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U.S. Commutes: The Way We Get To Work
1:46 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Epic Commutes Face Those Caught In Public Transit Puzzle

It takes Chicago resident Sarah Hairston two hours to go 15 miles to get to her part-time job.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 10:42 am

It's a sign of the times: More people are commuting for more than an hour to get to work, and many of the longest commutes are at least partially on public transportation.

Take Sarah Hairston's commute from her apartment on Chicago's South Side to her part-time job at a shelter for homeless teens on the north side of town.

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The Protojournalist
5:29 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Project Xpat: Thank You For Posting

Turkey of Thanksgiving in Kazakhstan.
Patricia Cullinane

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 10:36 am

Thanksgiving — like the universe — is expanding.

Traditionally a time for Americans to pause and give thanks to a Supreme Being — for health or harvest or happenstance, Thanksgiving is evolving before our very eyes into a holiday where we give thanks to each other as well.

Just this week we received Thanksgiving-themed thank-you notes from a doctor's office, a lawyers' association, a New Jersey congressman and others. Can Thanksgiving-themed gift cards be far behind?

It's not a bad idea. Saying thank you to more people.

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Music Interviews
3:35 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

'It's Hard To Stay Patient': A Conversation With John Mayer

John Mayer in Studio 1 at NPR's Washington, D.C. headquarters.
Amy Ta NPR

John Mayer has a lot to be thankful for this year, including his return to the stage. A Grammy winner and a multi-platinum seller, Mayer is one of the most successful musicians of the past decade-plus — but a few events in his life have left him uncharacteristically quiet of late. He took a break from press after a pair of controversial interviews in 2010; not long after, he underwent surgery for damage to his vocal cords and had to stop speaking and singing publicly for more than a year.

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Asia
3:02 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

China's Latest Territorial Moves Renew Fears In Philippines

U.S. and Philippine navy personnel patrol the seas off a naval base west of Manila in June as part of joint exercises.
Ted Aljibe AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 8:24 pm

China is flexing its muscles these days. Over the weekend, it declared a sprawling air defense identification zone that covers disputed islands controlled by Japan. And it has sent its lone aircraft carrier for first-time trials in the South China Sea, where Beijing has territorial feuds with other neighbors, including Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines.

None of this was making China any friends in Manila, where the Chinese government is particularly unpopular these days.

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Shots - Health News
3:02 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Breaking Up With HealthCare.gov Is Hard To Do

Lara Imler has tried to cancel her enrollment on HealthCare.gov, but to no avail.
Annie Feidt Alaska Public Radio Network

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 3:43 pm

Enrolling in HealthCare.gov is not easy, and it's been particularly difficult in Alaska. Just 53 people enrolled in the first month.

Anchorage hair stylist Lara Imler is one of the few who got through, as we previously reported. But Imler discovered problems with her application, and now she wants to cancel her enrollment.

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Afghanistan
3:02 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

When Most U.S. Forces Leave Afghanistan, Contractors May Stay

A helicopter from the American security contractor DynCorp provides air support as members of an Afghan eradication force plow opium poppies on April 3, 2006, in the Helmand province, Afghanistan.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 3:35 pm

Should the Afghan government sign a security agreement, the U.S. plans to keep between 6,000 and 9,000 American troops in Afghanistan even after the U.S. and NATO's combat mission officially ends late in 2014.

Beginning in 2015, the remaining troops would train Afghan soldiers and mount operations against any remnants of al-Qaida.

But they wouldn't be the only ones who stay behind: U.S. troops would almost certainly be outnumbered by civilian contractors.

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Music
3:02 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

The Electric Bassist With An In-House Composer

Steve Swallow switched from acoustic bass to bass guitar in 1970, and hasn't looked back.
Klaus Muempfer Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 2:15 pm

Steve Swallow started playing jazz as a teenager. While a student at Yale University, he played mostly in with Dixieland bands. And then the 20-year-old bassist got a gig with the avant-garde-leaning pianist Paul Bley at a nearby college, went home, went to bed — and dropped out.

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History
2:43 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

'Thanks' To The Woman Who Helped Make A November Thursday Special

This portrait of Sarah Josepha Hale, painted by James Reid Lambdin, hangs in Newport, N.H., where she was born.
Jim Cole AP

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 5:39 pm

Thursday's holiday has Sarah Josepha Hale to thank for helping it get national recognition.

Thanksgiving before 1863 was something of a moveable feast, with states honoring the holiday at various times or not at all. But as the Civil War dragged on, Abraham Lincoln needed a way to unite the country. And Hale, a prominent magazine editor, persuaded him to declare a national holiday.

Hale, who was from New Hampshire, was a prolific writer of biographies, cookbooks, novels, editorials and volumes of poetry, including the children's rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

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It's All Politics
1:45 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving: A Very Brief Political History

President George W. Bush paid a surprise Thanksgiving visit to American troops in Baghdad on Nov. 27, 2003.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Of all the things Americans traditionally associate with Thanksgiving — turkey, family, football — politics doesn't rate high on the list.

But the national holiday and the political world have intersected at times and generated some headlines to remember.

Here are a few memorable Thanksgiving political moments:

Franksgiving (1939)

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Shots - Health News
1:03 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Brain Cells 'Geotag' Memories To Cache What Happened — And Where

Benjamin Arthur for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:13 am

Think back to an important event in your life: a graduation, a birth, a special Thanksgiving dinner. Chances are you're remembering not only what happened, but also where it happened. And now scientists think they know why.

As we form so-called episodic memories, the brain appears to be using special cells in the hippocampus to "geotag" each event, researchers report in Science. The process is similar to what some digital cameras do when they tag each picture with information about where the image was taken.

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