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Shots - Health News
3:37 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Smart Teenage Brains May Get Some Extra Learning Time

When it comes to nature versus nurture, brain scientists think both matter.
Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 11:04 am

John Hewitt is a neuroscientist who studies the biology of intelligence. He's also a parent. Over the years, Hewitt has periodically drawn upon his scientific knowledge in making parenting decisions.

"I'm a father of four children myself and I never worried too much about the environments that I was providing for my children because I thought, well, it would all work out in the end anyway — aren't the genes especially powerful?" Hewitt says.

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Shots - Health News
3:37 am
Mon September 23, 2013

How A Pregnant Woman's Choices Could Shape A Child's Health

Does a glass or two of wine during pregnancy really increase the child's health risks? Epigenetics may help scientists figure that out.
Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 8:58 am

Pregnant women hear a lot about things they should avoid: alcohol, tobacco, chemical exposures, stress. All of those have the potential to affect a developing fetus. And now scientists are beginning to understand why.

One important factor, they say, is something called epigenetics, which involves the mechanisms that turn individual genes on and off in a cell.

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The Salt
3:35 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Got Baguettes? Bakers' Lobby Tells France To Eat More Bread

Baguettes head into a giant oven at Le Grenier a Pain Bakery.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 11:32 am

The French, it seems, aren't eating bread the way they used to. The average French person consumes just half a baguette a day, down from a full baguette 40 years ago.

Those statistics worry the French bakers' lobby, the Observatoire du Pain.

Bernard Vallius, who heads the group, says it used to be that people ate a sit-down lunch and dinner with family or friends every day. Now people — especially the young and those who live in cities — eat sandwiches or skip lunch altogether and snack, he says.

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Monkey See
3:34 am
Mon September 23, 2013

The Man Who Gets The Science Right On 'The Big Bang Theory'

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David Saltzberg (right) hosts his "Geek of the Week," UCLA student Andrew Peck, on the set of The Big Bang Theory.
Michael Yarish Warner Bros.

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 12:02 pm

Sure, Bob Newhart may have won his first Emmy for guest-starring as Professor Proton on the hugely popular show The Big Bang Theory, about four young scientists at Caltech. But behind the scenes is a real-life professor, David Saltzberg of UCLA.

Saltzberg studies high-energy particle physics and high-energy neutrino astronomy, using radio-detection techniques when he's not working as The Big Bang Theory's science consultant.

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The Two-Way
3:08 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Scripps College Honors Ex-Rep. Giffords For Public Service

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, accompanied by her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, speaks during a news conference in Manchester, N.H., in July. They were there to encourage state political leaders to have courage in the fight to expand background checks on gun purchases.
Mary Schwalm AP

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 4:02 am

Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was honored over the weekend for her service to the public by Scripps College. Giffords' alma mater awarded her the school's highest level of recognition: the Ellen Browning Scripps Medal.

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Around the Nation
6:19 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

Strained Foster Care System A 'Meter Of Our Social Problems'

Claudia Felder, 21, was in and out of the U.S. foster care system for nearly 10 years before she found a permanent family. Her difficult story ended happily, but that's not always the case for the 400,000 kids in foster care in America.
Daniel Hajek NPR

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 12:02 pm

Claudia Felder lives in Chino, Calif., with her parents. It's a wholesome scene: nice house, three dogs and a parrot and happy family pictures everywhere.

You'd have no idea that the composed, cheerful, articulate young woman got off to a rough start in life.

Felder spent much of her childhood in foster care, starting when she was 3 years old. She's 21 now, and has been living happily with her adoptive family. But memories of an abusive past still haunt her.

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The Two-Way
5:17 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

Obama At Navy Yard Memorial: 'Once More, Our Hearts Are Broken'

President Obama speaks during a memorial service at the Marine Barracks Sunday in Washington, D.C., honoring victims of Monday's shooting at the Navy Yard.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 6:07 am

President Obama spoke at a memorial service Sunday to honor the 12 victims of Monday's Navy Yard shootings.

"The tragedy and the pain that brings us here today is extraordinary. It is unique," he said.

But Obama also noted Monday's incident is the fifth mass shooting he has witnessed as president. "Once more, our hearts are broken," he said.

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Europe
4:59 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

Merkel Appears Victorious, But Coalition's Future Uncertain

Originally published on Sun September 22, 2013 6:19 pm

In Germany Sunday, exit polls show that Chancellor Angela Merkel has won a third term, with her political party getting the most votes. But one of the key members in her ruling coalition appears to have been voted out of parliament, leaving it unclear who Merkel will partner with in her next government.

Africa
4:59 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

Kenyan Government Moves To End Deadly Mall Standoff

Originally published on Sun September 22, 2013 6:19 pm

In Nairobi Sunday night, Kenyan government forces appear to be preparing for a major push to end the standoff in the Westgate Mall. The government says it has cornered the gunmen who stormed the mall Saturday. NPR's Gregory Warner tells host Arun Rath at least 68 people have been killed.

Education
4:59 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

In Push For 'Common' Standards, Many Parents Left Uneducated

The Common Core Standards establish academic expectations across states in math and English language arts.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 2:51 pm

Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core State Standards, the first-ever national academic standards for students. But opposition is growing, and some lawmakers are having second thoughts about their states' support.

