4:11am

Fri May 24, 2013
Parallels

China's Air Pollution: Is The Government Willing To Act?

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 11:55 am

Skyscrapers are obscured by heavy haze in Beijing on Jan. 13. Air pollution remains a serious — sometimes overwhelming — problem, but researchers say environmental technology is available to solve it.
Ng Han Guan AP

Denise Mauzerall arrived in Beijing this year at a time that was both horrifying and illuminating. The capital was facing some of its worst pollution in recent memory, and Mauzerall, a Princeton environmental engineering professor, was passing through on her way to a university forum on the future of cities.

"I took the fast train from Beijing to Shanghai, and looking out the window for large sections of that trip, you couldn't see more than 20 feet," Mauzerall recalled.

To Mauzerall, the lesson was surprising and inescapable.

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3:18am

Fri May 24, 2013
Planet Money

Can This Man Bring Silicon Valley To Yangon?

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 9:29 am

Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Like a proud father, Nay Aung opens up his MacBook Air to show me the Myanmar travel website he has built. But we wait 30 seconds for the site to load, and nothing happens.

"Today is a particularly bad day for Internet," he says. This is life in Myanmar today: Even an Internet entrepreneur can't always get online.

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2:46am

Fri May 24, 2013
StoryCorps

Military Moms: A Bond Borne From Shared Loss

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 8:22 am

Sally Edwards (left), 80, and Lue Hutchinson, 71, visited StoryCorps in Cincinnati. Their sons, Jack Edwards and Tom Butts, are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
StoryCorps

In 1991, Kentucky residents Sally Edwards and Lue Hutchinson had sons serving in the Gulf War. Sally's son, Jack, was a Marine captain. Lue's son, Tom Butts, was a staff sergeant in the Army. The two men never knew each other, but today, their mothers are best friends.

Both soldiers were killed in February of 1991. Jack was 34. "They were the cover for a medical mission. The helicopter lost its top rotor blade, and they didn't make it back," Sally says.

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7:48pm

Thu May 23, 2013
Movie Reviews

'Plimpton!': A Fond Look At A Man Of Letters

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 8:43 pm

But Could He Cook, Too? Journalist, raconteur, bon vivant and bona fide literary force, Paris Review founder George Plimpton — pictured here photographing birds on a trip to Africa — is the subject of an admiring documentary.
Freddy Plimpton Laemmle Zeller Films

If ever there was a man who made a virtue out of failure, it was George Plimpton.

He played quarterback with the Detroit Lions without even knowing where to put his hands to take the snap. He had his nose bloodied by knockout king Archie Moore. He sweated through performances as a triangle player for Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic. Tennis great Pancho Gonzales properly destroyed him in a singles match, and Plimpton once threw a pitch at Yankee Stadium that was pounded into the third deck.

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7:35pm

Thu May 23, 2013
The Two-Way

Boy Scouts Vote To Admit Openly Gay Members

Members of Scouts for Equality hold a rally to support inclusion for gays in the Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

The Boy Scouts of America has agreed for the first time to allow openly gay boys as members, but a vote of the organization's National Council left in place a ban on gay Scout leaders.

The Associated Press reports that of the local Scout leaders voting at their annual meeting in Texas, more than 60 percent supported the proposal. The policy change approved by the 1,400-member National Council would take effect Jan. 1, 2014, the organization said.

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7:33pm

Thu May 23, 2013
Movie Reviews

More Time Together, Though 'Midnight' Looms

Originally published on Sat May 25, 2013 5:39 pm

Still Talking: After 18 years, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) apparently have plenty left to hash out.
Despina Spyrou Sony Pictures Classics

Celine and Jesse are sporting a few physical wrinkles — and working through some unsettling relational ones — in Before Midnight, but that just makes this third installment of their once-dewy romance gratifyingly dissonant.

It's been 18 years since they talked through the night that first time, Julie Delpy's Celine enchanting and occasionally prickly, Ethan Hawke's Jesse determined to charm; their chatter then, as now, scripted but loose enough to feel improvised as captured in long, long takes by Richard Linklater's cameras.

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6:40pm

Thu May 23, 2013
It's All Politics

Srinivasan's Confirmation First For D.C. Circuit In 7 Years

Deputy Solicitor General Sri Srinivasan testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on April 10.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

For the first time in seven years, the U.S. Senate has confirmed a judge to sit on the important federal appeals court for the District of Columbia. The Senate unanimously confirmed Deputy Solicitor General Sri Srinivasan on Thursday for the seat previously held by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

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6:27pm

Thu May 23, 2013
Shots - Health News

Why You Have To Scratch That Itch

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 11:20 am

The origin of itch has confounded scientists for decades.
Oktay Ortakcioglu iStockphoto.com

Everybody itches. Sometimes itch serves as a useful warning signal — there's a bug on your back! But sometimes itch arises for no apparent reason, and can be a torment.

Think of the itchy skin disorder eczema, or the constant itching caused by some cancers. "A very high percentage of people who're on dialysis for chronic kidney disease develop severe itch that's very difficult to manage," says Dr. Ethan Lerner, an associate professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School.

Scientists now say they've got a much better clue as to how itch happens.

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6:26pm

Thu May 23, 2013
The Salt

Inside A Tart Cherry Revival: 'Somebody Needs To Do This!'

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 11:29 am

At Michigan State University's Clarksville Research Station, researchers apply pollen by hand to tart cherry blossoms, in order to breed new varieties.
Dan Charles NPR

Some fruits, like apples, you can find anywhere. But others have gotten a little bit lost in today's global food business.

Take tart cherries, also known as sour cherries. Unlike sweet cherries, America's tart cherries are too fragile to ship very far, so most people never get to taste a fresh one.

They're typically frozen, then baked into that iconic American dessert, the cherry pie — and cherry pies aren't as popular as they used to be.

Yet the humble sour cherry is experiencing an unlikely renaissance — and the best may be yet to come.

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6:20pm

Thu May 23, 2013
Shots - Health News

Abortion Opponents Try to Spin Murder Case Into Legislation

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., has introduced a federal bill to ban most abortions after 20 weeks' gestation — six weeks into the second trimester. This is the second straight Congress he's done so, but this time he's broadened his bill to encompass all 50 states, not just D.C.
Matt York AP

As predicted, abortion opponents on Capitol Hill are wasting no time in their efforts to turn publicity over the recent murder conviction of abortion provider Kermit Gosnell to their legislative advantage.

Their latest goal: a federal ban on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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