12:01am

Fri March 9, 2012
Planet Money

Meet Claudia, The High-Tech Cow

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

Technology at rest.
Adam Davidson NPR

Here's the secret of the modern dairy farm: The essential high-tech advances aren't in machinery. They're inside the cow.

Take a cow like Claudia. She lives at Fulper Farms, a dairy farm in upstate New Jersey. Claudia is to a cow from the 1930s as a modern Ferrari is to a Model T.

In the 1930s, dairy farmers could get 30 pounds of milk per day from a cow. Claudia produces 75 pounds a day.

To appreciate a cow like Claudia, you have to know where to look.

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12:01am

Fri March 9, 2012
Rebuilding Japan

A Year On, Japan Is Still Looking For The Road Ahead

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

Members of the media, wearing protective suits and masks, visit the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power station during a press tour, in northeastern Japan's Fukushima prefecture, Feb. 28. Japan is marking the first anniversary of the March 11 tsunami and earthquake, which triggered the worst nuclear accident in the country's history.
Kimimasa Mayama AP

A year after suffering the worst nuclear accident in its history, Japan is still struggling to understand what happened at the Fukushima nuclear plant in the country's northeast.

Last week, an independent commission released a report arguing that Japan narrowly averted what could have been a far deadlier disaster and that the government withheld this information from the public.

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12:01am

Fri March 9, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Forget The Robots: Venture Capitalists Change Their Health Care Investments

Surgical robots like this one are wildly expensive. Before the economic troubles began, investment in such high-tech medical devices was plentiful. Now, hospitals are looking for comparatively simple solutions to cut costs: streamline medical billing and even investing in $1 catheters that can save upwards of $50,000.
Frank Perry AFP/Getty Images

It wasn't that long ago that money flowed steadily to entrepreneurs who dreamt up whiz-bang medical devices.

Hospitals souped up their surgical suites with robots or high-tech radiation machines for cancer treatment. Cost wasn't an issue: They just got passed along to insurance companies, who passed them on to employers and patients.

But after the Great Recession hit and the 2010 health law passed, the financiers behind the medical arms race started to rethink their investment calculus.

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12:01am

Fri March 9, 2012
Rebuilding Japan

Trauma, Not Radiation, Is Key Concern In Japan

A worker is given a radiation screening as he enters the emergency operation center at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 20.
AFP/Getty Images

One year ago this Sunday, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off Japan triggered a tsunami that killed 20,000 people. It also triggered multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, one of the worst nuclear disasters in history.

But health effects from radiation turn out to be minor compared with the other issues the people of Fukushima prefecture now face.

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12:01am

Fri March 9, 2012
History

Girl Scouts: 100 Years Of Blazing New Trails

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

Brownies from Troop 65343 in Brookline, Mass. recite the Girl Scout pledge. Enrollment in the organization has declined since the 1980s, but a modernizing makeover and new focus on minority and immigrant communities have helped some.
Tovia Smith NPR

It's hard to imagine Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice and Lucille Ball as part of the same club. But they were all, at one time, Girl Scouts. Founded 100 years ago in Savannah, Ga., the Girl Scouts now count 3.2 million members.

Girl Scout cookies have become as much of an American tradition as apple pie. At a busy intersection in Brookline, Mass., a gaggle of Girl Scouts stand behind a folding table piled high with boxes of Thin Mints, Samoas and Shortbreads.

"They are really, really good," the troop collectively assures a prospective buyer.

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12:01am

Fri March 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes Is Buying 'The New Republic'

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

www.tnr.com

Social media meets old media:

Saying that he's convinced "the demand for long-form, quality journalism is strong in our country," Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that he's buying The New Republic.

That's a magazine, as Steve says, which is four times older than its new owner. Hughes is 28.

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6:04pm

Thu March 8, 2012
The Two-Way

Miss. Supreme Court Upholds Gov. Barbour's Pardons

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 6:11 pm

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R).
Rogelio V. Solis AP

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled today that Gov. Haley Barbour's controversial pardons are valid. Barbour handed out about 200 pardons on his way out of office in January and about 10 of them had been challenged in court.

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5:39pm

Thu March 8, 2012
Movie Reviews

'Friends With' Benefits From Its Complications

In Friends With Kids, Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) play two best friends who decide to have a baby together while keeping their relationship platonic — so that the baby doesn't interfere with their own romantic relationships.
JoJo Whilden Roadside Attractions

The premise of Friends with Kids is the stuff of high-concept romantic comedies: Writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt plays Julie, who's at the age when her odds of childbearing lessen each year, and there's no mate in sight. So her best friend, Jason, played by Adam Scott, volunteers to impregnate her.

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5:34pm

Thu March 8, 2012
Rick Santorum

Economic Conservatives Question Santorum's Record

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 6:12 pm

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum addresses an election night party in Steubenville, Ohio, on Tuesday.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Support for Rick Santorum's presidential campaign has been driven by his conservative stances on social issues. He has taken unyielding stands against abortion and same-sex marriage.

But on economic matters, his record is more mixed. And some conservatives say that on issues like government spending and trade, he has at times betrayed free-market principles.

For example, when Congress voted to approve the North American Free Trade Agreement — a cause dear to the hearts of conservatives — Santorum, then a Pennsylvania representative, was among those voting against it.

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5:33pm

Thu March 8, 2012
U.S.

House Committee Urges Action On Food Stamp Fraud

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 6:11 pm

One USDA official credits the use of plastic benefit cards with helping to reduce federal food stamp fraud. But lawmakers say that isn't enough.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

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