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Middle East
7:16 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

White House Undecided On Action For Syria Crossing 'Red Line'

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Has the so-called red line been crossed in Syria? Today, the Obama administration said it believes the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons and, as President Obama has said in the past, that is a red line that would trigger serious consequences. But as NPR's Mara Liasson reports, the administration says it still has to evaluate the evidence and decide what actions to take.

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Business & Education
6:49 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Regulators Warn Banks On Direct-Deposit Loans

Regulators are warning some of the nation's largest banks to stop offering loans that are hard to distinguish from those given out by storefront payday lenders.
CX Matiash AP

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 7:16 pm

Consumer advocates call them "debt" traps. The banks that offer them call them direct-deposit advances and describe them as available funds for short-term emergencies.

But the cash advances have many of the negative characteristics of payday loans. And on Thursday, U.S. bank regulators took a step toward protecting consumers from the risks they pose. The regulators proposed standards for "deposit-advance products."

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Arts & Life
4:07 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

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 7:16 pm

Dad Country is the ersatz debut of Jonny Fritz, but it's actually his third album: He recorded the first two under the name Jonny Corndawg. I enjoyed his 2011 album Down on the Bikini Line, but it's so much slighter, so much sillier and more risqué, that at first I didn't connect the two. From the new album's first seconds, Jonny Fritz sounds more intense and pained.

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Shots - Health News
4:04 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Researchers Find Hormone That Grows Insulin-Producing Cells

A microscopy image of a rat pancreas shows the insulin-making cells in green.
Masur Wikimedia.org

The work is only in mice so far, but it sure is intriguing.

A newly found hormone revs up production of cells that make insulin — the very kind that people with advanced diabetes lack.

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Environment
4:03 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

From Battle To Birds: Drones Get Second Life Counting Critters

Researchers are using small remote-controlled planes to survey the populations of the greater sage grouse.
Stephen J. Krasemann Science Source

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 7:16 pm

The U.S. military and law enforcement agencies have seen increased public scrutiny on the domestic use of the robotically piloted planes known as drones. Working on the sidelines of this debate, the U.S. Geological Survey has been trying to find a second life for retired military drones in the areas of environmental and wildlife management. Instead of watching the battlefield, these drones are watching birds.

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Arts & Life
4:03 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Masterpiece In A Mug: Japanese Latte Art Will Perk You Up

Courtesy of Kazuki Yamamoto

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 2:48 pm

Clovers? Hearts? That's small fries, guys. It's time you met The Cat:

That 3-D creation is the work of Japanese latte artist Kazuki Yamamoto. The 26-year-old resident of Osaka creates ephemeral works of art in espresso and foam.

From whimsical monsters crafted from milk froth ...

... to adorable homages to favorite childhood cartoon characters ...

Yamamoto's art makes you regret the need to consume the canvas.

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Arts & Life
3:59 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Max Baucus Says He Was Montana's 'Hired Hand' On Gun Vote

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is trailed by reporters Monday on Capitol Hill after announcing that he'll retire in 2014.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 7:16 pm

Longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana announced this week that he would not seek re-election next year, ending four decades in Congress and leaving as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.

NPR's Robert Siegel spoke with Baucus Thursday about his recent vote against expanded gun background checks, his role in negotiations over President Obama's health care legislation, efforts to remake tax policy, and the legions of his former staffers now populating lobbying shops.

Background Checks

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Arts & Life
3:59 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 7:16 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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Arts & Life
3:59 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Making Room: Can Smaller Apartments Help New York City Grow?

Some housing experts say New York's zoning code has discouraged the building of affordable housing by requiring that all apartments be at least 400 square feet. The city is interested in finding ways to rewrite the rules.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 7:16 pm

New York City is notoriously crowded, and it's only getting more so. The city estimates it will have 1 million more people by the year 2030, many of them single. Where to place all these newcomers is a major challenge.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg has announced plans to put up an experimental building of micro-apartments that could be replicated throughout the city. And the Museum of the City of New York is looking at ways to make better use of the city's housing stock.

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Science & Health
3:59 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Controversy Brews Over Church's Hallucinogenic Tea Ritual

Ayahuasca brew used in South and Central America.
Nha Flickr

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 7:17 pm

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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The Salt
3:58 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Monkeys Also Want To Eat Like The Locals

The blue corn's just as tasty as the red corn, but it's not what the locals like.
Erica van de Waal Science

When you travel, do you want to drink Bellinis in Venice and yak butter tea in Tibet? Well, so do monkeys.

Monkeys will eat new, different food if they travel to a new place and want to fit in with the locals, according to a new study. But back home, they'll eat what Mama eats, shunning perfectly good food if it doesn't get her approval.

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The Two-Way
2:01 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Still In The Middle Class, But Standing On A Banana Peel

Most U.S. workers fit snugly into the middle class, but they worry a lot about falling out of it, according to a poll released Thursday.

After years of watching home prices slide and job creation stall, 6 in 10 Americans say they fear tumbling from the middle class in the next few years, the Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll suggests.

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Arts & Life
1:49 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Have You Seen Me? Giant Styrofoam Head Found

A floating head was discovered by the Marist College men's crew team this week in the Hudson River.
Tyler Sawyer, Marist College Facebook

Crew members from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., were out practicing on the Hudson River this week when they were surprised by a gigantic head floating toward them.

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Economy
1:25 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Signing Up For Food Stamps: The Choice And The Stigma

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Another promising report today suggests that the economy in general and employment in particular continue to improve, but there's another statistic that's more troubling. More Americans than ever participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps.

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Arts & Life
1:06 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Steadicam Inventor Joins Inventors Hall of Fame

Garrett Brown with Sylvester Stallone during the filming of Rocky II.
Courtesy Garrett Brown

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 10:32 am

Rocky Balboa's sprint up the stairs of the Philadelphia Art Museum in Rocky is a scene that would have once been impossible to film. Camera innovator Garrett Brown made it possible when he invented the Steadicam, a body-mounted camera that stabilizes handheld shots.

Brown has received three Academy Awards for his technical inventions and holds 50 patents for cinematography devices. The college dropout-turned-inventor will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in May.

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