This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira Flatow this week. Last week, when Hurricane Sandy sent a surge of salty water into cities and towns up and down the East Coast, among the casualties were thousands of research subjects: lab mice. A building at New York University's Medical Center flooded, and thousands of mice and rats that were being used to study cancer, heart disease and all kinds of other medical disorders died.
Here in Washington, House Speaker John Boehner addressed a major economic issue this morning. In a press conference, the Republican talked about the so-called fiscal cliff. That's the combination of higher tax rates and spending cuts due to take effect at the end of this year.
With most Americans fat or fatter, you'd think we'd be lightening up on the anti-fat attitudes.
Alas, no. Even doctors often think their overweight patients are weak-willed.
But changing negative attitudes about body size might be as simple as changing what you see. When women in England were shown photos of plus-sized women in neutral gray leotards, they became more tolerant.
Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 12:08 pm
The post-election negotiations over taxes, the economy and the so-called fiscal cliff moved into a new phase this afternoon when President Obama stepped up to a microphone at the White House to lay out his latest thoughts about what needs to be done.
In many ways, this words were echoes from the hard-fought campaign.
Cody ChesnuTT is the best sort of egomaniac. He places himself at the center of his musical universe; he contains that universe within him. On his new album, Landing on a Hundred, he sings one song in the voice of the entire continent of Africa.
Election Day has come and gone, but NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin are still trying to make sense of it all. Was it close? Well, a 50-to-48 percent popular-vote edge for President Obama certainly indicates that.
But the president won just about every battleground state, pushing his Electoral College totals into landslide proportions. And, the Democrats did far better in the Senate than anyone expected.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Later, we want to hear what the Barbershop guys have to say about some of the ballot initiatives that made headlines around the country in this week's election. They include measures that will allow same-sex marriage in two additional states and permit the recreational use of marijuana in another state.
The guys also want to talk about the how the country's changing demographics contributed to this year's election results. That conversation is coming up.
The Iranian defense minister confirmed today that his forces had shot a U.S. drone. But Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said it shot at the MQ1 Predator drone because it had trespassed into its airspace, The New York Times reports.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman. In his new book "Hallucinations," Oliver Sacks writes that you see with your brain, not with your eyes. And his book suggests our brains can play some bizarre tricks on is. Dr. Sacks describes a musician who sees intricate but unplayable sheet music superimposed on his field of vision.
Here's a big, giant question for you: Why do we believe what we believe? And how is it that two people can look at the exact same set of circumstances and see two completely different things? That philosophical question is at the center of a new book where, to put it another way, one person's beautiful miracle is another person's ecological crisis.
And one last salute to science before the weekend. Here are some news you can raise the glass to. Microbiologist Tomas Villa and colleagues report that they may be able to bioengineer better beer foam. That's right.
TOMAS G. VILLA: Beer foam. Foam is what you like the most in a beer. And a beer drinker wants foam to stay longer, right?
LICHTMAN: Of course. And the secret to long-lasting froth, proteins, produced by barley and yeast during fermentation.
On Election Day, Washington, Maine and Maryland states voted to legalize same-sex marriage, stopping a 32-state losing streak. In Maryland, African-American faith leaders took vocal positions on both sides of the issue, and host Michel Martin hears from two of them: Reverend Delman Coates and Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr.
Two icons, Abraham Lincoln and James Bond, make triumphant appearances this week in movies with more in common than you'd expect. True, Lincoln is a titan of history, liberator of slaves, and as such an adversary of Western colonialism, while 007 is an outlandish stereotype embodying white male Western authoritarian power. But the makers of these films do a sterling job of testing their respective subjects in front of our eyes — before pronouncing them fit to carry on in our collective imagination.
Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 10:49 am
For as much criticism as pollsters endured in the run-up to Election Day, a look back shows many of them hit very close to the bull's-eye for the presidential race — but some did better than others.
Take the venerable Gallup. It had Mitt Romney at 49 percent and President Obama at 48 percent in a poll published Monday, a day before the voting. And when undecided voters were split up among candidates, Gallup put the figure at 50 percent Romney, 49 percent Obama.
Federal prosecutors say they will not bring charges against former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, who a year ago was accused of having sexually abused young boys.
According to The Post-Standard in Syracuse, "after nearly a year of police scouring more than 100,000 pages of seized documents and interviewing 130 witnesses, the investigation that attracted national media attention has ended, prosecutors said."
Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 12:16 pm
Nearly two weeks after Superstorm Sandy pummeled the region, problems getting gas to stations and power outages that have left many pumps inoperable continue to plague drivers in New York City, New Jersey and some points nearby.
So starting today, New York City and Long Island are joining New Jersey by enacting gas rationing rules.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. In his acceptance speech, the president said he would reach out to his Republican rival. And for sure, the future holds brotherly love for Barack and Mitt - in Kenya. That country has long embraced Barack Obama as one of its own, but this week a young mother seems to have caught the spirit of reconciliation. On Wednesday, Millicent Owuor gave birth to twin boys, and she named them Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, also held a press conference yesterday, and gave a warning that Sandy could end up costing his state $33 billion in economic damage, which could worsen the state's already-perilous fiscal situation.
NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Cuomo said the initial estimates are that the storm will cost the region $50 billion in lost economic activity and infrastructure damage. And he said two-thirds of that will be borne by New York.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm Renee Montagne.
Hundreds of thousands of customers in the Northeast still don't have power after being pounded by Sandy. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for an investigation, claiming some of the utilities were not prepared. A snow storm this week has made the situation worse. NPR's Jeff Brady reports from Brick Township on the New Jersey shore.
This year, we've had not one, but two movies about the sixteenth president of the United States. This spring, "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter" slashed its way into theaters. This week, a more historically accurate Lincoln shows up onscreen.
Kenneth Turan has this review.
KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: Daniel Day-Lewis is a two-time Oscar-winning actor, but he surpasses himself and makes us see a celebrated figure in unanticipated ways in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln."
Harvey Hilbert was shot in the head in Vietnam in 1966 in a firefight where he mistakenly shot and killed a fellow soldier. "You know, I'm 65 years old, and I can remember clearly that young man — the color of his skin, his face, his cries," Hilbert told StoryCorps.
Harvey Hilbert enlisted in the Army in 1964. He was in the infantry, and in January 1966, he was sent to Vietnam to fight. Five months later, his unit was sent into the jungle. That was the last time he fought in Vietnam.
"It was coming on dusk, and we went into what's called a hot landing zone — means we were under fire," Hilbert told StoryCorps. "We jumped off the helicopters and took a position. And then the enemy stopped shooting."