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Planet Money
2:01 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Is Facebook Worth $100 Billion?

Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 10:56 am

When Facebook goes public this week, the company will be valued at roughly $100 billion.

It will be the highest valuation ever for an initial public offering of a tech company. Is Facebook really worth this much money?

One way to frame the question is to consider a single fraction.

The number on top of the fraction is the total value of the company. The number on the bottom is the company's profits over the past year. This fraction is called the price-to-earnings ratio. It's widely used by investors in stocks.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:49 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

You May Be Among The Things That Go Bump In The Night

She's not alone.
iStockphoto.com

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I've ever walked in my sleep. There's a family story that I'd like to label fiction about a somnolent bathroom run that ended in a closet. But if it ever happened, I don't remember it.

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The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Carlos Fuentes, Legendary Mexican Writer, Dies

Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes takes part in a tribute to Mexican writer and anthropologist Fernando Benitez in December 2011.
Alfredo Estrella AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 3:36 pm

Carlos Fuentes, one of the most prolific and best known Spanish-language authors, has died. His death was reported on Twitter by Mexican president Felipe Calderon. The Mexican daily Reforma, which Fuentes often wrote for, reports the author died after experiencing heart problems.

He was 83.

"I am profoundly sorry for the death our loved and admired Carlos Fuentes, writer and universal Mexican. Rest in peace," Calderon wrote on Twitter.

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The Fracking Boom: Missing Answers
1:33 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

'Close Encounters' With Gas Well Pollution

NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:54 am

Living in the middle of a natural gas boom can be pretty unsettling. The area around the town of Silt, Colo., used to be the kind of sleepy rural place where the tweet of birds was the most you would hear. Now it's hard to make out the birds because of the rumbling of natural gas drilling rigs.

The land here is steep cliffs and valleys. But bare splotches of earth called well pads are all over the place.

"That's the one I'm worried about because it just went in," says Tim Ray.

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National Security
1:30 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Why Do Terrorists So Often Go For Planes?

Despite the multiple layers of security at airports, terrorists still often target planes. But terrorism analysts say they are also concerned about soft targets. Here, a Transportation Security Administration agent looks at an identity card at the Portland International Airport earlier this month.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 2:22 pm

Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, airports have probably been the most heavily guarded sites when it comes to preventing terrorist attacks.

And yet the most recent terrorism plot in Yemen involved an attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner with a bomber wearing a difficult-to-detect explosive bomb in his underwear, according to U.S. officials.

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The Salt
1:16 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Vermont Beer Makers Bring Back Old-Time Maple Sap Brews

This farmer, pouring maple sap into his pail near Wilmington, Vt., in 1954, may have turned the dregs of the season's sap into beer.
Robert F. Sisson National Geographic/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 6:33 am

In Vermont, the last sap in the spring maple sugaring season isn't considered good for much. It's too dark and strong to use for commercial maple syrup — people tend to like the light and clear stuff.

But long ago, that late season sap was used in a potent dark beer that offered some cool relief to farmers when the hay was cut in the heat of summer.

Now some local microbreweries are bringing the historic drink back from extinction.

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Music Reviews
1:14 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Lisa Marie Presley: Rock's Princess Finds Her Voice

Lisa Marie Presley has weathered personal storms with grace. On her new album, she establishes her own distinct identity.
Troy Paul

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 6:21 pm

Lisa Marie Presley is a curiosity. Famous from birth, she is rock's only real princess. Her face is a stunning combination of her parents' best features. Her marriages have been, well, unusual. Who could forget her awkward television kiss with then-husband Michael Jackson? Or the few months of wedded bliss to actor and Elvis fanatic Nicolas Cage? She has led a colorful life — one that overshadowed her music career when she started making records in 2003.

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The Two-Way
12:00 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Bomb In Bogotá Kills At Least Two In Assassination Attempt

Police officers inspect the remains of vehicles on Tuesday after an explosion ripped through a crowded area of Bogotá injuring at least 10 people according to the mayor's office.
Guillermo Legaria AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 3:36 pm

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said a bomb detonated in the middle of Bogotá, the country's capital and largest city, was intended to kill former interior minister Ferdnando Londoño Hoyos.

El País reports that Santos condemned the attack, saying the bomb exploded next to the armored vehicle Londoño was travelling in.

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The Two-Way
11:55 am
Tue May 15, 2012

She's 100 (Almost) And Still Swimming: Another Centenarian To Admire

Marie Kelleher.
U.S. Masters Swimming

We have a fondness for stories about centenarians, we have to admit.

There was Fauja Singh, the 100-year-old "Turbaned Tornado," who finished the Toronto Marathon last year.

