NPR News

Pages

Economy
1:45 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

So Far, So Good For The Economy. But What About The Second Half?

A worker welds parts in fans for industrial ventilation systems at the Robinson Fans Inc. plant in Harmony, Pa., in February. Hourly wages in the U.S. remained unchanged last month.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 2:36 pm

Maybe it seems like just yesterday that you were storing away your holiday decorations.

Maybe it actually was yesterday because life gets busy and tasks get put off, and before you know it, half the year is over and you're scrambling to catch up.

So in case you have been too busy to pay close attention, here's what we now know about the just-ended half of this year's economy:

Read more
Parallels
1:43 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

In Data Breach, Reluctance To Point The Finger At China

Adm. Michael Rogers, NSA director and head of the U.S. Cyber Command, has avoided singling out China for blame in the OPM hack, which may affect as many as 18 million federal workers.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 3:35 pm

Adm. Michael Rogers is among the American officials most likely to know which country perpetrated the Office of Personnel Management's massive data breach, possibly the biggest hack ever of the U.S. government. He's not only director of the National Security Agency, but also heads the U.S. Cyber Command.

Read more
Code Switch
1:42 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Coping While Black: A Season Of Traumatic News Takes A Psychological Toll

Raymond Smith of Charleston, S.C., kneels in prayer in front of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston before a worship service on June 21.
Stephen B. Morton AP

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 5:12 pm

Can racism cause post-traumatic stress? That's one big question psychologists are trying to answer, particularly in the aftermath of the shooting at the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., and the recent incidents involving police where race was a factor.

What's clear is that many black Americans experience what psychologists call "race-based trauma," says Monnica Williams, director of the Center for Mental Health Disparities at the University of Louisville.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:23 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

ISIS Reportedly Destroys Ancient Statue In Captured City Of Palmyra

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 1:24 pm

The self-declared Islamic State has released photos purportedly of its fighters destroying an ancient artifact in the Syrian city of Palmyra weeks after the Islamist extremists captured the city.

A "priceless" 2,000-year-old statue of a lion dating from the city's Roman heritage is seen being smashed in what Syrian antiquities director Maamoun Abdelkarim tells Agence-France Press is "the most serious crime [ISIS has] committed against Palmyra's heritage."

Read more
Science
1:13 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Checking DNA Against Elephants Hints At How Mammoths Got Woolly

Mammoths had a distinctive version of a gene known to play a role in sensing outside temperature, moderating the biology of fat and regulating hair growth. That bit of DNA likely helped mammoths thrive in cold weather, scientists say.
Courtesy of Giant Screen Films, 2012 D3D Ice Age, LLC/Penn State University

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 4:55 am

Scientists say they've found a bit of DNA in woolly mammoths that could help explain how these huge beasts were so well-adapted to live in the cold of the last ice age.

Woolly mammoths had long shaggy fur, small tails and ears to minimize frostbite, and a lot of fat to help stay warm as they roamed the tundra more than 12,000 years ago.

Read more
The Salt
12:16 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Do Organic Farmers Need Special Seeds And Money To Breed Them?

"Who Gets Kissed" corn is a variety bred in Wisconsin specifically for organic farmers. It's named for an old game. At corn husking time, a lucky person who found a rare ear of corn with red kernels had the right to kiss anyone that he or she chose.
Courtesy of Adrienne Shelton

Rearranging veggie genes is big business, and we're not even talking about biotechnology. Private companies and university researchers spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year breeding better genetic varieties of food crops.

But organic farmers say those programs have a big blind spot when it comes to figuring out which new varieties are truly better. Few companies or researchers test those varieties under organic conditions.

Read more
Shots - Health News
12:10 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Don't Get Your Kids' Genes Sequenced Just To Keep Up

You can now order genetic tests off the Internet and get your child's genome sequenced for less than the cost of a new car. The question is, should you?

Almost certainly not, according to the American Society for Human Genetics, which released a position paper Thursday intended to give parents some help navigating the dizzying world of genetic tests.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:58 am
Thu July 2, 2015

Former Sen. Jim Webb Announces Run For Democratic Nomination

Former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., speaks at the National Sheriffs' Association presidential forum in Baltimore on Tuesday. Webb announced Thursday that he is running for president.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 1:21 pm

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb has become the fifth Democrat to announce he is seeking the party's nomination for president.

"[Our] country needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us," Webb said in a statement. "We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process."

Webb, 69, joins former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee in the 2016 contest.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:33 am
Thu July 2, 2015

Afghan Court Commutes Death Sentences In Mob Killing Of Woman

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 2:19 pm

An appeals court in Afghanistan has overturned the death sentences handed to four men who were part of a mob that attacked and killed a 28-year-old woman falsely accused of burning the Quran.

Read more
Goats and Soda
11:33 am
Thu July 2, 2015

How Salt + Car Battery = Clean Water

A woman in Yatta, Kenya, explains how to make clean water using a car battery and just the right mixture of salt and water.
Jane Mauser Courtesy of MSR

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 4:27 pm

It's easy to take clean, safe water for granted. It just flows out of taps continuously — even in drought-ridden California.

But for hundreds of millions of people around the world, clean water is a luxury. In many places, even patients in hospitals and kids at school don't have water that's safe to drink.

Now, an unlikely partnership of an outdoor equipment manufacturer and a global health NGO is trying to change that.

Read more

Pages