There is plenty in the movie Promised Land that will prompt energy industry insiders to roll their eyes. But the overall issues explored in the film, which is being widely released in theaters Friday, are very real.
A process called hydraulic fracturing has led to drilling booms that are transforming rural communities into industrial zones. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," makes it possible to tap into natural gas reservoirs deep underground. But first, gas companies have to convince landowners to allow them to drill.
Good morning. I'm David Greene. At this point in the program we sometimes tell you about record-breaking feats. Well, this one takes the cake. Sunday is Three Kings Day and in Mexico some bakers are celebrating in a big way. Rosca de Reyes is a sweet bread with a Baby Jesus figurine baked inside.
If you're driving, please take a moment to be sure you're awake. A survey finds one of every 24 adults admits to falling asleep at the wheel. Health officials say they suspect the true number is higher. Some people don't realize when they drop off for a second or...
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Steve. Hey, hey, hey, Steve.
INSKEEP: Anyway, drivers most likely to nod off are men, according to this survey, or people between 25 and 34.
And let's consider the technology behind movie-making. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has not made its Oscar nominations yet, but it has already announced some awards in the technical category.
DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: And one of the Oscars goes to Cooke Optics Limited. The Academy says the British company gets an award of merit because it helped define the look of motion pictures over the last century. Its innovations over the years have included zoom lenses for movie cameras and lenses that don't require bright light.
A Greek Orthodox priest is blocked by riot police as he takes part in a protest outside an Athens theater in October. The play, Corpus Christi, portrays Jesus and his apostles as gay men living in modern-day Texas. The director and the cast have been charged under Greece's blasphemy laws.
Credit Joanna Kakissis/NPR
Laertis Vassiliou, the director of the play Corpus Christi, has been charged with blasphemy.
The bill that prevented the nation from plunging over the fiscal cliff did more than just stop income tax increases and delay across-the-board spending cuts. It also included several provisions that tweaked Medicare and brought bigger changes to other health care programs.
Among the more than 80 House freshmen who were sworn in this week, there were several who had been there before — including Florida Democrat Alan Grayson.
After starting his first term four years ago, Grayson quickly made a name for himself with biting comments targeting Republicans — like when he said during the health care debate: "If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly."
His national stature didn't prevent him from being defeated in 2010. But now Grayson is back.
Every year at around this time, tens of thousands of people take part in a kind of bird-watching marathon. From Canada to Latin America and throughout the United States, participants will get up in the middle of the night. Some brave frigid winter temperatures, and many do whatever else it takes to count as many birds as they can in 24 hours.
No matter how old people are, they seem to believe that who they are today is essentially who they'll be tomorrow.
That's according to fresh research that suggests that people generally fail to appreciate how much their personality and values will change in the years ahead — even though they recognize that they have changed in the past.
Daniel Gilbert, a psychology researcher at Harvard University who did this study with two colleagues, says that he's no exception to this rule.
Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 7:36 pm
A Kansas man's decision to donate sperm to help a lesbian couple conceive a child in 2009 has landed him in a complicated legal case, as a state agency is now pursuing him for child support payments. William Marotta, 46, is asking a judge to dismiss the case, which has grabbed national attention.
The wind energy industry is dependent on something even more unpredictable than wind: Congress. Hidden in the turmoil over the "fiscal cliff" compromise was a tax credit for wind energy.
Uncertainty over the credit had lingered long before the last-minute political push, causing the industry to put off further long-term planning. So while the now-approved tax credit revives prospects for an industry facing tens of thousands of layoffs, don't expect to see many new turbines coming up soon.
Voting for this year's Oscar nominations was supposed to have closed today — but it's been bumped a day, in the wake of complaints about the new online voting system put in place by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Hollywood Reporter analyst Scott Feinberg tells NPR's Audie Cornish that the system was supposed to make life easier for academy members.
"Going to e-voting would allow voters to vote from anywhere in the world, if they're on vacation or whatever during the holidays, and just make the process itself more streamlined and efficient."
Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 6:28 pm
In France, a team of scientists says that a piece of cloth that was reputedly dipped in the blood of Louis XVI is genuine. Louis XVI was executed 220 years ago this month, during the French Revolution.
The handkerchief had been stored for years in an ornately decorated gourd, as Tia Ghose writes at Live Science.
Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities are increasing nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Los Angeles and New York City have the highest rates of those deaths.
In Los Angeles, where the car is the major mode of transportation, hit and runs involving pedestrians occur almost daily. But these crimes can be the most difficult for law enforcement to investigate and solve.
Holidays are typically a festive time, with breaks from the routine, meals with loved ones, maybe even some gifts. But for many families across the U.S., the season comes with intense stress: Roughly 1 in 5 families with children are not getting enough food.
For some, free or reduced-price school meals have become a major source of basic nutrition. When schools close for the holidays, many of those families struggle to fill the gap.
This year's drought delivered a pricey punch to US aquaculture, the business of raising fish like bass and catfish for food. Worldwide, aquaculture has grown into a $119 billion industry, but the lack of water and high temperatures in 2012 hurt many U.S. fish farmers who were already struggling to compete on a global scale.
Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig where 11 men died in April 2010, has agreed to pay $1.4 billion in criminal and civil penalties to resolve Justice Department allegations over its role in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 9:42 am
Still ordering gazpacho and sliders at your favorite restaurant? Not pre-screening restaurant menus before you make a reservation? Well, hop in the DeLorean and set the chronometer to 2013: You're really behind the times.
If plans go ahead, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be the workhorse of the Air Force, Navy and Marines for decades to come. The F-35 boasts a sleek profile that makes it nearly invisible to radar, and it's scheduled to replace as many as 10 planes that are currently in service, including the venerable F-16. Lieutenant Colonel Todd LaFortune is among the first to make the transition.
This past spring, Islamic extremists allied with al-Qaida took control of northern Mali after a coup destabilized the country. Adam Nossiter, the West Africa bureau chief for The New York Times, has been reporting on the Islamist takeover in the north — but has had to do so by telephone. The kidnapping threat for reporters covering the conflict is virtually 100 percent, he says.
Credit Nick Briggs / Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for Masterpiece
Social changes, romantic intrigues and financial crises grip the English country estate in the third season of Downton Abbey, starting Sunday on PBS.Shirley MacLaine joins the cast as Cora's wealthy American mother, Martha Levinson.
Downton Abbey, the drama series about the residents and servants at a grand estate in early 20th-century England, has done for PBS what the commercial broadcast networks couldn't achieve last year. It generated a hit show — one with an audience that increased over its run and left fans hungry for more. And that's a lot of hunger because when the second season was televised here in the states, it averaged 7 million viewers, more than most TV shows on any network, cable or broadcast.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Every year, we look back at some of the books we missed the previous year. Today, "How to be a Woman." British columnist and critic Caitlin Moran describes that process through her own experiences, the embarrassing moments of puberty and the perils of fashion, career, marriage, childbirth and along the way explores what it means to be a feminist today and does it all with a rare sense of humor.
Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 2:07 pm
Google has agreed to change some of its business practices, in an agreement made with the Federal Trade Commission that will end the U.S. agency's antitrust probe of the search and technology company.
In the terms of the deal, Google agrees not to appropriate content such as users' reviews from other sites for use in its search and mobile offerings. The company also pledged to make it easier for advertisers to compare the value of running ad campaigns through Google compared to advertising on rivals Yahoo and Microsoft.