All Things Considered

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Catch up on events of the day with this drive-time mix of news, reviews, and offbeat features.

Official Website: http://www.npr.org/programs/all-things-considered/

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Economy
3:11 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Coal-Mining Area Grapples With How To Keep 'Bright Young Minds'

Colby Kirk of Inez, Ky., is a junior at the University of Kentucky, studying to be a financial analyst. He says there aren't many opportunities for college grads in his hometown.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:29 pm

Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson stood before Congress and declared an "unconditional war on poverty in America." His arsenal included new programs: Medicaid, Medicare, Head Start, food stamps, more spending on education and tax cuts to help create jobs.

In the coming year, NPR will explore the impact and extent of poverty in the U.S., and what can be done to reduce it.

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Middle East
3:10 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

As Rebels Fight Rebels, Grim Reports From A Syrian City

The flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, flutters on the dome of an Armenian Catholic Church in the northern rebel-held Syrian city of Raqqa on Sept. 28, 2013. At first, Syrian rebels and civilians welcomed the experienced Islamist fighters, and the groups fought together to take over the city from Syrian troops. Now, many Syrians fear and resent ISIS.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:29 pm

Reports from the Syrian city of Raqqa are dire. In the north-central provincial capital, "the atmosphere has gone from bad to worse," says one activist with a rare link to the Internet. He reports the city is "completely paralyzed," the hospital is abandoned, and there are bodies in the central square. There is no power or water for a city of more than half a million people. Even the critical bread ovens are shut.

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It's All Politics
4:39 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Senate Unexpectedly Moves Forward On Unemployment Benefits

Katherine Hackett of Connecticut introduces President Barack Obama during a White House event on unemployment insurance Jan. 7. Hackett spoke about her financial struggles during unemployment before Obama put pressure on the House to extend benefits.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 7:05 pm

The Senate surprised quite a few people in Washington today when it voted to proceed on a bill to temporarily extend emergency unemployment benefits. Six Republicans joined Democrats in voting to get the measure over a key procedural hurdle.

But it was only the first step, and the president is applying pressure to keep it moving.

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Shots - Health News
3:36 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

50 Years After Landmark Warning, 8 Million Fewer Smoking Deaths

Tobacco companies incorporated doctors in their ads, such as this 1930 Lucky Strike campaign, to convince the public that smoking wasn't harmful.
Stanford University

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:22 pm

Saturday marks an important milestone in public health – the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health.

Few if any documents have had the impact of this one — both on the amount of disease and death prevented, and on the very scope of public health.

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All Tech Considered
3:25 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Tech Fit For The Showroom, But The Runway Might Have To Wait

The Navigate Jacket from Wearable Experiments uses GPS navigation and a mapping app on the wearer's smartphone to signal directions. It's part of a new trend of wearable tech that some speculate will be a billion-dollar industry.
Rupert Kaldor Wearable Experiments

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:27 am

The human body is a limited piece of real estate.

For years, tech companies raced to make the smartphone a beautiful device with soft curves and bright screens. Now, the industry is racing to make clothes that free up your hands from the phone while still connecting you to streams of digital information.

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Books News & Features
3:24 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Sherlock's Expiring Copyright: It's Public Domain, Dear Watson

A poster advertises a stage adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, starring actor William Gillette in 1899.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 7:53 am

Beloved sleuth Sherlock Holmes has stumbled onto a new conundrum: A federal judge in Chicago recently ruled that the characters in Arthur Conan Doyle's stories — including Holmes and his partner, Dr. John Watson — now reside in the public domain.

That means anyone who wants to write new material about the characters no longer needs to seek permission or pay license fees to the Doyle estate. That is, as long as you don't include any elements introduced in the last 10 Sherlock Holmes stories released in the U.S. after 1922.

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All Tech Considered
4:21 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

CES 2014: Toothbrush? Bed? Car? Put Some Internet On It

The Kolibree toothbrush, billed as the world's first Internet-connected toothbrush, monitors dental hygiene.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 9:18 am

The International Consumer Electronics Show is nothing less than a gadget-lover's dream.

Every year thousands of companies from all over the world flock to Las Vegas in the first week in January to show off the products they hope to sell in the coming year. What began as a trade show featuring the latest high-fidelity stereos 40 years ago has become an annual electronics circus.

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Politics
4:17 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Tighter Access To 'Death Master File' Has Researchers Worried

To help cut down on fraud, Congress is limiting access to the Social Security Administration's data about people who die in the United States each year.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 8:51 am

The "Death Master File." It sounds like a ledger the Grim Reaper might keep, but in reality, it's a computerized list containing some 86 million names and other data kept by the Social Security Administration.

An obscure provision tucked into the budget deal that Congress approved last month would limit access to the list — and that has everyone from genealogists to bankers concerned.

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Shots - Health News
4:15 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Health Care Costs Grew More Slowly Than The Economy In 2012

NPR

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 2:55 pm

Health care spending grew at a record slow pace for the fourth straight year in 2012, according to a new government report. But the federal officials who compiled the report disagree with their bosses in the Obama administration about why.

