National News

As The Arctic Opens Up, The U.S. Is Down To A Single Icebreaker

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 12:12

Melting ice means more of the Arctic is accessible to exploration and shipping, and countries are racing to establish a presence. But they still need heavy icebreakers, and the U.S. is falling behind.

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Just how do national days get on the calendar?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-01 11:36

Have you thought lately about how excellent you are? Well start thinkin’ about it—because at Marketplace today, we’re recognizing National Say Something Nice Day. So thanks for being you.

There are random and off-beat national days almost every day of the year.  This prompted one of our podcast listeners, Katie Rowles, to send a question all the way from Australia for our series, “I’ve Always Wondered.” How do these days get declared? Who’s in charge of the list of days?

We start with International Talk Like a Pirate Day, one of the days Katie mentioned in her question. It’s celebrated across YouTube each September 19, and it turns out a couple of guys declared the day a few years ago because, well, they’re fond of talking like pirates.

But just to narrow it down, we’re focusing on today, Monday, June 1. It’s a pretty busy for random national days: There’s Go Barefoot Day, started by an organization that gives shoes to underprivileged kids. The woman behind Pen Pal Day is a pen pal enthusiast out of Chicago. And of course, Say Something Nice Day — Mitch Carnell of Charleston, South Carolina, is behind that one.

“Because once you say something, it’s out there, you can’t call it back,” he says. Carnell submitted his idea back in 2006 to Chase’s, the yearly almanac that acts as a sort of loose gatekeeper for national days and months.

But not all national days are listed in Chase’s — the more extensive resource is the website nationaldaycalendar.com.

“There’s a couple ways it can happen," says the site’s co-founder, Marlo Anderson. “Of course, a company or an individual can just declare it, and a lot of people do.”

Point being, really anyone can make up a national day, and there’s no accreditation process or government agency. Though Anderson says they don’t approve just any old day that comes across their desk.

“In the last year we’ve received over 10,000 requests for national days,” he says.

Out of the 10,000, he says they typically take about 20 to 25 days each year. They’ll focus on iconic items over brands — say, National Coffee Day as opposed to National Starbucks Day (which, as far as we know, hasn’t been declared). And they look for things everyone can enjoy or be a part of.

The most common request they say no to?

“You know, it’s my girlfriend of three months and she’s changed my life forever, can I have National Heather Day ... that’s a very very popular thing,” Anderson says.

But most of these national days are recent inventions that have spread around on social media. As far as we can tell, only one of the June 1 celebrations goes back to before the internet: National Heimlich Maneuver Day.

“I do not know who wrote the article on it that made it come about,” says Dr. Henry Heimlich. He’s 95 and living in Cincinnati. Heimlich published an article about his life-saving maneuver on June 1, 1974.  “Immediately lives were being saved.”

At some point, a day was declared, though he’s not sure exactly how. Heimlich is pretty amused to learn that he’s now competing with National Hazelnut Cake Day.

“I guess people could choke on that too,” Heimlich says, laughing.

Well, hazelnut cake might not be for everyone, but it’s your day — go celebrate! Take off your shoes, say something nice, help out a choking neighbor, and meanwhile, start polishing up on talking like a pirate.

Cattle Drive Saves Hundreds Of Cows Stranded By Texas Flooding

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 11:30

A herd of cattle is safe Monday, thanks to cowboys and volunteers who worked to move some 500 cows and calves that were threatened by the rising Trinity River.

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In 'Eating Lab,' A Psychologist Spills Secrets On Why Diets Fail

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 10:49

Diets will rarely lead to significant or sustainable weight loss, Traci Mann argues in a new book. Instead, she suggests trying proven mental strategies for reaching your "leanest, livable weight."

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As Caviar Prices Skyrocket, Sturgeon Poachers Invade Pacific Northwest

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 10:31

Global sturgeon populations are collapsing — most notably in Russia, where caviar is known as black gold. That's fueling a market for illegal caviar and driving poachers to the Columbia River.

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Joe Biden's Advice On Compassion And Family, In His Own Words

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 09:36

"It's not all that difficult, folks, to be compassionate when you've been the beneficiary of compassion in your lowest moments," Biden told Yale graduates in May.

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'Call Me Caitlyn': Bruce Jenner Reveals New Name

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 09:00

Today's revelation came in Vanity Fair. The former Olympic gold medal-winning decathlete had revealed recently that "for all intents and purposes" he is a woman.

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Supreme Court Rules For Woman Denied Abercrombie & Fitch Job Over Headscarf

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 07:55

Samantha Elauf had applied for the sales job in Tulsa, Okla., and was recommended for hire by an interviewer. But Abercrombie has a "Look Policy" that bars the wearing of caps by its salespeople.

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S.C. Sen. Lindsey Graham Joins Battle For Republican Nomination

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 07:21

Graham, known as a defense hawk, enters the race as a distinct underdog, but an entertaining one.

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Supreme Court Tosses Out Man's Conviction For Making Threats On Facebook

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 07:04

The messages Anthony Elonis posted to Facebook prompted his now ex-wife to get a state protection order against him, and led his bosses to fire him.

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Poet And Radio Host Al Letson's Manifesto On Diversity In Public Media

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 07:03

The host of the award-winning programs State of the Re:Union and Reveal shares his ideas about making public radio sound more like America.

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Training Doctors To Talk About Vaccines Fails To Sway Parents

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 06:58

An effort to get doctors to improve their communication skills didn't reduce the number of new mothers hesitant about vaccines. But researchers say this is just a first try at a worthy concept.

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'The Onion' Strikes Again: Indicted Ex-FIFA Exec Quotes Satirical Article

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 06:53

Jack Warner's defense was presumably unintentional. He was one of 14 FIFA executives indicted by the U.S. last week on corruption charges.

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Silicon Valley Recycling Firm Seeks Mystery Apple I Donor

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 06:19

The woman donated the computer last month, and it sold for $200,000. The company wants to give her half that sum. The computer, of which about 200 were made in 1976, is prized by collectors.

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Woman Turns 100 Without Any Family, But With Thousands Of Good Wishes

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 06:10

When word got out that England's Winnie Blagden would turn 100 Sunday and had no living relatives, thousands of people sent cards and gifts.

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A Rare, Spontaneous Democracy Debate In A Shanghai Taxi

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 06:04

NPR's Frank Langfitt has been driving around Shanghai offering free rides to learn about real life in China. But he was recently a taxi passenger when something unusual happened.

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Climate Change Meeting To Focus On Ensuring Countries Keep Commitments

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 05:08

The meeting in Bonn, Germany, comes a day after European energy companies urged countries to adopt a pricing system for carbon emissions.

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Murder Charges In Bangladesh Over 2013 Garment Factory Collapse

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 03:48

More than 40 people were charged in connection with the collapse of the Rana Plaza that killed 1,137 people.

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After A Week Of Flooding, Sunshine Forecast For Much Of Texas

NPR News - Mon, 2015-06-01 03:10

The rains gave the state its wettest May in history. Last week's flooding killed at least 25 people.

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PODCAST: Researchers take an uber

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-06-01 03:00

First up, we'll talk about where all those disappearing Carnegie Mellon professors went. Hint: they took Uber. Plus, the spectrum auction does not happen until 2016, but there's already a lot of interest in what's for sale. The reason? The spectrum that's for sale is primo. And T-Mobile wants a big piece of it. 

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