NPR News

Pages

The Two-Way
1:31 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Repairs Done, Astronauts Wrap Up Spacewalk

Astronaut Mike Hopkins during Saturday's spacewalk. He's going out again Tuesday.
NASA.gov

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 11:12 am

Spacewalking astronauts have successfully replaced a failed coolant pump on the International Space Station.

NPR's Joe Palca reports that American spacewalkers Michael Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio had to bolt the massive pump in place (on the ground, it weighs 780 pounds), connect four ammonia lines and plug in five electrical cables. The ammonia is a refrigerant used in the station's two-part cooling system, which is necessary to dissipate heat from the onboard electrical equipment.

Read more
NPR Story
12:16 am
Tue December 24, 2013

What Does The Future Hold For Climate Change?

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 2:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And in these last days of 2013 we've been having conversations about the future. Rather than grand predictions, we've been seeking a realistic assessment of what lies ahead. So far we've explored cybersecurity, we've looked at the changing electorate. When it comes to climate change, the topic for today, Andrew Steer of the World Resources Institute told my colleague Steve Inskeep that the trends don't look very good.

Read more
NPR Story
12:16 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Administration Extends Health Insurance Deadline Again

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 2:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene with Steve Inskeep. There's a lot of last-minute shopping going on today. And that goes for health insurance, too. Yesterday was supposed to be the deadline to sign up on the government's new insurance website for coverage that begins January first.

Read more
NPR Story
12:16 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Lead Designer Of World's Most Popular Firearm Dies

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 2:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

1947 was the year the most notorious weapon in history was born. That is the "Avtomat Kalashnikov" or AK-47. Today millions of them, maybe 100 million, are in use. The man who helped bring the weapon to the world - Mikhail Kalashnikov - has now died, at age 94. Joining me now is C. J. Chivers. He's a reporter for the New York Times and author of "The Gun," a book about the A-K-47. Chris, welcome back to the program. C. J., welcome back to the program.

C.J. CHIVERS: Thanks very much for having me.

Read more
Religion
10:42 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Pastor Leads A New Brand Of Church For 'Sinners And Saints'

Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, shown here officiating civil union ceremonies in Denver in May, wrote a book on faith that recently landed on the New York Times best-seller list.
Anna Hanel Colorado Public Radio

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 2:24 am

It's Sunday evening, and services are just getting underway at the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver. Nearly 200 worshipers sit in circles of plastic chairs around a simple altar table. Together they follow traditional Christian rites. They sit. They stand. They sing.

Read more
Politics
10:29 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Congress Is On Pace To Be The Least Productive Ever

The Capitol in Washington, D.C., seen on a cloudy day two weeks into the partial government shutdown.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 2:24 am

We're only at halftime for the 113th Congress, but if current trends hold, it's well on track to being the least productive lawmaking effort in the nation's history.

During this Congress' first yearlong session, just 58 bills became law — and many that did were about naming post offices or transferring federal lands. In fact, the most memorable act of Congress this year may well have been its failure to act in time to avoid a government shutdown.

Read more
Humans
9:57 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Tired Of Doom And Gloom? Here's The Best Good News Of 2013

A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner concludes its first flight in September. Overall, plane-related fatalities have decreased dramatically this year.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 2:24 am

Being a news consumer means you're constantly on the receiving end of bad news. War, unemployment, crime, political dysfunction — it can be enough to make you think we humans aren't doing anything right. But good news: We are. As the year draws to an end, here's a look at a few areas of real progress in the U.S. and around the world.

Air Safety

Let's start with flying. It's not a lot of fun: baggage fees, pat-downs, cramped seating, disappointing snacks.

Read more
All Tech Considered
9:56 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Check Out These Gorgeous, Futuristic Tech Company Headquarters

Architect's rendering of Apple's new facility
Courtesy of City of Cupertino

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 2:24 am

This past year, many of the best known technology firms were actively designing and building new corporate offices. It's the first time Silicon Valley giants like Apple, Google and Facebook have done so from the ground up. The same is true for Amazon, which is building in Seattle.