Meanwhile, proponents of the standards are still struggling to explain the initiative to parents, many of whom say they've never even heard of Common Core.

Looking For Direction

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The Salt
4:59 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

Move Over Vodka; Korean Soju's Taking A Shot At America

Boxes of empty Jinro soju bottles sit in a downtown Seoul, South Korea, shop on April 1, 2005.
Jung Yeon-Je AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 3:35 pm

Every year, the trade magazine Drinks International puts out a list of the top-selling alcohols in the world, and in the category of spirits, there is one brand that more than doubles the sales of its closest competitor every year. Smirnoff, Jack Daniel's and Bacardi don't even come close.

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Author Interviews
4:59 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

'Hollywood Said No,' But 'Mr. Show' Fans Said Yes!

From left, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross co-created the sketch comedy series Mr. Show. They have since played long-running roles on Breaking Bad and Arrested Development, respectively.
Sharon Alagna Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing

Originally published on Sun September 22, 2013 6:19 pm

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Parallels
4:22 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

Small Syrian Border Town Magnifies Rift Between Rebel Groups

A Free Syrian Army soldier stands on a Syrian military tank in front of a damaged mosque in the Syrian town of Azaz in September 2012. A different rebel group, an al-Qaida offshoot, took over the town on Wednesday.
Hussein Malla AP

A small town on the Syrian-Turkish border is playing an outsized role in what has become a war within the war in Syria. Azaz is now a symbol of the dangerous rift between Western-backed rebels under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army and a radical Islamist groups linked to al-Qaida.

Clashes on Wednesday — the seizure of Azaz by an al-Qaida offshoot — were followed more closely than other battles, in part because Azaz was the gateway town for journalists reporting on Syria.

From Cooperation To Competition

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The Two-Way
3:41 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

Crash Stops Cross-Country Charity Bike Ride, Miles From Goal

Jacob Landis has been riding his bike to every Major League Baseball stadium, to raise money to help the needy pay for cochlear implants. His ride ended Saturday night due to a crash — but Landis says he'll still be at the Marlins' stadium next week.
Jacob's Ride

Originally published on Sun September 22, 2013 4:24 pm

Cyclist Jacob Landis, who rode more than 10,000 miles on his bike this year to raise money for cochlear implants, will miss out on the final miles of his ride after being hit by a truck. Landis had planned to ride his bike to every Major League Baseball stadium this season. Despite the crash, he says he'll still go to the final game on his schedule.

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This Is NPR
3:03 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

Join NPR For A Night Of Cheap-Date-Tested, B.J. Novak-Approved Fun; Thursday, 10/10

The Ask Me Another team (top) and audience members at the NPR show's Central Park taping for SummerStage 2013.
Steve McFarland for NPR

Fugazi, comedy and friendly competition.

Got your interest yet? NPR has an event coming up that let's just call... the answer to your date-planning needs. A guaranteed night of buzzer-busting shenanigans and they-went-there banter all set to lyric-shifting house music and can't-stop, won't-stop laughs.

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It's All Politics
2:53 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

EPA Gives Coal-State Democrats A Chance To Sound Republican

State and local leaders break ground at a Louisville, Ky., coal-burning power plant in November 2012.
Dylan Lovan AP

For Democrats running in coal-producing states like Kentucky and West Virginia, the Environmental Protection Agency's new limits on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants provide a carboniferous chance to demonstrate independence from President Obama.

Those Democrats will probably take advantage of every chance they get to separate themselves from the president in voters' minds, since their Republican opponents will be working overtime to portray them as reliable Obama votes if they're elected to Congress.

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Music Interviews
2:17 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

?uestlove And Elvis Costello On Writing Together

?uestlove and The Roots play backing band to Elvis Costello on the new collaborative album Wise Up Ghost.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 9:34 am

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

U.S. Helicopter Crashes In Red Sea, With 5 Aboard

A U.S. Navy helicopter has crashed in the Red Sea, carrying a crew of five, the military service says. The status of the crew is not yet known; a search and rescue effort was begun after the crash Sunday, using boats and aircraft.

"The crash was not due to any sort of hostile activity," the Navy says. "The incident is under investigation."

The helicopter, a MH-60S Knighthawk, had been on operations with a guided-missile destroyer, the USS William P. Lawrence. It is part of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Six.

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The Two-Way
1:23 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

Striking Images, Personal Stories Emerge From Kenyan Mall Attack

Civilians try to move to safety in a Nairobi shopping mall, where a standoff that began Saturday has lasted into Sunday. Images and witness accounts depict harrowing scenes inside the mall.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

One day after panic and confusion took over a shopping mall in Nairobi, survivors' accounts and photographs provide a close-up perspective of the scene. Their stories have given new detail to the chaos that erupted after attackers used grenades and guns to begin a standoff that lasted into Sunday.

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The Two-Way
10:29 am
Sun September 22, 2013

Suicide Attack Strikes Church In Pakistan; Dozens Dead

People gather outside All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan, Sunday, after a suicide bombing attack killed scores of people earlier in the day, officials said.
Mohammad Sajjad AP

Originally published on Sun September 22, 2013 11:33 am

Two suicide bombers struck the All Saints Church following a service in Peshawar, Pakistan, Sunday, killing more than 70 people and wounding more than 120, according to the AP and other news outlets. The victims are believed to include many children.

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