Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 10:24 am
Some movies can be ruined by thinking about them too much. Then there are the movies you ruin by thinking about them at all. The former can be fun exercises in effortless diversion. But when concerted effort is required not to ask any story-deflating questions about what's up on the screen, it kind of flattens the fun.
Crude oil prices are up about 20 percent over the past two months. On Tuesday, the price of the U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, hit $109. Events in Syria are driving the price spike. Syria doesn't produce much oil, but there is great concern that the conflict there might spill over and involve other Persian Gulf nations such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.
A UN weapons inspection team is due to leave Syria on Saturday, but it will take time for them to review all of the material they've gathered about an alleged chemical weapons attack. The British government now says it will wait to hear the report before taking any military action to punish Bashar al-Assad's regime. That leaves the U.S. in an awkward position. It has written off the UN route because of Russia's opposition to any action.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Around the world today, there are deliberations about Syria. The governments of the U.S., France and Britain are pushing for action in response to last week's alleged chemical weapons attack. They blame the Syrian government for the deaths of hundreds of people outside Damascus.
Rebecca Hall, a veteran of films like Vicky Cristina Barcelona and The Town, is the star of the new surveillance-state thriller Closed Circuit, playing an English barrister charged with monitoring top-secret, closed-to-the-public evidence hearings involving a terrorist bombing.
If you're finding it harder to remember where you put the car keys, the culprit could be a brain protein with a name that's easy to forget: RbAp48.
A shortage of this protein appears to impair our ability to remember things as we age, researchers report in the current issue of Science Translational Medicine. And boosting levels of RbAP48 in aging brains can reverse memory loss, at least in mice, they say.
On her latest album, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, singer Neko Case lays her heart — and her healthy sense of humor — bare. It's a deeply personal record that, among other things, offers intimate, sometimes wry meditations on the recent loss of both of her parents and a grandmother. NPR Music's Stephen Thompson and I spoke with Neko Case about the music, and shared questions from listeners, in this interview that we originally webcast live on Aug. 29.
A federal appeals court has reversed an injunction that kept California's law banning conversion therapy from taking effect. This composite image shows sate Sen. Ted Lieu, left, who introduced the original bill, and David Pickup, a marriage and family therapist who is a plaintiff in the suit against it.
California's pioneering law that prohibits treating young gay people with psychotherapy in an attempt to change their sexual orientation has cleared a constitutional challenge in federal appeals court. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the ban does not violate essential rights.
Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 3:26 pm
The Obama administration said Wednesday that it is moving ahead with a rule that would requiring health plans to accommodate households that don't have traditional bank accounts.
One in four of the uninsured people eligible for federal insurance subsidies doesn't have a bank account, according to a report released earlier this year by the tax preparation firm Jackson Hewitt. The report dubbed people without connections to traditional financial institutions the "unbanked."
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 4:59 pm
Spice may be nice, but spices also can carry very bad bugs. About 7 percent of spices tested by Food and Drug Administration researchers were contaminated with salmonella, which can cause serious illness and death. Because of this finding and others, the FDA and international food safety organizations are putting more effort into how to reduce the risk.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 3:16 pm
The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced on Thursday that when it comes to federal tax purposes, same-sex couples who have legally married will be treated the same as straight married couples, no matter what state they reside in now.
Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 3:29 pm
There's no question that dealing with mortgages, car payments and other bills takes up time and energy. But having a tight budget may also zap our ability to think clearly, scientists report Thursday in the journal Science.
In a series of clever experiments involving farmers in India and shoppers in New Jersey, scientists found that people are worse at solving puzzles — similar to those on the IQ test — when they're first reminded of money problems.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 6:09 pm
Maybe it was the dreary weather and the many older folks who had the good VIP seats on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, but Wednesday afternoon's commemoration of the March on Washington's 50th anniversary felt like a valediction for the civil rights generation.
They made this world possible and should be honored.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 3:26 pm
The author is a Syrian citizen in Damascus who is not being further identified for safety reasons.
In a west Damascus neighborhood Thursday, a drumbeat all too rare drew people to their windows and balconies. Passersby stopped to investigate. Traffic came to a halt. Some drivers honked to the beat.
They were the drums of a wedding, a tradition known in Damascus as an arada. It involves a troupe of professional drummers, along with dozens of members of a wedding party, that picks up the groom from home.
A zoo in central China's Henan province swapped a dog — a Tibetan mastiff like the one shown here — for a lion, in another story that recently swept Chinese cyberspace.
Credit Ed Jones / AFP/Getty Images
A police officer tickets a young woman for parking a Maserati (estimated to be worth more than $300,000) on the double yellow lines in the middle of the street in Chongqing, China. Stories like this one that go viral in China are increasingly available to English audiences, thanks for a new breed of websites such as ChinaSMACK.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 2:45 pm
The NFL and more than 4,500 retired players have reached an agreement calling for the league to contribute $765 million to a fund that will pay "medical and other benefits, as well as compensation" to those who suffered concussions and related injuries during their careers.
The hour continues as host Ophira Eisenberg and puzzle editor Art Chung unearth notorious stumpers from the Ask Me Another archives. How well do you know your "qwertyuiop"? We ask contestants to create words using letters found on the "Top Row" of a computer keyboard. Mental math meets pop music in "Algebraic Music" (with an assist from house musician Jonathan Coulton) and the names of esteemed world leaders get reduced to animal-related puns in "Imperial Pets."