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2:05 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Waste Not, Want Not: Town To Tap Sewers For Energy

Brainerd Public Utilities' Scott Sjolund at a sewer site. Sewers around the city were monitored to gauge the amount of potential energy flowing through the system.
Conrad Wilson for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 11:21 am

Most Americans use electricity, gas or oil to heat and cool their homes. But the small city of Brainerd, Minn., is turning to something a bit less conventional: the sewer.

As it turns out, a sewer — the place where a city's hot showers, dishwashing water and organic matter end up — is a pretty warm place. That heat can generate energy — meaning a city's sewer system can hold tremendous potential for heating and cooling.

It's just that unexpected energy source that Brainerd hopes to exploit.

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Law
2:04 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Fake Pot Is A Real Problem For Regulators

A screengrab from the Mr. Nice Guy site shows the company's products, including Relaxinol, which was blamed for contributing to an accidental death.
NPR

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 12:09 pm

This week, President Obama signed a law banning synthetic marijuana and other synthetic drugs. Dozens of states and local governments have already tried to outlaw fake marijuana, which has been blamed for hundreds of emergency room visits and a handful of fatalities.

But the bans have proved largely ineffective, and there are fears that the federal law won't be any different.

Synthetic marijuana looks a bit like dried grass clippings. It's readily available on the Internet and in convenience stores and smoke shops, where it's sold as herbal incense or potpourri.

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The Two-Way
5:59 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

From Our Readers: A Tale of Two Cities

In San Bernardino, Calif. the city government is suddenly seeking bankruptcy, while in Scranton, Pa. city workers have seen their salaries reduced to minimum wage. One of our readers disparages San Bernardino's actions while another advocates bankruptcy for Scranton.

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The Two-Way
5:49 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Syria's Ambassador To Iraq Says He Has Joined The Revolution

Marking him the most senior diplomat to defect from the Bashar Assad regime, Syria's ambassador to Iraq said he has joined the revolution.

Reuters reports that Nawaf Fares posted a video on Facebook announcing his resignation.

"I declare that I have joined, from this moment, the ranks of the revolution of the Syrian people," Fares said according to Reuters.

The AP, which reported the defection earlier quoting the opposition, says this is the second prominent Syrian to defect in less than a week. The AP adds:

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The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

VIDEO: When A Shark Steals Your Catch

A shark eats a fish.
YouTube

We dare say that fishing is rarely the most exciting of spectator sports. But a video that is just now going viral makes fishing look like a Hollywood film.

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Politics
4:53 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Arizona Immigration Activists Mobilize Latino Vote

Maxima Guerrero and Daniel Rodriguez canvass for votes in Phoenix. Rodriguez moved to the U.S. with his mother when he was a child, and is undocumented. "The best thing I can do now," he says, "is organize those that can [vote], and make them vote for me."
Andrea Hsu NPR

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 5:21 pm

For years, Maricopa County, Ariz., has been ground zero in the debate over immigration.

On one hand, the massive county, which includes the state capital of Phoenix, has a growing Latino population. On the other, it's home to publicity savvy Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has made his name by strictly enforcing, some say overstepping, immigration laws.

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The Two-Way
4:03 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Astronomers Discover Fifth Moon Orbiting Pluto

This image, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, shows five moons orbiting the distant, icy dwarf planet Pluto. The green circle marks the newly discovered moon, designated P5.
NASA

We now know that Pluto, the dwarf planet formerly known as a planet, has one more moon orbiting it. Using the Hubble Space telescope, astronomers have discovered Pluto's fifth moon.

NPR's Joe Palca filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"The new moon is tiny, something between 6 and 15 miles across. It showed up in nine separate images the space telescope made in the last month. The latest image came earlier this week.

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Music Interviews
3:52 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

At 100, Woody Guthrie Still Resonates

July 14, 2012, is the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie's birth.
Al Aumuller Courtesy of the Woody Guthrie Archives

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 10:16 am

Woody Guthrie would have been 100 years old on Saturday. The singer and songwriter wrote "This Land Is Your Land," among thousands of other songs.

Even though Guthrie died almost 45 years ago, his lyrics and message continue to appeal to new generations of Americans.

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Poverty In America: The Struggle To Get Ahead
3:48 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

To Beat Odds, Poor Single Moms Need Wide Safety Net

Shyanne (left) holds 1-year-old Makai, as Stepp checks to see if all of Shyanne's homework has been completed.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 10:27 am

Single mothers have an especially hard time getting out of poverty. Households headed by single mothers are four times as likely to be poor as are families headed by married couples.

Still, many of these women are trying to get ahead. Some know instinctively what the studies show: Children who grow up in poor families are far more likely to become poor adults.

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The Salt
3:47 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Wake Up Call To Grocery Stores: Young People Shop Around

The millennial generation doesn't shop at the grocery store the way their parents and grandparents do.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 10:31 pm

Supermarkets have spent decades catering to the needs and wants of baby boomers, and now the millennial generation is disappointed with what they're finding at traditional grocery stores, and are shopping elsewhere in greater numbers.

