Children's Health
3:20 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Philadelphia Practice Flight Helps Autistic Kids Fly

People travelling through Philadelphia International Airport Terminal A West Transit Corridor. The airport is the 12th busiest in the world.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 6:16 am

Air travel horror stories typically involve lost luggage, missed connections and overzealous security staff. But families affected by autism face other challenges in navigating airports and planes.

A Philadelphia program is bringing families, airport employees and airlines together to help autistic kids fly more comfortably.

Airports are loud, hectic places: blaring announcements, glaring lights and long lines can spell trouble for people with autism. They often can't tolerate noise, bright lights and close quarters.

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Sports
11:01 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Horse Breeders Seek To Rein In Bets On Barrel Races

Barrel racing champion Charmayne James rides during a demonstration at a new arena in Gretna, Fla., that plans to hold wagering on the sport.
Brendan Farrington AP

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 6:16 am

At rodeos, barrel racing has long been a popular event. Riders, often young women, race their horses in a cloverleaf pattern around barrels in an arena. Using quarter horses, the sport has grown in popularity in recent years and has its own circuit of races and competitive riders.

But in Gretna, Fla., a plan to turn barrel racing into a betting proposition has run into opposition. Quarter horse breeders and trainers are suing to stop it, saying the new event could destroy their industry.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:01 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Singing Therapy Helps Stroke Patients Speak Again

Laurel Fontaine, 16, (left) and her twin sister Heather. When Laurel was 11 years old, she suffered a stroke that destroyed 80 percent of the left side of her brain. The singing therapy helped her regain the ability to speak.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 9:39 am

Debra Meyerson was hiking near Lake Tahoe 15 months ago when a stroke destroyed part of the left side of her brain, leaving her literally speechless. It happens to more than 150,000 Americans a year.

But now Meyerson is learning to talk again through an approach that trains the undamaged right side of her brain to "speak." Specifically, it's a region that controls singing.

For more than 100 years, it's been known that people who can't speak after injury to the speech centers on the left side of the brain can sing.

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Research News
11:01 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

The Wisdom Of Trees (Leonardo Da Vinci Knew It)

Leonardo DaVinci noted that when trees branch, smaller branches have a precise, mathematical relationship to the branch they sprang from.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 12:15 pm

Hurricanes topple plenty of trees, but when you think about it, the more amazing thing is that many trees can stand up to these 100-mile-per-hour winds.

Now a French scientist has come up with an explanation for the resilience of trees. And astonishingly, the answer was first described by Leonardo da Vinci 500 years ago.

Leonardo noticed that when trees branch, smaller branches have a precise, mathematical relationship to the branch from which they sprang. Many people have verified Leonardo's rule, as it's known, but no one had a good explanation for it.

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It Was A Good Year For...
11:01 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Now Hovering Above Us All: 'The Cloud'

The cloud became a common term in 2011. Here, a screengrab from the Dropbox website shows how the cloud-based data storage service shares the same information on multiple devices.
NPR

The digital cloud became a household word in 2011.You can now store and share things via the Internet in ways you never could before. But what does the cloud look like, and where can we find it?

The section of the cloud we visited has a lot of concrete and security.

Behind a ballistics-grade door, data center owner David Sabey ushers us into a spotless Seattle-area facility the size of nine football fields. It's crammed full of racks upon racks of powerful servers, sophisticated computers that serve up information. There are lots of blinking lights and wires everywhere.

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Around the Nation
3:12 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Bronx Family's Christmas Display Is 'So Bad, It's Good'

Onlookers gather in front of the Garabedian family home in the Bronx in this 2004 photo. The Garabedians have decorated their home for nearly four decades with lights and hundreds of animated figurines.
Mario Tama Getty Images

A few strings of lights and an inflatable Santa are enough for some people when it comes to holiday decorations. But not for the Garabedian family of the Bronx, whose over-the-top Christmas displays have been a traffic-snarling must-see for nearly four decades. And "traditional" is definitely not the right word for this holiday attraction.

The first giveaway might be the music the Garabedians play through speakers outside their home. Instead of a Christmas carol, you're more likely to hear a hit single from a singer like Engelbert Humperdinck.

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Around the Nation
3:08 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

For One Ala. Farmer, Workers Are Still Scarce

Earlier this year, Alabama passed a tough immigration law that prompted thousands of migrant workers to flee the state.

Shortly after, NPR spoke with Jamie Boatwright, a fourth-generation tomato farmer in Steele, Ala. When the law was passed, about 20 of Boatwright's farmhands — all of them from Mexico — left and his business was devastated.

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It Was A Good Year For...
1:16 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Instagram's Winning Recipe: Images And Social Media

Two iPhone screengrabs shows Instagram's filter mode, left, and a shared photo on the app, right.
iTunes

Originally published on Sat February 25, 2012 4:30 pm

There are a lot of photo apps out there for the iPhone. With most of them, you take a picture, put a filter on it and maybe add some lens blur. But many of them don't have a built-in way for you to share the photo.

"When we combined those two key ingredients, we came up with something that became Instagram," says Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, who is also one if its founders.

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Around the Nation
7:00 am
Sun December 25, 2011

The 'People's Caucus' To Protest Iowa Voting

Occupy Wall Street-style protesters in Des Moines, Iowa, are making plans to camp out at the headquarters of presidential candidates and disrupt campaign events leading up to the Iowa caucuses. They say they're dissatisfied with the response of candidates from both parties to their concerns, so they're organizing their own caucus-style event two days after Christmas.

Politics
7:00 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Gingrich Camp: More Talk Than Action?

Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign has suffered a setback on this Christmas weekend. Gingrich failed to get enough signatures to be on the ballot in Virginia, calling into question his organizational ability to sustain a long campaign.

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