1:35am

Wed December 5, 2012
Education

When The Art Of The Deal Includes Improv Training

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 8:09 am

iStockphoto.com

Some top-tier business schools are offering more than just finance and marketing these days: Duke, UCLA, MIT and Stanford are all teaching improv. Professors say these techniques help students increase collaboration, creativity and risk taking.

In an improvisational leadership class at MIT's Sloan School of Management, instructor Daena Giardella coaches a scene where a hospital administrator is firing surgeons after a horribly botched operation.

Giardella, who does professional improv, boils it down to a rule known as "yes, and."

Read more

1:34am

Wed December 5, 2012
The Salt

Palestinian Olive Harvest Turns Bitter As Economy Sputters

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 8:12 am

Palestinian women harvest olive trees near the occupied West Bank village of Deir Samet near the town of Hebron.
Hazem Bader AFP/Getty Images

Across the West Bank, olive harvesting season is drawing to a close once again. But this year, the usually joyous occasion has become grimly purposeful because the Palestinian economy, according to some economists, is being held hostage to politics, and is on the verge of collapse.

In the West Bank village of Deir Ibzie, Amal Karajeh and her husband, Basem, comb through the leaves and branches of an olive tree in their front yard.

Read more

1:33am

Wed December 5, 2012
The Impact of War

Vets Flock To Colleges ... But How Are They Doing?

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:18 am

Maralynn Bernstein (bottom left), the veterans services coordinator for the University of Arizona, confers with Cody Nicholls, director of the Veterans Education and Transition Services Center, at the school's Veterans Center in Tucson.
Larry Abramson NPR

Record numbers of veterans are returning home from war and heading to college. The biggest draw: the generous benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which in three short years has helped 860,000 vets go to school.

But there's still little known about how these students are doing.

For years, Sarah Yaw has been working with veterans at Cayuga Community College, a small school in rural, upstate New York. She took a leave in 2009, around the time the Post-9/11 GI Bill went into effect. When she returned to the school, she found a dramatic change.

Read more

1:23am

Wed December 5, 2012
Around the Nation

Pot's Legal In Washington State, But Don't Drive High

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 11:10 am

Chris Guthrie, vice president for operations at Canna Pi medical dispensary, inspects a medical marijuana product at his clinic in Seattle on Monday. Marijuana will be legal in Washington state from 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
Anthony Bolante Reuters /Landov

Marijuana is legal in Washington state as of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, but the ballot initiative that made it legal last month contained a new DUI standard — a deal-sweetener for hesitant voters — that may actually make life riskier for regular pot users.

The new law makes it legal for adults to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, but illegal for that same adult to drive if the THC content of his blood reaches 5 nanograms per milliliter.

Read more

1:22am

Wed December 5, 2012
Your Money

More Large Retailers Ease Customers' Path To Credit

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 8:09 am

Home Depot has long offered credit cards, partly to serve customers who have just suffered major house damage. The company has recently widened those efforts. Here, a Tampa, Fla., customer buys a generator and bottled water, preparing for Tropical Storm Isaac's arrival in August.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Retailers are finding more ways to offer their customers financial products — mortgages, loans and the like. In the past, people looked to banks for this kind of product. But big-box stores are trying to find new ways of getting money to those who cannot use banks, or want to avoid them altogether.

Costco may be best known for pallets of bottled water or bulk toilet paper that can last a family an entire year. But earlier this year, it also added mortgages to its growing array of financial offerings.

Read more

9:03pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Sweetness And Light

Navel-Gazing: Why Golf Should Embrace Belly Putters

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 1:20 pm

Carl Pettersson of Sweden putts for birdie on the eighth hole during the final round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, S.C., in April. The long putter he uses is in danger of being banned.
Hunter Martin Getty Images

When did "issues" become such an all-purpose, often euphemistic word for anything disagreeable? We have issues now where we used to have problems, and concerns, and troubles, and hornet's nests. Like for example: The American and British big wheels who run golf have "issues" with putting.

Now understand, modern golfers have kryptonite drivers with club heads as large as prize pumpkins, and steroid balls that would not pass the drug test, even if the hapless International Cycling Union were doing the random sampling.

Read more

6:13pm

Tue December 4, 2012
World Cafe

Stars On World Cafe

Stars
Norman Wong Courtesy of the artist

Stars returns to the World Cafe studio to play songs from its latest album, The North. Here, the band sits down with host David Dye to discuss its decision-making process, and how its insistence on being as democratic as possible has helped it stay together over the years.

Read more

5:05pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Politics

Social Security's COLA At Stake In 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks?

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:34 am

The Republican plan to avert the "fiscal cliff" that the White House rejected Monday includes at least one element that's likely to produce controversy: a proposal that would, among other things, affect the cost of living adjustment for Social Security.

Read more

4:31pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Afghanistan

Kabul's Roads, Paved With Good Intentions

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 12:00 am

Afghan laborers work on a roads project last month in Kabul. A huge project to fix the city's roads and sewers is causing huge headaches.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Sometimes, you don't have to go far to find a story. For the past few months, just stepping outside NPR's Kabul office has been a drama.

The neighborhood is in the midst of a major road and sewer renovation project. It's just one of many such projects that is badly needed in Kabul and elsewhere in the country.

But as is often the case, the pace and quality of the work has been uneven. And residents aren't so sure whether the final product will be worth the months of gridlock, power outages and business interruption.

Read more

4:20pm

Tue December 4, 2012
NPR Story

AAA Says New Ethanol-Gas Blend Could Hurt Cars

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

AAA has warned against potential damage that a new blend of gasoline could do to some engines. And the warning has started a fight over renewable fuels and the future of what we put in our gas tanks.

The fuel is called E15 — named for the percentage of ethanol in the blend. Most of the gas that's sold in the U.S. has about 10 percent ethanol in it.

Read more

Pages