Joe Palca is a science correspondent for NPR. Since joining NPR in 1992, Palca has covered a range of science topics — everything from biomedical research to astronomy. He is currently focused on the eponymous series, "Joe's Big Idea." Stories in the series explore the minds and motivations of scientists and inventors.

Palca began his journalism career in television in 1982, working as a health producer for the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC. In 1986, he left television for a seven-year stint as a print journalist, first as the Washington news editor for Nature, and then as a senior correspondent forScience Magazine.

The Salt
2:00 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Safety Concerns Linger Around Genetically Modified Salmon

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 3:03 pm

This just in: After 15 years of deliberation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to decide whether it will approve a genetically modified salmon for human consumption.

Now there's a catchy lead. But the truth is, the long-running regulatory saga of AquaBounty's application to sell salmon with a growth hormone gene from one fish plus a promoter of an antifreeze gene from another — which help it grow twice as fast as typical farmed salmon — does not seem headed toward a conclusion.

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The Two-Way
1:59 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

New Jersey Nets' Owner Announces Run For Russian Presidency

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's bid to return to his nation's presidency, an office he held from 2000 to 2008, picked up a surprise challenger Monday when Mikhail Prokhorov publicly declared his intention to run for the office, too.

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The Two-Way
11:58 am
Mon December 12, 2011

'Occupy' Protesters Disrupt Ports in Oakland And Portland

Occupy protesters clash with Long Beach Police Department officers after blocking the road leading to SSA Marine, a shipping company that is partially owned by investment bank Goldman Sachs, at the Port of Long Beach on Monday.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 12:07 pm

"Occupy" protesters on the West Coast moved Monday to disrupt ports in Los Angeles, San Francisco and elsewhere. The action fizzled in Los Angeles, as the AP reports:

"Heavy rain dampened the protest and the demonstrators, who were flanked by dozens of police, have now moved off, effectively making a peaceful end to a four-hour protest."

The AP says about 200 people showed up for the protest at the Port of Longbeach and that there was one arrest related to the gathering.

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The Two-Way
11:42 am
Mon December 12, 2011

U.S., Iraqi Leaders Mark 'New Day'

"A war is ending, a new day is upon us," President Obama said this afternoon at a joint news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at which the two leaders are marking the departure of the last U.S. troops after nearly nine years in Iraq.

For his part, Maliki said the two nations' relations "will not end with the departure of the last American soldier ... it has only started."

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The Two-Way
10:30 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Lowe's Ignites Controversy By Pulling Ads From 'All-American Muslim'

A Lowe's store in Saugus, Mass.
Michael Dwyer AP

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 10:33 am

By deciding to stop advertising during the TLC network's All-American Muslim reality TV show after hearing that some conservatives object to the program, Lowe's Home Improvement is now hearing complaints from others who accuse it of religious bigotry.

California State Sen. Ted Lieu (D), The Associated Press says, may call for a boycott of the home improvement chain.

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The Two-Way
9:40 am
Mon December 12, 2011

What A Sour Note: Thieves Target Tubas In Southern California

Who knew the big horn could be so valuable?
Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 9:43 am

The high prices they command on the black market and "Southern California's banda music craze" have combined to make tubas a hot property, the Los Angeles Times writes today.

Hot, that is, in the sense that there's been a recent "rash of unsolved tuba thefts at high schools in southeast Los Angeles County."

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The Two-Way
9:21 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Supreme Court Will Hear Arguments On Arizona Immigration Law

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 9:27 am

Arizona's controversial immigration law will indeed be getting a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court, it was just announced.

Long expected, the court's decision to weigh in could help settle whether the law — known as SB 1070 for its bill number in the Arizona Senate — encroaches on federal law because, in large part, of its provision that would require the police to determine the immigration status of a person they have detained and whether the suspect is in the country illegally.

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Occupy Wall Street
8:19 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Occupy NOLA Protests Outside Mayor's Home

Occupy New Orleans protesters have taken their complaints to Mayor Mitch Landrieu's home. Several speakers are demanding help for the city's homeless.

About a dozen protesters are calling for help in housing homeless as well as keeping the Occupy New Orleans encampment in place outside City Hall. Spokesman W. C. Johnson says the mayor's eviction of the camp last week is illegal.

"We are here at his home to let him know that he cannot get away from the wrong that he inflicts on the citizens in the city that he claims that he loves."

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