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Shots - Health Blog
10:01 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
10:01 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 9:09 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
10:01 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Meet Claudia, The High-Tech Cow

Technology at rest.
Adam Davidson NPR

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 9:09 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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The Two-Way
4:04 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Miss. Supreme Court Upholds Gov. Barbour's Pardons

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

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 4:11 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
3:39 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
3:34 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 4:12 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
3:33 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.
3:33 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 4:11 pm

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Winter Songs
2:42 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Winter Songs: A Family In Limbo Looks To Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile's song "Dying Day" took on new meaning for a Wisconsin woman hoping to adopt a child from Ethiopia.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 4:11 pm

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The Two-Way
2:38 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Two Dead In University Of Pittsburgh Clinic Shooting

A gunman opened fire inside a psychiatric clinic at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, this afternoon.

Quoting police, the AP reports two people are dead and at least seven others were shot. A spokesman for the medical center said the gunman is among the dead. The AP adds:

"The gunfire at a psychiatric clinic at the University of Pittsburgh erupted Thursday afternoon.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:38 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Oregon Emphasizes Choices At The End Of Life

Helen Hobbs, 93, is one Oregonian who has taken advantage of a standardized form to legally record her wishes for end-of-life care.
Kristian Foden-Vencil Oregon Public Broadcasting

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 6:36 pm

It turns out Americans facing death want something they also want in life: choice.

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U.S.
2:38 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Commuters Suffer As Detroit Cuts Bus Service

Gladys Ferguson, of Detroit, looks on as SuVon Treece of the Detroit Department of Transportation explains the new service schedule. A public hearing discussed future Detroit Department of Transportation bus service at the Northwest Activity Center on Feb. 24.
Andre J. Jackson Detroit Free Press

The city of Detroit is running out of cash. Next month, it might not make payroll, and the state of Michigan is considering taking control of the city's finances.

In his State of the City address on Wednesday, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said financial catastrophe can be avoided by making sharp cuts, particularly in public transit.

"There will be a short-term pain for a long-term gain and there's no way around it," Bing said.

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The Two-Way
2:30 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Congressman Proposes Stiffer Penalties For Those Who Lie To Buy Guns

A Democratic Congressman has introduced legislation that would impose tough new penalties on people who lie when they buy guns.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Ca.) says the bill, the Straw Purchaser Penalty Enhancement Act, would give federal agents new tools to crack down on the flow of weapons across the Southwest border into Mexico.

Nowadays, many episodes where people lie about the true identity of the purchaser of guns, or engage in straw purchases, never get prosecuted at all, Schiff says in an interview with NPR.

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The Two-Way
2:25 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Peyton Manning Is A Hall Of Fame Tipper Too

Peyton Manning during the news conference Wednesday in Indianapolis when it was announced that he's leaving the NFL's Colts.
Joey Foley Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 2:52 pm

The tears over Peyton Manning's departure from Indianapolis have dried ... and it's business time as the rehabbing quarterback starts doing 'eeny meeny miney mo' with his suitors (ESPN reports 12 of the NFL's 32 teams have contacted Manning's 'people').

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Business
2:15 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Small Businesses Staying Lean, Wary Of Hiring

Robby Richardson crafts handmade stirrups for Nettles Country in Madisonville, Texas. The company would like to hire more workers, but can't afford to.
Courtesy of Nettles Country

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 4:11 pm

Optimism is growing about the U.S. jobs market. Fewer people are applying for unemployment benefits, and hiring is up. The lion's share of new jobs are coming from small and medium-sized firms. But even if the economy comes roaring back, many small businesses aren't likely to hire with wild abandon.

"It's a huge commitment, when you're a very small firm, to add someone," says Kate O'Sullivan, director of content for CFO magazine. "And I think that the outlook is still not completely firm."

Doing More With Less

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Africa
1:58 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Joseph Kony Is Now A Star — But Will He Be Caught?

Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army has been among the world's most brutal rebel forces for a quarter-century. But the Ugandan group received only sporadic international attention before this week, when an Internet video about Kony went viral. Here, Kony is shown in 2006 in southern Sudan.
STR AP

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 3:35 pm

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The Two-Way
1:54 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Justice Dept. Warns Apple, Publishers Over E-Books Price Collusion

A customer reads a book an iPad.
Manu Fernandez AP

The Justice Department is warning Apple and five big publishers that it may sue them for colluding to increase the price of electronic books.

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story, explains that Justice's concerns emerged as Apple released its first iPad. Essentially, the paper explains, they were afraid that Apple would do to them what it did to the recording industry, which is tie them to prices set by Apple.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:35 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Surgeon General Calls Smoking A 'Pediatric Epidemic'

U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin totes a copy of a report on the need to reduce children's use of tobacco.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 3:41 pm

Update 5:25 p.m.: Altria, the parent company of Phillip Morris, released a statement responding to the Surgeon General's report. "We agree with the Surgeon General and others that kids should not use tobacco products, and we share the common goal of keeping tobacco products out of the hands of kids," the statement reads, emphasizing that tobacco companies do not market directly to children. It says Phillip Morris has given states more than $55 billion in settlements over the last 15 years, but says states have not used the money to its full potential.

