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Shots - Health News
4:13 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Fix Is In For Congressional Obamacare Glitch

The new health law has left some 20,000 workers on Capitol Hill unsure of their health care options for the coming year.
Dwight Nadig iStockphoto

Finally, the federal HR department has released the health rule much of Capitol Hill has been waiting for.

There's now an explanation from the Office of Personnel Management on how members of Congress and much of their staff will get their health insurance starting next year.

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All Songs Considered
4:12 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

First Watch: Nora Jane Struthers, 'Bike Ride'

Courtesy of the artist

For those who haven't yet discovered Nora Jane Struthers, the summery song "Bike Ride" is a great introduction to her beguiling, well-considered worldview. The first time Struthers sings the song's most important line — "I can go anywhere" — the phrase rises up out of her throat, free, wide open. The second time, a phrase later, she clamps down on it with some grit. "'Bike Ride' is a song about a re-awakening," the 29-year-old Nashville resident said in a recent email. "When you propel yourself forward through time and space on your own steam, you realize your own agency."

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The Salt
4:03 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Bring Home The Bacon Or Put It In A Meat Locker?

Time for a meat locker? One Flickr user's freezer after purchasing a large share of a pig.
Cowgirl Jules via Flickr

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 12:44 pm

Why buy 1 pound of hamburger meat from a local farmer when you can buy 5 pounds — plus another 20 pounds of stew meat, steaks and roast — for as little as half the price of what it all goes for at the market?

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The Two-Way
3:58 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Arizona Firefighter's Widow May Fight City Over Benefits

Juliann Ashcraft, wife of late firefighter Andrew Ashcraft, receives a U.S. flag during a memorial service in July. Ashcraft says the city has refused to pay full benefits for her husband's death, calling him a seasonal employee.
David Kadlubowski AP

The widow of a man who died fighting a wildfire this summer as part of a "hotshots" team based in Prescott, Ariz., says her attempts to be paid her late husband's lifetime benefits have been denied. The city's explanation is that Andrew Ashcraft, 29, was a seasonal employee, Juliann Ashcraft said Wednesday.

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Shots - Health News
3:51 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Redefining Cancer To Reduce Unnecessary Treatment

Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, explains why calling some conditions cancer creates problems.
Chris Hamilton American Cancer Society

A cancer diagnosis can be downright frightening. And after the initial shock, there can be gruelling rounds of treatment.

But sometimes treatment can be a waste, because the condition a doctor labels as cancer isn't really much of a health threat.

The National Cancer Institute convened a group of specialists last year to look at the problem of overdiagnosis and overtreatment of cancer. One idea: redefine what gets called cancer.

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The Salt
2:52 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

After Immigration Bust, Herb Grower Tries A New Path

Ted Andrews, CEO of HerbCo International, says the H-2A agricultural guest worker program needs improvements.
Liz Jones for NPR

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 10:58 pm

The ongoing immigration debate in Congress often spotlights the job market for people living in the U.S. illegally. Not long ago, that market included one of the country's top organic herb farms — until an immigration bust forced the business, based in Washington state, to clean up its payroll.

Ted Andrews, owner of HerbCo International, says he's learned some tough lessons during the transition to a legal workforce. Lesson No. 1: "There are events that can destroy a business in the snap of a finger," he says. "This was one of them."

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The Two-Way
2:46 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

3 Extradition Cases That Help Explain U.S.-Russia Relations

A Russian police officer watches a protester during a rally in front of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in September 2004. Some 500 protesters demanded the extradition of Ilyas Akhmadov from the United States.
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 4:30 pm

Earlier today, diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia suffered a substantial blow, when President Obama pulled out a of planned bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in September.

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Why Were The Baboons So Sad? Many Theories, No Answers

The Emmen Zoo's baboons last week, when they were looking so sad.
Courtesy of the Emmen Zoo

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 6:06 am

  • Wijbren Landman, biologist and press officer at the Emmen Zoo, on why baboons sometimes act so sad.

When the keepers at the Netherlands' Emmen Zoo opened the night enclosure for 112 baboons on July 29, they expected the animals would be, as usual, eager to get inside.

After all, the baboons knew there was food for them in there.

Instead, biologist and zoo press officer Wijbren Landman tells All Things Considered the baboons didn't want to budge. "It took us about an hour to get them inside," he says. That night, the baboons didn't eat.

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Parallels
1:59 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

'It's Too Hot': Shanghai Wilts In Record-Setting Heat Wave

People cool off Wednesday in a pool in Shanghai, where temperatures reached an all-time record: 105.4 degrees.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 6:41 pm

Temperatures Wednesday in Shanghai hit an all-time high: 105.4 degrees, according to officials here. It was the hottest day in 140 years, since the government began keeping records.

The Chinese megacity is in the midst of its hottest summer ever.

Usually bustling streets are near empty at noon and thousands have gone to hospitals for relief. To get a feel for how people are handling the heat wave, I waded into a public pool in the city's Hankou district. By early afternoon, the temperature was 98 degrees in the shade, according to the thermometer I brought along.

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Code Switch
1:57 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Who, Exactly, Is A Gringo?

A man walks past anti-U.S. graffiti that reads "Gringos out" in Spanish.
Howard Yanes AP

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 8:14 am

A college classmate asked me, "Where are you from?"

