First, people wore suits and ties, dresses or skirts to work. Then came casual Fridays. Then the tech industry destroyed dress codes. Congress is one of the last places people dress up, and we know how that's turned out.
Good morning. I'm David Greene. At this point in the program we sometimes tell you about record-breaking feats. Well, this one takes the cake. Sunday is Three Kings Day and in Mexico some bakers are celebrating in a big way. Rosca de Reyes is a sweet bread with a Baby Jesus figurine baked inside.
If you're driving, please take a moment to be sure you're awake. A survey finds one of every 24 adults admits to falling asleep at the wheel. Health officials say they suspect the true number is higher. Some people don't realize when they drop off for a second or...
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Steve. Hey, hey, hey, Steve.
INSKEEP: Anyway, drivers most likely to nod off are men, according to this survey, or people between 25 and 34.
And let's consider the technology behind movie-making. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has not made its Oscar nominations yet, but it has already announced some awards in the technical category.
DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: And one of the Oscars goes to Cooke Optics Limited. The Academy says the British company gets an award of merit because it helped define the look of motion pictures over the last century. Its innovations over the years have included zoom lenses for movie cameras and lenses that don't require bright light.
The bill that prevented the nation from plunging over the fiscal cliff did more than just stop income tax increases and delay across-the-board spending cuts. It also included several provisions that tweaked Medicare and brought bigger changes to other health care programs.
Among the more than 80 House freshmen who were sworn in this week, there were several who had been there before — including Florida Democrat Alan Grayson.
After starting his first term four years ago, Grayson quickly made a name for himself with biting comments targeting Republicans — like when he said during the health care debate: "If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly."
His national stature didn't prevent him from being defeated in 2010. But now Grayson is back.
There is plenty in the movie Promised Land that will prompt energy industry insiders to roll their eyes. But the overall issues explored in the film, which is being widely released in theaters Friday, are very real.
A process called hydraulic fracturing has led to drilling booms that are transforming rural communities into industrial zones. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," makes it possible to tap into natural gas reservoirs deep underground. But first, gas companies have to convince landowners to allow them to drill.
Good morning. I'm David Greene. Don't play with the iPad if Mom tells you not to, especially if Mom's a prankster. Eight-year-old Kenyon was looking at a car on eBay. Mom told him he accidentally bought it for $50,000.
KENYON: Is that true? Did I?
MOM: I'm afraid so.
GREENE: She posted his reaction on YouTube.
KENYON: It was a Mustang. I didn't mean to buy it.
You've seen this happen, maybe done it yourself. You approach an intersection, the light turns yellow, but instead of slowing to a stop, you accelerate and blow through. Chinese authorities have now outlawed this practice. New rules say yellow is the new red. It means stop. The change has prompted vocal protest, even at the official Chinese news agency. One Chinese critic says the new rules are contrary to Newton's First Law about momentum.
Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 4:47 am
Michigan's Mackinac Island was fought over by France, England and the United States. The 200-year-old city in northern Lake Huron is a popular tourist destination. But the demolition of old buildings has raised a fierce debate about how to hold onto the past while profiting from it.
And that brings us to today's last word in business: melty money.
The Bank of Canada released new hundred dollar bills in 2011. The high-tech bank notes are made of polymers. They're sort of like plastic bills. The goal was to make them indestructible. They were put through a lot of tests. They were put through the wash, frozen, boiled. But some Canadians who have their hands on the money say the plastic bills melt when subjected to extreme heat.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene.
Farmers and ranchers across this country expected to start the year with a new farm bill in place. This is an important piece of legislation to many people. It sets agricultural policy for the next five years.
Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 4:50 am
On Friday, new unemployment numbers will be released for December. In last month's report, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent, a four-year low. For a preview of the labor market prospects for the new year, Steve Inskeep talks to Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, an international consulting firm.
A 32-year-old Bay Area prosecutor will be sworn in to Congress on Thursday after ousting a 40-year incumbent.
California Democrat Eric Swalwell — who will be the second-youngest member of Congress — capitalized on his opponent's gaffes and used old-fashioned door-knocking and high-tech mobile phone outreach to win votes.
His first challenge in Washington might be getting people to pronounce his name correctly. Even senior members of California's congressional delegation have gotten it wrong, saying "Stallwell" instead of "Swalwell."
Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 6:26 am
The Hardy family goes back generations in a tiny neighborhood called Gerritsen Beach at the southern end of Brooklyn. For them, Superstorm Sandy has created something like an extended family reunion.
Their 2 1/2 bedroom house is currently just barely livable. They removed a fallen tree, replaced drywall, fixed the electricity and heat, and threw down rugs to keep the dust and mold from overwhelming them until they do the work the house really needs.
The Hardy family is more closely knit than a lot of people could stand.
With the third season of the sumptuously upholstered period drama Downton Abbey coming to PBS Masterpiece Classic on Jan. 6, Morning Edition's David Greene sat down with a half-dozen members of the cast to talk about what's in store.
The pop culture gay flavor of the minute? White gay dads.
"We're having a baby, Bri!" croons one of the leads on NBC's The New Normal. "This is our family. You, me and that kid forever."
It's a mini-boomlet, says real-life white gay dad and sociology professor Joshua Gamson. Not too long ago, he says, pop culture mainly defined gay men as promiscuous and deviant, rather than monogamous and devoted to their families.
"It does seem like a strong counter-stereotype of how gay men have been portrayed over the past, whatever, 50 years," he says.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Let's talk about everything that was left out of the fiscal cliff compromise approved by Congress yesterday. The measure does raise taxes for the wealthy and preserve tax cuts for others, and extend unemployment insurance again, among other things. But it left a huge amount of fighting for the New Year.
Now, as Frank pointed out, a lot of illegal sports betting is spurred by college basketball. But college football also keeps plenty of bookies in business, especially these past few weeks with all these bowl games.
(SOUNDBITE OF ESPN BROADCAST)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ohio, Louisiana-Monroe Advocare V-100 Independence Bowl, Rutgers-Virginia Technology, Russell Athletics Bowl, Minnesota-Texas Tech, Mineke Car Bowl of Texas...
Being a little overweight may tip the odds in favor of living a long life, according to a new analysis. Researchers say there may be some benefit to having a little extra body fat.
This isn't the first time researchers have raised questions about the link between body weight and how long someone will live. While there's no debate that being severely obese will raise the risk of all kinds of illnesses and even cut some lives short, it's less clear what happens to people who are less overweight.
Earlier this month, Pakistan's powerful Lower House of Parliament passed what analysts have dubbed Pakistan's Patriot Act. Its name here is "Investigation for Fair Trial Bill."
It has been presented to the Pakistani people as a way to update existing law and usher the rules for investigation in Pakistan into the 21st century. Among other things, it makes electronic eavesdropping admissible as evidence in court.