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4:51 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Soaked In Drought: Lessons From The Dust Bowl

Scorched pastures are spreading across central Illinois and the rest of the Midwest. Technology and techniques developed from previous droughts like the Dust Bowl are helping to save some of today's crops, but there's no substitute for water.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 am

This summer's drought continues to wilt and bake crops from Ohio to the Great Plains and beyond. Under a baking, late-afternoon sun just outside of the tiny east-central Illinois town of Thawville, John Hildenbrand walks down his dusty, gravel driveway toward one of his corn fields.

"You can see on the outer edge, these are a lot better-looking ears on the outside rows. Of course, it's not near as hot as it is inside the field," he says.

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Music Interviews
1:03 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet: Scat Singing To Its Own Tune

The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet, left to right: Ginny Carr, alto; Robert McBride, tenor; Holly Shockey, soprano; and Andre Enceneat, bass. The group's new album, Hustlin' for a Gig, came out in May.
Michael G. Stewart

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 am

The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet has been serenading audiences in its native Washington, D.C., across the country and even as far as France for more than two decades. But its members are finding ways to bring something new to their performances. Bandleader and co-founder Ginny Carr says she wrote the words and music to all 10 songs on the quartet's new album, Hustlin' for a Gig — a relative rarity in a jazz world defined by time-tested standards.

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The Two-Way
5:35 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

From Our Readers: English Only? Look To The Past

Many of our commenters look to America's rich history of immigration in order to form their opinion of the 'English-Only' debate. Interestingly enough, this approach facilitated conclusions on both sides of the issue.

"John G" believes that, "Society, not law, determines the specific language used."

He writes:

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Shots - Health Blog
5:33 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Experts Fear Whooping Cough Vaccine's Shield Is 'Waning'

Pharmacist Kristy Hennessee administers a vaccination against whooping cough in Pasadena, Calif., in 2010. Vaccinations are the most powerful weapon for slowing the epidemic, but there are growing concerns that the current vaccine doesn't last as long as expected.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 8:29 pm

Whooping cough is getting a foothold once again in the U.S., and it seems to be getting stronger. More than 20,000 cases have been reported so far this year, compared with only about 8,500 last year, and Washington State has already declared a whooping cough epidemic.

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The Two-Way
5:30 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Paterno Family Will Appeal Sanctions; NCAA Rejects Attempt

Visitors gather around the statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium Saturday in State College, Pa.
Jeff Swensen Getty Images

The family of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno said it intends to appeal the sanctions issued by the NCAA against the university in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

In a letter to the organization, the family repeated its accusations that the sanctions were decided in haste and without due process.

The AP reports that the NCAA quickly responded that their sanctions weren't up for appeal.

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Money & Politics
5:11 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Not Always Clear Who's Funding Politics-Related Ads

Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, leave a speech by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Uriel Sinai Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 4, 2012 1:11 am

Prominent Jewish Republicans flew to Israel last weekend to join presidential candidate Mitt Romney on his overseas trip. Among them were casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam.

The Adelsons were in the audience Sunday when Romney gave a policy speech in Jerusaleum. And at a fundraising breakfast Monday, Sheldon Adelson sat by Romney's side.

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The Torch
4:49 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Saudi Arabia's First Female Olympian Makes History In Judo Match

Wojdan Shaherkani of Saudi Arabia (left) met Melissa Mojica in the women's +78 kg judo in London. Their match was short, but historic.
Quinn Rooney Getty Images

It's nearly time to set The Torch to "dim" for the night, but we must note something historic that happened today: Wojdan Shaherkani competed for Saudi Arabia in the Olympics, becoming the first woman ever to do so.

Shaherkani wasn't a threat to win her match against Puerto Rico's Melissa Mojica. After all, Shaherkani is only 16, and her highest level of achievement in judo is a blue belt. Their match only lasted 1 minute and 22 seconds.

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Arts & Life
4:41 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Monroe's Legacy Is Making Fortune, But For Whom?

Marilyn Monroe's will reveals a quieter, more complicated side to her legacy.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 5:06 pm

Marilyn Monroe, a global symbol of beauty, glamour and sex, died on Aug. 5, 1962. Fifty years later, she's still in style — and making more money than ever. Monroe's come-hither expression is emblazoned on posters, T-shirts and refrigerator magnets. She's become a multimillion-dollar brand, but that may never have happened if not for the will she left behind, a document that reveals a much quieter — and more complicated — side to her legacy.

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Movies
4:41 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Franchises Age, But Their Stars Stay Forever Young

Jeremy Renner stars in The Bourne Legacy, the latest in a franchise previously fronted by Matt Damon. But when an actor departs a Hollywood cash cow, it can be less a death knell than a chance for rejuvenation.
Mary Cybulski Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 5:06 pm

The Bourne Legacy, which opens in theaters this week, is the fourth thriller in the series, and the first without either Jason Bourne or the star playing him, Matt Damon. They're suddenly not necessary, even though the series is named for Bourne? Why am I not surprised?

