1:39pm

Wed August 1, 2012
Planet Money

The Endlessly Disappointing Jobs Recovery

Three years into the economic recovery, the unemployment rate is still disastrously high. So today's big economic question is whether the Federal Reserve will announce new measures to bring down unemployment when it releases its policy statement this afternoon.

Update: The new statement is out. The Fed isn't doing anything new right now.

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1:07pm

Wed August 1, 2012
NPR Story

Crustacean Adventures — Love at First Crack

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 4:53 pm

"Beware the green stuff," says Maggie Shipstead.
Daniel Gilbey

Maggie Shipstead just published her first novel, Seating Arrangements.

There haven't been very many. I started late. Until I was 21, I thought I didn't like seafood. Then I got tipsy and ate a whole lobster, and my life changed.

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1:00pm

Wed August 1, 2012
The Two-Way

Once In A Blue Moon: August Will Bring Two Full Moons

A waxing moon in the background of a fairground attraction in London on Sunday.
Andrew Cowie AFP/Getty Images

In astronomical terms, a blue moon really doesn't denote that long a time span. In fact, a blue moon happens once every 2.7 years on average.

Still, it's a special event that, at least using its modern definition, happens when there are two full moons in a single month.

Today (Aug. 1) we'll see a full-moon and that is a prelude to the blue moon of Aug. 31. As Space.com reports, the Aug. 31 moon will reach its full phase during the day.

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12:26pm

Wed August 1, 2012
The Torch

What's A Gold Medal Really Worth?

Plenty To Smile About: Weightlifter Maiya Maneza of Kazakhstan celebrates on the podium with her new 400-gram gold medal, matching the feat of her compatriot Zulfiya Chinshanlo. The Kazakh Olympians will each receive a $250,000 bonus.
Laurence Griffiths Getty Images

Weighing 400 grams, the Olympic gold medals that are being doled out at the London 2012 Summer Games are the heaviest ever, according to reports. But that doesn't mean they're the most valuable: at an estimated $620.82, they're nearly $590 short of the $1,207.86 value held by a gold medal from the Stockholm Games of 1912.

The discrepancy stems from the fact that the 2012 gold medals contain only 6 grams of gold; the rest is silver and copper. In fact, the London bling contains more copper than gold, which is only used to coat the medals with a plating layer.

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12:25pm

Wed August 1, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Lab Findings Support Provocative Theory On Cancer 'Enemy' Within

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 4:54 pm

The white arrows in these two tumor samples point to a subset of tumor cells that are in a resting state.
Nature

Scientists reported new evidence Wednesday that supports a provocative theory about cancer.

Three separate teams of scientists said they had, for the first time, shown that so-called cancer stem cells can be found naturally in brain tumors and early forms of skin and colon cancer.

Evidence has been mounting in recent years for the existence of these cells, which would be especially insidious. They are believed to resist standard chemotherapy and radiation and fuel the growth of tumors and relapses.

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12:18pm

Wed August 1, 2012
Politics

How Congressman Paul Ryan Is Shaping The GOP

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 2:46 pm

Fussbudget, Ryan Lizza writes: "To envisage what Republicans would do if they win in November, the person to understand is not necessarily Romney, who has been a policy cipher all his public life. The person to understand is Paul Ryan."" href="/post/how-congressman-paul-ryan-shaping-gop" class="noexit lightbox">
In his New Yorker article, Fussbudget, Ryan Lizza writes: "To envisage what Republicans would do if they win in November, the person to understand is not necessarily Romney, who has been a policy cipher all his public life. The person to understand is Paul Ryan."
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

As the presumptive presidential nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is currently the face of the Republican Party. But, as journalist Ryan Lizza suggests in his article in this week's New Yorker, the party's agenda and ideology are being driven by a very different figure: Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

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11:53am

Wed August 1, 2012
Participation Nation

Homeless Kids At Play In Washington, D.C.

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 11:58 am

A volunteer reads a book with a visitor at The Homeless Children's Playtime Project.
Courtesy of The Homeless Children's Playtime Project

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

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11:51am

Wed August 1, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

You Think Beauty Is Skin Deep? You're Not A Chiropractor

Contestants Marianne Baba (left), Lois Conway and Ruth Swenson stand next to plates of their X-Rays during a chiropractor-judged beauty contest.
Wallace Kirkland Time

When the nation's chiropractors descended on Chicago for a weeklong convention in May 1956, they threw a beauty contest.

The judges crowned Lois Conway, 18, Miss Correct Posture. Second place went to Marianne Caba, 16, according to an account in the Chicago Tribune. Ruth Swenson, 26, came in third.

But this was no ordinary pageant.

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11:48am

Wed August 1, 2012
The Two-Way

Sharp Swings In Stocks Renew Concerns About Computer Trading

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 2:58 pm

"August 1st will be another day that will destroy investor confidence just like the May 6th [2010] flash crash."

That rather ominous sounding pronouncement comes from Joseph Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading LLC in Chatham, N.J., in a Bloomberg News report about what happened early this morning on Wall Street.

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11:47am

Wed August 1, 2012
The Two-Way

USPS Defaults On $5.5 Billion Payment To Treasury

An employee loads flat trays onto a truck at the U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Merrifield, Va.
Andrew Harrier Bloomberg via Getty Images

For the first time ever, the United States Postal Service has defaulted on a payment to the Treasury.

The USPS warned of a default in a statement on Monday. It it would not make the $5.5 billion payment due today and that it would also default on a $5.6 billion payment due Sept. 30. Both of those payments are federally mandated and go toward prefunding retiree health benefits.

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