National / International News

With Porches And Parks, A Texas Community Aims For Urban Utopia

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-12 13:50

Austin's Mueller neighborhood is a new-urbanist dream, designed to be convivial, walkable and energy-efficient. Every house has a porch or stoop, and all the cars are hidden away.

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Brian Williams Case Raises Fundamental Questions About An Anchor's Role

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-12 13:50

Two former network news chiefs reflect on the crisis facing NBC over the scandal involving suspended anchor Brian Willliams and question the fundamental role anchors play.

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12 crazy facts about chickens, and then some

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-12 13:49

In his book "Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?" author Andrew Lawler trace's poultry's path from a few small forests to nearly every dinner table in America. 

Here's some stuff from the book that blew our minds:

1. At any given time, 20 billion chickens are alive and squawking on our planet. That's three for every human, and more than all the cats, dogs, pigs, cows and rats combined.

2. The only country without live chickens is Vatican City. The only continent without them is Antarctica.

3. Under federal law, chickens are not considered livestock, or even classified as animals, if they are raised for food. 

4. Though it can barely fly, the chicken has become the world's most migratory bird, in food form. One bird can be parceled out to half a dozen countries or more. For example: The feet go to China, the legs to Russia, wings to Spain, intestines to Turkey, bones to Amsterdam for soup and breasts to America.

5. In Ancient Greece, sacrificing a cock to Asclepius (the god of medicine) was a common practice of a sick person who wanted to get well. Today when we’re sick we eat chicken soup. Chicken does indeed have healing properties: The meat contains cysteine, an amino acid that is related to the active ingredient in a drug used to treat bronchitis. A 2011 study by an Iowa physician determined that people with viral illnesses who ate chicken soup recovered faster than those who didn’t.

6. Chicken bones found in western South America indicate that Polynesians reached the New World at least 100 years before Columbus, and that they were raising chickens first too. Pre-Columbian chickens means that Old World and New World humans met sometime after the end of the Ice Age and before Columbus.

7. Roosters have no penises. Instead, a male chicken fertilizes the female’s eggs by inverting its cloacae (the single-lane end of the urinary and digestive tracts) and pressing it against hers. “Biology can’t explain why our favored slang word for the male organ refers to a bird that lacks one,” Lawler writes.

8. Roosters are randy, maybe that’s why: “Male chickens prefer new partners to familiar ones. Scientists call this salacious behavior the 'Coolidge effect,'" Lawler writes. “During separate tours of a chicken farm by President Calvin Coolidge and his wife in the 1920s, Mrs. Coolidge remarked on a rooster that was busy mating. She was told that this behavior took place dozens of times daily. ‘Tell that to the president when he comes by,’  she said cooly. When the message was relayed, the president asked if the rooster mated with the same hen. He was told no, that the male preferred a variety of partners. ‘Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge,’ he responded.”

9. In 2007, a scientific team extracted a protein from a 68 million-year-old tyrannosaurus rex and found it to be identical to one that exists in the chicken. Let’s see if “Jurassic World” updates its dino-DNA video.

10. Chickens called "bilateral gynandromorphs" that contain distinctively male and female parts on separate sides of their bodies. This has occasionally led to chickens that look like roosters but can lay eggs. They inspired the mythological creature known as the basilisk, a rooster said to lay an egg that would hatch into a chicken with a lizard or dragon body.

11. Thank Charles Vantress next time you sit down to a chicken dinner. He won the “Chicken of Tomorrow” contest in 1951, sort of an X-prize for bigger-breasted poultry. To compete with pork and beef, A&P supermarkets helped organize the contest that challenged farmers, scientists and breeders to come up with “breast meat so thick you can carve it into steaks.” Nearly every chicken we eat today is a descendant of the Vantress.

12. Today the average American eats around 70 pounds of chicken a year, five times the 1950 amount. The chickens have also gotten much bigger. Before the “Chicken of Tomorrow” took hold, a broiler required an average of 70 days to reach the average weight of 3.1 pounds, with 3 pounds of feed needed per pound of bird. In 2010, only 47 days were needed to make a 5.7-pound bird that required less than 2 pounds of feed.

FBI Director Wades Into Contentious Debate Over Policing And Race

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-12 13:48

James Comey says the nation is at a crossroads when it comes to race and policing. He told students on Thursday that it's time for law enforcement and communities to face some hard truths.

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Tiger Woods Steps Away From Golf Amid Terrible Season

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-12 13:47

Woods is currently ranked 62nd in the world, which is his lowest since joining the PGA tour nearly 20 years ago. Robert Siegel talks to Ron Sirak, a senior writer for Golf Digest.

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US judge backs Alabama gay marriage

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 13:45
A federal judge orders an Alabama official to follow her earlier ruling and issue marriage licences to gay couples, after a three-day standoff.

VIDEO: HSBC whistleblower on tax evasion data

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 13:42
The BBC has seen correspondence sent to the British tax authorities back in 2008 which gave details of HSBC account holders in Switzerland.

Space Station Astronauts In Star Wars-Themed Crew Pic

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-12 13:38

First there was suited-up astronaut Leland Melvin posing with his dogs. Now, a Space Station crew set for launch in September has donned Jedi robes.

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VIDEO: News of peace deal reaches front line

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 13:35
The United States has welcomed a ceasefire agreement aimed at ending the war in Ukraine but demanded that Russia end its support for the separatists.

Kane worth England place - Hodgson

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 13:30
England manager Roy Hodgson all but confirms that prolific Tottenham striker Harry Kane will be in his next squad.

Zynga shares plunge on loss

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 13:26
Shares in Farmville-maker Zynga plunge over 10% after the company reports widening losses as it struggles to continue to attract users to its games.

Obama Signs Act Designed To Prevent Suicide Among Veterans

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-12 13:24

On Thursday, President Obama signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act. Is it enough? Rachel Martin puts that question to Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald.

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Salford Red Devils 6-52 St Helens

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 12:58
St Helens run in 10 tries to blow away a disappointing Salford Red Devils in a 52-6 Super League victory.

Freed visa prisoner arrives home

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 12:57
A 25-year-old man jailed in a notorious Indonesian prison after breaking visa rules has an emotional reunion with family at Cardiff Airport.

Facebook Offers New Options For Digital Life After Death

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-12 12:57

The company is introducing a new policy that allows users to appoint an executor who will keep their account active posthumously.

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Castle Toward buyout plan collapses

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 12:55
Plans for a community buyout of a 19th century country house have collapsed after a disagreement over its price.

New Romantic icon Steve Strange dies

BBC - Thu, 2015-02-12 12:54
Steve Strange, lead singer of 1980s pop band Visage, has died aged 55 following heart attack, his record label says.

CBS Journalist Bob Simon Remembered For 'Unbelievable' Career

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-12 12:53

Rachel Martin talks with longtime CBS producer Harry Radliffe about Bob Simon's work and legacy. The journalist died Wednesday night in a car accident at the age of 73.

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Federal Judge Orders Alabama Official To Hand Out Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-12 12:47

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore ordered officials to ignore higher court rulings and not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, sparking a battle between the state and federal judiciary.

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Like Yelp For Labor Rights: This App Rates How Restaurants Treat Workers

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-12 12:45

Want to know if your favorite restaurant pays its servers a living wage? An app encourages diners to ask before they dig in.

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