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The Two-Way
11:53 am
Tue May 15, 2012

NATO Invites Pakistani President To Chicago Summit

NATO has just asked the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to attend the May 20-21 summit in Chicago. The AP says the overture signals that the rift between NATO and Islamabad may be coming to a resolution.

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It's All Politics
11:30 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Ron Paul Spokesman: Candidate Unlikely To Ever Endorse Romney

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas (right), talks with chief strategist Jesse Benton in Ames, Iowa, on Aug. 13.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 11:31 am

Presidential candidate Ron Paul is not expected to ultimately endorse presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, Paul's chief strategist said Tuesday.

"Never say never, but I don't believe that's likely," said Jesse Benton, during a half-hour-plus give-and-take with reporters.

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The Two-Way
10:55 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Aletta Becomes Western Hemisphere's First Tropical Storm Of 2012

Aletta spins off the Mexican coast.
NOAA

Aletta — a modest tropical storm spinning of the western coast of Mexico with 40 mph winds — is already special because of two reasons: It the first tropical storm in the Western Hemisphere and it has now broken a 41-day streak in which Earth did not see a cyclone.

Jeff Masters at Weather Underground provides a little more detail:

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Asia
10:53 am
Tue May 15, 2012

The Price Of A Swift Pigeon: Try $328,000

Xing Wei, who raises pigeons for lucrative races in China, is shown in Beijing with his favorite bird, Ike. He sells Ike's offspring to wealthy buyers for $15,000.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 3:46 pm

To the average observer, they look like ordinary pigeons, caged into a balcony in a high-rise Beijing apartment. But make no mistake. These cooing birds, according to breeder Yang Shibo, are like top-of-the-line sports cars.

"These are the Ferraris of the bird world," he says. "They're the most expensive, and the fastest."

The price of racing pigeons is soaring sky-high, pushed up by wealthy Chinese buyers.

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It's All Politics
10:36 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Americans Elect Could Field Third-Party Candidate – But For The Candidate

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 11:15 am

Americans Elect, the nationwide effort to launch a credible third-party presidential campaign, has money, media attention and — most importantly — access to the ballot in dozens of states.

What it doesn't have is a candidate for president.

So if it follows its own rules, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization won't field a presidential candidate alongside President Obama and presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney on Nov. 6, it announced Tuesday.

But the group also left the door open to bending those rules.

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The Two-Way
10:23 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Report: Justice Dept. Probing JPMorgan's Big Loss

Standing behind a banner with a picture of J.P. Morgan Chairman and CEO James Dimon, protesters gathered outside the bank's annual meeting today in Tampa.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 10:45 am

  • Two soundbites from CEO Jamie Dimon at today's shareholders meeting

The Justice Department has begun looking into JPMorgan Chase's $2 billion-and-counting loss from a hedge account, The Wall Street Journal reports. It cites "a person familiar with the matter" as its source.

The Journal adds that "the probe is at an early stage and it isn't clear what possible legal violation federal investigators may be focusing on."

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Education
9:45 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Why So Many Ph.D.s Are On Food Stamps

The number of people with graduate degrees — master's degrees and doctorates — who have had to apply for food stamps, unemployment or other assistance more than tripled between 2007 and 2010.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 6:16 pm

With the economic troubles of the past few years, it's no surprise that the number of people using food stamps is soaring. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that an average of 44 million people were on food assistance last year; that's up from 17 million in 2000.

What might be surprising, though, is one subgroup that's taken a particularly hard hit.

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Economy
9:45 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Can The Government Help Young People Find Jobs?

The school year is winding down, and lots of young people are in the market for a summer job. But finding one in this economy can be hard, especially for teenagers. Host Michel Martin speaks with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis about what the Obama Administration is trying to do to help.

The Two-Way
8:51 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Ron Paul Isn't Dropping Out, Spokesman Says

Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul at a campaign event in Las Vegas on Feb. 3.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 9:20 am

Republican Ron Paul is not shuttering his presidential campaign, his chief strategist says in a memo sent this morning to supporters and the news media.

"Let me be very clear," said Jesse Benton, "Dr. Paul is NOT dropping out or suspending his campaign."

"As Dr. Paul has previously stated, he is in this race all the way to the Republican National Convention in Tampa this August," Benton said. The campaign will, though, be "maximizing our resources" by not investing in remaining primary states, he said.

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The Two-Way
8:11 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Questions About Another Texas Execution: Was Wrong Man Condemned?

Already in the spotlight over whether it executed one innocent man — Cameron Todd Willingham — in 2004, the state of Texas now faces questions about whether another man may have been wrongly condemned to death.

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Europe
7:51 am
Tue May 15, 2012

'News Of The World' Editor Charged With Conspiracy

Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks faces allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in the latest development in Britain's phone hacking scandal.

