Laura Lorson is a native of Louisville, Kentucky. It was there that she learned how to read, write, and make the occasional decent piece of fried chicken. A complicated set of family moves eventually led her to Kansas, which is how she ended up graduating from the University of Kansas in Lawrence in 1989. She began working in radio in 1990 and worked for NPR in Washington throughout most of the 1990s as a director, producer, and editor for Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, and the former NPR show Anthem.

Energy
2:15 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Foreign Oil Imports Drop As U.S. Drilling Ramps Up

Natural gas is burned off next to an oil well being drilled at a site near Tioga, N.D., in August. U.S. oil production started increasing a few years ago and is predicted to continue to rise, reducing the country's dependence on oil imports.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 4:07 pm

Since President Obama took office, the U.S. has made considerable progress in overcoming a problem that has bedeviled presidents since Richard Nixon — dependence on foreign oil.

When U.S. oil dependence peaked at 60 percent in 2005, then-President George W. Bush said the country had a serious problem and was "addicted to oil."

Oil imports were down to 49 percent in 2010, and the Energy Information Agency predicted Tuesday that imports would drop to 36 percent by 2035.

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Election 2012
2:15 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

A Few Questions, Answers About Mitt Romney's Taxes

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney arrives to deliver a speech ahead of the State of the Union presidential address at National Gypsum Company in Tampa, Fla. on January 24, 2012.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 4:22 pm

Mitt Romney has filed his tax returns — to the voters. And to no one's surprise, the former Massachusetts governor, private equity firm exec and GOP presidential contender makes a tidy sum.

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Law
2:12 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage May Hinge On Supreme Court

In 2008, California voters passed Proposition 8, making same-sex marriage in the state illegal. Now, legal challenges to that initiative mean it could soon get a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Max Whittaker Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 5:27 pm

With New York's legalization of same-sex marriage effectively doubling the number of Americans living in states where gays can marry, gay advocates like to say 2011 was a big year.

It's hard to imagine another doubling this year, but proponents are still hoping to build on last year's success. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in six states plus Washington, D.C., and it may come up for a vote in six more. All the while, legal challenges are pushing the issue closer to getting an opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:05 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Common Chemicals Could Make Kids' Vaccines Less Effective

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 4:07 pm

The more exposure children have to chemicals called perfluorinated compounds, the less likely they are to have a good immune response to vaccinations, a study just published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association shows.

The finding suggests, but doesn't prove, that these chemicals can affect the immune system enough to make some children more vulnerable to infectious diseases.

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Opinion
2:03 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

It's At The 20! The 10! Can The Flu Go All The Way?

Yes, H1N1 has been known to cause panic. But commentator Laura Lorson isn't afraid. With this powerful player, her fantasy flu team will be nearly unstoppable.
iStockphoto.com

Laura Lorson is an All Things Considered host for Kansas Public Radio as well as a director, producer and editor.

Another football season is winding down, college basketball is uninteresting until the tournament, pro basketball is rather dull. It will be a while before pitchers and catchers show up for spring training. But fortunately for all of us, we are smack in the middle of cold and flu season.

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All Tech Considered
1:58 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Who Are You? Google+ Really Wants To Know

On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog. But your true identity is key to Google+.
AP

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 2:01 pm

Google will begin allowing users to add nicknames on Google+, Bradley Horowitz, the vice president of product at Google's social network said Tuesday.

True pseudonyms are still verboten on the network unless you go through an application process. To earn the right not to use your real name on Google+ you will have to prove you already have an online following that knows you that way.

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The Two-Way
1:47 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Massive Solar Storm Causes Planes To Be Rerouted

This January 23, 2012 image provided by NASA, captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows an M9-class solar flare erupting on the Sun's northeastern hemisphere.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 5:13 pm

You might have heard about a major solar storm that is hitting Earth right now. It's the biggest to hit us since 2005. You've also probably heard a few people say, "I didn't feel anything."

As our friends at 13.7 explained earlier today, the storms have the ability to disrupt sensitive electronics and even the power grid. Usually none of those things happen. But, today's solar storm did cause a bit of disruption.

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Around the Nation
1:44 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Down And Out Escape To 'Slab' In California Desert

Slab City is an informal community in the California desert on the site of a former WWII artillery range. The recent recession has sent the town a new wave of people who have fallen on hard times and are looking to escape the burdens of modern life.
Gloria Hillard For NPR

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 6:30 pm

There are no signs leading to Slab City. From Los Angeles you head east deep into the desert, and then south, past the Salton Sea. For years, a diverse group of people has been drawn to the abandoned Marine base, but the troubled economy has driven even more travelers to the place dubbed "The Last Free Place in America."

Following the tire tracks of countless RVs, trailers, vans and campers, you pass a landscape of the vehicles that have taken root here, their tires now soft on the desert floor.

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Presidential Race
1:00 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Romney Releases His Tax Returns

Mitt Romney released his tax returns for 2010 and 2011, after earlier suggesting he would wait until after winning the GOP nomination. While Romney's total tax bill was in the millions, his tax rate was actually lower than that of many middle-class Americans.

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