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The Salt
2:34 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

A Milk Mystery: Did Gloomy Weather Make Us Love The Stuff?

A new study on lactose tolerance among early farmers in Spain challenges a leading theory that humans developed an appetite for milk to avoid calcium deficiency.
iStock

Humans have a love-hate history with milk.

For thousands and thousands of years, adults couldn't digest dairy products without an upset stomach and a trip to the bathroom.

And then one day, poof!

A few changes in our DNA gave about a third of the world's population – mostly Europeans — the ability to knock back cheese, pizza and chocolate ice cream without a care in the world.

But why? Why did this ability to digest lactose suddenly crop up in our European ancestors about 10,000 years ago? That's been a big mystery for scientists.

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All Tech Considered
2:25 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

A Boarding Pass Design That's So Much Better Than What We Have

The better boarding pass design.
Pete Smart

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 10:58 am

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

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Parallels
2:20 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

On A Roman Street, Graffiti Celebrates 'SuperPope'

Graffiti artist Mauro Palotta says Pope Francis is the only world leader who stands on the side of the people.
Sylvia Poggoli NPR

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 10:00 am

First, he's Time magazine's "Person of the Year." Then, he's Rolling Stone's cover story: "The Times They Are A-Changin'" in the Roman Catholic Church.

Now, he's "SuperPope," the latest incarnation of Pope Francis, who has rapidly become one of the most popular leaders on the planet.

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Fed Will Continue To Taper Its Stimulus Program

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 3:14 pm

Because the economy continues to improve since it started tapering its stimulus program, the Federal Reserve said it would continue to slow the pace of its bond-buying programs.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee said:

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The Two-Way
12:51 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Spy Chief Says Classified Leaks 'Pose Critical Threat' To U.S.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies during a hearing before Senate Select Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 1:51 pm

In his yearly report (pdf) to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the country's spy chief says one of the top threats facing the United States is the unauthorized leak of classified information.

In his threat assessment report, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, listed "insider threats," alongside cyber attacks and terrorism.

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Parallels
12:48 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Brazil's Slaves Are Being Freed, But Owners Go Largely Unpunished

Brazilian slave laborers stop their work to listen to a Labor Ministry inspector explain their legal rights, on the Bom Jesus farm in the Amazon basin in 2003.
Rickey Rogers Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 3:32 pm

I bought Francisco Lima his first taste of freedom in decades.

A cheeseburger.

It was 2004, and Brazil was starting to confront one of its most distressing problems: slavery. I was in northern Pará state, in the Amazon, observing a special police unit that raided slaveholding farms and firms and liberated workers like the 74-year-old Lima.

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The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Missing For 112 Years, First Porsche Is Found In Warehouse

The P1, now known as the "first Porsche."
Juergen Skarwan Porsche.com

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 1:21 pm

Even the famed German automaker concedes that it "may resemble an old horse-drawn carriage."

But the recently rediscovered "first Porsche in the world" — dubbed the P1 — was a technological marvel for its time. It "included a compact electric drive weighing 286 pounds," writes the automotive news site Jalopnik, and could chug along at 22 mph.

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Around the Nation
12:36 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

How Industrial Chemical Regulation Failed West Virginia

Jonathan Steele, owner of Bluegrass Kitchen, fills a jug with bottled water from a tank he installed in the back of his Charleston restaurant.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 6:55 pm

On Jan. 9, people in and around Charleston, W.Va., began showing up at hospitals: They had nausea, eye infections and some were vomiting. It was later discovered that around 10,000 gallons of toxic chemicals had leaked into the Elk River, just upstream from a water treatment plant that serves 300,000 people. Citizens were told not to drink or bathe in the water, and while some people are now using water from their taps, many still don't trust it or the information coming from public officials.

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Music Reviews
12:36 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Don't Pigeonhole Me, Bro: New Country Albums On The Borderline

Jon Pardi.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 3:20 pm

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Shots - Health News
12:19 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

A Little Acid Turns Mouse Blood Into Brain, Heart And Stem Cells

A mouse embryo grows from stem cells made by stressing blood cells with acid. The blood cells are tagged with a protein that creates green light.
Courtesy of Haruko Obokata

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 6:24 am

Back in 1958, a young biologist at Cornell University made a stunning discovery.

He took a single cell from a carrot and then mixed it with some coconut milk. Days went by and the cell started dividing. Little roots formed. Stems started growing. Eventually, a whole new carrot plant rose up from the single cell.

Imagine if you could perform a similar feat with animal cells, even human cells.

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