Fri June 10, 2011
Research News

How To Put A New Element On The Periodic Table

One of the rumored names for element 114 is Flerovium, after Soviet scientist Georgy Flyorov.
Justin Witte TinyMarkers

Two new elements were officially added to the periodic table this month. The elements were discovered years ago, but they needed approval from an international committee before they could be placed on the famous chart. We asked Ian Chillag and Mike Danforth, producers of NPR's Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me and hosts of the podcast How To Do Everything, to explore how the process works:

How To Make A New Element

Read more


Fri June 10, 2011

Tropical Disease Buzzes Back Into U.S.

Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 1:28 pm

Lawrence Smart of Miami-Dade Mosquito Control looks for mosquito larvae in vehicle tires where water has collected, July 2010.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Tropical diseases like dengue fever sound as if they belong in faraway places. But in the past several years, some have begun showing up in the continental U.S.

Now in Key West, Fla., public health officials are combating a scourge they thought they'd eradicated seven decades ago.

Dengue Back After Long Absence

Until recently, a locally contracted case of dengue fever had not been seen in Florida since 1934. That suddenly changed in 2009, when doctors in Key West began seeing it in people who had not traveled outside the area.

Read more


Fri June 10, 2011
Planet Money

The Comedian Who Ran For Mayor

Jon Gnarr, photographed in 2010.
Halldor Kolbeins AFP/Getty Images

Jon Gnarr is an absurdist Icelandic comedian. Last year, he ran for mayor of Reykjavik. Like most absurdist comedians, he had no political experience.

"I just invented a new political party," he says. "I was not drunk or anything."

Gnarr called his party the "Best Party." Because what could be better than the best party?

He created a 10-point campaign platform — with 13 points.

Read more


Thu June 9, 2011

NBA Referee's Father: 'I Watch Every Game'

Leon Kogut, 63, spoke with his son, NBA referee Marat Kogut, 31, at StoryCorps in New York.

Having a career in the NBA would be a dream for many athletes and sports fans. For Marat Kogut, 31, his long-held dream came true when he became an NBA referee, in 2009. It was an outcome that may have seemed unlikely when Kogut's family emigrated from Ukraine in 1979.

Marat was just a newborn when his family came to the United States. They settled in Brooklyn, where his father, Leon, eventually opened his own barbershop. Speaking in New York recently, the two recalled how Marat decided on his future career at a very early age.

Read more


Thu June 9, 2011
Around the Nation

Once A Critic, VA Blogger Seeks To 'Fix' Problems

Alex Horton sits against a wall in Baqubah, Iraq, shortly after a firefight.
Courtesy of Alex Horton

When Alex Horton shipped home from Iraq in 2007, he decided to go to college and get a degree in journalism. He hoped the new, post-Sept. 11 GI Bill would help him out.

"With my bank account dwindling and rent, utility bills, school tuition and other obligations on the table, coupled with the advice of my VA counselor, I bet it all on the post-9/11 GI Bill. And I lost," Horton wrote at the time on his blog, Army of Dude.

Read more


Thu June 9, 2011
Movie Reviews

Two Guys On A Road Trip, Racking Up Comic Mileage

Coogan and Brydon turn out to have a knack for dueling celebrity impersonations — and, in particular, to know their way around a solid Michael Caine impersonation.
Phil Fisk IFC Films

How's this for meta? British funnymen Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are friends in real life. In their new movie, they play friends — named Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. And because the movie is called The Trip, they go on a trip. Happily, they turn out to be amusing company — albeit more for us than for each other.

Read more


Thu June 9, 2011
Around the Nation

Chicago Man Guilty On 2 Of 3 Terror-Related Charges

A federal terrorism case in Chicago has ended with a split verdict. Jurors found Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana guilty on two of three counts of providing material support for terrorism. Rana was charged with helping plan the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, that left about 170 people dead. He was also accused of helping plot an attack against a Danish newspaper that had published cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.


Thu June 9, 2011
National Security

Plea Deal Reached In Classified Leaks Case

The Justice Department has reached a plea deal in a controversial leak case against a former National Security Agency worker.

Thomas Drake will plead guilty to one charge of unauthorized use of a computer because he accessed the agency's intranet and improperly shared that information with a reporter.

Read more


Thu June 9, 2011
The Two-Way

Rep. Peter King Plans To Hold New Hearing On Muslim Radicalization

Republican Rep. Peter King of New York, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, gavels to order the first in a series of hearings on radicalization in the American Muslim community.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Last March, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) caused controversy when he decided to hold a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing on the domestic threat of "Muslim radicalization."

The hearing, which some detractors compared to Joseph McCarthy's anticommunist witch hunts in the '50s, was dramatic and emotional.

Read more


Thu June 9, 2011
Music Interviews

A Big, Phat 'Rhapsody In Blue'

Originally published on Fri June 10, 2011 7:13 pm

Gordon Goodwin arranged "Rhapsody In Blue" for his Big Phat Band.
Concord Music Group

When one of this country's greatest composers died at age 39, novelist John O'Hara said, "George Gershwin died on July 11, 1937. But I don't have to believe it if I don't want to."

As is true for so many top musicians, Gershwin's works — his popular songs, his opera Porgy and Bess, his jazz-informed classical compositions — live on. Now, there's a new version of one of Gershwin's best-loved orchestral pieces, arranged for a brassy big band.

Read more