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11:07 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Throwing Games: Is It Strategy Or Cheating?

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 11:35 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Not using one's best efforts to win a match. Few Americans know much about the sport of badminton, but that rule will likely be the subject of a lot of discussion over the next few days. Today, badminton officials at the London Olympics disqualified eight players for tanking. Women's doubles teams from South Korea, Indonesia and China drew boos yesterday when it looked like they deliberately lost preliminary matches to engineer more congenial match-ups later in the tournament.

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Politics
11:06 am
Wed August 1, 2012

The Best And Worst VP Candidates Of All Time

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 11:35 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. The Texas Tea Party cruises to victory. Congress actually acts to avoid a shutdown, and former Veep Dick Cheney pans the Palin pick. It's Wednesday and time for a...

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: A mistake.

CONAN: ...edition of the Political Junkie.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Once In A Blue Moon: August Will Bring Two Full Moons

A waxing moon in the background of a fairground attraction in London on Sunday.
Andrew Cowie AFP/Getty Images

In astronomical terms, a blue moon really doesn't denote that long a time span. In fact, a blue moon happens once every 2.7 years on average.

Still, it's a special event that, at least using its modern definition, happens when there are two full moons in a single month.

Today (Aug. 1) we'll see a full-moon and that is a prelude to the blue moon of Aug. 31. As Space.com reports, the Aug. 31 moon will reach its full phase during the day.

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Planet Money
10:57 am
Wed August 1, 2012

The Endlessly Disappointing Jobs Recovery

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 11:39 am

Three years into the economic recovery, the unemployment rate is still disastrously high. So today's big economic question is whether the Federal Reserve will announce new measures to bring down unemployment when it releases its policy statement this afternoon.

Update: The new statement is out. The Fed isn't doing anything new right now.

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The Torch
10:26 am
Wed August 1, 2012

What's A Gold Medal Really Worth?

Plenty To Smile About: Weightlifter Maiya Maneza of Kazakhstan celebrates on the podium with her new 400-gram gold medal, matching the feat of her compatriot Zulfiya Chinshanlo. The Kazakh Olympians will each receive a $250,000 bonus.
Laurence Griffiths Getty Images

Weighing 400 grams, the Olympic gold medals that are being doled out at the London 2012 Summer Games are the heaviest ever, according to reports. But that doesn't mean they're the most valuable: at an estimated $620.82, they're nearly $590 short of the $1,207.86 value held by a gold medal from the Stockholm Games of 1912.

The discrepancy stems from the fact that the 2012 gold medals contain only 6 grams of gold; the rest is silver and copper. In fact, the London bling contains more copper than gold, which is only used to coat the medals with a plating layer.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:25 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Lab Findings Support Provocative Theory On Cancer 'Enemy' Within

The white arrows in these two tumor samples point to a subset of tumor cells that are in a resting state.
Nature

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 2:54 pm

Scientists reported new evidence Wednesday that supports a provocative theory about cancer.

Three separate teams of scientists said they had, for the first time, shown that so-called cancer stem cells can be found naturally in brain tumors and early forms of skin and colon cancer.

Evidence has been mounting in recent years for the existence of these cells, which would be especially insidious. They are believed to resist standard chemotherapy and radiation and fuel the growth of tumors and relapses.

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Politics
10:18 am
Wed August 1, 2012

How Congressman Paul Ryan Is Shaping The GOP

In his New Yorker article, Fussbudget, Ryan Lizza writes: "To envisage what Republicans would do if they win in November, the person to understand is not necessarily Romney, who has been a policy cipher all his public life. The person to understand is Paul Ryan."
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 12:46 pm

As the presumptive presidential nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is currently the face of the Republican Party. But, as journalist Ryan Lizza suggests in his article in this week's New Yorker, the party's agenda and ideology are being driven by a very different figure: Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

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Participation Nation
9:53 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Homeless Kids At Play In Washington, D.C.

A volunteer reads a book with a visitor at The Homeless Children's Playtime Project.
Courtesy of The Homeless Children's Playtime Project

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 9:58 am

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:51 am
Wed August 1, 2012

You Think Beauty Is Skin Deep? You're Not A Chiropractor

Contestants Marianne Baba (left), Lois Conway and Ruth Swenson stand next to plates of their X-Rays during a chiropractor-judged beauty contest.
Wallace Kirkland Time

When the nation's chiropractors descended on Chicago for a weeklong convention in May 1956, they threw a beauty contest.

The judges crowned Lois Conway, 18, Miss Correct Posture. Second place went to Marianne Caba, 16, according to an account in the Chicago Tribune. Ruth Swenson, 26, came in third.

But this was no ordinary pageant.

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The Two-Way
9:48 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Sharp Swings In Stocks Renew Concerns About Computer Trading

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 12:58 pm

"August 1st will be another day that will destroy investor confidence just like the May 6th [2010] flash crash."

That rather ominous sounding pronouncement comes from Joseph Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading LLC in Chatham, N.J., in a Bloomberg News report about what happened early this morning on Wall Street.

