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2:52 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Judge: Poker Is A Game Of Sklll, Not Luck

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 4:14 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And our last word in business brings to mind Matt Damon's character in the poker movie "Rounders."

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ROUNDERS")

MATT DAMON: (as Mike McDermott) Why does this still seem like gambling to you? I mean, why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table at the World Series of Poker every single year? What are they, the luckiest guys in Las Vegas? It's a skill game.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Joe's Big Idea
1:23 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Telescope Innovator Shines His Genius On New Fields

Roger Angel, an astronomer at the University of Arizona, stands in front of his new project: a solar tracker. Angel wants to use the device to harness Arizona's abundant sunlight and turn it into usable energy.
Jason Millstein for NPR

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 10:23 am

You may not be familiar with the name Roger Angel, but if there were ever a scientist with a creative streak a mile wide, it would be he.

Angel is an astronomer. He's famous for developing an entirely new way of making really large, incredibly precise telescope mirrors. But his creativity doesn't stop there. He's now turned his attention to solar power, hoping to use the tricks he learned from capturing distant light from stars to do a more cost-efficient job of capturing light from the Sun.

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First And Main
1:22 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Wis. Business Owner Relates To Romney's Resume

Linda Wendt is the owner of a restaurant on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin. Republican Mitt Romney "has done what I've done, so I can relate to him," she says. "He knows what business goes through and what it takes to run a business."
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 6:47 pm

As the presidential election nears, Morning Edition is visiting swing counties in swing states for our series First and Main. We're listening to voters where they live — to understand what's shaping their thinking this election year.

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Opinion
1:22 am
Thu August 23, 2012

For Indian Women, Teasing Is No Laughing Matter

Protesters take part in a street play during a protest against growing cases of sexual abuse in New Delhi on May 5. The protesters urged police to protect women from abusers and stop blaming victims for attacks.
Sajjad Hussain AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 3:15 pm

Morning Edition commentator Sandip Roy is back home in India after spending years in the U.S. He finds some Indians are standing up to a very old problem they call "eve teasing."

I lost touch with that peculiar Indian euphemism "eve teasing" in the years I was away from India.

It sounds coy, like a Bollywood hero romancing the pretty girl as she walks down the street, and it can mean that. But it can also mean what happened to a teenager a few weeks ago in the northeastern city of Guwahati.

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Planet Money
1:21 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Why Do Taxpayers Subsidize Farmers' Insurance?

Grandpa Traub — corn former and millionaire.
Chana Joffe-Walt NPR

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 8:16 am

This summer's drought has hit more than half the states in the country. Crops are suffering, but farmers might not be. Most farmers have crop insurance.

U.S. taxpayers spend about $7 billion a year on crop insurance. It's our largest farm subsidy.

And this subsidy goes in part to farmers — who will tell you themselves they aren't so sure about the whole idea. "I have an aversion to it," says Jim Traub, a corn and bean farmer in Fairbury, Illinois. "But you're not going to turn it down."

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Around the Nation
1:19 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Hurricane Andrew's Legacy: 'Like A Bomb' In Florida

Florida National Guardsmen keep people in line at a food distribution center in Florida City, Fla., on Aug. 27, 1992. Many residents of the Dade County farming community lost their homes to Hurricane Andrew.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 9:46 am

Twenty years ago, one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the U.S. changed the face of South Florida.

Hurricane Andrew wiped out communities south of Miami, killing 15 people when it struck in 1992. Dozens more died from injuries stemming from the storm and its aftermath.

Adjusted for inflation, the 1992 storm was, after Katrina, the second costliest storm in U.S. history. It also changed how we forecast and respond to hurricanes.

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Digital Life
1:18 am
Thu August 23, 2012

In Japan, Mobile Startups Take Gaming To Next Level

According to consultant Serkan Toto, the anonymity of mobile gaming is tailor-made for the Japanese.
Koji Sasahara AP

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 6:47 pm

On the subway, in doctor's waiting rooms and during college lectures, millions of Japanese can be found glued to their smartphones. But they're not texting or making phone calls — they're playing video games.

In the U.S., video games are usually played on computers and consoles, like the PlayStation or Wii, but in Japan, gaming has migrated to smartphones.