Shots - Health Blog
7:43 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Cost Of Cancer Pills Can Be Hard For Medicare Patients To Swallow

Taking a pill for cancer can cost patients more than getting chemotherapy by IV.
iStockphoto.com

If you've got cancer, chances are you'd rather take a pill to fight the cancer cells than sit for hours hooked up to an IV line as the chemotherapy drips slowly into you.

The difficulty is, many of the new cancer pills, which often target cancer cells for destruction but leave healthy cells intact, are pricey, costing tens of thousands of dollars for a course of treatment. And how some insurers pay for treatments means that pills can wind up costing a patient more than chemotherapy given by IV.

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The Two-Way
7:26 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Consumer Prices, Consumer Spending Both Flat In April

Two bits of economic news this morning:

-- Consumer prices overall were unchanged in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, thanks in large part to a 2.6 percent drop in the price of gasoline.

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The Two-Way
6:58 am
Tue May 15, 2012

'Biggest Public Toilet In The World' Now Good To Go In Japan

The biggest public toilet in the world, officials claim. The flowers and plants will be put in the ground after the soil has settled properly, according to The Japan Times.
Ichihara City

It's only for women — and only for one woman at a time, it seems.

But officials in Ichihara City, Japan, claim they've created the "biggest public toilet in the world."

As The Japan Times reports, outside the city's train station there's now a fenced-in, "200-sq.-meter plot of land" with flowers, plants, pathways and — "smack in the middle" — a toilet enclosed in a glass box.

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Facebook Ups Its Forecast: Says Shares Will Sell For $34 To $38

Raul Arboleda AFP/Getty Images

Strong demand for its first public sale of stock has led Facebook to raise its forecast for how much each share will sell for when the company goes public on Friday.

"We anticipate that the initial public offering price will be between $34.00 and $38.00 per share," the company says in a statement filed earlier today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Earlier, the social medial giant had expected shares would sell for $28 to $35 each.

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Around the Nation
5:39 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Amusement Park Rider Conquers Battle Of The Bulge

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 7:51 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene. People who are overweight often say there was that final moment - that's it; I'm sick of it. I'm making a change.

For Nat Ambrose, it was last year at King's Dominion, the Virginia theme park. He tried to get on his favorite ride, Volcano the Blast Coaster, but the harness wouldn't fit his 300-pound frame. He lost 30 pounds in a month. Tried again, still couldn't squeeze in. Finally, nine months later, 105 pounds lighter, Nat Ambrose has conquered the Volcano.

Around the Nation
5:30 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Super Glue Helps Man Go For Fist-Pumping Record

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 7:51 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with congratulations to James Peterson who sought the world record for fist pumping. Yes. Mr. Peterson made this gesture of triumph for 16 hours. The Akron Beacon Journal says to maintain proper form he super glued his hand into a clenched fist. Yes. A video crew recorded this feat and sent it to the Guinness World Record people. If they do not accept the record we hesitate to think what gesture Mr. Peterson will try next. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Europe
5:22 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Stevenage: A Place Where You Can't Be From

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 7:51 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The town of Stevenage, England, 30 miles north of London, was once a small patch of farmland with a few thousand people. After World War II, the British government created a massive planned community there and hoped it would become a model for public housing for the world.

Gary Younge is a writer for the Guardian newspaper. He grew up in Stevenage and found it to be a mixed blessing. Younge wrote an essay about it for the spring issue of the literary magazine, Granta. We began our conversation by asking him to read us a passage.

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The Two-Way
5:15 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Former Murdoch Editor Facing Criminal Charges In Hacking Scandal

Rebekah Brooks, last Friday in London.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 6:36 am

  • Philip Reeves reporting for the NPR Newscast

The first top editor from Rupert Murdoch's U.K. tabloids to face criminal charges related to the hacking scandal that has rocked his media empire is Rebekah Brooks, who prosecutors allege tried to "pervert the course of justice" last year by seeking to cover up what had been going on at Murdoch's News of the World.

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Economy
3:29 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Fact Checking Data On The Boomerang Generation

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 7:51 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The fact-checking organization PolitiFact looked into a shocking claim in a political ad. The ad said 85 percent of recent college graduates are moving back in with their parents. There was a reason for the ad to make that claim. PolitiFact found that 85 percent figure has been repeated by CNN, the New York Post, U.S. News, and more news organizations. The number fits the notion of a boomerang generation, thrown back home by the economy.

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Around the Nation
3:27 am
Tue May 15, 2012

California Budget Deficit Grows

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 7:51 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

California Governor Jerry Brown wants to convince voters to accept two things they don't like: higher taxes and deep spending cuts. The Democrat proposed a budget yesterday which would only be the start of the pain. The other part would come in November with a ballot measure to raise taxes and spare education. Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler reports from Sacramento.

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