Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 2:44 pm
You may have heard that dollar bills harbor trace amounts of drugs.
But those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They're teeming with life.
Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface, scientists have found. Most are harmless. But cash also has DNA from drug-resistant microbes. And your wad of dough may even have a smudge of anthrax and diphtheria.
In other words, your wallet is a portable petri dish.
Whether they like it or not, libraries in some cities serve as homeless shelters. People come off the streets to find quiet and warmth. If libraries want to do something about this, they have some choices: They can put homeless visitors back out on the street. San Francisco libraries want to get them back on their feet.
Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 9:48 am
President Obama has called repeatedly on Congress to help states pay for "high-quality preschool" for all. In fact, those two words — "high quality" — appear time and again in the president's prepared remarks. They are also a refrain among early childhood education advocates and researchers. But what do they mean? And what separates the best of the nation's preschool programs from the rest?
This week, our tech reporting team is exploring cloud computing — the big business of providing computing power and data storage that companies need, but which happens out of sight, as if it's "in the cloud."
Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:46 am
People who qualified for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act aren't necessarily locked into the plan they chose. And that can be good news for people whose income fluctuates during the year. Here's our response to the latest reader questions on coverage through the health exchanges.
Now we want to take a closer look at women who work full-time as stay-at-home moms. We have new numbers from the Pew Research Center that show the proportion of home stay-at-home moms in the U.S. has gone up since 1999. That number had been declining since the 1960s.
But between 1999 and 2012, the percentage of moms who stayed at home rose from 23 percent to 29 percent. Joining us to talk about this is D'Vera Cohn. She's a senior writer at the Pew Research Center and an author of the new report. D'Vera, welcome.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. This spring, along with NPR's Morning Edition, we're helping you navigate the higher education money maze with our "Paying for College" series.
We've heard about how college got so expensive and how families and students are taking on massive loans to pay for it. But today, we want to talk more about an effort to make college not just affordable, but free.
Argentina and its teetering economy will be affected by case being heard today by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case goes back more than a decade and could have wide implications, not just for Argentina's economy, but also to relations with the U.S.
The encryption code unlocked by the Heartbleed bug last week provided vital security for some of the most widely used websites on the Internet. Fortune 1000 companies rely on the open source code for their core business. But it turns out no one is paying for it.
More Americans are saving for retirement through their employers' 401(k) programs. That's because in recent years they've been given a strong nudge — more companies are automatically enrolling workers in retirement savings programs.
Some firms are also automatically increasing the amount employees contribute. That's just as important, experts say.
And all of this makes a big difference: Without it, millions of Americans don't save at all.
Like many other doctors across the country, Dr. Devesh Ramnath, a Dallas orthopedic surgeon, recently made the switch from paper to electronic medical records. This meant he no longer had to just take notes when he was examining a patient — he also had to put those notes into the computer as a permanent record.
"I was really focused on just trying to get the information in, and not really focusing on the patient anymore," Ramnath says.
There was really only one tech story last week — the potentially disastrous Heartbleed bug. This week, we return to more of a panoply of tech-related news, starting with NPR stories in the ICYMI section, the broader topics in the industry in The Big Conversation and fun links you shouldn't miss in Curiosities.
When Regitze Visby, a tourist visiting San Francisco from Denmark, searched for accommodations for her trip and saw she could stay at one of the famed "painted ladies" on Alamo Square through Airbnb, she took it.
At $135 a night, "it was a good deal," she says.
But does she know if she's paying a transient occupancy tax or a hotel tax? "I have no idea," she says.
Speaking of religion still, if there's one thing that goes hand-in-hand with faith, it is generally food. There have been a number of different food shortages in this country you may have heard about lately. We reported on this program about the shortage of limes. We've seen reports of rising beef prices as well. But right now, during Passover, gefilte fish is in short supply. Matt Chaban joins us now from member station WESA in Pittsburgh. He wrote about this for the New York Times. Matt, welcome.
In China there's a phrase that refers to a certain demographic: Educated professional women in their late 20s or a little older who are still single. They're called Leftover Women.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This group of women is growing rapidly in the cities. They're facing an unprecedented unmarried crisis.
MCEVERS: An unmarried crisis. That's from Chinese state TV. Newspapers also use the phrase, which was coined by the government a few years back. Sociologist Leta Hong Fincher tracks how Leftover Women is used in the media.
All right, Virtu Financial has reportedly decided to postpone its initial public offering. The decision comes during a week when several IPOs in U.S. markets had disappointing debuts. Virtu conducts high-frequency electronic trading on various exchanges and scrutiny of high-speed trading is growing.
America has learned a lot about fighting wars over the past decade. And you can see how they apply the lessons learned at the Fort Irwin National Training Center in Southern California. The military still holds old-style war games there, with tanks and planes. But the war scenarios also reflect the recent challenges faced in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 3:47 pm
Josh Gibbs normally wouldn't leave his apartment in Northeast Washington, D.C., pick up a loaded pizza from a restaurant in Chinatown, bike to a complete stranger's apartment, drop off the pizza and leave without any cash exchanging hands. But last week, he did just that. And truth be told, he kind of loved it.
"It's exciting. It's just fun," he says. "When the app goes off, when it beeps, I get this little adrenaline rush. I can make some money. It's like a game."