The ice storm that's blanketed North Texas streets and highways has spawned a new name: cobblestone ice.
Cobblestone ice — sounds poetic, doesn't it?
Not if you've had to drive through it.
So what is it?
Ryan LaFontaine of the Texas Department of Transportation says cobblestone ice is a combination of ice accumulation and sand laid down by TxDOT and city trucks — which traffic compresses together to form a cobblestone-type surface, a thick layer of frozen ruts and potholes. In some places, it's several inches deep.
At NPR Music, they're wrapping up the year the best way they know how, with their hotly contested list of their 50 favorite albums of 2013. Now, all this week, we'll get a peak of that list from our in-house experts, including NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson, whose beat is the ever amorphous indie pop, which - Stephen, what exactly is that these days?
STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: I have absolutely no idea. It used to mean accessible but unpopular.
A woman and her child are barred from a supermarket that was closing its doors to ration milk products in Caracas on Nov. 15. Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, who was elected after the death of Hugo Chavez in March, is facing growing criticism over economic problems that include shortages of basic goods and inflation that's topped 50 percent this year.
Credit Miguel Gutierrez / EPA/Landov
Venezuelans line up outside a branch of an electronics store in Caracas on Nov. 11. President Maduro ordered electronics stores to lower their prices as a measure against inflation, causing masses of people to queue outside stores in hopes of grabbing bargains.
President Obama with Paul Volcker at the White House in 2009. Volcker, who headed the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, lent his name to a new rule aimed at curbing risk-taking on Wall Street.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 6:33 pm
The Volcker rule, a centerpiece of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law aimed at stopping some of the risky banking practices that contributed to the economic meltdown, was approved by five key regulators on Tuesday, clearing the way for its implementation.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission became the fifth and final body to approve the rule. The Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. were also among the agencies that gave the green light.
Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 4:08 am
Gawker brings us this video posted on Monday of a herd of chamois goats that make a seemingly miraculous escape from an avalanche on an Alpine mountain face. It occurs in the Rhone-Alpes near Pralognan-la-Vanoise, not far from the border between France and Italy.
Getting people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act remains an uphill battle in much of Florida.
Politicians in the state erected roadblocks to the law from the beginning — from joining in the 2010 lawsuit to thwart the law to placing restrictions on what insurance helpers called navigators can tell people seeking advice.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 5:00 pm
In everyday life, a handshake is rather ordinary. But when President Obama shook hands Tuesday with Cuban leader Raul Castro at a memorial service for the late South African President Nelson Mandela, this was how it was described:
This story comes to us from Harvest Public Media, a public radio reporting project that focuses on agriculture and food production issues.You can see more photos and hear more audio from the series here. Wednesday, we'll have a story from a meatpacking plant in Garden City, Kan., which takes a proactive stance toward its newest immigrants.
Precious snack: In Tolkien's books, lembas was a special bread made by elves that could stay fresh for months — perfect for sustaining travelers on a long journey (or engaging in an all-day movie marathon.) Try it for elevenses.
Credit Beth Accomando for NPR
First breakfast: Beorn's Honey Nut cake, served with orange marmalade
Credit Beth Accomando for NPR
These lavender and lemon muffins smell heavenly and will draw hobbits to the table for afternoon tea.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 5:59 pm
"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." — J.R.R. Tolkien
Each year, I swear I will never do this again.
And yet, for the third year in a row, I am preparing to host a day-long Lord of the Rings movie marathon – and cooking up a seven-course hobbit-themed feast, plus dessert, to serve my guests. Maybe it's because, like Tolkien, I too would like the world to be a merrier place.
The recent, very public ouster of North Korea's Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of Kim Jong Un and formerly the country's No. 2 leader, has been noted with some concern in China, which is more or less Pyongyang's only friend in the region.
All it takes is two seconds of hearing "Round round get around / I get around" and you're there — in the sun, on the beach, in the '60s. The Beach Boys vaulted up the charts while branching out from surf music to psychedelia. This year the remaining band members released Made in California, a six-CD box set loaded with outtakes and other rarities. Critic Ed Ward examines the rise and long decline of a beloved group with a unique sound.
A batch of internal documents recently leaked to The Guardian has revealed new insights into the goals and finances of the secretive group called ALEC. The American Legislative Exchange Council is a group that brings together state legislators and representatives of corporations. Together, they develop model bills that lawmakers introduce and try to pass in their state legislatures.
There's an unforgettable moment in the diary of the great Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz. He's on the beach and he spots a beetle that's been blown on its back by the wind and now lies there helplessly, legs wiggling, unable to right itself. Gombrowicz saves it by turning it over. He sees another upside-down beetle, and turns it over. Then, another. Looking along the sand, he realizes that there are so many beetles he can't possibly save them all. Eventually, he gives up trying.
Texas Rep. Steve Stockman participates in a mock swearing-in ceremony with House Speaker John Boehner in January. Stockman made the surprise move to challenge Sen. John Cornyn in the 2014 Texas GOP primary.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 2:42 pm
Another day, another GOP primary fight.
This time, it's John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, who's receiving a challenge from the right in 2014. Rep. Steve Stockman, a conservative firebrand, made the surprise move to enter the March 4 race Monday evening just before the state's filing deadline.
The memorial service for Nelson Mandela concluded Tuesday in Soweto, but South Africans will have additional opportunities to say farewell to their late president. Mandela lies in state in Pretoria for three days and will be buried Sunday in his home village of Qunu.
American bank regulators unveiled the final version of the so-called Volcker Rule, which prohibits banks from trading stocks, bonds and derivatives for their own accounts. For more, Steve Inskeep speaks to NPR's Jim Zarroli.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited the Combined Air and Space Operations Center in the tiny Persian Gulf nation of Qatar on Tuesday morning, the last leg of a tour that has also taken him to Bahrain, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
The day when a simple blood test or saliva sample can identify your risk for medical conditions ranging from cancer to Alzheimer's disease seems tantalizingly close.
But genetics specialists say the hype around many of these tests has outstripped the science. Insurers generally only cover a test if there's strong scientific evidence that it can provide a health benefit to patients.
A person walks on a deserted walkway on a snowy morning in New York City on Tuesday. People who live along the East Coast and the Appalachians woke up to snow Tuesday, forcing school closings and closed roads.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 4:53 pm
(This post was updated at 5:30 p.m. ET)
A fast-moving winter storm swept through the Eastern U.S. on Tuesday, bringing several inches of snow to the region, causing flights to be canceled, traffic to be snarled and federal government offices in Washington, D.C., to be shut for the day.
Northern Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and southern New England got up to 6 inches of snow, and the nation's midsection experienced frigid temperatures.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 12:35 pm
While milk consumption continues to fall in the U.S., sales of organic milk are on the rise. And now organic milk accounts for about 4 percent of total fluid milk consumption.
For years, organic producers have claimed their milk is nutritionally superior to regular milk. Specifically, they say that because their cows spend a lot more time out on pasture, munching on grasses and legumes rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the animals' milk is higher in these healthy fats, which are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Tens of thousands of people converged on a soccer stadium in Johannesburg this morning, saying goodbye to Nelson Mandela, South Africa's anti-apartheid hero. Among them was President Obama.