A lot of kids have the day off from school today, thanks to a huge winter storm in the Midwest. A foot of snow fell on Kansas City, one of the worst storms in the city's history. That city declared a state of emergency, as did several others in the region. Frank Morris, of member station KCUR, reports.
The Buckeye Tool Expo in Dalton, Ohio, is held in a massive hall filled with bearded men in black hats and women in white bonnets. A few horses and buggies are tied up outside.
The Amish have chosen to forgo many of the delights of the modern world, but they still need to drill, sand and cut wood. This trade expo shows off all the loopholes that let the Amish get their hands on power tools.
Comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo addresses supporters at a rally on Feb. 12 in Bergamo, Italy. Many pollsters say his populist Five Star Movement could come in third in this weekend's election.
Credit Giuseppe Cacace / AFP/Getty Images
Figurines representing the main candidates of the upcoming Italian general election are on display in a shop in Naples. Seen (clockwise from left) are magistrate Antonio Ingroia, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Oscar Giannino, outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti, Grillo and the Democratic Party's Pier Luigi Bersani.
Italy's election campaign has been dominated by an upstart comedian-turned-politician whose Five Star Movement is soaring in the polls. The movement is not expected to win in the weekend vote, but its strong presence in Parliament could be destabilizing and reignite the eurozone crisis.
Beppe Grillo is a standup comedian and the country's most popular blogger; 63 years old, with a mane of grey curly hair, he's hyperactive and foul-mouthed. His last name means "cricket," and he's the most charismatic politician in Italy today.
<strong>Ultraviolet (false color).</strong> Bees and other pollinators can see the ultraviolet end of the spectrum. They are guided by patterns on flowers that are invisible to humans.
Credit Kevin Collins
<strong>Fragrance plume (artist's depiction).</strong> Bees follow specific odors to locate flowers and, once they arrive, use scent maps to move toward the center of the flower. Fragrance that clings to a bee provides information for other bees back at the hive.
Credit Adam Cole / NPR
<strong>Electric field (artist's depiction).</strong> Flowers have a weak negative electric charge relative to the air around them. Different flowers have different electric fields, often with charge concentrated at the tips of the petals.
Credit Adam Cole / NPR
<strong>Visible spectrum.</strong> Certain bright colors and petal shapes attract certain pollinators.
Flowers are nature's ad men. They'll do anything to attract the attention of the pollinators that help them reproduce. That means spending precious energy on bright pigments, enticing fragrances and dazzling patterns.
Now, scientists have found another element that contributes to flowers' brand: their distinct electric field.
Anne Leonard, who studies bees at the University of Nevada, says our understanding of pollinator-flower communication has been expanding for decades.
Here's a headline that may sound familiar: Miami is in the middle of a condo boom.
Just seven years ago, Miami had a similar surge in condo construction. But it all came crashing down. There was an international banking crisis, and the Florida real estate bubble burst — taking down investors and many developers.
But new towers are once again reshaping the city's skyline.
Peter Zalewski, a real estate consultant with Condo Vultures, says 19 condo towers are now in the works in Miami, with 7,000 total units.
Some former prisoners of re-education through labor camps and their supporters hold signs in Beijing declaring, "No Re-education Through Labor." Popular opposition to the camps has grown as China's state-run media has highlighted particularly egregious cases.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
Tang Shuxiu, 51, was sent to a re-education through labor camp in 2011 after she complained that her local government work unit failed to give her an apartment. She holds a mock-up of her labor camp ID card in order to publicize the abuses of labor camps and push for change.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
Shen Lixiu, 58, says she had her front teeth kicked out in a re-education through labor camp. She says authorities had her beaten so she would sign a compensation agreement for the government demolition of her karaoke parlor in Nanjing.
Officials in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing knocked down her karaoke parlor for development. She says they then offered her compensation that was less than 20 percent of what she had invested in the place.
Shen complained to the central government. Local authorities responded by sentencing her to a "re-education through labor" camp for a year. Once inside, Shen says, camp workers tried to force her to accept the compensation.
Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln has earned 12 Academy Award nominations, including best picture and best director. Another Spielberg film — the multi-Oscar winning Schindler's List — will be celebrating 20 years since its release. These films have at least two important things in common: Spielberg and publicist Marvin Levy.
Morning rush hour commuters pass by a CNBC crew in front of the New York Stock Exchange in September 2006. The channel has adopted a policy that prohibits guests from appearing on rival channels amid breaking news.
CNBC is far and away the television ratings leader in the financial cable news business. Now, evidence arrives that its executives, producers and reporters are going to great lengths to maintain its status.