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The Two-Way
9:47 am
Wed August 1, 2012

USPS Defaults On $5.5 Billion Payment To Treasury

An employee loads flat trays onto a truck at the U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Merrifield, Va.
Andrew Harrier Bloomberg via Getty Images

For the first time ever, the United States Postal Service has defaulted on a payment to the Treasury.

The USPS warned of a default in a statement on Monday. It it would not make the $5.5 billion payment due today and that it would also default on a $5.6 billion payment due Sept. 30. Both of those payments are federally mandated and go toward prefunding retiree health benefits.

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NPR Story
8:02 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Eight Badminton Players Disqualified From Olympics

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 4:31 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Olympics are a quest to be the best. But some Olympians are accused of purposely playing badly at badminton. The Badminton World Federation has launched disciplinary proceedings against four women's doubles pairs. First, the world champions, who are Chinese, faced off against opponents from South Korea. And spectators started booing when the players seemed to be making simple errors on purpose.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
7:31 am
Wed August 1, 2012

'Pepper Spray Cop' Is No Longer On UC Davis Police Force

Nov. 18, 2011: Occupy protesters get sprayed at University of California Davis.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 6:54 am

"Lt. John Pike, the UC Davis police officer who became a focal point of last November's pepper-spraying incident during a campus protest, is no longer employed by the university," a school spokesman confirmed to The Sacramento Bee Tuesday evening.

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The Torch
7:24 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Badminton's 'Detrimental' Conduct Rule, And Losing On Purpose

The Badminton Eight: That's the media's new nickname for the Olympic athletes disqualified Wednesday in a match-fixing scandal at the London Games. They are, from top left: South Korea's Kim Ha Na, Ha Jung-Eun, Kim Min-Jung and Jung Kyung-Eun. Bottom: Indonesia's Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari, and China's Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 10:08 am

Eight Olympic badminton athletes have been thrown out of the London Games after being charged by the Badminton World Federation with "not using one's best efforts to win a match" — which is against the rules of the sport. Because even some journalists may have forgotten badminton's rules, it seemed time to take a fresh look.

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The Two-Way
6:35 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Heir To Billions Pleads Guilty To Keeping Dead Wife's Body At Home

Eva Rausing, right, and her husband Hans Kristian Rausing in 1996.
Alan Davidson AP

In London today the Swedish heir to a fortune worth billions of dollars pleaded guilty to "preventing the lawful and decent burial of his wife" and the court heard that Eva Rausing's body may have been lying beneath "bin bags, clothing and bed linen" for as long as two months, the BBC reports.

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The Two-Way
6:13 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Employers Added 163,000 Jobs In July, Survey Suggests

There was a 163,000-gain in the number of jobs on private payrolls in July, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report.

That's down from an estimated 172,000 boost in June (a number revised slightly from ADP's previous report of a 176,000-increase for that month).

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The Torch
6:13 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Kristin Armstrong Wins Second Straight Gold Medal In Olympic Time Trial

Kristin Armstrong rides on her way to winning the women's individual time trial at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Alex Livesey Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 11:41 am

Kristin Armstrong has successfully defended her gold medal in the Olympic time trial, winning the race held in Surrey, England. Armstrong finished the 18-mile course in 37:34.82, nearly 16 seconds ahead of Judith Arndt of Germany, who won the silver.

Olga Zabelinskaya of Russia won bronze, seven seconds behind Arndt. American Amber Neben came in sixth, at 38:45.17. Britain's Elizabeth Armitstead, the silver medal winner in the road race, was tenth.

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The Two-Way
4:48 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Indignant In India: Blackouts Have Millions 'Fuming'

Plenty of wires. But where's the juice? This electric pole in Kolkata is typical of many in heavily populated India.
Dibyangshu Sarkar AFP/Getty Images

"Powerless and Clueless" was today's top headline on the Times of India's front page.

India's Economic Times went with "Superpower India, RIP."

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Participation Nation
4:42 am
Wed August 1, 2012

(W)E Pluribus Unum

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 9:58 am

With your help, NPR is writing a story across America. About the good things that Americans are doing.

You already know that our country is split by political partisanship, socioeconomic disparities, religious differences, geographical inequities and other factors.

Surely you have noticed: We are living in disunited states.

Sometimes it's hard to focus on the ways we work together, the similarities among us.

So that is what we will try to write about. Together.

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Sweetness And Light
4:18 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Four Sports Superstars, Four Years Later

Michael Phelps reacts after winning silver in the men's 200-meter butterfly final at the Aquatics Centre on Tuesday. South Africa's Chad le Clos took home the gold.
Matt Slocum AP

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 1:34 pm

Let us go back an Olympiad, to August of 2008. Incredibly, then, in all four of the world's most popular men's individual sports, we were at a time when, quite possibly, the four greatest champions ever in each of those sports was at or near his peak.

There they were, as the Beijing Olympics began:

  • Tiger Woods, 32 years old, still a prime age for a golfer, winner of his 14th major, the U.S. Open, only a few weeks ago — gloriously alone at the top.
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