All of these projects are still in their early stages, but perhaps the most talked about and architecturally ambitious project that broke ground this year is the Apple headquarters building in Cupertino, Calif. It was a project near and dear to the late Steve Jobs.

Read more
National Security
9:55 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Air Force's Beloved 'Warthog' Targeted For Retirement

The U.S. Air Force could retire the A-10 "Warthog," despite support for the plane from infantrymen and pilots. These types of clashes occur whenever the military tries to mothball a weapon.
Staff Sgt. Melanie Norman U.S. Air Force

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 2:04 pm

Jeff Duford is standing next to an A-10, one of the most beloved planes of all time. It's painted green, a clue that it was designed for a threat that has disappeared — it was built at the height of the Cold War.

"The reason why it's painted this way is because at that time, this airframe was expected to stop Soviet tanks from rolling through Germany," says Duford, curator of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. "So it's painted to kind of match the terrain that one would find in Central Europe."

Read more
Parallels
1:54 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

With Its Economy Hobbled, Greece's Well-Educated Drain Away

Laura and Thanos Ntoumanis recently moved from Greece to Germany, where Thanos, a psychiatrist, got a job.
Joanna Kakissis NPR

Thanos Ntoumanis and his wife, Laura, are crashing at his parents' apartment in Greece's northern city of Thessaloniki.

The couple have packed their home and are moving to Germany. Thanos, a 38-year-old psychiatrist, is joining some 4,000 Greek doctors who have left the austerity-hit country for jobs abroad in the past three years. It's the largest brain drain in three decades.

"I won't say that I'm never coming back," he says. "I do need some distance, though. I don't want to get to that tipping point. I don't want to get to that point where I hate it here."

Read more
The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Al-Qaida Group Admits 'Mistake And Guilt' For Botched Raid

A photo provided by Yemen's Defense Ministry shows damaged vehicles after an al-Qaida affiliate attacked the ministry's complex in Sanaa on Dec. 5.
AP

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 2:14 pm

An al-Qaida affiliate has taken the rare step of apologizing to the families of victims killed in a botched attack in Yemen earlier this month.

The attack on the Defense Ministry in the capital, Sanaa, was meant to hit an area of the complex where al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) says U.S. drones are being controlled. But a hospital on the grounds was also hit in the Dec. 5 attack, and many of the 56 victims were doctors, nurses and patients.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:51 am
Mon December 23, 2013

On Anniversary Of Apollo 8, How The 'Earthrise' Photo Was Made

The iconic "Earthrise" photo taken by astronaut Bill Anders through a window on the Apollo 8 command module on Dec. 24, 1968.
Bill Anders NASA

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 2:24 am

The first humans to catch a glimpse of the Earth rising over the moon nearly missed seeing it at all, let alone capturing the snapshot that became one of the most iconic photos of the 20th century.

NASA has released an animation commemorating the 45th anniversary of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to orbit the moon. The famous "Earthrise" photo was taken on Christmas Eve 1968.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:47 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Obama Gives Federal Workers A 1 Percent Raise

People exit a Metro subway station, by escalator, along Pennsylvania Ave., NW, in Washington.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 12:46 pm

President Obama signed an executive order on Monday, giving federal workers and military personnel a 1 percent raise.

As Government Executive reports, the pay raise is the first across-the-board increase the federal workforce has gotten since 2010. The publication reports:

Read more
Around the Nation
11:44 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Judge Denies Stay Of Utah Same-Sex Marriages, Unions Continue

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 12:56 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

Marriages for gay couples will continue in Utah for the time being. A federal judge has denied a request to stay his own decision, a ruling he handed down last week. The judge ruled on Friday that Utah's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. From member station KUER in Salt Lake City, Terry Gildea reports.

TERRY GILDEA, BYLINE: At the Salt Lake County Clerk's office on Monday morning, Nathan Tanner and Jon Ayre exchanged vows.

