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NPR Story
3:56 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Obama Calls Secret Monitoring Programs Legal, Limited

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:29 pm

President Obama spoke for the first time about revelations that his administration has been continuing the monitoring of Internet communications and warehousing of cellphone records that began under President Bush. Obama defended both programs as necessary to keep the country safe and said Congress had been kept fully apprised.

NPR Story
3:56 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

U.S. Intelligence Requests Put Tech Giants In A Bind

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

While President Obama is acknowledging that the government is tapping into records from major Internet companies, most of those companies have issued broadly worded denials. That includes Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo.

NPR's Steve Henn joins us now to explain how these companies can deny taking part in a program that both the president and the intelligence community say exists. And, Steve, first, what do these firms say exactly when they are asked about PRISM?

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The Two-Way
3:23 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Wal-Mart Meeting Spurs Protests Over Low Pay, Safety Issues

Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon speaks to shareholders at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark., during this week's shareholders' meeting. The company is coping with a bribery scandal, as well as demands from workers.
Gareth Patterson AP

Retailing giant Wal-Mart Stores' annual shareholders' meeting this week showed signs of the company's recent turbulence, as protesters assembled at corporate headquarters to shout slogans and demands.

Despite a court-issued restraining order, the protesters, including workers who are on strike, decried low wages and called for better safety procedures for supply-chain workers. And some of their views were heard inside the meeting, as well.

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The Two-Way
3:16 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Grain Deaths Fall In 2012 But Industry Share Grows

John Poole NPR

A new report from grain safety researchers at Purdue University says eight people died while trapped in grain last year, another steep drop from the record year of 2010, when 31 people lost their lives in grain bins and other grain storage facilities.

The continued decline in incidents since 2010 is credited to drier and smaller harvests since then. The grain stored in bins in 2010 was generally harvested wet and tended to spoil and clog. Workers and farmers went into bins to unclog grain and were trapped in a "quicksand" effect common in flowing grain.

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The Two-Way
2:31 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Why Being Stuck On A Tarmac With The Philly Orchestra Rocks

Artists from the Philadelphia Orchestra perform at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, capital of China.
Luo Xiaoguang Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 9:28 am

There are few things as annoying as being stuck on a tarmac — in a cramped, packed plane — for long periods of time. But when you have some of the members of the Philadelphia Orchestra on your flight, it could turn magical.

No, seriously.

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Book Reviews
2:30 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

'Beside Ourselves' Explores Human-Animal Connections

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 3:47 pm

Note: The audio and text of this review describe a major plot point that is not revealed until partway into the book.

If you know Karen Joy Fowler's writing only from her clever, 2004 best-seller, The Jane Austen Book Club, you're in for a shock. Fowler's new novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, is a different literary creature altogether — still witty but emotionally and intellectually riskier, and more indebted to Fowler's other books that toy with the sci-fi genre.

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The Picture Show
1:47 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Photo Staff Firings Won't Shake Pulitzer Winner's Focus

Ballerinas at practice
John H. White

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 5:07 pm

The Chicago Sun-Times made a shocking announcement last week when it fired its entire photo staff. The paper says it will now rely on freelancers and reporters to shoot with cellphone cameras or whatever equipment they have.

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The Two-Way
1:43 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Reports: Husband Cleared, Wife Arrested In Latest Ricin Case

There's been an arrest by federal authorities who are trying to track down the person responsible for last month mailing possibly ricin-laced letters to President Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a gun control group the mayor supports.

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The Salt
1:40 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Hold The Hot Dog: National Park Visitors Can Feast On Bison Burgers

Stefan Larsson serves up bison sloppy Joes and juniper-smoked bison tenderloin, which will be offered at the Yellowstone National Park this summer. Each park will have different menus featuring local foods.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:29 pm

The director of the National Park Service doesn't have anything against hot dogs or pizza being served in eateries in national parks.

"But I wanted more options, and more healthy choices," Jonathan Jarvis told me at a tasting event this week to unveil new standards for the concessionaires who operate more than 250 food and beverage operations in national parks.

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Shots - Health News
1:36 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

An Artist's Brush Reveals Tales Of Struggle And Survival

Alisa Hughley's brother Carey Hughley III was murdered at 21 by a person with untreated paranoid schizophrenia. Because she knew that he had chosen to be an organ donor, she was able to convince her grieving parents to approve the donations. "I was able to allay my parents' concerns," she says. "He was able to save four lives."
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 2:36 pm

Most health policy meetings are a dull gray snooze of business suits talking data. They seem a million miles removed from making sick people healthy. But this week in Washington, D.C., some of those meetings was enlivened by a sudden flash of color.

The back of one woman's suit jacket bore a painting, a Renoir-like portrait of a mother and child. A man's blazer showed him reborn after years of despair. Another woman's jacket portrayed a young man holding his organ donor card. A petite redhead's jacket blazed with a scarlet letter "A."

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Medical Treatments
1:33 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Promising Results In Early Trial of Novel MS Treatment

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. In the disease multiple sclerosis, the body's own immune cells stage a mutiny. Those cells, white cells, normally go after foreigners in the body like bacteria or other invaders that make us sick. But in MS, the immune cells go after the body itself, attacking the myelin covering that wraps around nerve cells. As that myelin gets degraded, nerve signals don't get transferred properly, and that's what leads to the symptoms of MS.

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Space
1:33 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Comet Shines Light on Sun Dynamics

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Flora Lichtman is here with our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora. What have you got for us today?

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Ira, today we have the story of a comet that has a tale to tell.

FLATOW: Comets...

(LAUGHTER)

LICHTMAN: Get it?

FLATOW: I get it. Straight pun.

LICHTMAN: It's even better, Ira, because actually the part of - what the comet is telling us comes from its tail. OK, so let me...

FLATOW: Go for it.

(LAUGHTER)

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Author Interviews
1:33 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

How To Survive A Mass Extinction

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Up next, surviving the big one, and I mean a really big one. As any fan of dinosaurs knows, extinction happens. The Earth isn't immune to assaults. You've got your asteroids, your volcanic eruptions, events that cause so much disruption to the environment that eventually life or most of life is wiped out.

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The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Poll: Americans, Chinese Harbor Mutual Suspicions

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 2:05 pm

As President Obama and his Chinese counterpart prepare for a weekend summit in California to discuss thorny bilateral issues, a new poll shows that ordinary Americans and Chinese increasingly eye one another with suspicion.

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The Two-Way
1:03 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

California Nuclear Plant Slated For Permanent Shut Down

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station at San Onofre State Beach in a 2012 photo.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 1:54 pm

California's San Onofre nuclear power plant will be shut down for good amid concerns as to whether it could be safely restarted after being offline since early last year because of a radiation leak.

The plant's operator, Southern California Edison, said in a statement Friday that San Onofre's twin reactors "had served the region for over 40 years" but that the 16 months of uncertainty about whether they would or wouldn't go back online "was not good for our customers, our investors or the need to plan for our region's long-term electricity needs."

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