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Participation Nation
3:03 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Fixing A Broken World In Chicago, Ill.

Ally and Carla, co-founders of the Community Glue Workshop.
Courtesy of Community Glue Workshop

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

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The Torch
2:23 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Shut Out Of London Games, Video Artists Get Inventive

A video pays homage to the Olympic Games — and to the video games of the 1980s. It's one of many inventive videos around the web, inspired by the London Games.
Flikli

It's not easy to find video of the London 2012 Olympics on the Internet — even on YouTube. And that's inspiring people to "interpret" the Summer Games for themselves. For instance, you can see puppet shows, 8-bit video, and Taiwanese animation, all related to the Olympics... or, at least sort of related.

Here are some of my favorites — feel free to put yours into the comment section below:

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The Two-Way
2:21 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Sweet Story: Bear Breaks Into Candy Shop, Feasts; Camera Captures It All

The bear burglar.
Estes Park News

So, a bear walks into a candy shop.

No, we're not starting a bad joke.

Last week in Estes Park, Colo., a black bear with a sweet tooth took advantage of a candy shop's defective front door to walk in and out seven times over 20 minutes — each time taking some of the treats outside and then coming back in to enjoy more.

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The Torch
1:44 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

How Do You Stack Up Against An Olympic Athlete?

Weightlifter Kazuomi Ota of Japan takes a moment after failing to lift the required weight in the men's +105kg final in London. At 6 feet and 324 pounds, Ota is one of the largest Olympians.
Lars Baron Getty Images

Sure, you might spend a lot of time on your couch, as you watch the Summer Olympics. And hey, maybe you've drifted a couple pounds above your fighting weight. But there's all kinds of athletes competing in London — one of them has to be around the same size as you, right?

Now you can find that out, thanks to the BBC, whose site has an interactive chart that lets you enter your height and weight — and then tells you which two Olympic athletes you most resemble.

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All Tech Considered
1:36 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

As Starbucks Adopts 'Square' Payments, Will Other Merchants Follow?

Square allows merchants to accept payments automatically from recognized registered customers.
Square screen grab

You could soon pay for a latte at Starbucks simply by walking into the store with a smartphone in your pocket and giving the cashier your name.

Square, a San Francisco-based payments startup unveiled a deal Wednesday with the world's largest coffee chain that will move its mobile payments products into Starbucks stores around the U.S. starting this fall.

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NPR Story
1:34 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Facebook Refugee Unplugs From Social Media

In a piece for Salon.com, former Facebook employee Katherine Losse wrote about why it's so hard to take breaks from social media.
Courtesty of Katherine Losse

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 1:42 pm

Katherine Losse was Facebook's 51st employee. After earning a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2005, she got a job as a Facebook customer service representative — tasked with answering questions like "What is a poke?" In the course of five years, she became the personal ghostwriter for founder Mark Zuckerberg.

"I witnessed over those five years this huge transformation in how we lead our lives," she tells NPR's Tom Gjelten.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:20 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Discussing The Mars Landing With My 137-Year-Old Grandfather

Percival Lowell's drawings of "canals" on Mars.
Universal History Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 11:23 am

Yes, it was an amazing landing, an engineering triumph, a 150-million-mile slam dunk, spectacular in every way, except ... I think my grandpa would be disappointed. I'm not sure of this, since he died 50 years ago, but I have a hunch.

It starts with a handwritten letter he wrote back in 1907. He was a travelling salesman. He sold men's hats, and his job was to visit retailers all over the country. "One evening," he wrote, "train riding between Chicago and Kansas City or St. Louis, sitting the club car, I read a magazine, The Century..."

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The Salt
1:09 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Here's Where Farms Are Sucking The Planet Dry

Check out some of the world's most important - and threatened - aquifers. Click to see a high-resolution version of this map.
Nature

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 4:49 pm

This map is disturbing, once you understand it. It's a new attempt to visualize an old problem — the shrinking of underground water reserves, in most cases because farmers are pumping out water to irrigate their crops.

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The Two-Way
1:03 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Amazingly Earth-like: Curiosity Beams First Full-Frame Photo Of Mars

A photograph taken by NASA's Curiosity Rover on Mars. The rim of Gale Crater can be seen in the distance beyond the pebbly ground.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 3:20 pm

We can't help but tune into the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's daily news conference about NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission.

For the most part, it's very much inside baseball. The scientists talk about the nitty gritty details of getting the Curiosity Rover going and onto doing some science. They talk about reorienting antennas and about how a higher-than-predicted temperature won't have a significant effect on the mission.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:46 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs May Have Dark Side When It Comes To Health

Scientists say energy-saving compact fluorescent (left) or light-emitting diode (right) light bulbs can have unsavory health effects.
PRNewsFoto/OSRAM SYLVANIA

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 9:34 pm

Everybody knows that one good way to prevent a sunburn is to stay inside, where you're safe from the sun's ultraviolet rays. Right?

Well, that may not be true anymore if your house is lit with compact fluorescent light bulbs. Last month, researchers from the State University of New York at Stony Brook showed in a paper that tiny defects in the bulbs can let through UV light that can damage skin cells and lead to cancer.

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