Read more
The Salt
11:40 am
Mon December 23, 2013

How To Build An Indestructible Gingerbread House

With our design, gingerbread families everywhere can enjoy the holidays without having to worry about their roofs caving in.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 4:56 am

Here's the thing about gingerbread houses. You labor over them for hours. You painstakingly decorate them with gumdrops and candy canes.

And then, someone shakes the table it's sitting on, and boom! It all comes crumbling down, leaving a huge, house-shaped hole in your heart.

Never again, we said.

This year, we were determined to build a stronger gingerbread house. One that wouldn't crumble, no matter what. One that could withstand an earthquake.

Read more
Digital Life
11:18 am
Mon December 23, 2013

A YouTube Powerhouse Looks Beyond Its Gamer Base

One of Machinima's signature offerings is a series called Christopher Walkenthrough, in which creator Jason Stephens, in character as actor Christopher Walken, navigates his way through popular video games. You kind of have to see it to understand.
Machinima.com

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:53 pm

One of the most popular channels on YouTube is aimed toward people who play video games. It's got tons of content — thousands of game reviews, how-to videos of people gaming away enthusiastically, even little homemade movies that people have made using video-game software.

That last format is a user-generated phenomenon called machinima — "little m" machinima. "Big M" Machinima is a company, and it wants to be a new media empire. It's the entity behind that YouTube channel.

Read more
Shots - Health News
11:16 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Alabama Blue Cross Shares Obamacare Tax Woes With Customers

Kajdi Szabolcs iStockphoto

Insurance companies aren't crazy about their share of the health law's taxes, but mostly they've complained to politicians and regulators.

At least one health plan wants to bring consumers into the loop.

"Affordable Care Act Fees and Taxes" is a separate line on bills Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama is sending to individual customers.

Read more
Found Recipes
11:11 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Don't Knock The Nog Until You've Tried This One

Courtesy of Tara Striano

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:51 pm

We ran an unofficial office poll at NPR last week, via email: "Where do you weigh in on eggnog? Love it? Hate it?"

Those who hate it really hate it. They used words like "detest," "loathe" and "ick." They also used font sizes well above 14 point and broke out the red type to emphasize their distaste.

But the haters were in the minority. By about 2 to 1, NPR is an eggnog drinkin' kind of place, but — and this was emphasized by many — only if it's eggnog done right. That means: not too sweet, not too thick and just the perfect amount of booze.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:36 am
Mon December 23, 2013

WATCH: A 'Mistletoe Drone' Descends On San Francisco

A couple kisses under a drone mistletoe.
YouTube

Most would agree: We don't usually think of drones as charming.

But two artists — George Zisiadis and Mustafa Khan — have produced a piece of performance art that mixes the unmanned aerial vehicle with a long-loved holiday tradition.

The artists propped a mistletoe on a Parrot AR Drone 2.0 and flew it over San Francisco's Union Square.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:23 am
Mon December 23, 2013

White House Grants Extra Day For Obamacare Sign-Up

This image shows part of the HealthCare.gov website in Washington on Friday noting a Dec. 23 enrollment deadline for coverage starting Jan. 1.
Jon Elswick AP

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 10:03 am

A midnight deadline to sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act that starts Jan. 1 has been extended by a day in what the White House describes as an effort to accommodate people in different time zones.

The deadline that had been midnight on Dec. 23 has been pushed to Christmas Eve at midnight.

The Washington Post reports:

Read more
The Two-Way
9:02 am
Mon December 23, 2013

VIDEO: Carlos Santana Reunites With Homeless Ex-bandmate

Carlos Santana, left, and Marcus Malone when they reunited in Oakland. Malone was part of Santana's band in the late '60s, then spent the past four decades or so living on the streets or in prison.
YouTube

Our good-news story of the day comes from the Bay Area, where a KRON-TV report earlier this month has led to a homeless man's reunion with a famous former friend — guitarist Carlos Santana.

Read more
Krulwich Wonders...
8:51 am
Mon December 23, 2013

What Chickadees Have That I Want. Badly

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 8:57 am

First I look in my right coat pocket. Nothing. Then my left. Nothing. Then my pants, right side — no. Then my pants, left side — yes! This is me at my front door, looking for my keys. Every day.