With an ice coffee in one hand and an iPhone in the other, grad student Yoshiro Hinoki is fixated on slaying tiny cartoon monsters.

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Megafires: The New Normal In The Southwest
1:17 am
Thu August 23, 2012

How The Smokey Bear Effect Led To Raging Wildfires

Adams (left) talks with Swetnam in their laboratory, nestled under the football stadium.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 5:50 pm

First of a five-part series

The history of fire in the American Southwest is buried in a catacomb of rooms under the bleachers of the football stadium at the University of Arizona.

Here rules professor Thomas Swetnam, tree ring expert. You want to read a tree ring? You go to Tom. He's a big, burly guy with a beard and a true love for trees.

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It's All Politics
4:34 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Cut Off From Party's Purse Strings, Rep. Akin Plans Next Move

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., says Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the GOP vice presidential candidate, asked him to end his Senate bid after recent comments he made referring to "legitimate rape."
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 5:59 pm

Republican Rep. Todd Akin's decision to stay in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri is likely to leave him with support from the state's evangelical community, but not much more, says a political scientist at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

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The Two-Way
4:28 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Officials Say West Nile Outbreak Could Be Worst Ever In U.S.

A map that shows where West Nile cases have been reported. Note that areas shaded white have seen no virus activity.
CDC

As cases of West Nile virus continue to increase, authorities warned today that this could turn out to be the worst outbreak since the virus first showed up in the United States in 1999.

The New York Times reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still unsure about "where and how far" the disease will spread, but so far there have been 1,118 cases and 41 deaths reported.

The Times adds:

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It's All Politics
3:45 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Despite Fact Checks, Romney Escalates Welfare Work Requirement Charge

President Clinton signs the welfare reform law on Aug. 22, 1996.
Stephen Jaffe Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 5:59 pm

Wednesday marks the 16th anniversary of President Clinton's welfare overhaul. That law has become a major issue in this year's presidential campaign.

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The Salt
3:38 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

There's Too Much Food Waste, But Here Are Five Things People Are Doing About It

Rotten jackfruit and tomatoes are sorted at a dump in New Delhi. India loses an estimated 40 percent of its produce harvest for lack of infrastructure. And Americans waste about 40 percent of our food.
Mustafa Quraishi AP

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 8:58 am

The food world is buzzing today about the latest news on just how often we waste perfectly good food. And we admit, the statistics are pretty depressing.

About 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. The average American consumer wastes 10 times as much food as someone in Southeast Asia — up 50 percent from Americans in the 1970s. Yet, 1 in 6 Americans doesn't have enough to eat, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And food waste costs us about $165 billion a year and sucks up 25 percent of our freshwater supply.

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Middle East
3:32 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

As Fighting Rages, A Prisoner Swap In Syria

The daily fighting in Syria included this gun battle Wednesday involving rebels in the northern city of Aleppo. Still, the rival sides recently worked out a prisoner swap in which two women were freed from state custody, while the rebels released seven pro-government fighters.
James Lawler Duggan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 5:59 pm

The bitter fighting in Syria seems to grow worse by the day, yet the rebels and the government do occasionally manage to work out something that requires each side to trust the other: prisoner swaps.

In one recent exchange, two women held by the government were freed in exchange for seven men who were fighting on behalf President Bashar Assad's regime.

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The Two-Way
3:11 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Fed Hints At More Action To Boost Economy

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke talks to educators Aug. 7 in Washington, D.C. At their most recent meeting, many Fed members backed action to boost the economy.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

The Federal Reserve could take more steps to boost the struggling U.S. economy. That's according to minutes released Wednesday of the Federal Open Market Committee's July 31-Aug. 1 meeting.

"Many members judged that additional monetary accommodation would likely be warranted fairly soon unless incoming information pointed to a substantial and sustainable strengthening in the pace of the economic recovery," the minutes said. [PDF]

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Summer Nights: Funtown
2:59 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Festive Nanjing Road Recaptures Shanghai's Heyday

The "Loving Happiness Band," supported, in part, by the Communist Party, plays for a crowd on Nanjing Road.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:34 pm

In the 1920s and 1930s, Shanghai was one of the world's most exciting — and notorious — cities. But all that came to an end in the middle of the last century, when the Communists took charge.

