NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Powering Up...With A Microbial Fuel Cell

Reporting in Environmental Science and Technology, researchers write of harvesting electricity from microbe-rich river sediments--enough to power a small LED bulb. Grant Burgess, a marine biotechnologist at Newcastle University, discusses the hunt for electron-burping bugs.

News
10:57 am
Fri February 24, 2012

How Lawmakers Lost Their Sense Of Shame

Outside the state Capitol in Annapolis, Md., last year: Someone who'd had enough of what has been going on.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 2:01 pm

Connie Johnson is not afraid to be outrageous. The Democratic state senator from Oklahoma has watched in frustration for several years now as colleagues have rammed through bills limiting women's reproductive rights.

She tried debating and making speeches. Finally, earlier this month, she thought of something that made her point more clearly, or at least more graphically.

She introduced an amendment that would define life as beginning not at conception, but at "ejaculation."

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Television
10:24 am
Fri February 24, 2012

25 Years Later, 'The Singing Detective' Still Shines

Gambon's character slips in and out of feverish dreams in which his doctors and nurses start to sing and dance.
BBC

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 12:15 pm

The Singing Detective is the story of a writer of pulp-fiction novels, hospitalized for a horrible skin condition that has his entire body flaking and raw, and his mind slipping in and out of fever dreams.

Some of those hallucinations have the people around him breaking into song, or shifting into other places and times and characters, or both. He tries to maintain his sanity by rewriting, in his head, one of his old novels into a Hollywood screenplay — and, in his mind, he's the healthy, good-looking protagonist — the singing detective.

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The Two-Way
10:21 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Occupy Wall Street Doesn't Endorse Philly Conference

Occupy Wall Street tells The Associated Press that a national conference being planned in Philadelphia this summer was not approved by its General Assembly, meaning the group does not endorse it.

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The Salt
10:19 am
Fri February 24, 2012

In Rice, How Much Arsenic Is Too Much?

Brown rice syrup, which can be high in arsenic, is sometimes used in vegan recipes like this caramel corn.
iStockphoto.com

The news that some rice-based foods are surprisingly high in arsenic has left rice lovers wondering how the heck we're to know what's safe to eat.

Since Dartmouth College researchers reported last week that a toddler formula and energy bars sweetened with organic brown rice syrup tested high for arsenic, readers of The Salt have had lots of questions about how one might find out the arsenic content of rice-based foods, and figure out what's safe.

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Mitt Romney
10:02 am
Fri February 24, 2012

From George Romney To Mitt, A Shrinking Tax Rate

Mitt Romney holds a poster of his father, given to him at a campaign rally in Spartanburg, S.C., in January.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:00 am

Mitt Romney gave a major economic speech Friday, in which he stressed his plan to lower personal income taxes.

Romney's own taxes became an issue last month, when he acknowledged paying a lower tax rate than many middle-class families.

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Law
10:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

South Dakota Tribe Goes Up Against Big Brewers

The Oglala Sioux Tribe filed a $500 million lawsuit against brewers and retailers, claiming they're responsible for the reservation's alcohol-related problems. The tribe lives on a dry reservation, but they claim nearby towns unlawfully sell alcohol to residents. Host Michel Martin speaks to a reporter and the tribe's attorney.

Law
10:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Court Takes Another Look At Affirmative Action

A new case taking on affirmative action in higher education is set to be heard in the Supreme Court this fall. In 2003, the court ruled that universities could consider racial diversity in admissions. But today the make-up of the court is very different. Host Michel Martin discusses the case with two law school deans.

The Two-Way
9:45 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Remembering Marine Sgt. Oscar Canon, A 'Superstar'

Marine Sgt. Oscar Canon, and the tattered hat he was wearing the day he was injured.
Joseph Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 10:45 am

After the explosion of the rocket-propelled grenade on a road in Fallujah, Oscar Canon saw the white of his own thigh bone. At the medical unit, the young Marine sergeant grabbed the doctor by his collar and yelled, "Don't cut off my f***ing leg." That was in October of 2004 and the first of dozens of surgeries — 72 separate operations, by a family member's count — that saved his leg.

Last week, Staff Sgt. Oscar Canon, 29, died. A Marine Corps spokesman at Camp Pendleton says the death is still being investigated.

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Movie Reviews
9:43 am
Fri February 24, 2012

'Wanderlust': A Zany Blast From The Communal Past

Orange You Glad We Wound Up Here? George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) play an unemployed Manhattan couple who stumble into a hippie farming commune whose denizens include characters played by Justin Theroux and Alan Alda.
Gemma La Mana Universal PIctures

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 12:15 pm

In sophisticated comedy, what's funny is the tension between proper manners and the nasty or sexy subtext. Whereas in low comedy, there are no manners, and the nasty or sexy subtext is right there on the surface.

And then there's Wanderlust, in which the subtext is blasted through megaphones — the characters say so insanely much you want to scream. The satire is as broad as a battleship and equally bombarding. But it takes guts to do a comedy this big without gross-out slapstick, and the writers and the actors are all in.

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