In fact, a new market research report called Trouble in Aisle 5 reports that millennials buy only 41 percent of their food at traditional grocery stores, compared to the boomers' 50 percent.

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The Two-Way
3:35 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

'Wall Street Journal': Seven Years After Burst Bubble, 'The Housing Bust Is Over'

A moving truck is shown at a house that was sold in Palo Alto, Calif. on Tuesday.
Paul Sakuma AP

The Wall Street Journal is calling it without any couching. The headline:

'The U.S. Housing Bust Is Over'

The lede:

"The housing market has turned—at last.

"The U.S. finally has moved beyond attention-grabbing predictions from housing 'experts' that housing is bottoming. The numbers are now convincing.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:27 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Gene Mutation Offers Clue For Drugs To Stave Off Alzheimer's

A PET scan of the brain of a person with Alzheimer's disease.
U.S. National Institute on Aging via Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 4:03 pm

Finally, there's some good news about Alzheimer's disease.

It turns out that a few lucky people carry a genetic mutation that greatly reduces their risk of getting the disease, an Icelandic team reports in the journal Nature.

The mutation also seems to protect people who don't have Alzheimer's disease from the cognitive decline that typically occurs with age.

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American Dreams: Then And Now
3:18 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Korean Families Chase Their Dreams In The U.S.

Hyungsoo Kim brought his sons Woosuk (left) and Whoohyun to California from Korea so the boys could get an American public-school education. In "goose families," one parent migrates to an English-speaking country with the children, while the other parent stays in Korea.
Martin Kaste NPR

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 4:33 pm

Eleven-year-old Woosuk Kim sees his mother only three or four times a year. That's because he's part of what Koreans call a "goose family": a family that migrates in search of English-language schooling.

A goose family, Woosuk explains, means "parents — mom and dad — have to be separate for the kids' education."

Woosuk's father brought him and his little brother to America two years ago to attend Hancock Park Elementary, a public school in Los Angeles. The boys' mother stayed in South Korea to keep working.

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The Two-Way
3:04 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

House Votes To Repeal Health Care Law

With a vote of 244 to 185, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives just voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature domestic legislation known colloquially as "Obamacare."

Of course, the vote doesn't matter, because the measure has a very slim chance of being adopted by the Senate.

The AP reports that this is the "33rd time in 18 months that the tea party-infused GOP majority has tried to scrap, defund or scale back the law since grabbing the majority."

The AP adds:

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Shots - Health Blog
2:55 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Firefighters Prevail In Fight for Health Insurance

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 4:33 pm

It all started around a kitchen table in Custer, South Dakota. John Lauer, a 27-year-old seasonal firefighter for an elite U.S.

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Music Reviews
2:55 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Sory Kandia Kouyaté: Guinea's Voice Of Revolution

Released last month, La Voix de la Révolution is a new compilation of songs by Sory Kandia Kouyaté, who died in 1977.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 4:33 pm

Sory Kandia Kouyaté was one of the most celebrated singers in West Africa when he died suddenly in 1977. He was just 44, and given his spectacular voice, it's a safe bet that Kouyaté would have been an international star had he lived just a few years longer. Now, some of his finest recordings have been collected on a two-disc retrospective called La Voix de la Révolution.

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Africa
2:23 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Despite Grim Headlines, Africa Is Booming

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The news stories are not wrong: There is all too much drought, poverty, famine and war in Africa. But you will also find six of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies there. Malls, high-rises and Internet cafes are popping up in cities across the continent, and a new generation with more income, more global interests and more ambitions.

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The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Florida A&M President Resigns In Wake Of Hazing Scandal

James Ammons in 2006.
Gerry Broome AP

The hazing scandal at Florida A&M University has cost the university president his job, the AP is reporting.

James Ammons submitted his resignation today just after the parents of Robert Champion added the university to a wrongful death lawsuit.

Champion, an A&M drum major in the famed "Marching 100" band, died in November after going through a violent hazing ritual on parked bus. Eleven marching band members have been charged.

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The Two-Way
1:31 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

An Amazing Life: Robert de La Rochefoucauld, World War II Saboteur

Amazon.com

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 1:32 pm

As brother Jim Memmott tweeted: "Good heavens, what a life."

Read this New York Times obituary of Robert de La Rochefoucauld and we bet you'll say something like that too. As the Times writes, in World War II the French count's exploits as an agent for the British:

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Presidential Race
1:26 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Where They Stand: Obama, Romney On Immigration

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 2:51 pm

Below are President Obama's and Republican challenger Mitt Romney's policies and proposals regarding immigration. NPR will be comparing the two candidates on various issues in the run-up to the November election. If you have suggestions for other issues you'd like us to explore, please leave a note in the comments section below.

DREAM Act:

Obama:

Supports; also endorses letting foreign students stay in U.S. after college graduation.

