This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden in Washington; Neal Conan is away. Religious exemptions have been in the news a lot lately. The Obama administration has revised its rules on insurance coverage to accommodate religious nonprofits. If the proposal sticks, they won't have to pay for coverage of birth control for employees.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden, in Washington. Neal Conan is away. For same-sex military couples, a lot has changed since the end of "don't ask, don't tell." Just last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced a list of benefits that will now or soon apply to the same-sex partners of service members.
Human ears, gun parts, bars of chocolate, musical instruments, robots - just a few of the things that have recently been created from scratch by 3-D printers. Apparently and amazingly, you just put in the materials, upload a design and press start. My printer doesn't even work with just old paper and ink. But we'll hear more about this potential. The possibilities seem endless. Some believe 3-D printing will revolutionize manufacturing, but the technology is also raising thorny questions about copyright and regulation.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 2:29 pm
Several explosions ripped through Damascus on Thursday morning in what was one of the deadliest days in the Syrian capital since the uprising began nearly two years ago.
A huge blast in the al-Mazraa neighborhood was the work of a suicide car bomber, according to media reports. More than 50 people were killed and more than 200 injured, according to both the Syrian state media and opposition groups.
What happens when we die? Wouldn't we all like to know. We can't bring people back from the dead to tell us — but in some cases, we almost can. Resuscitation medicine is now sometimes capable of reviving people after their heart has stopped beating and their brain has flat-lined; Dr. Sam Parnia, a critical care doctor and director of resuscitation research at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, studies what these people experience in that period after their heart stops and before they're resuscitated. This includes visions such as bright lights and out-of-body experiences.
I don't have a good track record when it comes to raving about Karen Russell. Last year, along with my two fellow judges, I nominated Russell's novel, Swamplandia!, as well as two other finalists, for the Pulitzer Prize. Result? The Pulitzer Board made headlines by deciding not to give out the award in Fiction. Nevertheless, I rave on: this time about Russell's new short story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove.
Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 5:08 pm
Every year around this time, all four members of the All Songs Considered roundtable gang (Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Ann Powers and me) each dredge through more than 1,000 MP3s by bands playing the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. We base our coverage and festival schedules on the music we've researched in advance — and have found some of our favorite artists, like Kishi Bashi in 2012, as part of these blind pre-fest taste tests — and this year, we want to be sure we're considering yours.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:31 pm
The New York Times points out something rather interesting about an otherwise mundane business story. Wal-Mart's fourth-quarter earnings report tells the tale of how changes in the tax code has both helped corporations and hurt them.
As the Times puts it, during the fourth quarter of last year, "the tax code gave and the tax code took away."