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The Two-Way
4:34 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman Is Headed Back To Jail

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
Dave Martin AP

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman has been sentenced to 78 months in prison.

It means Siegelman is headed back to prison after he was freed to appeal his case. The AP gives us some background:

"Siegelman, 66, and former HealthSouth chief Richard Scrushy were convicted in 2006. They arranged $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman's campaign for a state lottery in exchange for the governor appointing Scrushy to an important hospital regulatory board.

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Health
3:53 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

New York Officials: Breast Milk May Be Best 'Formula'

City leaders want to encourage more new moms to breast-feed their babies. One of several "Latch on NYC" posters promoting the initiative.
Courtesy of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 5:06 pm

Starting next month, dozens of hospitals will participate in "Latch on NYC," an initiative aimed at encouraging new moms to breast-feed instead of using baby formula.

Health care professionals say breast-feeding is better for both mother and baby.

But critics — many of them mothers — say the city is inserting itself where it doesn't belong.

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The Torch
3:42 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Track Cyclist's Admitting To Intentional Crash Won't Bring Investigation

The British sprint team of Philip Hindes (front), Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy won a gold medal Thursday, but remarks by Hindes caused concerns about athletes' ethics to resurface. The IOC says it will not investigate.
Bryn Lennon Getty Images

If one thing is clear at these London Games, it's that not doing one's best is not only uncool — it's not allowed. Witness the badminton-to-worstminton scandal that erupted earlier this week, when players turned the tournament structure into a "farce" by attempting to lose in order to manipulate their seeds in the next round.

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The Two-Way
2:46 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Reuters Says Its Website Was Hacked, Fake Syria Stories Posted

The wire service Reuters says its blogging service was compromised today. The people responsible, Reuters said, took the opportunity to post a fake news story about Syria.

Reuters reports:

"One of the false posts purported to be an interview with Riad al-Asaad, the head of the Free Syrian Army.

"'Reuters did not carry out such an interview and the posting has been deleted,' the Reuters statement said.

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The Two-Way
2:38 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Experts Find Ancient Mayans May Have Used Chocolate As Condiment

Chocolate.
Philippe Huguen AFP/Getty Images

Archaeologists have made a surprising discovery: They announced they found traces of 2,500-year-old chocolate on a plate as opposed to a cup.

The conclusion they make is that it means ancient Mayans not only drank chocolate but also used it as a condiment.

The AP reports the discovery was made public by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History.

The AP adds:

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The Torch
2:37 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Phelps And Franklin Add To Their Medal Totals, And A New Teen Phenom Emerges

American Katie Ledecky seemed to be in disbelief as she hugged bronze medalist Rebecca Adlington of Great Britain. Ledecky, 15, won the women's 800m freestyle by four seconds in London.
Al Bello Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 4:08 pm

In one of the last showcase days for swimming at the 2012 Summer Olympics, American athletes Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin hit the pool at London's aquatic center Friday. Each of them were on a mission to end their individual event schedules with gold medals.

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The Salt
2:03 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

If Almonds Bring You Joy, Enjoy More For Fewer Calories

Almonds may have 20 percent less calories than previously thought.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 10:10 am

Scientists are starting to discover that the standard way of measuring calories, established more than 100 years ago, may not be terribly accurate when it comes to higher fat, high-fiber foods like nuts. But when it comes to almonds, the count may be off by a whole lot.

Food scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently published a new study that finds almonds have about 20 percent fewer calories than previously documented.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:51 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

More Cases Of New Swine Flu Virus Appear In Three States

Colton Tucker gives water to a pig to be shown at the California State Fair in Sacramento in July. Federal health officials say most of the cases of a new flu virus in Indiana, Ohio and Hawaii after kids came in direct contact with pigs at agricultural fairs.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Federal health officials Friday reported a jump this summer in the number of people who have gotten infected with a new swine flu virus.

Sixteen cases of the new H3N2 swine flu have been confirmed in the last few weeks, including 12 in the last week alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Ten of last week's cases occurred in Ohio, while the two others were in Indiana and Hawaii.

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The Two-Way
1:31 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

'Entire World' Has Responded To The $500 Tip 'Last Wish,' Brother Says

Aaron Collins, who wanted to leave a big tip.
Facebook.com/AaronsLastWish

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 5:06 pm

  • Seth Collins on the outpouring of support
  • Seth Collins on what Aaron would think

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Technology
12:44 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Tech Giants Gear Up For Patent Battle

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 1:29 pm

A court battle between Apple and Samsung is underway in California, with each side arguing over intricate patent and trademark claims covering how the companies' phones and tablets work, look, and feel. Robin Feldman, professor at the UC Hastings College of the Law, explains some of the key issues in the court case and how it might affect the technology industry.