I gave him the long answer: I was born in Guatemala, but my mother is from Nicaragua, and I have lived in the U.S. my whole life.

"So, you're Guatemalan," he said. No, I'm not.

I may have been born in Guatemala, but I was raised in Florida. Regardless of the fact that I have lived in the U.S. since I was 2 years old, most Americans would find it strange to hear my grandma occasionally call me media gringa -- a half-gringa.

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Shots - Health News
1:57 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Decades After Henrietta Lacks' Death, Family Gets A Say On Her Cells

Henrietta Lacks and her husband, David, in 1945.
Courtesy of the Lacks family

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 11:03 am

The family of the late Henrietta Lacks finally got the chance to weigh in on how scientists use cells taken from her — without consent — more than 60 years ago.

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Parallels
1:51 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Migrants Flock To Russia, But Receive A Cool Welcome

Migrant workers follow a police officer during a raid by Russian immigration authorities at a construction site in Moscow, in 2012.
Karpov Sergei ITAR-Tass/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 1:26 am

Russia's immigration issues would be familiar to Americans: Millions of impoverished migrants have come and found low-wage jobs. Some are in Russia illegally and are exploited by their employers. And a growing number of Russians fear this influx of migrants, many of whom are Muslim, is changing the face of the country.

At 3:30 on a recent morning, the train from Dushanbe, Tajikistan, pulls into Moscow after a four-day journey. The passengers hauling their bags out onto the damp, ill-lit platform are mostly men. Russian police eye the new arrivals with suspicion.

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The Two-Way
1:38 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

The Road That Gives Electric Vehicles A Charge

An electric city bus in Gumi, South Korea, is part of a program using electromagnetic fields to charge batteries of electric vehicles.
KAIST

A city in South Korea flipped the switch on a road this week that will provide an electric charge to commuter buses on an inner-city route, officials say. The wireless power will be used to run two buses on round-trip routes of 24 kilometers (nearly 15 miles).

The charging road would allow electric vehicles to have much smaller batteries, according to researchers, and to be recharged whether they're parked or on the move.

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Parallels
1:25 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Should The U.S. Speak Up, Or Keep Mum, On Terrorism Threats?

A Yemeni soldier searches a car near the airport in the capital, Sanaa. The United States has ordered Americans to leave Yemen immediately amid a warning of a possible attack.
Mohammed Huwais AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 2:29 pm

Almost every time the U.S. government gets wind of a potential terrorist attack, it faces a tough choice: It can quietly pursue the suspected plotters, or it can go public in the belief that public awareness can discourage or thwart the attack.

In the current episode, the Obama administration has gone public in a big way, announcing the threat, temporarily shutting more than 20 U.S. embassies and diplomatic posts from Rwanda to Bangladesh, and evacuating many embassy workers in Yemen, the country described as the main source of the threat.

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All Songs Considered
1:03 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Viking's Choice: Vattnet Viskar Blast Beats Into Oblivion In 'Mythos'

Vattnet Viskar.
Kenzy Dion Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 7:34 am

Vattnet Viskar's self-titled 2012 EP blazed through atmospheric, doom-ridden black metal with authority; it had promise for a style that's been mined endlessly in recent years.

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Health Care
12:56 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

'Paying Till It Hurts': Why American Health Care Is So Pricey

a system instead of 20, 40 components, each one having its own financial model, and each one making a profit," says New York Times correspondent Elisabeth Rosenthal." href="/post/paying-till-it-hurts-why-american-health-care-so-pricey" class="noexit lightbox">
"We need a system instead of 20, 40 components, each one having its own financial model, and each one making a profit," says New York Times correspondent Elisabeth Rosenthal.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 3:05 pm

It costs $13,660 for an American to have a hip replacement in Belgium; in the U.S., it's closer to $100,000.

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Movie Reviews
12:56 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

A Future Where Class Warfare Is Much More Than A Metaphor

Jody Foster plays her political opposite as the brutal secretary of defense in Elysium.
Kimberley French Sony Pictures

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 3:19 pm

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The Salt
12:37 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Pot Liquor: A Southern Tip To Save Nutritious Broth From Greens

Instead of throwing out the nutritious broth that's left over when you cook down greens, why not use it as the base for a delicious dish like this rockfish with clams in a garlic-shallot pot liquor sauce?
Alison Aubrey NPR

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 4:07 pm

We don't have to tell you about the growing popularity of greens. From kale to collards to turnips, we've learned to embrace their nutrient-packed bitterness.

So here's a tip: When you're cooking up a big pot of greens, don't toss out what may be the most nutritious part — the brothy water that's left in the pot.

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All Tech Considered
12:31 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

A Patch Designed To Make You Invisible To Mosquitoes

Researchers have come up with an innovative patch to help you win the war against mosquitoes.
AP

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 12:47 pm

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:08 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

The Nature Of Consciousness: A Question Without An Answer?

How does our subjective reality emerge from the physical structures of the brain and body?
iStockphoto.com

Today I'd like to go back to a topic that leaves most people perplexed, me included: the nature of consciousness and how it "emerges" in our brains. I wrote about this a few months ago, promising to get back to it. At this point, no scientist or philosopher in the world knows how to answer it. If you think you know the answer, you probably don't understand the question:

Are you all matter?

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