The annual report from the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published in the journal Health Affairs, found total U.S. health spending totaled $2.8 trillion in 2012, or $8,915 per person.

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Parallels
3:12 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

How I Almost Got Arrested With A South Sudanese Ex-Minister

South Sudan's then-Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Peter Adwok Nyaba (center) celebrates the first anniversary of the country's independence in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, on July 9, 2012. Since then, all of South Sudan's Cabinet ministers have been sacked — including Adwok — for allegedly conspiring to overthrow President Salva Kiir.
Ding Haitao Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 12:28 pm

The unmarked, unpaved streets of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, can be tough for an outsider to navigate.

By the time I found the house of Peter Adwok Nyaba, the country's former minister of higher education, science and technology, it was already 5 p.m. The sun was dangerously low on the horizon. I had less than an hour to interview Adwok and get back to my hotel before the citywide curfew — imposed when the violence began three weeks before — took effect. After 6, there would be no one on the streets except myself and soldiers.

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Environment
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Arctic Methane Bubbles Not As Foreboding As Once Feared

European scientists were alarmed in 2008 when they discovered streams of methane bubbles erupting from the seafloor in Norway's high Arctic. This gas, which contributes to global warming, was apparently coming from methane ice on the seafloor. A follow-up study finds that methane bubble plumes at this location have probably been forming for a few thousand years, so they are not the result of human-induced climate change. But continued warming of ocean water can trigger more methane releases in the Arctic, with potentially serious consequences to the climate.

Around the Nation
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Forest Service May Try To Recoup Rim Fire Costs With Logging

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed a large salvage logging operation in the area affected by last year's historic Rim Fire, which burned 410-square miles of California's Sierra Nevada. The proposal is meeting stiff opposition from environmental groups who say the land is better left untouched.

Digital Life
4:11 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

The Internet's Cicada: A Mystery Without An Answer

A poster found in Warsaw shows a QR Code for a website related to the Cicada 3301 mystery.
Cicada 3301

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 4:55 pm

"Hello. We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test. There is a message hidden in this image. Find it, and it will lead you on the road to finding us. We look forward to meeting the few that will make it all the way through. Good luck."

That message, signed "3301," appeared on the underground message board known as 4chan two years ago. It was mysterious, cryptic and sparked a global Internet mystery that has yet to be answered to this day.

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Around the Nation
3:53 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

Calif. Toxin Law Warns Consumers, But Can Burden Businesses

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 4:55 pm

All over California, signs in restaurants, parking garages and other businesses warn that you could be exposed to chemicals that can cause cancer.

The disclosure is mandated by 1986 state law. If a company fails to warn consumers, it can be sued.

But a lot has changed since the law was passed: The list of toxic chemicals is longer and the lawsuits are more prolific. In October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed an amendment to ease the burden on businesses.

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History
3:25 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

WWII Female Air Force Pilots Still Flying High

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 11:07 am

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

During World War II, a group of women took a bold step in aviation. While male pilots were sent overseas, the Women Air Force Service Pilots took up the war effort on the home front. From 1943 to 1944, they logged over 60 million miles across the U.S., flying 77 types of military aircraft to haul supplies and conduct training exercises.

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The Record
3:42 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Phil Everly: Harmony To His Brother's Melody

The Everly Brothers, Phil (left) and Don, perform in 2004 in London.
Jo Hale Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 5:59 pm

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Digital Life
3:39 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

New In The Next Year: From Acting To Electric Cars

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's time now for The New and The Next.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RATH: Carlos Watson is the cofounder of the online magazine Ozy. Each week, he joins us to talk about what's new and what's next. Welcome back, Carlos. Happy New Year.

CARLOS WATSON: Arun, Happy New Year to you. Always good to be back.

RATH: So this week, we're going to talk about some of the stuff you're excited about in the year ahead. One of those things, in a word, Japan.

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Sports
3:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Controversial Since Day 1, Bowl Championship Series To End

On Monday, the BCS National Championship featuring Florida State and Auburn University will mark the end of the confusing and controversial Bowl Championship Series. Dennis Dodd from CBS Sports speaks with NPR's Arun Rath about what this means for the future of NCAA football.

Technology
6:01 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

For The Blind, Connected Devices Create A Novel Way To Read

This Braille reader connects to a smartphone.
John Suchocki The Republican/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 6:43 pm

Saturday is World Braille Day, commemorating the birth of Frenchman Louis Braille, who was blinded in an accident when he was a toddler. Undeterred, he became a brilliant student but was frustrated that he couldn't read or write.

In school, he learned about a system of dots used by soldiers to communicate at night. Braille adapted that system into something that would transform the lives of the blind and visually impaired.

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Around the Nation
2:56 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Big Cities See Violent Crime Rates Fall In 2013

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 6:43 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At the start of this new year, a number of cities in the United States, including its five largest, have a common story to tell about crime. In 2013, they all saw violent crime rates drop significantly. Some also saw murder rates drop to historic lows. From Chicago, NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

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