Space
1:03 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Can You Hear Me Now? Cellphone Satellites Phone Home

Three PhoneSats, like the one seen here during a high-altitude balloon test, were launched into space on Sunday. The slightly modified cellphone satellites cost a few thousand dollars in parts.
NASA Ames Research Center

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 4:59 pm

Smartphones can check e-mail, record videos and even stream NPR. Now NASA has discovered they make pretty decent satellites, too. Three smart phones launched into space this past Sunday are orbiting above us even now, transmitting data and images back to Earth. The PhoneSats, which cost just a few thousand dollars each, could usher in big changes for the satellite industry.

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Planet Money
1:02 am
Fri April 26, 2013

The Lollipop War

Spangler Candy via Flickr

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 4:59 pm

I recently got a tour of the Spangler Candy Co., a family-owned firm in Bryan, Ohio. The company makes 10 million Dum Dums lollipops there every day, and it has a whole separate building where it stores the sugar — enough to fill eight Olympic-size swimming pools.

The CEO, Kirk Vashaw, says he wants to expand the factory and make even more candy there. There's just one thing he needs.

"Let us buy sugar on the free market," he says.

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Shots - Health News
1:00 am
Fri April 26, 2013

A $5.5 Billion Road Map To Banish Polio Forever

A health worker marks a baby's finger after giving her a polio vaccine in Moradabad, India.
Michaeleen Doucleff NPR

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 4:59 pm

Polio isn't going easily into the dustbin of history.

The world needs to push it in, throw down the lid and then keep an eye out to make sure it doesn't escape.

That's the gist of a new plan released Thursday by the World Health Organization and other foundations at a vaccine meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

It's a six-year, $5.5 billion program, and its goal is to wipe out polio for good.

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The Salt
12:57 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Exploring Coffee's Past To Rescue Its Future

Eduardo Somarriba is a researcher at the Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Education in Turrialba, Costa Rica.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 1:47 pm

At the Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Education (CATIE) in Turrialba, Costa Rica, you can touch the history of coffee — and also, if the optimists have their way, part of its future.

Here, spread across 25 acres, are coffee trees that take you back to coffee's origins.

"The story starts in Africa, no? East Africa," says Eduardo Somarriba, a researcher at CATIE, as we walk through long rows of small coffee trees.

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StoryCorps
12:49 am
Fri April 26, 2013

From Poor Beginnings To A Wealth Of Knowledge

Herman Blake, left, and Sidney Blake at StoryCorps in New York.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 11:14 am

Herman Blake grew up with his mother and six siblings just outside New York City. It was the early 1940s and the family was poor. This shaped their outlook on life.

"When I was growing up the great emphasis was on being able to get a job because we were on welfare, and it was so humiliating," Herman tells his brother Sidney, who is an Episcopal deacon, during a visit to StoryCorps in New York.

One of the Blake brothers, Henry, who wanted the family to stop depending on welfare, decided to drop out of school so he could help take care of their mother.

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The Salt
12:48 am
Fri April 26, 2013

So Jerry Seinfeld Called Us To Talk About Coffee

In an episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee called "Larry Eats A Pancake," Jerry Seinfeld has coffee with Larry David.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 1:48 pm

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Around the Nation
6:17 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Controversy Brews Over Church's Hallucinogenic Tea Ritual

Ayahuasca brew used in South and Central America.
Nha Flickr

A small church in Santa Fe, N.M., has grown up around a unique sacrament. Twice a month, the congregation meets in a ritualized setting to drink Brazilian huasca tea, which has psychoactive properties said to produce a trance-like state.

The Supreme Court confirmed the UDV church's right to exist in 2006. The church doesn't seek new members and prefers to keep a low profile. It did, however, agree for the first time to open up to a journalist.

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Music Reviews
6:16 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Jonny Fritz: A Country Jester Gets Personal

Jonny Fritz's third solo album, after two under the alias Jonny Corndawg, is called Dad Country.
Josh Hedley Courtesy of the artist

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Around the Nation
6:16 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Thousands Attend Memorial For Plant Explosion Victims

President Obama visited Waco, Texas, on Thursday day to take part in a memorial for those killed in the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, last week.

Around the Nation
4:05 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Mississippi River's Many 'Parents' Look To Unify

Mississippi River floodwaters in Vicksburg, Miss., in 2011.
Dave Martin AP

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 6:16 pm

Life on the Mississippi River is a roller coaster of highs and lows: record high floodwaters one year, a drought and near-record low water levels the next. And those are just two of the many problems faced by river stakeholders like barge operators, farmers and conservation groups.

Those stakeholders met recently in Chicago to discuss the Mississippi's most pressing needs, any common ground, and how to speak with a unified voice in advocating for the nation's largest river system.

So far, that hasn't been easy.

Critical, Crumbling Lifeline

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