News From NPR


9:05 am
Thu April 12, 2012

Scientists Link Rise In Quakes To Wastewater Wells

Originally published on Fri April 13, 2012 7:22 am

Scientists who watch for earthquakes have discovered a big increase in the number of small quakes in the middle of the country. It's an area that's usually pretty quiet geologically.

The scientists suspect the quakes are caused by wastewater wells. They plan to discuss their findings later this month at a seismology conference, but they've shared the basics with NPR.

Bill Ellsworth, a seismologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, says new technology over the past decade has given scientists a much better feel for when the Earth shakes.

Read more
police work
7:14 am
Thu April 12, 2012

Civilian drones prepare for takeoff in Northwest with sheriffs

Prioria business development executive David Wright demonstrates the Maveric UAS. Photo by Tom Banse

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 5:23 pm

TACOMA, Wash. - Get ready to spot a new kind of "bird" in the sky. Within the next month, the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to green light the use of small unmanned aircraft by emergency services. Some sheriffs' departments in the Northwest are showing interest in these aircraft.

What we're talking about here are scaled up hobby airplanes and helicopters or scaled down military drones. A booth rented by unmanned aircraft systems company Prioria Robotics drew a crowd this week at an emergency management conference in Tacoma.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:58 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Justice Dept. accuses Apple and others of fixing e-book prices

Reading a book on an iPad.
Manu Fernandez AP

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 7:55 am

Apple Inc. and other publishers have conspired to limit competition and fix the prices of e-books, the U.S. Justice Department alleges in a suit filed today.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

Read more
NPR diversions
1:53 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Wind at sea is strangely Van Goghish, says NASA


Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 8:55 am

Yesterday, we took a look at invisible winds suddenly made visible, streaming across the Earth. This being the blustery season, I've got more wind today, this time streaming across the sea, but looking uncannily like a van Gogh sky.

Read more
Rick Santorum
11:50 am
Tue April 10, 2012

In Defeat, Santorum Becomes Conservative Champion

Rick Santorum announces he is suspending his campaign for president during a press conference in Gettysburg, Pa., on Tuesday, surrounded by family members.
Jeff Swensen Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 7:54 am

Despite falling short in the quest for the Republican presidential nomination, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has established himself as one of the dominant conservative voices in America, particularly when it comes to social issues such as abortion and birth control.

Santorum announced Tuesday that he is suspending his quest for the presidency.

Santorum ultimately chose to suspend his campaign ahead of the April 24 primary in Pennsylvania. A loss on his political home turf would have done serious damage to his future electoral prospects.

Read more
Virus controversy
10:33 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Bird Flu Studies Mired In Export Control Law Limbo

An electron microscope view of the bird flu virus.
PR Newswire

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 4:50 am

Scientists who created mutant forms of bird flu want to see their research published, and an influential advisory committee recently gave them the green light after a debate that lasted for months.

But one of the manuscripts is now being blocked from publication because of Dutch legal controls on the export of technology that could potentially be used for weapons.

It's just the latest example of how complicated international export control laws have affected the debate over what to do about two studies on bird flu.

Read more
9:41 am
Tue April 10, 2012

FDA Shuts Down Del Bueno Cheese Producer

Del Bueno’s queso fresco was recalled in 2010. Photo from

Originally published on Mon April 9, 2012 4:42 pm

The Food and Drug Administration has shut down a family-owned Mexican style cheese producer in Washington. FDA inspectors say Del Bueno isn’t doing enough to prevent Listeria contamination in its products, even after several recalls.

Del Bueno distributes a variety of cheeses to Hispanic food stores across Eastern Washington, the Seattle area, and parts of Oregon.

Jesus Rodriguez and his parents operate Del Bueno out of Grandview, Wash. He says it will cost thousands of dollars to comply with the FDA’s demands.

Read more
9:40 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Anti-Coal Protesters Take Message To Top Oregon Officials

Andy Harris with the group Physicians for Social Responsibility speaks at a rally against coal export terminals outside a meeting of the Oregon State Land Board in Salem. Photo by Chris Lehman.

Originally published on Mon April 9, 2012 2:12 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Environmental groups are mobilizing against proposals to export coal through Northwest terminals. Protesters rallied outside a land use meeting in Salem Monday. They're asking Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber to block permits for several coal terminals.

