And today's last word in business is something many equate to being as fun as doing taxes - dental work. A dentist in Sweden is offering $45 gift cards. It's an effort to entice 20-somethings who've stopped coming in for cleanings now that they're living on their own. That gift may go over as well as Hermey the elf's ambitions in the 1964 TV special, "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer."
CARL BANAS: (as Head Elf) What? You don't like to make toys?
Salt is one of those dangerously tasty substances. We add the magical crystals of sodium chloride to almost everything that we cook or bake, and according to many public health experts, we add too much.
They want us to cut back, to lower our risk of heart attacks or strokes.
Yet when you really start looking for ways to do this, you run into a paradox and a scientific puzzle.
First, the paradox. Too much salt may kill us, but our bodies need some of it to survive.
Friday is the last day of a 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar, sparking talk about the possible end of the world. About two years ago, a rumor began circulating on the Internet that the French village of Bugarach, population 200, would be the only place to survive this apocalypse.
But despite many news stories of people flocking to the village, less than two weeks before "doomsday," there was no one on the streets. Houses were shuttered against the cold.
As the holiday travel season approaches, the Federal Aviation Administration is under pressure to allow more widespread use of e-readers on commercial flights.
Passengers can now use devices such as Kindles, iPads and Nooks while in flight, but not during takeoffs and landings. The FAA says it is studying the matter, but the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and a U.S. senator say it's time to act.
Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 6:44 am
When the students of Sandy Hook Elementary return to class after the holiday break, they'll be attending a different school. They'll also have an interim principal who will be a familiar face to some: Donna Page, who retired from Sandy Hook two years ago.
As NPR's Zoe Chace reports, the news was announced by a voicemail sent to the parents of Sandy Hook's students, in which Page (pronounced Pa-jhay), told them, "It is with a heavy heart full of love that I connect with you today. You may not know me, but I know you. I was principal of Sandy Hook School for 14 years."
Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 6:34 pm
Anyone hoping that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre might change dynamics in the nation's capital when it comes to the issue of guns met some level of Washington reality on Wednesday.
President Obama held a news conference to announce his response to the Connecticut killings of 26 grade-schoolers and educators, including his naming of Vice President Joe Biden to head a team that will recommend in a month actions that might help prevent future Sandy Hooks.
When a human tragedy occurs on the scale of the Newtown shootings, clergy are invariably asked an ancient question: If God is all-knowing, all-powerful and benevolent, why does he allow such misfortunes?
There's even a word for reconciling this paradox: theodicy, or attempting to justify God's goodness despite the existence of evil and suffering.
Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:04 am
Want to eat sustainably? Then eat bugs.
That's the word from the Dutch, who are doing their best to make a scientific case for the environmental benefits of insect proteins. Reduce greenhouse gases? Check. Produce more edible protein while using less land than more traditional livestock? Check.
Mourners attended funerals for three children and a first-grade teacher in Newtown, Conn., Wednesday, the third day of services for the victims of a mass shooting that has reignited debate over gun control in the U.S.
Victoria Leigh Soto, 27, is the first Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher to be laid to rest.
Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 7:35 pm
Advocates of stricter gun control legislation are hoping that history will not repeat itself.
Last Friday's shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., have shaken the country, but it's unclear whether the intense feelings of the moment will translate into legislative action. Many times in the past, outrage over gun violence has dissipated before Congress has chosen to act.
Robert Bork, whose failed Supreme Court nomination provoked a lasting partisan divide over judicial nominations, died Wednesday at age 85.
A former federal judge and conservative legal theorist, he subsequently became a hero to modern-day conservatives. And as solicitor general in the Nixon administration, he played a small but crucial role in the Watergate crisis. In what came to be known as the Saturday Night Massacre, he fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox after the attorney general and deputy attorney general refused President Nixon's firing order and quit.