California lawmakers gave the green light to the first phase of construction of high-speed rail in the state. Does this mean that America is on track for faster, sleeker trains? What potential speed bumps still lie ahead? Railroad engineer Christopher Barkan discusses the costs, benefits and state of the technology.
On July 20, 1958, at Tanglewood — the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra — pianist Leon Fleisher played an electrifying Brahms First Piano Concerto with the orchestra under its former music director, Pierre Monteux. This remarkable teaming has not been heard since then.
What makes some types of cancer resistant to drugs? Reporting in Nature, researchers write that cancer cells may be dodging treatment with help from seemingly innocent bystanders. Cancer researcher Todd Golub discusses how a tumor's microenvironment may affect its behavior.
Researchers have found a fridge-free way to store vaccines and antibiotics. Biomedical engineer David Kaplan, senior author of the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, discusses how heat-sensitive drugs wrapped in silk stay effective for months at high temperatures.
Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 11:19 am
Reporting in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, researchers write that extreme heat waves, such as the one last year in Texas, are 20 times more likely today than they were in the 1960s. NOAA climatologist Tom Peterson discusses what future climate change may bring.
Reporting in Science, two teams of scientists say they were unable to replicate the results of a 2010 study claiming to have found 'alien life' on Earth--a bacterium that could build its DNA using arsenic. Science journalist Carl Zimmer talks about how the controversy played out online, and how science corrects itself.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. If you're out shooting hoops this summer or you're going for a jog, you know it won't be long before you're sopping wet and, you know, it's really sweaty out there. And where's all that sweat coming from? Your body's water supply, of course. You have to replenish those fluids if you sweat a lot. But it's not as simple as the old eight-glasses-a-day mantra. How much should you really drink? Too much water, you can die, as has happened to marathon runners who chugged too much water during the race.
Imagine you're a movie producer, and you've got a couple of hundred million dollars to gamble on a single massive blockbuster. Which genre do you suppose will be your safest bet — superhero? Action-adventure? Sci-fi? All of those have had huge successes, but they've also all had hugely expensive failures.
There's one genre, though, that's hardly a gamble at all. It's been almost foolproof since it first came into being in 1995: computer animation.
Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 10:02 am
In the absence of a cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS, drug treatment has at least helped lower the pandemic's toll.
Since 2003, much of the treatment dispensed in hard-hit countries has come in the form of generic versions of previously expensive drugs. The President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, has paid for quite a bit of the medicine.
Mitt Romney, hearing boos at the NAACP convention, now knows what we go through each week on the podcast. President Obama, facing poor economic news, changes the subject with an assault on Romney and the GOP on taxes. Plus updates on Reps Charlie Rangel (victory), Jesse Jackson Jr. (health), Shelley Berkley (ethics) and Thad McCotter (skadoodle).
Join NPR's Ken Rudin and guest host Brian Naylor for this week's political roundup.
This interview was originally broadcast on September 19, 2011. Breaking Bad begins its fifth season on Sunday, July 15th at 10 PM EST.
Vince Gilligan's AMC drama Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston as a high school chemistry teacher named Walter White who turns to dealing drugs after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. White's partner-in-crime throughout the series is his former student Jesse Pinkman, played by actor Aaron Paul.
A "not guilty" verdict has been handed down in a case that has been front-page news for months in Great Britain:
John Terry, former captain of England's national soccer team and captain of the English Premier League's Chelsea Football Club, "has been cleared of racially abusing fellow footballer Anton Ferdinand," the BBC writes.
Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 11:40 am
President Obama's decision to publicly support same-sex marriage may have changed the minds of some Americans, according to a national poll. But in states that will vote on the issue in November, the impact has been mixed.
Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 10:33 am
For all the chatter that the winner of the 2012 presidential election will be determined by the economy, you wouldn't know it by looking at the most closely contested states.
The recovery is still tepid in most parts of the country, and there's a sense of trepidation that signs of improvement might not last. Among the swing states, some are doing comparatively well while others are struggling — but the political picture looks roughly the same in all.
The reporter who last year broke the news that former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had been accused of sexually abusing young boys today helps answer some very interesting questions:
The largest bank in the U.S., JPMorgan Chase, this morning released its second quarter results. It's net income was $5 billion, but it turns out that loses in a failed hedging strategy involving a secretive trader were much higher than what the bank originally said the loss would be. In fact, JPMorgan lost $4.4 billion last quarter on those risky trades.
As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, that's not the full extent of the firm's damage.
The grim numbers vary and independent observers haven't yet been able to get to the scene. But there's word from Syria of what may be the single worst day of bloodshed so far in what's become a long line of such horrible events since protests against the regime of President Bashar Assad began in March 2011:
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. People in Beirut are sick of political protests across the country. Protesters have been blocking highways with burning tires. So there was only one thing to do. Yesterday, they held a protest using tires against protests using tires. Instead of burning the tires in the street, they painted the tires many colors. The protesters held up signs reading: We are tired. And a police officer refused to ticket them, saying, their tires are pretty. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 12:30 pm
Though it suffered an estimated $4.4 billion second-quarter loss related to its bungled trading in some very risky types of investments, JPMorgan Chase said this morning that it still did well enough in its other businesses that it had net income of $5 billion in those three months.
This Friday the 13th, fans of horror films and hobbits, science fiction and fantasy are descending upon the San Diego Convention Center. They're gathering for the annual explosion of pop culture fandom that is Comic-Con. One of the biggest phenomena in pop culture at the moment will be making an appearance, and it's not a man of steel or a boy slinging webs.
It's a 40-something woman who writes... wait for it... steamy romance.
The ancient desert town of Timbuktu is under assault in the west African nation of Mali. Islamist forces have taken over much of northern Mali where Timbuktu is located. One group, allied with al-Qaida, has begun systematically destroying Shrines that celebrate ancient Muslim saints. Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher Corinne Dufka talks to Renee Montagne about the destruction.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renée Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. China's economic growth has slowed down to a three-year low. That's according to new figures released today. The numbers matter to us because of the way the world economy is so interconnected. Americans import a lot from China, sure, but have also been working to boost exports to other nations, including China.
NPR's Louisa Lim joins us from Beijing to make sense of the latest news. Hi, Louisa.