2:09am

Tue April 30, 2013
Shots - Health News

Why Calif. Doesn't Want Smokers To Pay More For Health Insurance

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 2:27 pm

Californian State Assemblyman Richard Pan (center) is the author of legislation that would bar higher prices for health insurance sold to smokers.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Smoking has its risks, but in California higher prices for health insurance probably won't be among them.

The federal health law allows states to charge smokers up to 50 percent more for a health plan, but a bill moving forward in the California Legislature would prevent that from happening.

The Affordable Care Act is supposed to remove discrimination in the pricing of health insurance for things like gender and medical condition. Critics say a tobacco surcharge creates a new category of discrimination against smokers.

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2:08am

Tue April 30, 2013
Books

Vibrant 'Club' Links Two Countries In Award-Winning Book

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 12:17 pm

Author Benjamin Alire Saenz writes about life on the U.S.-Mexico border. Here he holds his latest book, Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club, in front of "$26," a painting by Francisco Delgado (the presidents in the painting appear on American bills worth a collective $26).
Mark Lambie Courtesy El Paso Times

On a Saturday night, the bridge that links downtown El Paso, Texas, to Ciudad Juarez in Mexico is hauntingly still. Once, this was a border crossing flush with life; now, after years of brutal drug violence, it's like a graveyard. It's certainly not the border that American author Benjamin Alire Saenz recalls from his high school days.

"We'd all pile in a couple of cars. There'd be like 10 of us and we'd come over to Juarez," Saenz remembers. "We'd go to all these places like The Cave, the Club Hawaii ... the Kentucky Club ... and we would just have a good time and laugh."

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2:07am

Tue April 30, 2013
All Tech Considered

When It Comes To Productivity, Technology Can Hurt And Help

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 2:27 pm

With instant messages buzzing, emails pinging and texts ringing, how can employers increase productivity in the workplace? Software companies are tackling the problem, tracking employees' computer time to find ways to improve their efficiency.
iStockphoto.com

Even when people think they're buckling down, studies show the average office worker wastes over a third of the day. There's Facebook, of course, and the email from a friend with a YouTube link. After all that, is it time to go get coffee?

Worker pay is the most expensive line item in the budget for most businesses, which means billions of dollars are going to waste.

But here's the silver lining: It turns out lack of productivity presents a big business opportunity.

Joe Hruska is pretty blunt about how much work anyone does in a typical day.

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2:04am

Tue April 30, 2013
Environment

He Helped Discover Evolution, And Then Became Extinct

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 2:27 pm

Poacher-turned-conservationist Karamoy Maramis, who works at Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park in Sulawesi, holds a maleo, a bird that exists in nature only on the Indonesian island.
Rebecca Davis NPR

Ask most folks who came up with the theory of evolution, and they'll tell you it was Charles Darwin.

In fact, Alfred Russel Wallace, another British naturalist, was a co-discoverer of the theory — though Darwin has gotten most of the credit. Wallace died 100 years ago this year.

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6:17pm

Mon April 29, 2013
The Two-Way

Saturn Shows Off A Massive Spinning Vortex: 'The Rose'

A mammoth spinning vortex is seen on Saturn, in this "false-color" photograph released by NASA Monday. The image was captured by the Cassini spacecraft. A related image, presenting what a human eye would see, is farther down this page.
NASA

NASA is calling it "The Rose." By any other name, it's a mammoth storm on Saturn's north pole. Its eye spans an estimated 1,250 miles — 20 times the size of an average hurricane's eye on Earth. Winds in the Saturn storm's eye wall are believed to be four times as fast.

The stunning image of the spinning vortex was given "false colors" to emphasize low clouds (in red) versus high clouds (in green). NASA estimates that the clouds at the outer edge are moving at up to 330 miles per hour.

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4:55pm

Mon April 29, 2013
The Two-Way

Cargo Plane Crash In Afghanistan Kills 7

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 5:00 pm

A civilian cargo plane crashed in Afghanistan, killing all seven crew members, the U.S. military said Monday.

NPR's Tom Bowman is reporting on it for our Newscast team. He says:

"Officials say the crash killed all seven crew members. And there is no word yet on their nationalities.

"Emergency responders are still on the scene of the crash, at the sprawling base north of Kabul. Officials are still trying to determine the reason for the crash but say there's no indication of hostile fire.

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4:54pm

Mon April 29, 2013
The Two-Way

Medics Arrive At Guantanamo As Hunger Strikers Increase

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 4:58 pm

About 40 medical personnel have arrived at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay amid an increase in the number of hunger strikers at the facility.

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4:51pm

Mon April 29, 2013
All Tech Considered

How One College Is Closing The Computer Science Gender Gap

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 6:48 pm

Harvey Mudd President Maria Klawe often uses her longboard to get around campus and chat with students like senior Xanda Schofield.
Wendy Kaufman NPR

This story is part of our series The Changing Lives of Women.

There are still relatively few women in tech. Maria Klawe wants to change that. As president of Harvey Mudd College, a science and engineering school in Southern California, she's had stunning success getting more women involved in computing.

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4:07pm

Mon April 29, 2013
The Two-Way

Iceland Elects Three Pirate Party MPs

Supporters of the German Pirate Party attend a meeting in Berlin in February.
Adam Berry Getty Images

Iceland has become the first country to elect members of parliament from the Pirate Party — an international online freedom movement.

Three Pirate Party MPs will take seats following historic polls in Iceland that saw a new coalition come to power on a promise of easing economic austerity measures.

According to The Associated Press:

"The conservative Independence Party and rural-based Progressive Party — who governed Iceland for decades before the 2008 [economic] crash — each had 19 seats in Iceland's 63-seat parliament, the Althingi. ...

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4:00pm

Mon April 29, 2013
Deceptive Cadence

Remembering Janos Starker, The Cellist 'Born To Be A Teacher'

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 4:48 pm

Cellist Janos Starker with one of his classes at Indiana University. He said he was "put on this earth to be a teacher."
Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

Renowned concert soloist and prolific, Grammy-winning cellist Janos Starker died Sunday. He was 88.

Starker's career began in his native Hungary, where he entered the Budapest Academy at age 7 and made his solo debut four years later. Starker dedicated his life to music, and left a legacy of teaching and performing.

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