3:39am

Thu January 24, 2013
Africa

Algeria Attack A 'Wake-Up Call' For Energy Companies

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 1:19 pm

A week has passed since the terrorist attack on a natural gas facility in Algeria, but risk analysts and security experts are still undecided about the incident's likely impact in the energy world.

The price of oil, a good indicator of anxiety in the energy market, went up modestly right after the attack, but then it stabilized. No energy company has suspended operations in Algeria, nor has any company announced it will hold off on future investments in North Africa, a key source of oil and gas supplies.

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3:37am

Thu January 24, 2013
Research News

Shall I Encode Thee In DNA? Sonnets Stored On Double Helix

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 1:19 pm

William Shakespeare, depicted in this 17th century painting, penned his sonnets on parchment. Now his words have found a new home ... in twisting strands of DNA.
Attributed to John Taylor National Portrait Gallery

English critic Samuel Johnson once said of William Shakespeare "that his drama is the mirror of life." Now the Bard's words have been translated into life's most basic language. British scientists have stored all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets on tiny stretches of DNA.

It all started with two men in a pub. Ewan Birney and Nick Goldman, both scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute, were drinking beer and discussing a problem.

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3:35am

Thu January 24, 2013
Planet Money

Why Is The Government In The Flood Insurance Business?

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 1:19 pm

Hurricane Betsy hit the Gulf Coast in 1965.
Horace Cort AP

There's a quick, one-word explanation for why the federal government started selling flood insurance: Betsy.

Hurricane Betsy, which struck the Gulf Coast in 1965, became known as billion-dollar Betsy. Homes were ruined. Water up to the roofs. People paddling around streets in boats. Massive damage.

This would be the time when you'd expect people to be pulling out their flood insurance policies. But flood insurance was hard to come by. You could get fire insurance, theft insurance, car insurance, life insurance. Not flood.

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3:33am

Thu January 24, 2013
Author Interviews

'Insurgents' Hoped To Change Military From Within

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 1:30 pm

Barbara Sax AFP/Getty Images

National security reporter Fred Kaplan was the first to publicly link Paula Broadwell to Gen. David Petraeus in last fall's affair scandal, but that's not the topic of his new book. In fact, it's barely an addendum. Instead, Kaplan focuses in depth on counterinsurgency — a cornerstone of Petraeus' legacy.

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2:01am

Thu January 24, 2013
Music Interviews

The 'True Story' Inside Aaron Neville's Doo-Wop World

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 1:19 pm

Aaron Neville's latest album, My True Story, is a collection of the doo-wop songs he grew up singing in New Orleans.
Sarah A. Friedman Courtesy of the artist

At 72, the prince of R&B has reverted to childhood. Aaron Neville has a new album called My True Story, and it's a collection of the songs he sang growing up in the projects of New Orleans in the 1950s and '60s, back when doo-wop was king.

"I've been into every doo-wop there is," Neville says. "I think I went to the university of doo-wop-ology."

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6:44pm

Wed January 23, 2013
The Two-Way

White House Will Move Forward With Gen. John Allen NATO Nomination

The White House said today that it would move forward with the nomination of Gen. John Allen to become NATO commander.

Allen's nomination was put on hold after he became ensnared in the extramarital affair scandal that led to the resignation of CIA Chief David Petraeus. As we reported, the Pentagon's Inspector General exonerated Allen of any wrong doing yesterday.

NPR's Tom Bowman filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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6:22pm

Wed January 23, 2013
Law

Lawsuit Questioned Constitutionality Of Ban On Women In Combat

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:53 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And now for some reaction to that decision, we turn to Anne Coughlin. She's a professor at the University of Virginia Law School, and her research inspired a lawsuit brought by two women in the Army Reserve seeking to reverse that ban. The suit argues the ban is unconstitutional. Anne Coughlin, welcome to the program.

ANNE COUGHLIN: Thank you so much, Melissa. I'm happy to be here.

BLOCK: And first, your thoughts when you heard this decision from Secretary Panetta today.

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5:57pm

Wed January 23, 2013
The Two-Way

Transportation Secretary: Duration Of Dreamliner Review Is Unknown

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood speaks during a news conference at the Transportation Department in Washington in January.
Susan Walsh AP

If you were dreaming of flying soon in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, you have to wake up: Federal Aviation Administration isn't rushing its review of the grounded aircraft.

"We need to get to the bottom of the recent issues with the batteries in the 787 and ensure their safety before these aircraft can be put back in service," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today at an Aero Club luncheon in Washington.

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5:50pm

Wed January 23, 2013
Fine Art

In 'According To What?' Ai Weiwei Makes Mourning Subversive

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 4:48 pm

Grapes, a spiky cluster of wooden stools from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), is part of Ai Weiwei's repurposed furniture series.
Cathy Carver Courtesy Hirshhorn Museum

5:50pm

Wed January 23, 2013
Business

Dreamliner Woes Expose FAA's Potential Weak Spots

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:53 pm

National Transportation Safety Board investigators inspect a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Japan's Takamatsu Airport. A Federal Aviation Administration investigation into the plane's troubles has widened into a review of the agency's certification process for new airliners.
Jiji Press AFP/Getty Images

One week after Federal Aviation Administration officials grounded Boeing's newest jet, the world's entire 787 Dreamliner fleet remains parked. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said Tuesday he couldn't speculate on when a review of the plane would be complete.

Investigators in the U.S. and Japan remain perplexed as to why batteries on two planes suffered serious failures. Now Boeing, its flagship jet and the certification process for the 787 are under intense scrutiny.

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