This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. The Japanese flag flew over Blair House in Washington today. That's where foreign leaders stay when they visit the White House. Japan's new prime minister is here for his first meeting with President Obama, and they've been discussing economic and security issues as NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.
This year's flu vaccine looks like it's not doing much to protect older people. New numbers in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the vaccine has only been effective about a quarter of the time for people 65 and older. NPR's Rob Stein joins me to explain what that means. And Rob, tell us more about these numbers coming from the CDC.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 10:04 am
Disease detectives are kind of the rock stars of public health.
They travel around the world, on a moment's notice, to track down an Ebola outbreak in Uganda or stop a cholera epidemic in Haiti. And Kate Winslet and Lawrence Fishburne played them in the movie Contagion, for crying out loud.
In 2010, Lights made Ellie Goulding a star. The British singer-songwriter's debut topped the U.K. albums chart that year, and became a stateside hit over the course of the next 18 months. Goulding has performed at the White House, the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Nobel Peace Prize concert.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 2:40 pm
You're going to need a bigger fishbowl.
Scientists searching for invasive species in Lake Tahoe scooped up a bright orange goldfish measuring nearly a foot and a half long and weighing more than 4 pounds, according to the website Live Science. (You can see it here.)
Environmental scientist Sudeep Chandra says a survey has uncovered a "nice corner" of the lake where about 15 other giant goldfish were living, apparently after being dumped there by aquarium owners.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 2:51 pm
Economists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gazing into their crystal ball, see American farmers planting and harvesting huge amounts of corn, soybeans, and wheat this year. They're predicting a record harvest of corn: 14 billion bushels, up nearly 40 percent over last year's drought-crippled level.
With supply up, prices will fall. The USDA thinks that the price of the average bushel of corn could fall by a third. And soybean production and price are expected to follow a similar track.
The Venezuelan government released an update on ailing President Hugo Chávez late Thursday.
"The respiratory deficiency that arose in the course of the postoperative period persists, and its tendency has not been favorable, for which reason he continues to be treated," the information minister, Ernesto Villegas, said according to The New York Times.
Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 1:04 pm
Satellites are powerful tools. They beam our TV signals, phone calls and data around the planet. They help us spy, they track storms, they power the GPS signals in our cars and on our phones. But they also send back striking, totally disarming images of planet Earth.
This set of images is all about showing off the "beauty of the Earth," says Lawrence Friedl, the director of NASA's Applied Sciences Program and the editor of a project called Earth as Art. "We want people to look at these images and say, 'How did nature do that?' "
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 7:34 am
An ear, unsurprisingly, is difficult to make from scratch. Ear cartilage is uniquely flexible and strong and has been impossible for scientists to reproduce with synthetic prostheses.
If a child is born without one, doctors typically carve a replacement ear out of rib cartilage, but it lacks the wonderfully firm yet springy qualities of the original ear. And it often doesn't look so good.
At the Golden Globes, Ben Affleck looked genuinely surprised and delighted twice toward the end of the evening: first when he won best director for Argo, and then again when the film won for best motion picture/drama.
Bradley Cooper, who is nominated for an Academy Award for his performance as the bipolar Pat Solitano in Silver Linings Playbook, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he and director David O. Russell approached the role with the idea that Cooper would "play as real and authentic as [h]e could."
Four former executives from Peanut Corp. of America and a related company are facing federal criminal charges for covering up information that their peanut butter was contaminated with salmonella bacteria.
The charges are related to a nationwide outbreak of salmonella back in 2009. More than 700 people became ill, and federal investigators traced the source of the bacteria to peanut butter manufactured in Blakely, Ga., by the Peanut Corp. of America. The company is no longer in business.
Feeble human eyes require a certain level of light to see color. Cameras, though, have the magical ability to expose the world at night. Husband-and-wife photographers Diane Cook and Len Jenshel have been playing with long-exposure photography for years — more specifically, in moonlit gardens.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. The Internet is the new battleground.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, our air traffic control systems. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.