Giant batteries are coming to a power grid near you. In fact, they're already starting to appear on the grid in California.
That's because California is planning to rely increasingly on power supplies that aren't necessarily available every minute of every day. The state plans to get one-third of its electricity from wind and solar energy by 2020.
Utilities in the state are trying to figure out how they can cope with that uncertain power supply. Batteries aren't a panacea, but they could help.
A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that when a criminal defendant claims he did not have the requisite intent to commit a crime, the state may put on contrary evidence derived from a state psychiatric exam.
In such circumstances, the court said, using the psychiatric evaluation does not violate the Constitution's privilege against self-incrimination.
The decision involves a brutal 2005 murder case from rural Kansas.
Since the Newtown shootings, the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns has spent upwards of $15 million on ads supporting tougher gun laws and on candidate ads around this issue. Most of that money comes from New York City Mayor Michael Blumberg. One year later, we're going to check in on what the results have been. Mark Glaze is the coalition's executive director and he joins me here in the studio. Welcome.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish.
We're reporting this week on what happens to veterans who leave the service with less than honorable discharges. Troops who made big mistakes while still in uniform, used drugs, drove while drunk or worse, and got kicked out of the military. Turns out that discharge is something of a life sentence. These vets often lose access to veterans' health care and other benefits and it's hard to find jobs.
Meatpacking plants used to be located in urban centers like Kansas City and Chicago. Over the past few decades, many plants have moved to rural Midwestern towns, which have seen a huge influx of immigrants as a result. Yesterday, we reported on tiny Noel, Mo., which has struggled to help assimilate the newcomers who work at a large poultry plant.
A man holds a sign advocating the recall of state Sen. John Morse in Colorado Springs, Colo., in September. Morse and a second state senator who backed the state's new gun control measures were recalled during a special election that month.
Credit Matthew Staver / Landov
Former Colorado Senate President John Morse says losing his seat was a "small price to pay" for his support for passing a package of gun control laws.
Credit Andy Cross / Denver Post via Getty Images
Joe Neville helped lead the effort to recall state Sens. John Morse and Angela Giron. He says there should be no infringements on Americans' right to own guns.
John Morse was president of the Colorado Senate until September, when he became the first elected official recalled in the state's history.
Three months later, he's climbing the rotunda steps of the gold-domed Capitol building — his office for seven years. He hasn't been here since October. Gazing up at the dome, he says, "This is one of my favorite things to do. That's my version of smelling the roses."
Morse's political career ended over the gun bills he pushed through these chambers eight months ago. But he says he would do it all again.
The U.S. and Britain have suspended non-lethal aid to Western-backed rebel groups in northern Syria.A spokesman at the U.S. embassy in Turkey confirmed deliveries were halted after an Islamist rebel group seized U.S.-provided equipment from warehouses near the Turkish border.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
It was another icy night of confrontations between anti-government protestors and riot police in Ukraine. And demonstrators feel they have won an important round in their effort to force their president to resign. They've won strong words of support from the White House and from U.S. diplomats, but now they say it's time for more than words.
Time magazine has named Pope Francis as its Person of the Year. The magazine cited Francis' willingness to take on thorny issues such as homosexuality, the role of women in the church, poverty and the nature of capitalism. At the same time, the pontiff has done so while projecting an air of humility and compassion, which has captured the world's attention in just nine months.
Yesterday, the world's leaders paid tribute to Nelson Mandela. Now, the people have their turn. Mandela is lying in state in Pretoria to allow South Africans to bid him a personal farewell. Thousands of mourners filed past the half-open casket. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports the clouds and showers at yesterday's memorial have lifted.
World Cafe revisits a 2002 studio session with Rusted Root as Sense of Place: Pittsburgh continues. The energetic, percussion-heavy band has become synonymous with the sound of the city. Formed in 1990, Rusted Root is a sextet featuring many instruments and styles; the group is known for blending acoustic rock with world music. Its percussion style is heavily influenced by the music of Africa, Latin America and Native America, while its lyrical content often touches on Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
World Cafe's day trip to Pittsburgh for Sense of Place kicks off with a session by the pop-rock trio Donora. Donora, made up of brother and sister Jake and Casey Hanner and bassist Jake Churton, is a second-generation band. The Hanner siblings are the offspring of Dave Hanner, from the country band Corbin/Hanner. As kids, they spent time in their father's studio, which influenced them to pursue music careers of their own; Casey sings and plays guitar and keyboards, while her brother plays drums. Eventually, their dad convinced them to perform together.
To find out about up-and-coming local bands for our Sense of Place stop in Pittsburgh, we went straight to one of the city's best-known sources: Cindy Howes, host of Morning Mix on NPR member station WYEP.
A close observer of Pittsburgh's music scene, Howes couldn't pick just five bands to feature on Wednesday's episode, so she gave us six. She also gives listeners insight into the wide variety of music playing at any given night in the clubs of Pittsburgh's East End.
Charities like Goodwill sell or give away some of the used clothes they get. But a lot of the clothes get sold, packed in bales and sent across the ocean in a container ship. The U.S. exports over a billion pounds of used clothing every year — and much of that winds up in used clothing markets in sub-Saharan Africa.
We continue the hour of our favorite musical games. Join host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton as they lead the games "Triple Word Score" and "Happy and You Know It." Plus, contestant try out-lyricizing the clever Cole Porter in the game "Pen It Like Porter."
As the album cover closes on this collection of favorite music games, Fugazi's Ian MacKaye and NPR's Stephen Thompson identify acoustic renditions of punk songs performed by house musician Jonathan Coulton. Plus, "Our Magnum Opus," a musical final round.