Donald Trump picked a military town, Virginia Beach, Va., to give a speech Monday on how he would go about reforming the Dept. of Veterans Affairs if elected.

He blamed the Obama administration for a string of scandals at the VA during the past two years, and claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, has downplayed the problems and won't fix them.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

If you've stepped foot in a comic book store in the past few years, you'll have noticed a distinct shift. Superheroes, once almost entirely white men, have become more diverse.

There's been a biracial Spider-Man, a Muslim Ms. Marvel, and just last week, Marvel announced that the new Iron Man will be a teenage African-American girl.

Joining this lineup today is Kong Kenan, a Chinese boy who, as part of a reboot of the DC comics universe, is one of four characters taking up Superman's mantle.

On Tuesday, an international tribunal soundly rejected Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea, an area where China has been building islands and increasing its military activity.

The case before the international tribunal in the Hague was brought by the Philippines, challenging what's widely seen as a territorial grab by Beijing. The tribunal essentially agreed. Beijing immediately said the decision was null and void and that it would ignore it. There are concerns now that the tribunal's decision could inflame tensions between the U.S. and China.

The season for blueberries used to be short. You'd find fresh berries in the store just during a couple of months in the middle of summer.

Now, though, it's always blueberry season somewhere. Blueberry production is booming. The berries are grown in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan and the Pacific Northwest — not to mention the southern hemisphere.

But in any one location, the season is still short. And this means that workers follow the blueberry harvest, never staying in one place for long.

More than 4 in 10 working Americans say their job affects their overall health, with stress being cited most often as having a negative impact.

That's according to a new survey about the workplace and health from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

While it may not sound so surprising that work affects health, when we looked more closely, we found one group was particularly affected by stress on the job: the disabled.

The deaths last week of three African-American men in encounters with police, along with the killing of five Dallas officers by a black shooter, have left many African-American gun owners with conflicting feelings; those range from shock to anger and defiance. As the debate over gun control heats up, some African-Americans see firearms as critical to their safety, especially in times of racial tension.

Please do not catch virtual monsters among the graves of fallen soldiers.

This is the message from authorities at Arlington National Cemetery, aimed at those who might use the hit mobile game Pokémon Go at the cemetery.

A quick consultation with Dr. Google will tell you that drinking lots of water — and staying well-hydrated — can help you lose weight.

But is there any truth to this? A new study published in the Annals of Family Medicine adds to the evidence that hydration may play a role in weight management.

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This Slide Shows Why HealthCare.gov Wouldn't Work At Launch

Nov 19, 2013
Originally published on November 21, 2013 9:07 am

This is a story of contrast between two popular methods of software development. One is called "waterfall," the other, "agile."

Waterfall development favors listing a huge set of requirements for a system up front, letting developers go away for months (if not longer) and expecting a huge software product in the end.

The agile method does the opposite, favoring work done in phases, delivering "minimum shippable" parts of a software system in weekly or biweekly cycles. This allows for iterating — or adjusting to hiccups discovered in the previous cycle, changing features or quashing bugs quickly and avoiding getting an end product that doesn't look a thing like what your users need.

Like many government projects, HealthCare.gov was developed under the waterfall approach — and to its near doom.

In March, outside consultants from McKinsey & Co. were brought in to do a "red team," or outside progress report, on the system we know as HealthCare.gov. That system includes a data "hub," or pipeline for verification of eligibility; a federal marketplace to shop for plans; and, ultimately, an interface to enroll in health insurance coverage.

The key findings in the presentation (below) come on Page 5. Even though it was written in March, the slide sums up most of the key problems we eventually saw with the rollout of HealthCare.gov last month: limited testing time, evolving requirements, over-reliance on contractors and "stacking" of all the phases of development. The really damaging decision, according to the consultants: launching "at scale." The exchanges for all 50 states opened on the same day, instead of a few states at a time, gradually opening the marketplaces in phases.

Consultants shared this presentation with many key people in the Obama administration, including Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The overall document warns of the waterfall approach's many problems for this project, as well as those unrelated to the style of software development process government was using.

Consultants noted there was no clear leader in charge of this project, which we now know contributed to its disastrous release. And there was no "end-to-end testing" of its full implementation, something we now know never happened.

The raw presentation is embedded below, with a few annotations I added for you to explore. You can jump from one annotation to another by clicking on the bolded notes on the right side of this embed. Or you can explore this at full screen.

Update on Nov. 20: We should be clear, even the "ideal" model, on the left side of the featured slide, is just a better version of the waterfall approach. Agile development workflows look more like wooshy circles.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.