Space
12:34 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Planning For 'Curiosity' On Mars

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 1:29 pm

If all goes according to plan, the Mars Science Laboratory rover, nicknamed 'Curiosity,' will touch down on the red planet this weekend following what NASA has called 'seven minutes of terror' during the descent. NPR science correspondent Joe Palca and John Grunsfeld, head of NASA's Science Directorate, give a preview of the mission and talk about what scientists hope to learn from the latest ambassador to Mars.

The Torch
12:33 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Going To The Games: A Spectator's View Of The London Olympics

Tickets to London 2012 events come with a travel pass.
Madhulika Sikka NPR

To find out what the London Olympics are like for the average fan, we asked Morning Edition executive producer Madhulika Sikka — a Brit who's vacationing in London — to describe it for us. Sikka received tickets through the lottery.

Congratulations, you've secured tickets for an Olympic event, and London 2012 awaits you. So, what's it like to navigate a city that has been bracing itself for the throng of Olympic visitors?

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Environment
12:30 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Changing Views About A Changing Climate

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 1:29 pm

What is the role of humans in climate change? "Call me a converted skeptic," physicist Richard Muller wrote in an Op-Ed in the New York Times this week, describing his analysis of data from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project. Though Muller was once a notable skeptic regarding studies connecting human activity to climate change, he has now concluded that "humans are almost entirely the cause" of global warming.

NPR Story
12:28 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Making Movies That Zoom Into Foreign Worlds

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 1:29 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

You're listening to SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. A little later in the program, we'll be talking about NASA's landing of its new probe, Curiosity, to the Martian surface. But with us now is Flora Lichtman with our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.

FLATOW: This is a soothing...

(LAUGHTER)

FLATOW: I mean, I saw the video pick. It's so soothing, although it's on a topic that you wouldn't think is soothing at all.

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NPR Story
12:28 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

One Doc's Prescription For Hassle-Free Healthcare

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 1:29 pm

Dr. Jay Parkinson envisions a future of more efficient, hassle-free healthcare--and it starts online. He says he and his colleagues at the New York City-based healthcare start-up Sherpaa can solve 70 percent of patients' problems via email, eliminating a trip to the doctor's office.

NPR Story
12:28 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Spending The Holidays At A Toxic Waste Site

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 1:29 pm

To avoid the crowds at Niagara Falls, why not sail the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or ogle oil refineries in Port Arthur, Texas? In Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures In The World's Most Polluted Places, Andrew Blackwell describes traveling to the world's most contaminated destinations.

The Two-Way
12:23 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

After Aurora Shooting, A Couple Decides To Finish Watching 'Dark Knight'

The Century 16 movie theatre is seen from a memorial setup across the street in Aurora, Colorado.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Jacqueline Keavney Lader and Don Lader survived the Aurora shooting. But the day after, the military couple did something courageous: They returned to an area theater to finish watching the latest Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.

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Remembrances
12:09 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Writer And Critic Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal authored the historical novels Burr and Lincoln, wrote plays and provocative essays, ran for office twice — and lost — and frequently appeared on TV talk shows. His play The Best Man currently has a revival on Broadway.
AP

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 2:03 pm

In Gore Vidal's New York Times obituary, Charles McGrath described the writer as "the elegant, acerbic all around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization." Vidal died Tuesday at the age of 86.

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'It's All Politics': NPR's Weekly News Roundup
11:53 am
Fri August 3, 2012

It's All Politics, Aug. 2, 2012

Uriel Sinai Getty Images

Holy mackerel, it's the holy site edition of the podcast. NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin look back at the memorable — and controversial — moments of Mitt Romney's foreign trip, and then look ahead to the upcoming Republican and Democratic conventions.

Also, a new Tea Party star is born in the Lone Star State.

Author Interviews
11:41 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Crum: Lee Maynard's 'Love Letter' To His Hometown

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 2:10 pm

Lee Maynard's 1988 semi-autobiographical novel Crum is set in the small, poor West Virginia town where he grew up. The people of Crum who know the book tend to love it or hate it. It was even banned for several years in a state-run store. The sequel, Screaming With the Cannibals, which came out five years later, got his protagonist Jesse Stone out of West Virginia, across the Tug River into Kentucky.

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The Two-Way
11:39 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Same News, Different Spins: Check These Headlines About The Jobs Report

Different takes on the same story.
FoxNews.com and NBCNews.com

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 12:13 pm

Our headline all day has been "163,000 Jobs Added In July; Unemployment Rate Rose To 8.3 Percent."

But as is often the case, some other news outlets like to add a little bit of interpretation to their headlines:

-- Fox News says "Wrong-Way Growth: Jobless Jumps
In July as New Hiring Remains Slow
."

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