The channel has adopted a policy that prohibits guests from appearing on rival channels amid breaking news if they want to be seen by CNBC's larger audience.
Health officials around the world are on constant lookout for the deadly bird flu. Here a worker collects chickens on a farm in Kathamndu, Nepal, where the virus was suspected of infecting poultry last October.
Credit Prakas Mathema / AFP/Getty Images
Research on the H5N1 virus is conducted in high-containment laboratories with airlock systems that make sure nothing can escape.
Credit Bryce Richter / University of Wisconsin-Madison
Bird flu researchers use ferrets to study how the virus mutates and spreads. Here virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka points to the ferret cages in his laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Credit Bryce Richter / University of Wisconsin-Madison
In the back and forth between Congress and the White House over immigration, both sides seem to agree that people now in the U.S. illegally should wait at "the back of the line" for legal residency — meaning no green card until all other immigrants get theirs.
But that presents a problem, because the wait for a green card can take decades.
Maria has been waiting in line with her husband for 16 years and counting for what the government calls a priority date for legal residency. Because she is in the U.S. without documents, Maria asked NPR to use only her first name.
The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 11:25 am
This year's flu vaccine appears to be doing a unusually poor job of protecting the elderly, federal health officials reported Thursday.
Overall, this year's flu vaccine appears to be only about 27 percent effective for people ages 65 and older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
And now, a story from Washington state; a story about one family's unexpected odyssey. Seventy-three-year-old Kevin O'Grady had recently died in Seattle, where one of his two daughters lives. She mailed her father's ashes across the state to her sister, Katy, in Spokane. That's where their father, an Air Force veteran, was to be buried with military honors.
But after several days, Katy had yet to receive the ashes.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
Among the many charges thrown at Chuck Hagel, as he seeks confirmation as defense secretary, is this one: that he received funding from a group called Friends of Hamas. That explosive claim first surfaced on the conservative website breitbart.com. It got traction and spread among conservative media.
Thing is there's no evidence that any such group exists, not to mention any evidence of a Hamas-Hagel connection.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 3:31 pm
Those baggage fees, cramped seats and tiny pretzel bags to the contrary and notwithstanding, airline passengers enjoyed good times in 2012, according to an annual recap from Airlines for America, the industry trade group.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:27 pm
For the second year in a row, Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican of Kentucky, is returning a large part of his office's operating budget to the Treasury.
According to a press release, Paul presented taxpayers in Louisville with an "oversized" check for $600,000.
"I ran to stop the reckless spending, and I pledged to the people of Kentucky that I would work to keep their hard-earned money out of the hands of Washington bureaucrats whose irresponsible spending has threatened our country's economic health," Paul said.
Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's bloody sock and spikes are displayed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Schilling, whose video game company went bankrupt, is selling the bloodstained sock he wore during baseball's 2004 World Series.
Credit Mike Groll / AP
Schilling tends to his right ankle during Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees in 2004.
Sicily's Mount Etna early this week, as seen from space. The bright red is lava. Snow is blue-green. Clouds are white. "Shortwave infrared, near infrared, and green light" combine to produce the colors.
Frustration over a change in federal copyright policy that makes it illegal to unlock new cellphones has resulted in more than 100,000 signatures on a petition at the White House's website, meaning the executive branch must now respond to calls to rescind the ruling or "champion a bill that makes unlocking permanently legal."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden in Washington; Neal Conan is away. Religious exemptions have been in the news a lot lately. The Obama administration has revised its rules on insurance coverage to accommodate religious nonprofits. If the proposal sticks, they won't have to pay for coverage of birth control for employees.
Human ears, gun parts, bars of chocolate, musical instruments, robots - just a few of the things that have recently been created from scratch by 3-D printers. Apparently and amazingly, you just put in the materials, upload a design and press start. My printer doesn't even work with just old paper and ink. But we'll hear more about this potential. The possibilities seem endless. Some believe 3-D printing will revolutionize manufacturing, but the technology is also raising thorny questions about copyright and regulation.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden, in Washington. Neal Conan is away. For same-sex military couples, a lot has changed since the end of "don't ask, don't tell." Just last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced a list of benefits that will now or soon apply to the same-sex partners of service members.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 1:29 pm
Several explosions ripped through Damascus on Thursday morning in what was one of the deadliest days in the Syrian capital since the uprising began nearly two years ago.
A huge blast in the al-Mazraa neighborhood was the work of a suicide car bomber, according to media reports. More than 50 people were killed and more than 200 injured, according to both the Syrian state media and opposition groups.