Some time ago, a man wearing jeans, cowboy boots and a hoodie drove a dirty Ford Explorer into a carwash in Fort Worth, Texas. As soon as the car came back clean, he got it filthy again, and drove to the next carwash. He did this with every single full-service carwash in town.
The man wasn't suffering from a strange mental disorder; Patrick Kinkade was a criminologist conducting an experiment.
Energy Of The Future? California company Sierra Energy is testing out a reactor that turns garbage — like these wood chips, metal fragments and plastics — into synthetic gas that can then be turned into a low-carbon diesel fuel.
Credit Christopher Joyce / NPR
Sierra Energy is testing a reactor that makes fuel in a warehouse at an old Air Force base near Sacramento, Calif.
It was fun to call American sports commissioners czars, but once players started to have unions, a commissioner really became more like a majority leader in a legislature, trying to keep his party — the owners — together in their financial battles against the minority opposition, the athletes.
Elected officials responsible for a handful of Salt Lake County departments presented their budget needs to the county council this morning. Most of those executives, including the Salt Lake County Sheriff, District Attorney and Auditor say they’ll be hard-pressed to perform their required duties without an increase in tax revenue.
In less than a month, two instrumental figures at two of the world's biggest tech companies have left their positions. Now industry watchers wonder whether the departures at Microsoft and Apple will mean dramatic changes of direction for the tech giants.
California begins a new plan to ration greenhouse gas emissions from large companies on Wednesday. Big companies must limit the greenhouse gases they emit and get permits for those emissions. Above, the Department of Water and Power San Fernando Valley Generating Station, in Sun Valley, Calif., in 2008.
Credit Christopher Joyce / NPR
New energy-efficient dormitories at the University of California, Davis.
Credit Christopher Joyce / NPR
Stuart Woolf, managing director of Los Gatos Tomato Products, says he has already taken many major steps to increase his company's efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint. But he says California's new climate law is introducing new uncertainty and costs into the business.
Although the story so far is of a personal failing, it's possible that the widening sex scandal surrounding retired Gen. David Petraeus will begin to affect the military's reputation as a whole.
"David Petraeus suddenly falling that far off that high a pedestal is feeding into the question: Have we been giving these guys too much of a pass?" says Barbara Bodine, who teaches public affairs at Princeton University.
We're heading toward that time of year when self-help industry publishers rub their hands together in anticipation. The holiday season and the inevitable New Year's resolutions that follow tend to turn our minds toward happiness — getting it, keeping it and maintaining it. But journalist Oliver Burkeman says whatever your plan, you are most likely doing it wrong.
When reporter Tony Dokoupil was a teenager, he found out that his father had sold marijuana, but he just thought his parents "were hippies." A few years ago, while working on a story about his father's drug dealer past, he discovered that actually, in the 1970s and '80s, his father, Anthony Dokoupil, had been a big-time marijuana smuggler.
"He was arrested in the early '90s on a job selling 17 tons of marijuana," Dokoupil tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "which was enough at the time to roll a joint for every college kid in the U.S."
Khosrow Semnani, Author, The Ayatollah’s Nuclear Gamble Senator Robert F. Bennett, (R-UT) 1993-2011; Resident Scholar, Hinckley Institute Vice Admiral Richard Gallagher, U.S. Military Representative NATO Military Committee Jennifer Napier-Pearce, Host/Producer “CityViews” KCPW
After Superstorm Sandy, the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties in Neptune, N.J., is filled with water bottles, canned food and other goods. But these supplies are going out almost as fast as they come in.
Credit Pam Fessler / NPR
Clothes, food, even the floors and wall boards at Project PAUL, in Keansburg, N.J., were destroyed when the storm flooded the town.
Food banks in New York and New Jersey were already hard-pressed to meet the demands of families struggling with a bad economy. Add to that a natural disaster and the upcoming holidays, and they're looking at a whole new set of challenges.
Preparation did help some organizations. Five days before Superstorm Sandy hit the Jersey Shore, the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties got its new generator up and running. Thank goodness for that, says Executive Director Carlos Rodriguez.
Many people keep cremated remains in an urn on the mantle or scatter their loved one's ashes over a sacred place.
Now, a company has pioneered a new twist: putting cremated remains into ammunition.
For $850, Holy Smoke will take cremated remains and put them into various types of shotgun shells and bullets for rifle and pistol shooters. The Stockton, Ala., company was started a year ago by two state game wardens.
Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 3:49 pm
Skipping breakfast to take a medical test is nobody's idea of fun. And it's one reason why many people never get around to having a cholesterol test.
So it's good news that some doctors are now saying that for most people, a nonfasting cholesterol test will do just fine.
But who gets to take a pass on the unpleasant skip-your-breakfast routine? To find out, Shots called Samia Mora. She's a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jacki Lyden in Washington, sitting in for Neal Conan. Stalking and killing one's prey is one of the world's oldest acts. In modern culture, hunting has been dominated by a stereotype of burly men in camouflage who view the pastime mostly as a sport. But a new, younger generation of hunters has started shooting not as a recreational activity but more as an ethical method of connecting with the source of their sustenance. And more women are entering the sport, changing the shape of the industry, literally.
The five-day Hindu festival Diwali, honors the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. Vasudha Narayanan, director of the Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions at the University of Florida, discusses the rituals and significance of the festival.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jacki Lyden in Washington; Neal Conan is away. It's been just more than two months since the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked. Four Americans died there, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Congressional committee hearings resume today, on the handling of the attack.
Olga Veloso protests banking giant Bankia last month in Madrid. Veloso and her neighbors have twice blocked bailiffs from evicting her from her apartment after she lost her job and stopped paying the mortgage.
Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 3:20 pm
For months, demonstrations have been popping up on otherwise quiet residential streets across Spain. The protesters form human chains, forcibly blocking bailiffs from evicting residents who've fallen behind on their mortgages. Sometimes the protests turn violent.
The demonstrations are another sign of just how pinched people are feeling as Spain's economic crisis continues to roil. With Spanish unemployment above 25 percent, hundreds of people have been losing their homes each day.
Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 11:29 am
Anyone who follows the adventures of the alternative minimum tax has to be getting sick of the many sequels. Again and again, this unpopular income tax threatens to hit middle-class families with large and unexpected tax increases.
And each time the threat reappears, Congress applies a "patch" to fix the problem temporarily. That makes the threat an annual event — along with the associated congressional hand-wringing and taxpayer confusion.