Over the past decade or so, though, a vibrant Shanghai has re-emerged. Today, it's a dynamic city of 23 million, with a skyline that dwarfs Manhattan's.

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The Two-Way
2:46 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Confederate Soldier In Famous Portrait Is Identified

Stephen Pollard of Carroll County, Ga., who fought and survived the Civil War.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 5:43 pm

The Washington Post brings us an interesting story about a portait that was donated to the Library of Congress.

As far as portraits from the Civil War go, this one is quite famous. It shows a confederate soldier looking a bit disheveled and very serious while holding an 1855 Springfield single-shot pistol carbine.

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Religion
2:34 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Some Israeli Parents Rethink Ritual Circumcision

Family members and friends gather around 8-day-old Israeli baby Oz Naftaly Cohen after his traditional Jewish circumcision ceremony in 2005.
Ariel Schalit AP

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 6:41 am

The question of whether to circumcise a newborn son is no question at all for most observant Jews. In Europe, the practice has come under fire. This summer, a German regional court ruled that circumcision is physical abuse, and a Swiss hospital temporarily banned the procedure. The debate has infuriated Jewish community leaders there.

In Israel, even the most secular Jews overwhelmingly have their sons circumcised. But the debate in Europe has drawn attention to a still small but growing number of Israeli Jews who are forgoing the procedure.

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Environment
2:34 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Humans' Role In Antarctic Ice Melt Is Unclear

The Larsen B ice shelf, a large floating ice mass on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula, shattered and separated from the continent 10 years ago. A NASA satellite captured the event in this image from Feb. 23, 2002. The 650 foot-thick, 1,250-square-mile ice shelf had existed since the last ice age.
AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 5:59 pm

Ten years ago, a piece of ice the size of Rhode Island disintegrated and melted in the waters off Antarctica. Two other massive ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula had suffered similar fates a few years before. The events became poster children for the effects of global warming. But a new study finds that the story isn't quite so simple.

There's no question that unusually warm air triggered the final demise of these huge chunks of ice. But a lingering question is whether these events can be attributed to human-induced global warming.

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The Salt
2:28 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

The Spice Man Cometh To Cuba, A Hot Land Of Bland Food

Cuba has tight advertising restrictions, so Cedric Fernando uses his British-made 1955 MG convertible to spread the word about his Indian restaurant, Bollywood, in Havana.
Nick Miroff NPR

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 8:57 am

Cuba has hot weather, hot music, hot politics and hot Cubans. So why is the food so bland?

Tourists who have visited the island, particularly Cuba's state-run restaurants, know that Cuban chefs are deeply fond of frying their ingredients, but the range of seasonings tends to span from salt to garlic, with not much else in between.

Enter the Spice Man. He is Cedric Fernando, co-proprietor of the first and only Indian restaurant in Cuba, called Bollywood. And he's definitely turning up the heat in the kitchen.

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It's All Politics
2:15 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Poll: Ryan-As-Running-Mate Helps Romney In Wisconsin, But Just A Bit

Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney campaign in Waukesha, Wis., on Aug. 12, the day after Romney made the Wisconsin congressman his vice presidential running mate.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 2:39 pm

Picking Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate has helped GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the Badger State, but just a little, a new poll suggests.

Obama leads Romney among likely voters in Wisconsin, 49 percent to 46 percent, according to a Marquette Law School poll released Wednesday afternoon. The poll was conducted Aug. 16 through 19, following Ryan's selection as Romney's running mate on Aug. 11.

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NPR Story
2:13 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Fla. Students Struggle Without Summer School

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 5:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

School started this week in Florida, but some students still haven't finished their summer courses. Many needed to make up classes they failed during the school year, but this summer they had just one option, online school. As Sarah Gonzalez of member station WLRN reports, some students are now struggling to catch up.

SARAH GONZALEZ, BYLINE: Louis Gonzalez finished his freshman year at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Pasco County, but this year, he's still considered a freshman, although his schools has a different name for him.

