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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 13.7explained 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.
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.
Credit Gloria Hillard / For NPR
Eighteen-year-old Allie Neill and 20-year-old Eliza Aseltine sit on the front steps of Neill's family's RV in Slab City, Calif. Slab City is an informal, off-the-grid community in the California desert.
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.
In just one year in office, Ohio Gov. John Kasich made some big changes in his state, based on his conservative, business-backed ideas. But he also suffered a massive defeat when the collective bargaining reform law he supported was overwhelmingly rejected by voters. But that's not stopping him from pushing forward with new ideas in his second year.
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.
Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 3:41 pm
Greetings from McDonald's, or "MacDo," as they call it here in Paris, where I am comfortably ensconced in a McCafé enjoying a croissant and a grand crème coffee. I'm surrounded by people of all ages who are talking with friends, reading, or typing away on their laptops like me.
The beauty of McDonald's in France is that it doesn't feel like a fast food joint, where hordes of people shuffle in and out and tables turn at a fast clip.
Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 11:50 am
Wesley Brown was appointed to the federal bench by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. When he passed the bar in 1933, Franklin Roosevelt was president.
As the Kansas City Star puts it, during his time as federal district judge in Kansas, Brown saw a shift in civil rights, and women's rights. He presided over cases about women in the workplace and tackled privacy issues on the Internet.
Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 11:34 am
A bill introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature has some folks scratching their heads, as it prohibits "the manufacture or sale of food or products which use aborted human fetuses."
Since the bill was introduced late last week by State Sen. Ralph Shortey, a Republican from Oklahoma City, corners of the Internet have been buzzing with the news, as people try to figure out two things: 1) is this real; and 2) is there any reason the bill might be needed?
When winter reaches its dreariest depths each year, Americans cheer themselves by planning Super Bowl parties. They want to reconnect with friends, eat, drink and share observations about who is likely to win — or lose.
But if you are very smart or very rich or even better, both — then you break up the mid-winter blahs by going to Davos.
That's the Swiss town where the financially, intellectually and politically powerful convene each year to reconnect with friends, eat, drink and share observations about winning and losing.
Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, is trying to take his web-based provocations to the TV screen. Wikileaks announced Assange will host a television series featuring interviews with "key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries from around the world."
Wikileaks, which has published a vast amount of classified data including video and secret government documents, promises to "draw together controversial voices from across the political spectrum."
Romney's release of his federal tax details for 2010 and 2011 came the morning that President Obama was preparing to deliver his State of the Union address, a speech in which he was expected to make the increasing gap between the superwealthy and everyone else a major topic of the evening.
Today the Glock pistol has become the gun of choice for both criminals and law enforcement in the United States.
In his book Glock: The Rise of America's Gun, Paul Barrett traces how the sleek, high-capacity Austrian weapon found its way into Hollywood films and rap lyrics, not to mention two-thirds of all U.S. police departments.
These days, as hospitals elbow each other to attract your business, they're offering patients — and those who might become patients — a whole range of perks.
These loyalty programs can be as straightforward as free valet parking and discounts at the hospital gift shop. There are also educational sessions showcasing surgeons' prowess, just in case you're ever in the market for a new hip or a knee.
Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 10:12 am
In the end, there were nine nominees for Best Picture announced on Tuesday morning, and eight of them were entirely predictable: The Artist, The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, Midnight In Paris, War Horse, The Tree Of Life, and Moneyball.
The Oscar nominations were announced this morning, and leading the pack with 11 nominations is the 3D movie "Hugo." It's about a Paris street urchin who befriends one of the inventors of cinema. "Hugo" was nominated for best picture, best director and best adapted screenplay, among others. NPR's Neda Ulaby joins us to talk about the Oscar nominations, and good morning.
NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: Good morning.
MONTAGNE: What else was nominated for best picture?