3:25am

Tue February 26, 2013
All Tech Considered

Seeking A 'Field Of Dreams' For A Rising Drone Industry

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:44 am

Joe Kummer, president of Propulsive Wing in Elbridge, N.Y., is rooting for having a drone test site in upstate New York. He says it could save him trips to the West Coast to try out new drone prototypes.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

In three years, the federal government is expected to open the skies for the civilian use of drones. But before that, the Federal Aviation Administration will set up six drone test sites around the country. Stiff competition to get one of the sites is anticipated — driven by hopes of attracting thousands of new jobs.

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3:24am

Tue February 26, 2013
Religion

The Hermit Pope Who Set The Precedent For Benedict XVI

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:15 pm

Beneath a glass coffin, wearing a pontiff's miter and faded vestments of gold and purple, there lies a tiny man with a wax head.

This represents an Italian priest who, until this month, was the only pope in history to voluntarily resign.

His name is Celestine V.

Celestine became pope at 84, some seven centuries ago, after a long and self-punishing career as a hermit.

Though a celebrated spiritual leader, and founder of a new branch of the Benedictine order, his papacy lasted just over five months. It's widely viewed as an utter disaster.

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3:23am

Tue February 26, 2013
Law

Supreme Court Considers If Warrantless DNA Swab Violates Constitution

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:44 am

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in a case about the collection of DNA evidence, and whether the Fourth Amendment prohibits police from obtaining DNA samples before conviction without a warrant.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on Tuesday in a case that could throw a monkey wrench into the widespread use of DNA testing — a case that pits modern technology against notions of personal privacy.

Twenty-eight states and the federal government have enacted laws that provide for automatic DNA collection from people at the time of their arrest. The question is whether it is unconstitutional to do that without a warrant, for the sole purpose of checking the DNA against a national DNA crime scene database.

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3:21am

Tue February 26, 2013
Business

Technology Upends Another Industry: Homebuilding

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:44 am

The recession forced Mid-Atlantic Builders Executive Vice President Stephen Paul to cut the company's staffing. But he says the firm is being efficient with half the original number of employees.
Marie McGrory NPR

Years into the economic recovery, hiring remains slow. Many businesses learned to do more with less during the recession, so they don't need to bring on as many people now.

These new efficiencies have led to what economists call "labor displacement," which is taking place around the country. One business in Rockville, Md., is doing the same amount of work with half its original staff.

Two things are noticeably absent from the offices of Mid-Atlantic Builders: people and paper.

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6:24pm

Mon February 25, 2013
WVAS Local

WVAS Local News

Central Alabama is already several inches above average rainfall for the year with the barrage of storm systems sweeping across the state in recent weeks.  All of the rain can be both good and bad for farmers.  Regional Extension Agent Christy Hicks said farmers growing wheat have had some complications.  Hicks says the corn crop isn't planted until early March, so young plants weren't affected.  The surplus of rainfall allows farmers to refill irrigation ponds to use during warmer months.

Alabama's Constitution

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5:53pm

Mon February 25, 2013
Economy

Too Soon To Blame Payroll Tax For Stagnant Retail Sales?

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 7:23 pm

Wal-Mart is one of several large retailers that say an increase in the payroll tax may hurt U.S. sales in the months ahead.
Daniel Acker Bloomberg via Getty Images

For Darden Restaurants, the company behind Olive Garden and Red Lobster, its earnings projections out last week were not pretty. Sales will fall, it said, and company CEO Clarence Otis called higher payroll taxes a "headwind."

After a two-year tax break, the payroll tax, which funds Social Security payments, went back up to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1. The 2-percentage-point increase is an extra $80 a month in taxes for someone earning $50,000 a year.

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5:37pm

Mon February 25, 2013
The Two-Way

C. Everett Koop, Surgeon General Who Fought Against Smoking, AIDS, Dies

Former Surgeon General of the United States C. Everett Koop.
Geisel School of Medicine

C. Everett Koop, known as America's Family Doctor during his tenure as surgeon general from 1981 to 1989, died today at his home in Hanover, N.H., Dartmouth announced.

He was 96.

Koop made a name for himself for the surprising stands he took during the AIDS epidemic, as well as for his efforts fighting for a smoke-free country.

The Associated Press reports:

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5:18pm

Mon February 25, 2013
The Two-Way

Italian Elections Produce Murky Result, Financial Jitters

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 6:41 pm

Workers open ballots in a polling station in Rome on Tuesday following Italy's general elections. The initial results showed a close race with no clear-cut winner, a development that made financial markets jumpy.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

As Italy's elections results came in Monday, the country appeared headed toward political gridlock, a development that rattled financial markets hoping for a clear result.

A center-left coalition, headed by Pier Luigi Bersani and favored in pre-election polls, looked like it would win the lower house of Parliament, according to partial results.

But in a surprise, the center-right grouping, headed by the former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, appeared to be ahead in the upper house.

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5:07pm

Mon February 25, 2013
The Two-Way

Brooklyn Assemblyman Defends Blackface Costume

Dov Hikind is in the middle.
Facebook

Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind is facing a storm of criticism after he dressed as an African-American basketball player in blackface. Hikind wore the costume to a party at his house celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim.

He posted a picture of himself on Facebook wearing an afro wig and an orange jersey.

The New York Times reports that some fellow Democrats criticized the costume. The Times adds:

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5:02pm

Mon February 25, 2013
Shots - Health News

Most People Can Skip Calcium Supplements, Prevention Panel Says

Forgoing calcium supplements is a fine approach for most people, a preventive services panel says.
iStockphoto.com

Women have been told for years that if they don't take calcium supplements religiously, they're putting themselves at risk of crippling hip fractures in old age.

Now the word from a major government panel: Why bother?

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