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Environment
4:26 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Coping In A Drier World: California's Drought Survival Strategy

The San Luis Reservoir in central California is the largest "off-channel" reservoir in the U.S. It is currently at less than 30 percent of its normal capacity.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 6:44 pm

The past few years have been California's driest on record. Forecasters predict that punishing droughts like the current one could become the new norm.

The state uses water rationing and a 90-year-old water distribution system to cope until the rains come. The system is a huge network of dams, canals and pipes that move water from the places it rains and snows to places it typically doesn't, like farms and cities.

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Goats and Soda
3:50 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Drones Are Taking Pictures That Could Demystify A Malaria Surge

Researchers download images after a drone flight in Sabah, Malaysia.
Courtesy of Trends in Parasitology, Fornace et al

Aerial drones are targeting a new enemy: malaria.

Four hundred feet above a Malaysian forest, a three-foot eBee drone hovers and takes pictures with a 16-megapixel camera every 10 to 20 seconds. But it's not gathering images of the mosquitoes that transmit malaria. Even today's best drones aren't capable of such a photographic marvel. Rather, the drone is looking at a changing landscape that holds clues to the disease's spread.

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Shots - Health News
3:45 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Poll: Broad Support In U.S. For Ebola Travel Ban

A passenger wearing a face mask arrives at Los Angeles International Airport Friday. Federal officials now require people traveling from West Africa to enter the U.S. at one of five airports equipped to screen them for signs of Ebola.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

How do Americans feel about Ebola and the U.S. response to the outbreak so far?

NPR and our partners at Truven Health Analytics asked more than 3,000 adults in a poll conducted online and by phone (mobile and landline) Oct. 1-15.

Nearly everyone — 97 percent — knew about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and a slim majority of those people, or 53 percent, believe the U.S. government has taken a leadership role in response.

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The Two-Way
3:36 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

NHTSA Adds More Than 3 Million Vehicles To Air Bag Recall

Takata Ignition Systems in Schoenebeck, Germany, which makes air bags. Millions of automobiles have been recalled because of a defect in the air bags' inflators.
Jens Meyer AP

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 4:07 pm

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has once again changed the number of cars included in a massive and urgent recall over an inflator defect in air bags made by the Japanese company Takata.

Initially, 4.7 million vehicles were recalled, but in a list released on Wednesday, NHTSA added 3.1 million additional vehicles.

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NPR Ed
3:32 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

The Slide Rule: A Computing Device That Put A Man On The Moon

LA Johnson NPR

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 5:28 pm

The protractor and the Bunsen burner. Playing the recorder in music class. Drawing arcs and circles with a compass in geometry. These tools of the education trade become part of our lives for a semester or two and then we move on.

Today, NPR Ed begins a new series examining these icons of the classroom. We start off with a device that once was essential to higher-level math, in school and in the workplace, but now has all but disappeared:

The slide rule.

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Science
3:32 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Bigger Than A T. Rex, With A Duck's Bill, Huge Arms And A Hump

Reconstruction of Deinocheirus mirificus.
Yuong-Nam Lee/Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 7:24 pm

Scientists announced Tuesday they've solved the mystery of the Mongolian ostrich dinosaur.

The mystery began in 1965, when fossil hunters found a pair of 6-foot-long, heavily clawed arm bones in Mongolia's Gobi desert. Nobody had seen anything like them before. Now, scientists say, they've got the rest of the beast ... and dinosaur textbooks may need to be rewritten.

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Goats and Soda
3:32 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Surrogacy Storm In Thailand: A Rejected Baby, A Busy Babymaker

Thai surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua with her baby Gammy, who was born with Down Syndrome. An Australian couple who'd arranged for Pattaramon to serve as their surrogate rejected the child.
Nicolas Asfouri AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 5:28 pm

Baby Gammy might mean the end of Thailand's lucrative surrogacy business.

He's the child who was carried by a surrogate mom in Thailand-- and rejected by the Australian couple who had agreed to pay the mother $12,000. The reason: Prenatal testing showed that the baby, a twin, had Down syndrome.

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All Tech Considered
3:32 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Cloud Data Security Concerns Raised After Reported Attack In China

A customer sets up her new iPhone 6 at an Apple store in Beijing on Friday. A group says the Chinese government backed an attack against users of Apple's iCloud service, but the government denies the claim.
Feng Li Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 5:28 pm

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday spoke with officials in China about data security and privacy. This meeting comes on the heels of a reported attack against users of Apple's iCloud service in China. Hackers allegedly were able to get hold of users' data by intercepting traffic on the Internet. They did not break into Apple servers.

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NPR Story
3:19 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Hoping For Turnaround, Target Offers Free Shipping

Retail giant Target is offering free shipping and bolstering advertising in an attempt to bring in business over the holiday season, amid slowing sales, a troubled expansion in Canada and last year’s massive data breach.

CNN’s Maggie Lake joins Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson to talk more about this business move and what it means for customers.

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NPR Story
3:19 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Colorado Backs Away From Pot Edibles Ban

A baked food made of marijuana is seen at Perennial Holistic Wellness Center medical marijuana dispensary, which opened in 2006, on July 25, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

This week public health officials proposed banning all marijuana-infused edibles except for hard candy and liquid drops, but backed away from the idea after critics said it would violate the state’s voter-approved legalization of recreational marijuana, which took effect in January.

A working group has until next year to come up with ways to regulate the sale of edibles, which now constitutes up to 40 percent of the lucrative marijuana industry in Colorado.

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