There are about a half-dozen proposals to bring coal mined in Wyoming and elsewhere to Northwest ports to be shipped to Asia. Some of the coal would be brought through the Columbia River gorge by train or barge.

Read more
Abortion controversy
9:18 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Idaho woman arrested for abortion is uneasy case for both sides

Jennie McCormack tries to calm her three-year-old son, the youngest of her three kids. Photo by Jessica Robinson

Originally published on Mon April 9, 2012 10:46 am

POCATELLO, Idaho - An Idaho woman arrested for inducing her own abortion is taking her case to federal court. Jennie Linn McCormack was charged last year under an obscure Idaho law for ending her pregnancy with RU-486. She joins an increasing number of women who get the so-called abortion pill off the internet.

McCormack’s attorney says he’s willing to take the challenge all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, neither pro-choice nor pro-life groups are paying attention to the case.

Read more
NPR tech news
3:06 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Like The Instagram-Facebook Deal? Depends On Your Filter

A photo illustration shows the photo-sharing app Instagram's fan page on Facebook's website. Facebook is acquiring Instagram for some $1 billion.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 9, 2012 3:00 pm

Facebook's decision to acquire Instagram for $1 billion set off strong reactions among Instagram users Monday, when the deal was announced. And if any users of Instagram's photo-sharing service were in love with the deal, they seemed to be keeping pretty quiet about it.

Read more
Japanese Tsunami
12:46 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Coast Guard watching sheen after sinking 'ghost ship'

Ryou-un Maru, the derelict fishing vessel sank at 6:15 pm in 6,000 feet of water. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 1:35 pm

The Coast Guard is watching for fuel and debris from a derelict Japanese fishing vessel it sank off the coast of Southeast Alaska on Thursday.

Kip Wadlow is with the agency’s public affairs office. He says all that was spotted was a small sheen. But he expected that to dissipate quickly.

Wadlow says the Ryou-un Maru went down at 6:15 p.m. local time in about 6,000 feet of water.

"When the ship started to sink, the starboard quarter, or the right-back side, went in the water first. And then the ship just slowly rolled over and sank."

Read more
12:42 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Wash. Forensic Analyst Aids Search For Amelia Earhart

Does this photo show the location where Amelia Earhart's plane crashed in 1937? The red box surrounds what Jeff Glickman believes could be a landing gear. Photo via The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 4:04 pm

A forensic imaging specialist from Woodinville, Washington is lending his analytic skills to the latest search for the pioneer aviator Amelia Earhart. This analyst discovered a possible upturned landing gear in a historic photo of a tropical atoll. A $2 million expedition to that South Pacific location takes place this summer.

Read more
Driving and texting
12:39 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

No more texting, but what about mapping while driving?

Idaho has joined Oregon and Washington in outlawing texting while driving. Photo by Kevin Mooney

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 4:45 pm

Beginning this summer, texting will be illegal for drivers across all three Northwest states. Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed a bill Thursday that outlaws texting while driving on Idaho roads. But in the age of the smartphone, text messages aren’t the only distraction on the tiny screen.

If you can’t text , then all three states say it’s pretty clear that means you can’t send email in traffic either, , or, for that matter, surf the web. And there are already laws on the books that ban watching TV while driving, so that means YouTube is out.

Read more
3:40 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Faith In Seattle Police 'Shaken' By DOJ Investigation

Protesters demonstrate at City Hall in Seattle on Feb. 16, 2011, after the announcement that police officer Ian Birk would not face charges for the fatal shooting of John T. Williams.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 3:23 pm

Police departments have come under increased scrutiny from the Obama administration as the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division steps up investigations of corruption, bias and excessive force.

Some of the targeted law enforcement agencies have had ethical clouds hanging over them for years — the New Orleans Police Department being the prime example — but others, like the Seattle Police Department, aren't exactly usual suspects.

Read more
Olympic Sports
8:05 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Olympic track and field trials in Eugene expected to sell out

Hayward Field in Eugene is the site of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. Photo by Wolfram Burner/ Flickr

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 3:52 pm

PORTLAND – Organizers of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials say they’re on track for a sellout for the eight-day event in Eugene. Single-day event tickets go on sale Friday morning.

University of Oregon associate athletic director Vin Lananna predicts they’ll disappear fast.

“Our projection was always to sellout. That’s kind of important," Lananna says. "Our budget is built around a sellout. It is important for a whole bunch of reasons that we sell out.”

Read more