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NPR Story
2:13 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Muslim Radicals Raise Russian Fears In Tartarstan

The Russian republic of Tatarstan used to be held up as a model of moderate Islam coexisting with Christianity. But Muslims there are increasingly worried that the region may be falling under the influence of radical imams who received their training in Saudi Arabia. In July, Tatarstan's top Muslim cleric was severely wounded by a car bomb, and his deputy was shot to death by gunmen. Police blame Muslim militants, but local Tatar nationalists say the attacks are really provocations created by a Russian government that wants a firmer grip on the oil-rich republic.

Participation Nation
2:03 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Community Soup In Silver City, Nev.

Cashion Callaway serves the soup.
Courtesy of Malala Elston

On the last Friday of each month, my 72-year-old mother, Cashion Callaway, makes a sit-down soup dinner for her community in Silver City.

Young people are invited to come early to help with food preparation and meal set up, which they have done enthusiastically for 5 years now. She takes this opportunity to teach them about cooking and nutrition. Through her example, the kids also learn about commitment and service.

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Education
1:51 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Head Start To Absentee Dads: Please Come Back

Rickie Knox (left) meets with Keith Young at New Haven's Head Start center. Knox comes here almost every day to be with his two grandchildren.
Sam Sanders NPR

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:01 pm

It's a typical day at a Head Start center near downtown New Haven, Conn., and restless 3- and 4-year-olds squirm and bounce on a colorful shaggy rug vying for their teacher's attention. Down the hallway several women make their way to a parenting class, stopping to marvel at a 4-month-old baby.

What you don't see, says the center's Keith Young, is men, fathers.

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The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Court Weighs Whether Fort Hood Shooting Suspect Should Be Forcibly Shaved

This undated handout photo provided by the Bell County Sheriff's Department shows US Army Maj. Nidal Hasan
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 1:50 pm

During a hearing in front of a military appeals court, a panel of judges considered arguments on whether Fort Hood shooting suspect Maj. Nidal Hassan should be forcibly shaved.

Hassan's murder trial has been put on hold while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces decides on what to do about Hasan's beard. Hasan is charged with killing 13 people and wounding more than two dozen others in a shooting spree in November of 2009 at the Fort Hood Army post.

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

A's Pitcher Bartolo Colon Suspended For 50 Games After Failing Doping Test

Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon works against the Cleveland Indians in the first inning of a baseball game Aug. 18, 2012, in Oakland.
Ben Margot AP

The Oakland A's Bartolo Colon becomes the second player in a week to fail a doping test.

Major League Baseball said Colon is suspended 50 games because he tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone. It was the same thing that got the Giants' Melky Cabrera suspended last week.

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The Two-Way
12:52 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Curiosity Is On A Roll: Makes Its First Movements On Mars

Those tracks to the top and right were made by Curiosity as it moved today.
NASA

It didn't go far, but the NASA rover Curiosity has taken its first test drive on Mars.

"This is how I roll," NASA writes (speaking for Curiosity) with a photo it has released showing the rover's first tracks. "Forward 3 meters, 90 [degree] turn, then back. Electric slide, anyone?"

"We have a fully functioning mobility system," NASA engineer Matt Heverly just told reporters. He said Curiosity ended up moving about 4 1/2 meters during today's test. It also did a full revolution going forward, backed up and did another revolution.

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Participation Nation
12:31 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Continuing To Serve In St. Louis, Mo.

Joe Rosner of The Mission Continues.
Courtesy of The Mission Continues

The Mission Continues challenges military veterans — returning home from duty — to use their knowledge and skills to serve and lead in communities across America.

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The Two-Way
12:25 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Pew: Middle Class Poorer, Earning Less And Shrinking

Pew

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 1:07 pm

The researchers at Pew Social & Demographic Trends aren't holding back in their new report on the middle class. It calls the last 11 years, "the lost decade" for the country's middle class.

The highlight from the report issued today is that the middle class is poorer, earning less and shrinking.

In its press release, Pew reports:

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NPR Story
12:13 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Political Junkie: Todd Akin And Negative Campaigning

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 12:29 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. A congressman skinny dips in holy water and still can't buy a headline because another congressman redefines rape and biology, defies his own party and stands up Piers Morgan. It's Wednesday and time for a...

PIERS MORGAN: Gutless little twerp...

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL JUNKIE INTRO)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

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