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Television
1:11 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Finally, TV's 'Dolt' Dads Get To Evolve

In Modern Family, writes Hanna Rosin, dad Phil Dunphy, played by Ty Burrell, is "the center of joy and fun in his household."
Peter "Hopper" Stone ABC

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 2:02 pm

"Starting from the birth of sitcoms, fathers are pretty much universally morons," writes Hanna Rosin in a piece for Slate.com. The latest crop of sitcoms, though, showcases dads who are a stark contrast to the bumbling Stu Erwin, on The Trouble With Father, or Fred Flintstone, or even Homer Simpson, she adds.

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Politics
1:11 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Political Junkie Roundup: Money And The NAACP

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 1:34 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The president pivots to taxes, Romney says he's just ducking the jobs number, and Palin pleads for partisan passion. It's Wednesday and time for a...

SARAH PALIN: Hair on fire...

CONAN: Edition of the political junkie.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

SENATOR BARRY GOLDWATER: Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

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Around the Nation
1:11 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

What Happens When A City Declares Bankruptcy

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 1:36 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

San Bernardino is expected to become the third California city in the past month to file for bankruptcy. That follows Stockton and Mammoth Lakes. Even after layoffs and cuts to public employees' pay and pensions, officials in San Bernardino said the government could not cover upcoming bills. So what happens now to city services like police and fire protection, garbage collection, road repairs? Who gets paid, and who doesn't? If you have questions about municipal bankruptcy, give us a call, 800-989-8255.

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The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

That's 'Gnathia Marleyi' To You: Scientist Names New Species After Bob Marley

Male gnathiids.
Ann Marie Coile Arkansas State University

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 3:00 pm

We're not quite sure what to make of it. Is it an honor? Is it an insult?

Either way, a biologist and a fan of Bob Marley has decided to name a new species in honor of the Jamaican singer.

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Europe
12:51 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

In France, The (Abandoned) Dog Days Of Summer

Dogs wait to be adopted at the Animals Without Home shelter south of Paris in Montgeron, France, in August 2010. France is among the European countries with the highest number of abandoned pets during the summer months, when people take long vacations.
Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 4:33 pm

For Europeans, it's not uncommon to take a whole month of vacation in the summer. But the season can be a deadly time for the many pets left behind — permanently.

The abandonment of domestic animals by vacationers is a scourge in many countries across Europe. And in France, this summer isn't likely to be different despite campaigns by animal-rights groups against the practice.

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It's All Politics
12:44 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Romney Absorbs Boos, Tells NAACP That Democrats Have Failed Blacks

Mitt Romney speaks at the NAACP annual convention Wednesday in Houston.
Pat Sullivan AP

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 2:02 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney didn't expect a warm embrace when he took the stage Wednesday at the NAACP annual convention in Houston.

And he didn't get one.

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Movie Interviews
11:40 am
Wed July 11, 2012

'Margaret:' Inside The 'Fall' Of A Teenager

In Margaret, Lisa (Anna Paquin) distracts a bus driver, which leads to an accident in which a pedestrian is run over and dies.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 12:32 pm

Kenneth Lonergan's critically acclaimed film Margaret was completed in 2006, but because of several lawsuits, it wasn't released until last year.

Called "nothing short of a masterwork" by The New Yorker, the film stars Anna Paquin as Lisa, a Manhattan teenager who tries to make sense of a bus accident she may have caused — one that resulted in a woman's death. Lonergan tells Terry Gross that he wrote the film because he was interested in how teenagers transition into an adult world.

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Book Reviews
11:40 am
Wed July 11, 2012

'A Door In The Ocean' Leads To Dark Depths

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 1:23 pm

Many of the key scenes in David McGlynn's striking new memoir, A Door in the Ocean, take place at the beach or in swimming pools. McGlynn was a surfer and competitive swimmer in his school days and still squeezes into his Speedos for races like the annual 5K "Gatorman" off the coast of La Jolla, Calif. Ocean swimming, in particular, transports McGlynn to another realm, and he does a terrific job of dramatizing the allure of solitary swims in open water. Midway through his book, he writes:

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The Two-Way
11:39 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Kim Dotcom, Megaupload Founder, Offers To Extradite Himself

Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom, left, leaves court after he was granted bail in the in Auckland, New Zealand.
Michael Bradley AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 12:31 pm

Kim Dotcom, the founder of Megaupload, now says he's ready to fly himself to the United States to face charges and forgo what could be a lengthy extradition process.

As you might expect, Dotcom made the offer of self-extradition on Twitter, saying:

"Hey DOJ, we will go to the US. No need for extradition. We want bail, funds unfrozen for lawyers & living expenses."

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The Two-Way
11:37 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Heir To Billions May Have Lived With Wife's Body For Days In Britain

Eva Rausing, right, and her husband Hans Kristian Rausing in 1996.
Alan Davidson AP

"Detectives are investigating whether one of the heirs to the Tetra Pak drinks carton fortune lived with his wife's body for up to a week after her death in their Belgravia mansion in London," The Guardian reports.

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