NPR Story
10:00 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.

NPR Story
10:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Genetic Test Reveals Unexpected Data

Bloomberg News reporter John Lauerman volunteered to have his DNA sequenced by Harvard researchers to demystify the process for the public. What he didn't expect to uncover was that he possessed two gene variants--one linked to rare blood disorders and the other to a higher risk of Alzheimer's.

Technology
10:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Reaching For The Limits of Tiny Transistors

Computer chip makers have long struggled to build ever-smaller transistors to allow faster, more powerful computers. Writing in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, a team of scientists describes what may be the ultimate limit of that struggle — a transistor made of a single atom. Michelle Simmons, a physicist at the University of New South Wales in Australia and leader of the project, discusses the work.

News
9:57 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 1:01 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
9:24 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 11:15 am

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
9:21 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
9:19 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
9:02 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 8:00 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
9:00 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
9:00 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.

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