Sports
12:19 am
Tue January 21, 2014

After Tragedy At 2010 Games, Sochi Slows Down The Sled Track

A Latvian four-man bobsled team competes in the World Cup on Feb. 17, 2013, at the Sanki Sliding Center near Sochi, Russia. The track, which actually ascends in three places to slow the speed of the athletes, is being used for Olympic bobsled, skeleton and luge next month.
Richard Heathcote Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 8:49 am

With bobsled, luge and skeleton racers rocketing down a winding, ice-covered track, sled racing will be one of the most exciting events at the Winter Olympics next month in Sochi, Russia.

The first thing you have to know about sled racing is that it's a little like NASCAR: It's all about speed. And the tracks, built all over the world — including the new one in Sochi — are really different, according to Steve Holcomb, who won a gold medal in four-man bobsled four years ago.

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All Tech Considered
12:18 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Brain Games: Move Objects With Your Mind To Find Inner Calm?

Richard Warp uses an Emotiv headset paired with his invention, NeuroDisco, which translates brain electrical patterns into music.
Josh Cassidy KQED

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 12:38 pm

Couch potatoes everywhere, rejoice.

New commercial devices, using technology borrowed from the field of neuroscience, are making it possible to control objects with brain power alone. The idea is to help train users to become more focused — and relaxed.

EEG headsets, which detect electrical activity in the brain, were once found only in research labs. Today, the technology has become cheaper and easier to use. That's made it possible to connect EEG headsets to other consumer devices.

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Law
12:18 am
Tue January 21, 2014

A Union For Home Health Aides Brings New Questions To Supreme Court

One of the questions before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday is whether non-union members must pay for negotiating a contract they benefit from.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 9:40 am

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in an Illinois case that could drive a stake through the heart of public employee unions.

At issue are two questions: whether states may recognize a union to represent health care workers who care for disabled adults in their homes instead of in state institutions; and whether non-union members must pay for negotiating a contract they benefit from.

To understand why a growing number of states actually want to recognize unions to represent home health care workers, listen to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan:

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Shots - Health News
12:16 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Mild-Mannered Stingrays Can Inflict A World Of Hurt

The round stingray is native to the eastern Pacific coast and is notorious for injuring swimmers and surfers.
laszlo-photo/Flickr

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 5:08 am

Want to get away? Thinking about a place with warm water and soft sand? Sounds nice. But think twice before you wade into that inviting surf. Chances are there are stingrays in the area.

Every year, these timid, shellfish-eating cousins of the shark inflict excruciating injuries on thousands of swimmers and surfers from the Bahamas to Bahrain to both coasts of the United States.

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The Moral Is
7:26 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Commentary: Apply Mandela's Vision Of Reconciliation To The Environment

Madhusudan Katti, Associate Professor of Biology, CSU Fresno
Credit Madhusudan Katti

Despite enduring a lifetime of oppression, Nelson Mandela transformed his nation by seeking reconciliation with his oppressors rather than retribution. In this week’s edition of The Moral Is, Fresno State Biology Professor Madhusudan Katti wonders whether the power of reconciliation as a moral principle might save us all from the damage humanity is inflicting on our planet and ourselves.

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With the passing of Nelson Mandela last month, we lost one of the strongest needles in humanity’s moral compass.

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Two Killed, Others Hurt In Omaha Plant Explosion

The wrecked International Nutrition plant in Omaha, Neb., where a fire and explosion took place on Monday.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 8:49 pm

Update at 9:02 p.m. EST. All Workers Account For:

In a press conference Monday evening Omaha Police Lt. Darci Tierney said all of the 38 workers in the building have been accounted for. Officials say two died, 10 were hospitalized and seven others were hurt but refused treatment. The remaining 19 workers escaped.

Interim Fire Chief Bernard Kanger said that one body had been recovered but did not identify the person because the family has yet to be notified.

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Author Interviews
2:25 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

For World Superpowers, The Negotiating Table Often Had A Net

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 4:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

In the spring of 1971, two global antagonists found a diplomatic opening through an unlikely source, the game of ping-pong.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NEWSCASTS)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Good evening. The bamboo curtain has been cracked by a ping-pong ball.

MIKE WALLACE: China lifted the bamboo curtain today, long enough to let in 15 American ping-pong players.

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Afghanistan
2:25 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Punctured Tires In Kabul Are The Work Of Police, Not Punks

NPR producer Sultan Faizy's car — parked right outside the NPR office in Kabul — was recently targeted by the police. Police say the policy is meant to prevent militants from stealing cars for use in bomb attacks.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 9:16 am

In Kabul, car theft isn't a big problem, but it is a big concern. Security officials fear that militants could use stolen vehicles as car bombs. So the police have turned to a rather controversial tactic to deter thieves.

On a recent evening, a guest left our office only to discover two of his car tires had been punctured. Moments later, my producer discovered two of his tires had been punctured. Both cars were parked on the side of the street in front of our office.

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Middle East
2:25 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Surprise Invitation Lands Syrian Peace Talks In Hot Water

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 4:44 pm

The long-anticipated Syrian peace conference is again in turmoil. The U.N. secretary-general's surprise decision to invite Iran to attend the conference prompted a boycott threat from Syria's exiled opposition. At issue is the fact that Iran has not publicly committed to the framework for the conference or pledged to withdraw its troops and allied militias from Syria. Under pressure from the opposition groups and the U.S., the U.N. has since withdrawn its invitation to Iran.

Europe
2:25 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

As Protests Renew In Ukraine, Fears Of Violence Return

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 4:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And now to Ukraine where the crisis is intensifying. Today, there were more clashes between protesters and police in the capital city, Kiev. This after a massive protest turned violent yesterday, when more than 100,000 people turned out to denounce a new law that limits public protests. The protests have shaken Ukraine for two months, as the opposition claims President Viktor Yanukovych is turning increasingly autocratic and aligning his country with Russia.

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