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How Misinformation Spreads On The Internet

Apr 9, 2017

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Admit it. You only clicked on this story because of the photo of that insanely cute mountain lion kitten. You just wanted to gaze into her (yes, it's a her) milky blue eyes.

That's fair.

But there's more to the story of this kitten. Researchers have named her P-54. She's no more than a few months old. And – this is the sad part – it's likely that she's the product of inbreeding.

In the 1994 film Timecop, Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a police officer who uses a time machine to catch criminals. Time-traveling law enforcement may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but if one researcher has her way, it will soon become science fact.

See what I did there? That paragraph encapsulates the most tired cliché of science writing: "It sounds like science fiction but it's true. "

Reading The Game: Bioshock Infinite

Apr 9, 2017

For years now, some of the best, wildest, most moving or revealing stories we've been telling ourselves have come not from books, movies or TV, but from video games. So we're running an occasional series, Reading The Game, in which we take a look at some of these games from a literary perspective.

I spent an alarmingly large chunk of 1989 trying to align a falling shower of digital building blocks into perfect rows of 10.

The Russian video game Tetris had just caught on in the States. Like many American children, I was rapt.

Plenty of video games are all-immersive, yet there was a particular 8-bit entrancement to Tetris — something about the simplicity and repetition of rotating descending blocks so they snugly fit together that allowed a complete dissociation from self, and from parental provocations ("Maybe, uh, go do something outside?").

An unwelcome discovery by a couple of salad eaters included a sordid new ingredient.

On Saturday, the company Fresh Express announced a precautionary recall of some of its prepackaged salad mixes, after two people in Florida say they found a dead bat in their leafy greens.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the two had eaten some of the product before finding the decomposed organism in a 5-ounce clear container of the Organic Marketside Spring Mix.

It's been a week now and the issue is still unresolved: Did a tweet from Dan Scavino — Donald Trump's golf caddie turned presidential social media guru — violate the Hatch Act?

The Hatch Act is a 1939 law barring federal employees in the executive branch (except the president and vice president) from participating in certain types of political activity on government time or using the government's resources.

Just three days after Google announced that it had "closed the gender pay gap globally" on Equal Pay Day, a Department of Labor official testified in federal court that there is "systemic" discrimination against women at Google.

Kinky Cakes: Inside The World Of Adult Bakeries

Apr 8, 2017

In the early 1980s, Niki Novak's sister bit into a cake shaped like a man's, um, member. It was disgusting. It wasn't the idea of the cake she found distasteful, mind you, but its actual flavor.

When Novak heard about the incident from her sister, she wondered: Why couldn't you make risqué cakes that tasted good, too?

A new study raises a novel idea about what might trigger celiac disease, a condition that makes patients unable to tolerate foods containing gluten.

The study suggests that a common virus may be to blame.

For people with celiac disease, gluten can wreak havoc on their digestive systems. Their immune systems mistake gluten as a dangerous substance.

Morphine. It's why Zubair in Kerala, India, can ride his motorcycle, work at his coffee shop and bring an income home to his family. Without his daily dose, living a normal life is nearly impossible.

Anais Martinez is on the hunt in Mexico City's Merced Market, a sprawling covered bazaar brimming with delicacies. "So this is the deep-fried tamale!" she says with delight, as if she'd just found a fine mushroom specimen deep in a forest.

The prized tamales are wrapped in corn husks and piled next to a bubbling cauldron of oil.

Last fall, the New York-based reproductive endocrinologist John Zhang made headlines when he reported the birth of the world's first "three-parent" baby — a healthy boy carrying the blended DNA of the birth mother, her husband and an unrelated female donor.

The United States Postal Service has released its annual count of postal employees attacked by dogs — and the numbers aren't good for letter carriers. USPS says there were 6,755 such attacks in 2016, more than 200 higher than the previous year.

Los Angeles topped the list, with 80 attacks last year. Houston, Cleveland, San Diego and Louisville, Ky., rounded out the top five.

"Even good dogs have bad days," says Postal Service Safety Director Linda DeCarlo in a statement.

Taser International has sold a whole lot of stun guns since its founding in 1993. By the company's estimation, nearly two-thirds of all law enforcement patrol officers in the U.S. carry a Taser.

But since 2009, Taser has also been selling body cameras worn by police officers. The company says its cameras are now used by 36 of the 68 major law enforcement agencies across America, including the Los Angeles Police Department, which bought more than 7,500 of the devices.

