When your grandfather is a bootlegger and your family runs an illegal small-town roadhouse, you must have a lot of stories to tell. Cam Penner does, and he tells them in his music. The Canadian singer-songwriter's latest album is titled Gypsy Summer.
Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 2:24 pm
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
In federal court in New York this morning, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged six top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with civil fraud. The SEC says the executives of the giant mortgage companies mislead investors about the amount of subprime loans their companies held during the housing bust. NPR's John Ydstie reports.
"Bonds sat stoically as U.S. District Judge Susan Illston told baseball's home run king that he had avoided prison but must spend one month in his two-acre Beverly Hills estate, two years on probation, serve 250 hours of community service and pay a $4,000 fine.
Public school music teachers are heroes. They coach tiny fourth graders to play violins. The get 60 restless middle schoolers to play the same music at the same time. But their trickiest task of the year might be making selections for the winter concert.
Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 12:29 pm
Fitch ratings agency, one of the big three, said today that it was considering downgrading the credit ratings of six Euro-zone countries. Italy, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia and Cyprus could see their their rating cut by one or two notches.
It's time for our monthly episode of Science Diction, where we explore the origins of scientific words with my guest Howard Markel, professor of history of medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, also director of the Center for the History of Medicine there. He joins us WUOM. Welcome back, Howard.
HOWARD MARKEL: Good afternoon, Ira.
FLATOW: We have a very interesting word, or actually lab equipment today.
MARKEL: That we do. It's my favorite plate. It's the Petri dish.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Scientists have been searching for decades for a subatomic particle called the Higgs Boson. You've heard about it. It's been in the news, and you know, in theory, it explains why and how objects have mass.
This holiday season I'm sure is finding many of us on airplanes, flying around the country. It could take tedious hours of body scans, the crummy back-of-the-seat TV and scary airplane bumps and noises. But if you marvel at nature and technology, though, you can turn this torturous event into a more enjoyable learning experience.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. You know that nice feeling you get when you listen to your favorite tune? What about music that can actually be medical therapy? It does exist. It's prescribed for illnesses from speech disorders to autism, Alzheimer's, even cancer.
Take the case of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. After she was shot in the head earlier this year, one way she learned to talk again was by singing her favorite songs, like this Cyndi Lauper tune.
Researchers at New York University are studying flight with a speaker, a soup pot, straws and a box full of paper aircraft. Emeritus professor Stephen Childress describes the experiment and what he and his colleagues have learned about flight from their homemade flying objects.
Writer Christopher Hitchens, who died on Thursday from complications of cancer at the age of 62, leaves behind some 18 books and countless essays on politics and public figures. But his most lasting legacy may be his atheism and his long-running duel with what he considered the world's most dangerous threat: religion.
We need a heart-warming story and this fits the bill:
"At Kmart stores across the country," The Associated Press writes, "Santa is getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents."
The fourth Mission: Impossible picture is nonsense from beginning to end â€” and wonderful fun. The director is Brad Bird, of Ratatouille and The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, and there's no doubt now, in his live-action debut, that he's a filmmaker first and an animator second. Part 4, titled Mission: Impossible â€” Ghost Protocol, is in a different league from its predecessors.
Six former top executives of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) "knew and approved of misleading statements claiming the companies had minimal holdings of higher-risk mortgage loans, including subprime loans" and have now been accused of securities fraud in a civil suit, the Securities and Exchange Commission just announced.
Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 12:13 pm
Sugary drinks like soda are a big cause of obesity, but public health types haven't had much luck convincing the public of that.
But what if you knew that it would take 50 minutes of jogging to burn off one soda?
When researchers taped signs saying just that on the drink coolers in four inner-city neighborhood stores, sales of sugary beverages to teenagers dropped by 50 percent. That tactic was more effective than a sign saying that the drinks had 250 calories each, or a sign saying that a soft drink accounts for 11 percent of recommended daily calories.
Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 10:20 am
An "astonishing" scene has already played out at the just-opened military court hearing about the case against Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who stands accused of giving classified information to WikiLeaks, The Guardian reports.
Here's the conventional wisdom about the U.S. troop surge in Iraq: By 2006, Iraq was in chaos. Many Americans called for the U.S. to get out. Instead, President Bush sent in 30,000 additional troops. By the end of 2007, Iraq started to stabilize, and the move took on an almost mythic status.
Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 8:48 am
Each year, one-quarter of adults don't see a primary care doctor, so odds are they're not being checked for high blood pressure, diabetes and other major health risks. That's 55 million people who are missing out.
But a lot of them â€” around 13 million â€” do go to the dentist. So what if the dentist could screen them instead?
(Note: There is graphic testimony about the alleged sexual abuse of a young boy in this post.)
Mike McQueary, a key witness in the case against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky â€” who stands accused of sexually abusing at least 10 young boys over more than a decade â€” is testifying this morning at a court hearing about the scandal that has rocked the university.
NPR's Jeff Brady is covering the Pennsylvania court proceeding and is posting updates on his Twitter page.
Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne. Most thieves don't turn themselves in, but two in Wisconsin did without quite intending to. As the men drove off after stealing DVDs and video games from Target, one thief pocket-dialed 9-1-1. A dispatcher listened as the duo detailed their heist, including how the police would be looking for their Blue Dodge Durango.
That tip led the cops directly to them. After 54 minutes, their call to 9-1-1 finally ended with their arrest.
Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 7:36 am
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich got front-runner treatment Thursday night in Iowa during the final GOP debate before that state's crucial Jan. 3 caucuses, taking a pounding for his years as a highly-compensated Washington influence peddler.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with news of a mysterious donation found in a Salvation Army bucket in Pennsylvania. A gold South African Krugerrand - worth about $1,700 - was found in a kettle Wednesday outside a Wal-Mart. This isn't the first time this has happened. The coins seem to appear almost every year near Gettysburg. Similar coins have been discovered in Salvation Army collections from Tennessee to Chicago. Still, no one's figures out who the secret Santa is. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 12:59 pm
Update at 1:50 p.m. ET. Government Will Not Shutdown:
The House of Representatives just passed a $1 trillion spending bill that will keep the government running through the fall. Congress, however, is still deadlocked on two major pieces of legislation. The extension of the payroll tax cut, which is a priority for the Obama administration and an extension of jobless benefits to to the long-term unemployed.