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Rebuilding Japan
9:01 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Trauma, Not Radiation, Is Key Concern In Japan

A worker is given a radiation screening as he enters the emergency operation center at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 20.
AFP/Getty Images

One year ago this Sunday, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off Japan triggered a tsunami that killed 20,000 people. It also triggered multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, one of the worst nuclear disasters in history.

But health effects from radiation turn out to be minor compared with the other issues the people of Fukushima prefecture now face.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:01 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Forget The Robots: Venture Capitalists Change Their Health Care Investments

Surgical robots like this one are wildly expensive. Before the economic troubles began, investment in such high-tech medical devices was plentiful. Now, hospitals are looking for comparatively simple solutions to cut costs: streamline medical billing and even investing in $1 catheters that can save upwards of $50,000.
Frank Perry AFP/Getty Images

It wasn't that long ago that money flowed steadily to entrepreneurs who dreamt up whiz-bang medical devices.

Hospitals souped up their surgical suites with robots or high-tech radiation machines for cancer treatment. Cost wasn't an issue: They just got passed along to insurance companies, who passed them on to employers and patients.

But after the Great Recession hit and the 2010 health law passed, the financiers behind the medical arms race started to rethink their investment calculus.

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Rebuilding Japan
9:01 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

A Year On, Japan Is Still Looking For The Road Ahead

Members of the media, wearing protective suits and masks, visit the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power station during a press tour, in northeastern Japan's Fukushima prefecture, Feb. 28. Japan is marking the first anniversary of the March 11 tsunami and earthquake, which triggered the worst nuclear accident in the country's history.
Kimimasa Mayama AP

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 8:09 am

A year after suffering the worst nuclear accident in its history, Japan is still struggling to understand what happened at the Fukushima nuclear plant in the country's northeast.

Last week, an independent commission released a report arguing that Japan narrowly averted what could have been a far deadlier disaster and that the government withheld this information from the public.

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Planet Money
9:01 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Meet Claudia, The High-Tech Cow

Technology at rest.
Adam Davidson NPR

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 8:09 am

Here's the secret of the modern dairy farm: The essential high-tech advances aren't in machinery. They're inside the cow.

Take a cow like Claudia. She lives at Fulper Farms, a dairy farm in upstate New Jersey. Claudia is to a cow from the 1930s as a modern Ferrari is to a Model T.

In the 1930s, dairy farmers could get 30 pounds of milk per day from a cow. Claudia produces 75 pounds a day.

To appreciate a cow like Claudia, you have to know where to look.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:59 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

'Kinshasa Symphony': An Ode To Musical Joy In Central Africa

A member of the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste plays outdoors in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 11:34 am

An amazing new documentary film is a must-see not just for music lovers, but for anyone who needs to see the nourishing power of the arts and human connections.

Kinshasa Symphony takes us into the everyday lives of the members of a most unlikely ensemble: the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, located in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a place ravaged by war, endemic poverty and corruption.

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The Two-Way
3:04 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Miss. Supreme Court Upholds Former Gov. Barbour's Pardons

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R).
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 3:11 pm

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled today that Gov. Haley Barbour's controversial pardons are valid. Barbour handed out about 200 pardons on his way out of office in January and about 10 of them had been challenged in court.

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Movie Reviews
2:39 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

'Friends With' Benefits From Its Complications

In Friends With Kids, Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) play two best friends who decide to have a baby together while keeping their relationship platonic — so that the baby doesn't interfere with their own romantic relationships.
JoJo Whilden Roadside Attractions

The premise of Friends with Kids is the stuff of high-concept romantic comedies: Writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt plays Julie, who's at the age when her odds of childbearing lessen each year, and there's no mate in sight. So her best friend, Jason, played by Adam Scott, volunteers to impregnate her.

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Rick Santorum
2:34 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Economic Conservatives Question Santorum's Record

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum addresses an election night party in Steubenville, Ohio, on Tuesday.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 3:12 pm

Support for Rick Santorum's presidential campaign has been driven by his conservative stances on social issues. He has taken unyielding stands against abortion and same-sex marriage.

But on economic matters, his record is more mixed. And some conservatives say that on issues like government spending and trade, he has at times betrayed free-market principles.

For example, when Congress voted to approve the North American Free Trade Agreement — a cause dear to the hearts of conservatives — Santorum, then a Pennsylvania representative, was among those voting against it.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:33 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Women Who Drink Moderately Have Lower Stroke Risk

Way to lower your stroke risk, ladies.
iStockphoto.com

Good news for those of us who see a glass of wine at the end of the day as Mom's reward: Light to moderate drinking may reduce the risk of stroke in women.

Women who drink a glass of wine, beer or a mixed drink daily were less likely to have strokes compared to women who don't drink at all, according to a findings from an ongoing study that has followed the health of more than 80,000 women for 26 years.

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U.S.
2:33 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

House Committee Urges Action On Food Stamp Fraud

One USDA official credits the use of plastic benefit cards with helping to reduce federal food stamp fraud. But lawmakers say that isn't enough.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 3:11 pm

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