Read more
All Tech Considered
8:43 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Quantified Men: Tinder, Lulu And The Fallacy Of Hot Dating Apps

With the Tinder dating app, you swipe right if you want to meet someone, and swipe left if you don't.
Courtesy of Tinder

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 5:18 pm

Let's stipulate, for the purposes of this post, that you are looking for love. Thanks to our ever-connected devices, you can skip the bars or gyms or extracurricular activities to find a hookup. And even if you do meet someone the old-fashioned, analog way, romance and social media are so entwined that you can't escape getting ranked somewhere on an app.

This is the modern reality made possible by the two hot dating apps of 2013: Tinder and Lulu.

Read more
Parallels
8:40 am
Mon December 23, 2013

How Tiny Qatar 'Punches Above Its Weight'

Soldiers on camels take part in a military parade on Qatar's National Day in the capital Doha last Wednesday. The city's rapidly growing skyline is in the background. Despite its small size, Qatar has used its wealth to play an outsized role in regional affairs.
Chen Shaojin/Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 4:31 am

Qatar is a tiny place that insists on being heard.

The Arab nation just off the coast of Saudi Arabia has made itself a major diplomatic player, a generous donor of foreign aid, and a leader in modernizing education in the region. The ultra-modern capital Doha is full of skyscrapers, museums and history, much of it dating as far back as ... the 1990s.

Qatar is also a commercial capital that aims to become a cultural, sports and tourist center for the Gulf region despite having just 260,000 citizens.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:21 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Customers Sue Target Over Credit Card Breach

A couple of shoppers leave a Target store on a rainy afternoon in Alhambra, California.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

At least 11 customers have filed lawsuits against Target over a security breach that exposed the credit card information of 40 million customers.

The BBC reports:

"The lawsuits, each seeking class-action status, have been filed in US courts in the past several days.

Read more
All Tech Considered
7:49 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Tech Team Podcast Episode 5: Inequality In The Bay Area

This San Francisco man doesn't have a home, but he does have a laptop.
Laura Sydell NPR

It's time for our biweekly podcast, in which your NPR tech reporting team mashes together the themed reporting we do on a certain subject and produce one delightful, downloadable podcast.

This episode's theme is the changing economy and culture of the San Francisco Bay Area, thanks in large part to the latest tech boom there. We've explored it from several angles — housing, transportation and individual lives, and the stories are aggregated here, if you want to read them.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:13 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Reports: Mikhail Kalashnikov, Inventor Of AK-47, Dies

Mikhail Kalashnikov, with his AK-47, in 2002.
Jens Meyer ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mikhail Kalashnikov, whose name will forever be connected to one of the world's most popular and deadly weapons, has died, according to news reports from Russia.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:31 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Two Takeaways From An Offensive Tweet Heard 'Round The World

Public relations professional Justine Sacco is now an unemployed public relations professional after tweeting Friday that she was:

"Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"

Read more
The Two-Way
6:05 am
Mon December 23, 2013

UPDATED: Gay Marriages Will Continue In Utah, Federal Judge Rules

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:19 pm

Update at 1:22 p.m. ET. Gay Marriages Will Continue:

A federal judge on Monday refused to set aside a ruling that invalidated Utah's ban on gay marriage.

That means same-sex couples will be able to continue to receive marriage licenses across the state, even though the ruling will be appealed before a higher court.

Utah had asked U.S. District Court judge Robert Shelby for an emergency stay of the ruling he issued on Friday. The state argued that gay marriages should be put on hold, while the state appealed.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:42 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Peyton Or Tom? Which QB Do You Want When Game's On The Line?

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, left, and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in 2012.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 8:07 am

There's nothing like a "who's the best quarterback" debate to get NFL fans going.

So, on this day after Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos broke the single-season record for touchdown passes, we're wondering what Two-Way football fans think about one of the ongoing topics of conversation in recent years:

Who's the quarterback you'd like to see in charge when your team's behind in a playoff game with time running out?

Read more

Pages