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One-hundred-fifty years ago, a man named Samuel Van Syckel built the nation's first commercial oil pipeline in the rugged terrain of northwestern Pennsylvania.

His pipeline transformed how oil is transported — and it would change the modern world, too — but not before a battle that makes the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline look meek by comparison.

Gerbils are a beloved classroom pet, but they might also be deadly killers. A study now claims that gerbils helped bring bubonic plague to Medieval Europe and contributed to the deaths of millions.

Plague is caused by bacteria (Yersinia pestis) found in rodents, and the fleas that live on rodents. The rodent that's usually Suspect Zero is the rat.

Months after Buzzfeed writer Matt Stopera's phone was stolen, new pictures from China started uploading to his photo stream. He wrote about it and Chinese twitter, Weibo, picked it up. Kelly McEvers talks to Stopera about his stolen iPhone and newfound fame in China.

Advocates for women arrested on prostitution charges want the justice system to adopt a different approach. They say instead of being locked up, many prostitutes should actually be considered victims of human trafficking. And they're starting to offer those women a way to clean up the criminal records left behind.

One of them lives in an apartment not far from Dallas. Inside, a 24-year-old woman pushes up her sleeve to show off a tattoo of a lotus flower. The deep purple ink covers up an older mark.

Jordan's King Abdullah has faced a delicate balancing act ever since he ascended the throne in 1999 following his father's death. His country shares borders with Iraq, Syria and Israel among others, and there always seems to be trouble in the neighborhood.

His latest challenge has been to convince Jordanians that it's in the country's interest to play a prominent role in the U.S.-led coalition against the self-declared Islamic State.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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One way to test your mettle in winter is to take one of those quick penguin plunges in icy water. But some stoic swimmers actually carve pools out of frozen lakes and race each other.

The sport of winter swimming is popular abroad, especially in Russia, Scandinavia and China. But last weekend, a newly formed organization to promote winter swimming in the United States held its first national competition on the Vermont-Quebec border.

On Valentine's Day weekend, Jonathan Hutson found himself exchanging tweets with somebody unpleasant: a Holocaust-denying anti-Semite, by the look of things.

Then Hutson looked up the person's earlier tweets. This guy was tweeting about shooting up a school. He said that he wanted to execute 30-plus grade-school kids."

So Hutson decided to draw the person out — "engage with him," as he puts it — to see if the threats were real.

Jordan's King Abdullah was way out ahead of the people in his support of the war against the self-declared Islamic State, or ISIS. Many Jordanians used to say it was someone else's war even though it's only a 90-minute drive from the capital, Amman, north to the Syrian border.

But Jordanian opinions changed dramatically after the horrific video in which ISIS immolated a Jordanian pilot, Moaz Kassasbeh, who was captured back in December.

Writer Elisa Albert believes that the so-called "Mommy Wars" have gone on long enough — they are both a distraction and a cop-out, she says. "It's a way of avoiding the actual issues, which is: Women don't have enough support for any of the choices that we make," Albert tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "We are pitted against each other and ultimately, then, are pitted against ourselves. And everybody is unhappy, and everybody feels judged. It doesn't have to be this way."

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The United States and its European allies are weighing additional sanctions against Russia because of its alleged role in the fighting in Ukraine.

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Fasten your seat belts, true believers. If you haven't flipped through a comic book in a while, you might be in for quite a surprise come May. The entire Marvel multiverse is collapsing.

Forget about seeing the Wolverine we knew any time soon. And the current Ghost Rider? Before long, his current story line will be gone like, well, a ghost. In the new Marvel universe, coming in May, characters and continuities will be reimagined.

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The sense of smell is a powerful trigger — capable of calling to mind the sight of a new car, or the memory of a freshly mown lawn from many years past. But this power doesn't just serve to remind; it's also captivating scientists and inspiring a burgeoning subculture in Los Angeles, where many people are collecting fragrances like some people collect stamps.

On Feb. 10, police in the city of Pasco, Wash., shot and killed Antonio Zambrano-Montes, who had been throwing rocks at motorists. The shooting and prompted protests locally and internationally. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with Daniel Rivero of Fusion.

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The Voyager spacecraft have revolutionized our understanding of our solar system since their launch in 1977. After decades of sending back data on our planetary neighbors, Voyager 1 and 2 are entering new territory: interstellar space.

In a new book, The Interstellar Age: Inside The Forty-Year Voyager Mission, planetary scientist Jim Bell shares the amazing human stories behind the machines' mission.

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Matt Malone faces a philosophical choice every time he pulls into a store parking lot.

MATT MALONE: You can go two ways - you can drive in front or you can drive behind the store. I tend to drive behind the store.

This week, the photo editing software Adobe Photoshop turned 25 years old. The program is an industry juggernaut — so famous that the word "Photoshop" has come to be synonymous with image manipulation.

But when the software started, says co-creator Thomas Knoll, it was a personal project. He and his brother John started working on the program in the late 1980s.

West Coast ports and the labor unions that service them reached a tentative agreement Friday night, NPR's Kirk Siegler reports, potentially ending a nine-month standoff that had snarled the movement of cargo.

Most of the big aspects of a deal — wages, benefits, even maintenance contracts — have been settled for weeks, Kirk says, but some sticking points remained.

"This week the high drama seemed to be over something somewhat minor ... who has the power to hire and fire an arbitration during separate, smaller disputes," he says.

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Time now for your comments. But first, an update. Wednesday we brought you a preview of a wine tasting competition between Cambridge and Oxford Universities.

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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is noted for making bold statements — both in policy and fashion. When Modi sported a suit with pinstripes that spelled out his name in tiny gold lettering, his critics called it the height of vanity.

But the controversial suit raised more than eyebrows: It sold at auction today for nearly $695,000.

The "selfie" suit was debuted when Modi wore it to a bilateral meeting with President Obama during his visit to India last month.

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And we pick up there with our Friday commentators, E. J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution. Hey there, E. J.

E.J. DIONNE, BYLINE: Good to be with you.

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