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Europe
1:13 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

With Cutbacks, Greeks Say Antiquities Are At Risk

The entrance to the Museum of the Olympic Games in Olympia, Greece, is cordoned off last month, after two hooded thieves broke into the museum and made away with more than 70 ancient objects. The stolen loot included chariots, horses and a gold ring that was more than 3,000 years old. Greeks say such sites are vulnerable because of cutbacks that have reduced the number of guards.
Dimitris Papaioannoy EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 4:11 pm

At the Museum of the Olympic Games in Olympia, Greece, lush pine trees and olive groves are filled with chirping birds. The one guard at the site looks nervously at the few visitors.

There is still a sense of shock in Olympia following the theft last month at the museum, when armed robbers broke into the building and tied up the single guard on duty.

Archaeologist Kostantinos Antonopoulos says they ran off with 77 priceless objects, including votive figurines, chariots and horses.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

While Controversial, 'Kony 2012' Has Put Focus On Atrocities

The leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, in 2006.
Stuart Price AP

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 1:17 pm

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The Two-Way
1:03 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

A Scoop, Really? BuzzFeed, Breitbart.com Spar For Credit On Obama Video

A still frame from a video shot in 1990.
Frontline

Last night a bewildering debate broke out on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight over video posted online yesterday of a young Barack Obama speaking at a student protest at Harvard Law School more than two decades ago.

The debate focused on whether the new BuzzFeed website or Breitbart.com deserved credit for the scoop.

My bewilderment stemmed from the question of why anyone would consider this video to be a scoop at all.

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Afghanistan
12:43 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

For Afghan Policewomen, Sex Abuse Is A Job Hazard

Afghan female police officers are trained by Afghan police and NATO soldiers in eastern Afghanistan's Ghazni province on Sept. 12. In the culturally conservative country, women serving in the security forces say they face systemic sexual coercion and even rape by male colleagues.
STR EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 6:33 pm

The image of Afghan women wearing police and army uniforms is meant to inspire pride and hope for a future where the rights of women will be protected in Afghanistan.

So why would female police officers in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif be ashamed to admit they wear the badge?

"Except my very close family members, no one really knows that I am a police officer," said one woman at a NATO training session.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:56 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Detailed Genetic Tests Reveal Cancer's Complexity

A study of kidney cancer patients finds the complexity of tumors may thwart simple attempts to personalize treatment.
Wikimedia Commons

Cancer may be even more complicated than everybody already thought. And that's why a single tissue sample taken from a single tumor may not be the best way to figure out a course of treatment.

British researchers took multiple samples within kidney tumors (before and after drug treatment) and also got samples from tumors that had spread from the original cancers in four patients.

They performed all kinds of genetic tests, including detailed DNA sequencing, on the cancers and found wide variations in some key traits.

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The Two-Way
11:55 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei Gives Rare — If Brief — Praise For U.S.

A handout photo provided by the office of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows him addressing a meeting with members of the Assembly of Experts in Tehran on Thursday.
AFP/Getty Images

Iran's supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he welcomed President Obama's comments that attempted to cool off tensions between the West and Iran.

The Christian Science Monitor calls it an "unprecedented praise."

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The Two-Way
11:36 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Solar Storm Goes Easy On Earth — But More Are Sure To Come, NASA Says

SOHO spacecraft captured this image of filaments erupting off the sun's surface and magnetic plasma blasting into space. The field of view of this image, seen in ultraviolet light, extends some 1.243 million miles from the solar surface." href="/post/solar-storm-goes-easy-earth-%E2%80%94-more-are-sure-come-nasa-says" class="noexit lightbox">
The sun-orbiting SOHO spacecraft captured this image of filaments erupting off the sun's surface and magnetic plasma blasting into space. The field of view of this image, seen in ultraviolet light, extends some 1.243 million miles from the solar surface.
NASA/JPL

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 10:07 am

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The Two-Way
10:53 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Pat Robertson: 'Treat Marijuana The Way We Treat Beverage Alcohol'

Rev. Pat Robertson.

Clem Britt AP

Those in favor of legalizing marijuana have gained an unlikely ally.

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Television
10:24 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Maya Rudolph: The Fresh Air Interview

Maya Rudolph spent seven seasons on Saturday Night Live and went on to star in the raunchy comedy Bridesmaids. Now she's exploring what's funny about parenting in the new movie Friends with Kids and the TV series Up All Night.
Courtesy of Maya Rudolph

When Maya Rudolph returned to the set of Saturday Night Live in February to guest host, she says it was like coming home.

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World
10:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Senator Blumenthal Pushes President On Iran

The Associated Press reports that International Atomic Energy Agency officials are concerned that Iran may be trying to cover up evidence related to nuclear weapons. That could fuel the debate over U.S. options for addressing Iran. Host Michel Martin talks with Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who is on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Salt
10:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Hundreds Battle For International Cheese Glory In Wisconsin

A judge smells a block of cheese at the World Championship Cheese Contest in Madison, Wis. Judges carefully appraise a cheese's look, smell and texture before they taste it and spit it out.
Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association

When over 50,000 pounds of cheese rolled this week into Wisconsin, a state clearly not suffering from cheese shortages, it could only mean one thing: The World Championship Cheese Contest was in town.

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