The Montmorency tart cherry is pretty much the only sour cherry grown in the U.S. And cherry growers in Michigan know the tree really well. It was brought here from France a couple of hundred years ago. "This is older than most people think of as heirloom varieties and it's our main variety to this day," says Jim Nugent, a cherry grower in northern Michigan.

Why Add A Banana To The Passover Table?

Apr 7, 2017

Next week, between 150 and 200 people will gather for a Passover seder at Temple Beth-El in Richmond, Va. When the traditional Passover question is posed — "Why is this night different from all other nights?" — there's a new answer. Guests at the Seder, co-sponsored by the refugee aid agency ReEstablish Richmond, will include about 50 locally resettled immigrants from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Next week I'll be hopping on a plane for an 11-hour ride to Europe with a strong-willed, 1 1/2-year-old toddler.

A big concern is how to deal with the inevitable meltdowns. But my top priority before boarding is about my little girl's health: Is she protected from the measles?

The virus — which kills almost 400 kids each day worldwide — is hitting Europe hard this year.

Twitter has dropped a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, saying the demand that prompted the suit — that Twitter reveal the anonymous user behind an "alt-gov" account — has been withdrawn.

The original lawsuit, filed by the social media giant on Thursday, alleged that DHS had demanded that Twitter reveal the user behind "@ALT_uscis," an account allegedly run by current and former Citizenship and Immigration Services employees.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved 23andMe's personal genetic test for some diseases on Thursday, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and celiac diseases.

The tests assess genetic risk for the conditions but don't diagnose them, the FDA says. The agency urges consumers to use their results to "help to make decisions about lifestyle choices or to inform discussions with a health care professional," according to a press release about the decision.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Speaking Up.

About Esra'a's TED Talk

Esra'a is an activist who lives in Bahrain and identifies as queer — which puts her at great risk. Despite that, she's speaking out to build community and empathy within the LGBTQ community.

About Esra'a

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Speaking Up.

About Dalia Mogahed's TED Talk

After 9/11, Dalia Mogahed saw an increase in negative perceptions of Muslims in the media, so she made it her job to speak up for her faith and fight prejudice with better understanding.

About Dalia Mogahed

Adam Galinsky: What Drives Us To Speak Up?

Apr 7, 2017

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Speaking Up.

About Adam Galinsky's TED Talk

Social psychologist Adam Galinsky studies why it's so daunting to speak up — and what can help. He says the most powerful factor that compels us to take that risk is "moral conviction."

About Adam Galinsky

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Speaking Up.

About James Hansen's TED Talk

When climate scientist James Hansen spoke up about climate change in the 1980s, he risked the loss of his job & reputation. But, he says, it was worth it — because he could not be silent about something so important.

About James Hansen

Venezuela is in the midst of a war — a bread war. That's according to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Amid a severe economic crisis, his government is dealing with widespread food shortages. Now, even bread is hard to find.

In a recent speech, Maduro accused bakers of waging a "bread war against the Venezuelan people."

Let's say you'd like to go for a run in Mexico City.

Dr. Tonatiuh Barrientos, an epidemiologist with Mexico's National Institute of Public Health, thinks that's a good idea — in theory. An expert on diabetes, he'd like to see more people in the Mexican capital get out and exercise to combat the disease.

But as a runner himself, he knows that Mexico City isn't an easy place to jog. In a metropolis of 22 million, there are only a handful of parks where people can run.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to look ahead now to some of the most important stories of the day.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Up first - the U.S. strike on Syria. This is a story that starts with this sound.

(SOUNDBITE OF MISSILES LAUNCHING)

The videos are an infamous genre unto themselves: "Mother Punches Her Daughter Dead in the Face for Having Sex in the House!" "Dad Whups Daughter for Dressing Like Beyonce." "Son Left In Bloody Mess as Father Forces Him to 'Fight.'" Their images stream from Facebook timelines and across YouTube channels, alternately horrifying and arresting: burly fathers, angry mothers, lips curled, curses flying, hands wrapped around electrical chords, tree branches, belts, slashing down on legs, arms, buttocks and flesh as children cry and plead and scream out in agony.

Twitter is suing the Department of Homeland Security after the agency demanded to know the identity of the person behind the "@ALT_uscis" or "Alt Immigration" Twitter account, one of several "rogue" accounts ostensibly created by anonymous employees of the federal government.

The meat on an adult human's bones could feed another person for over two weeks, or maybe a whole Stone Age tribe for a couple of days, according to a new report on the practice of Paleolithic cannibalism. No wonder, then, that evidence of cannibalism in ancient humans pops up in the archaeological record from time to time.

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