State and National News


Around the Nation
3:52 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Summer 'Heat Tourists' Sweat With Smiles In Death Valley

Tourists walk across the Badwater Basin, which sits 282 feet below sea level, in Death Valley, Calif., on June 30. People from around the world flock to the area to experience temperatures that rise to the high 120s on a regular basis.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 10:11 pm

It's no secret that Death Valley, Calif., is one of the hottest, most unforgiving places on Earth come summertime. July 10 is the 100th anniversary of the hottest temperature ever recorded on the planet β€” 134 degrees Fahrenheit β€” and the heat is drawing tourists from all over the world to Death Valley.

Like Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport, Death Valley becomes a melting pot of foreign accents. On a recent afternoon, Belgian tourist Yan Klassens admires the view of the Badlands from Zabriskie Point, describing it as "nice, awesome and colorful."

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3:52 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Lawmakers Express Concern About U.S.-Chinese Pork Deal

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 4:58 pm



You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee had a lot of questions today about the takeover of Smithfield Foods. That's because a Chinese company has offered to buy America's largest pork processor. Both Democratic and Republican senators have expressed concerns about the $4.7 billion deal and its potential effects on U.S. food safety and security.

NPR's John Ydstie has been following the testimony today and joins us now. Hi, John.


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Shots - Health News
3:50 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Bros Get Wasted; Girls Get Tipsy: Why Boozy Talk Matters

Man, you are going to get wasted. The words drinkers choose to describe their behavior may say a lot about the risks they face.

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 9:11 am

Guys can really get hammered, can't they? I mean, totally trashed. Not me. I may have gotten a little buzzed at that birthday party, but that's it.

The words people use to describe their drinking behavior can say a lot about how they perceive drinking, a perception that may not match reality, researchers say.

And the language may also reveal risks that may not be obvious to the drinkers themselves.

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The Salt
3:48 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

The Science Of Twinkies: How Do They Last So Darned Long?

Unlike the dodo that sits next to it on an NPR Science Desk shelf, this year-and-a-half-old Twinkie is still around β€” but that doesn't mean you want to eat it.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 11:56 am

We have to confess: When we heard that Twinkies will have nearly double the shelf life, 45 days, when they return to stores next week, our first reaction was β€” days? Not years?

Urban legend has long deemed Twinkies the cockroaches of the snack food world, a treat that can survive for decades, what humanity would have left to eat come the apocalypse. The true shelf life β€” which used to be 26 days β€” seems somewhat less impressive by comparison.

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3:45 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

It's Not Just The Middle East With Quirky Booze Laws

Indiana still has some of the strictest laws governing alcohol sales in the United States, including a prohibition against all carryout alcohol sales on Sundays. Here, Bill Cheek, an employee at Kahn's Fine Wines and Spirits in Indianapolis, puts labels on cases of beer.
Darron Cummings AP

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 4:22 pm

As astute commentators pointed out in an earlier Parallels post about the vagaries of getting a drink in the Middle East, that isn't the only place where the laws regulating alcohol are more than a touch confusing, or where there's debate over them.

Some Americans don't need to look any further than their own local bar.

Commenter Glenn Zanotti shared his perspective:

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The Summer of '63
3:43 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

A Racial Divide, Diminished: What Was On The Radio In 1963

Ruby and The Romantics' hit song "Our Day Will Come" wasn't necessarily political β€” but it resonated with listeners' feelings about the civil rights movement in 1963.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 8:44 am

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3:43 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Scalia V. Ginsburg: Supreme Court Sparring, Put To Music

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 11:39 am

On the day after the Supreme Court concluded its epic term in June, two of the supreme judicial antagonists, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, met over a mutual love: opera.

When it comes to constitutional interpretation, the conservative Scalia and the liberal Ginsburg are leaders of the court's two opposing wings. To make matters yet more interesting, the two have been friends for decades, since long before Scalia was named to the court by President Reagan and Ginsburg by President Clinton.

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Planet Money
3:42 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Banks, Borrowed Money And Bailouts

Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 1:16 pm

A proposed new rule would force big banks to rely less on borrowed money, and more on money that belongs to the banks themselves.

This rule has lots of interesting context, which includes words and phrases such as Basel, capital ratios, and risk-weighting. But here's the nub of it.

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The Picture Show
3:42 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

In American Street Art, Mandela's Face May Rise Again

MLK Jr. mural at Mr. Toy, W. Madison Street at Cicero Avenue, Chicago, 1991. Painted by Mr. Toy's son.
Courtesy of Camilo Jose Vergara

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 1:28 pm

There's no easy way to portray the scope of Camilo Jose Vergara's photos with photos. To do so would require processing "many hundreds of thousands" of images (the estimate he once gave me) that document several cities over several decades. It's overwhelming.

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NPR Story
3:42 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

The Business of Customer Service

Only a few of these passengers will be able to get flights out of San Francisco, depending on how many miles they fly and their "value" to the airline. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 10:50 am

Following the plane crash in San Francisco, airlines prioritized stranded flyers based on frequent flyer status rather than by how long they had been stuck waiting.

NPR’s Steve Henn explains how companies make decisions about customer service.

When companies cater to their most profitable customers it makes short-term, bottom line sense. But that may not be a good long-term strategy.

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