Washington, D.C., has long been thought of as a city filled with corrupt, cynical careerists who care only about themselves. Well, New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich has written a book called This Town that basically proves it.
The Government Accountability Office says that the Social Security Administration made about $1.3 billion in payments over two years to about 36,000 people who were believed to be working, while claiming they were disabled.
The GAO arrived at this number by comparing names on the National Directory of New Hires and people on disability insurance.
While $1.3 billion sounds like a whole lot of money, keep in mind that this only represents less than 1 percent of all the disability benefits paid by the agency.
Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 5:58 pm
More than 150 people are now believed to have been sickened by synthetic marijuana in Colorado, which legalized recreational use of real pot last November. Three people may have died.
State and federal investigators are scrambling to identify the exact source of the illnesses. The state health department has named about a dozen illicit products, often sold as "incense," that it believes are responsible for at least some of the illnesses. The stuff goes by names like "Spice," "Crazy Clown" and "Dead Man Walking."
Human DNA is the ultimate fingerprint. A single hair can contain enough information to determine someone's identity — a feature that's been invaluable for identifying the unnamed casualties of natural disasters and war. But forensic scientists who use DNA say the technology isn't always available where it's most needed, like in poor countries, or in war zones like Syria.
For several weeks now, two unmanned spy planes have been flying over the Atlantic on an unusual mission: gathering intelligence about tropical storms and hurricanes.
The two Global Hawk drones are a central part of NASA's five-year HS3 (Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel) Mission investigating why certain weather patterns become hurricanes, and why some hurricanes grow into monster storms.
It's another week of college football and yet another scandal, this time at Oklahoma State, the subject of a five part investigative story by Sports Illustrated involving athletes taking cash from coaches, sex, and drugs. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis joins Audie Cornish to talk about that and the ultra-hyped big game between Alabama, the defending national champion and Texas A&M, home of the most polarizing player in college football, quarterback Johnny Manziel.
In 1992, a young man headed into the Alaskan wilderness seeking a new way of life and perhaps an escape from the modern world. Four months later, emaciated and helpless, he died. This short, fatal experiment with simple living was exhaustively explored by Jon Krakauer in his book, Into The Wild. But one core mystery remained: Was the journey a slow-motion suicide mission? Or was his death an accident? Jon Krakauer had a theory: unintentional poisoning. Now, he thinks he has proof. He tells Audie Cornish about the new evidence.
The four men convicted of rape and murder in an Indian court were sentenced to death in New Delhi Friday. Last December, the men lured a young woman onto a bus, and then raped and tortured her before throwing her off the vehicle. She died of her injuries two weeks later. The death sentences were greeted with approval by the victim's family, and there have been widespread calls for the men to hang ever since details of their crime became known.
Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 6:12 pm
Darwin the 'Ikea monkey' will no longer be hitting the superstores with a Canadian woman who calls him her son after a judge in Ontario ruled that the primate is not a pet and should remain at an animal sanctuary.
As we wrote in December, Darwin, a Japanese macaque dressed in a heavy shearling coat, attracted considerable attention when he escaped from a locked crate in owner Yasmin Nakhuda's car in Toronto. He made his way through rows of parked cars and ended up inside a nearby Ikea store before staff there cornered him and called in animal control officials.
"No shark fin, bluefin tuna or black moss will be on the menu at official entertainment functions," the government said. "The items have aroused international and local concern because they are either captured or harvested in ecologically unfriendly or unsustainable ways, or cause other conservation concerns."
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 2:28 pm
New Orleans' Preservation Hall, the dirt-floor space off Bourbon Street, was founded in 1961 as a place for the elders of Crescent City jazz to play nightly. Today, World Cafe talks with Ben Jaffe; like his father Alan, who ran the space initially, Jaffe is a tuba player who guides the world-renowned band today.
R&B singer-songwriter James Ingram rose to prominence for his 1982 duet with Patti Austin, "Baby, Come to Me," and continued a string of partnerships with hit-makers such as Quincy Jones and Michael McDonald. Ingram has been nominated for 14 Grammy Awards, including wins for "One Hundred Ways" and "Somewhere Out There."
Science is more like the United Nations than it is like a village. Different communities of scientists carry out their work using their own methods, languages and styles. Scientists in different fields need interpreters if they are to communicate with each other. There is no scientific lingua franca, not even mathematics.