly 18 Million U.S. Households Had Trouble Getting Food Last Year

In Oswego, N.Y., this summer, a child waited at a food distribution site.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 6:39 am

An estimated 14.9 percent of U.S. households — 17.9 million in total — "had difficulty" at some point last year getting food because they just didn't have enough money or other resources, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported this morning.

In 2010, 14.5 percent of households were similarly "food insecure" at some point, USDA says.

Even worse:

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NPR science
7:34 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Wow! NASA video shows 'mind-bogglingly gorgeous' solar eruption

That's quite an eruption.
nasa.gov

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 5:23 am

Before we run through the news of the day, let's pause for something spectactular: a new video from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. It shows a "massive filament" eruption on the sun that occurred last Friday. As Britain's The Register says, it is "mind-bogglingly gorgeous."

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Election 2012
7:56 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Transcript: Michelle Obama's Convention Speech

First lady Michelle Obama speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 1:33 pm

Transcript of first lady Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention, as prepared for delivery:

Thank you so much, Elaine...we are so grateful for your family's service and sacrifice...and we will always have your back.

Over the past few years as First Lady, I have had the extraordinary privilege of traveling all across this country.

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It's All Politics
7:17 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Mormon Democrats Battling Romney — And What Would Be Church History

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., attends a practice session at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. On Tuesday, Reid also attended a gathering with other Mormon Democrats.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 10:53 am

They billed the gathering in a Charlotte, N.C., Holiday Inn conference room Tuesday as the first national meeting of Mormon Democrats.

Don't laugh. Crystal Young-Otterstrom says she figures there are 1 million of them out there, and she's determined to find them.

"It's like a missionary effort," Young-Otterstrom said in a room packed with the curious, the media and a cadre of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints making the argument that the Democratic Party best represents their personal and religious values.

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The Two-Way
7:17 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Pentagon Unhappy With 'No Easy Day,' As Book On Bin Laden Raid Tops Charts

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 3:37 am

Defense Department officials say that No Easy Day, former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette's book about the secret mission to kill Osama bin Laden, includes classified information that may harm U.S. military operations. The book went on sale yesterday despite the Pentagon's warnings of possible legal action last week.

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Environment
7:16 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Energy Secretary Investigates Hanford's Waste Treatment Plant

Energy Secretary Steven Chu is personally investigating concerns over Hanford's waste treatment plant. Photo courtesy Dept. of Energy

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 3:49 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu is at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation this week. Chu’s taking time out of his schedule to personally investigate concerns raised about Hanford’s massive waste treatment plant in southeast Washington.

Secretary Chu has a Ph.D. in physics. And he’s leading a top-flight team of eight nuclear and engineering experts in an on-site investigation into Hanford’s $12 billion waste treatment plant.

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Tsunami debris
7:12 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Japan offers to contribute to tsunami debris cleanup

The Japanese government said it will help pay to clean up debris from the tsunami, such as this refrigerator found on Long Beach on July 5. Photo courtesy of Shelly Pollock

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 4:10 pm

For the first time, the Japanese government says it will help to cover some of the cost of cleaning up tsunami debris on American and Canadian shores. Confirmed debris swept to sea by last year's Japanese tsunami began to wash up here this spring.

International law imposes no formal obligation on Japan to help. But now the spin from Tokyo is that the Japanese government wants to make a gesture of appreciation for the overseas support it has received since last year.

Here's chief cabinet secretary Osamu Fujimura speaking through a translator.

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2012 elections
7:09 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Can Partisanship Trump Education Level On Hot Button Issues?

Your understanding of a hot-button issue could depend on which of these men you support. (Campaign photos)

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 4:23 pm

As Democrats gather in North Carolina for their convention, there’s new research from the Northwest on the power of partisan rhetoric. Turns out, your core political beliefs can trump your education level when it comes to understanding the basic facts of a high contentious issue.

The Affordable Care Act. ObamaCare. Whatever you call it, it’s provided countless hours of fodder to the cable television networks.

From Glen Beck on Fox News:

“You don’t play ball with them now. If you don’t get into their government health care there will be jail time.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

State Must Grant Murder Convict A Sex Change Operation, Judge Rules

Michelle Kosilek, formerly known as Robert, in 1993.
Lisa Bul AP

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 12:15 pm

A federal judge in Boston today "ordered state prison officials to provide a taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery to a transgender inmate serving life in prison" for murder, The Associated Press writes.

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The Picture Show
9:38 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Is That Bill Gates In A Bathtub?

Paul Cooper isn't Bill Gates
Chris Buck

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 7:57 am

There's a documentary in the works right now — about a guy named Louis Ortiz whose livelihood depends on the success of President Obama in this upcoming election. Ortiz doesn't work on the Hill, or in politics at all, really. One day, Ortiz realized he looked just like Obama, and he has been honing his skills as an impersonator ever since.

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NPR health
7:08 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Why Organic Food May Not Be Healthier For You

A shopper surveys the produce at Pacifica Farmers Market in Pacifica, Calif., in 2011.
AP

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 1:13 pm

Yes, organics is a $29 billion industry and still growing. Something is pulling us toward those organic veggies that are grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

But if you're thinking that organic produce will help you stay healthier, a new finding may come as a surprise. A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds scant evidence of health benefits from organic foods.

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NPR tech news
7:15 pm
Mon September 3, 2012

When a Kickstarter campaign fails, does anyone get their money back?

In seeking financial backers for her Ouya game console, Julie Uhrman was looking for about $1 million. The business received far more than that amount.
Kickstarter

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 12:48 pm

Crowd funding began as a way to support the arts on the Internet. Artists could go online to pitch a new album, for example, in the hope that thousands would give small amounts. But now it's expanded to entrepreneurs, and the rules aren't quite as clear.

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NPR education
9:35 am
Mon September 3, 2012

Understanding history with 'Guns, Germs, And Steel'

A growing number of colleges are assigning all incoming freshmen a common book to read so they can discuss it when they arrive on campus.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 3, 2012 9:03 am

Freshmen "common reads" are becoming increasingly popular at American colleges and universities. Incoming freshmen are assigned the same book over the summer and are asked to come prepared to discuss the book in their first week on campus.

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