Parallels
12:52 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

In China, Customer Service And Efficiency Begin To Blossom

A couple waits for a high-speed train in the Chinese city of Qinhuangdao. Modern infrastructure and the expanding private sector have greatly increased efficiency and customer service in many parts of Chinese life.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:56 pm

China's infamous bureaucracy has bedeviled people for ages, but in recent years, daily life in some major Chinese cities has become far more efficient.

For instance, when I worked in Beijing in the 1990s, many reporters had drivers. It wasn't because they didn't drive, but because they needed someone to deal with China's crippling bureaucracy.

I had a man named Old Zhao, who would drive around for days to pay our office bills at various government utility offices. Zhao would sit in line for hours, often only to be abused by functionaries.

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The Salt
12:32 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Cooking With Cicadas: No Weirder Than Eating Cheese?

Cicada: It's what's for dinner?
Sean Bush AP

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:18 pm

You knew this one was coming.

Earlier this month, we told you about a U.N. report that makes the case for insects to improve global food security: They're cheap, plentiful and environmentally sustainable. Now, the coming of the 17-year cicadas provides East Coast Americans, for whom bug eating is considered novel at best, with an opportunity to try local insect cuisine.

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The Two-Way
12:32 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

What's The Meaning Of This? A New Twist In The Spelling Bee

Minka Gill of Kokomo, Ind., participates in Round 2 of the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Wednesday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

If Snigdha Nandipati, the 14-year-old who won last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee, had been asked to define her winning word, "guetapens," things might have turned out differently.

This year, a vocabulary test with word definitions is, for the first time in the bee's 86-year history, part of the competition. Preliminary and semifinal contestants must pass the test to get to the finals of the grueling competition.

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Valley Writers Read
12:24 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Valerie Schultz's “The Rufus Gene” on Valley Writers Read

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a story by Tehachapi author Valerie Schultz titled "The Rufus Gene." The story is about a the adventures of family who move into an upscale neighborhood and their mixed-breed dog Rufus. 

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Shots - Health News
12:24 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Middle East Coronavirus Called 'Threat To The Entire World'

A nurse walks towards the Roger Salengro Hospital in Lille, France, where two patients were diagnosed with a coronavirus related to SARS.
Michel Spingler AP

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 8:43 am

If you've been following the news out of China about the latest bird flu and its threats to humans, may we direct your attention toward the Middle East for a minute?

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Business
12:21 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

What's Under Youngstown May Help What's On Top

By leasing land for drilling, city leaders in Youngstown, Ohio, hope to generate funds to demolish vacant buildings.
M.L. Schultze for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:18 pm

A century ago, when fiery steel mills were roaring to life in Youngstown, Ohio, builders were racing to put up homes, storefronts, barbershops and more.

Today, many of those buildings sit empty and rotting. With the mills mostly gone and the population down 60 percent from 1960, to just 67,000, the city needs millions of dollars to tear down roughly 4,000 vacant structures.

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NPR Story
11:44 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Cartoonist Lynda Barry Helps College Students Tap Innate Creativity

Angela Richardson

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 8:50 am

Like most of her work, cartoonist Lynda Barry's class at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is unorthodox. "No artistic talent required," the course description states. The course is described as a "writing and picture-making class with focus on the basic physical structure of the brain."

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The Oasis
11:25 am
Wed May 29, 2013

The Oasis: May 26, 2013

9:00 – 10:00

Michel Camilo – What’s Up? – Okeh/Sony 703992 – “Island Beat”

Clotilde Rullaud – In Extremis - Tsig’Art 141261 – “Fragile” (Sting)

                                                         Benny Golson

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – Moanin’ – Blue Note 4003 – “Are You Real”; “Along Came Betty”

(Nancy) Marano & (Eddie) Monteiro – Double Standards – Denon 78901 – “Whisper Not”

Pedrito Martinez – Rumba de La Isla – Calle54/Sony 40672 – “Homenaje a Cameron”

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Research News
11:21 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Public Opinion On The Record Number Of Female Breadwinners

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

A new Pew study finds that in a record 40 percent of all households with kids under 18, mothers are either the sole or primary source of income. In 1960, that share was just over 10 percent. These breadwinner moms number in the millions, but about three-quarters of all adults say that the prominence of women's economic role makes it harder to raise children. Half say it's made marriage harder to succeed. If you're one of these breadwinner moms, call, tell us what we don't know about the tradeoffs.

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Environment
11:15 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Colorado Crisis: America's Great River Dwindles in Drought

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 1:15 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

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