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The Two-Way
3:47 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Senate Confirms Janet Yellen As Federal Reserve Chair

The Senate has approved Janet Yellen as the next head of the Federal Reserve. At a ceremony commemorating the Fed's centennial last month, Yellen sat with (from left-to-right) former chairmen Paul Volker and Alan Greenspan, and current Fed leader Ben Bernanke.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 4:13 pm

The Senate has voted to approve the nomination of Janet Yellen as the next leader of the U.S. Federal Reserve. With Monday's vote, Yellen, 67, will become the first woman to serve as America's banking chief, heading an institution that was established in 1913.

Update at 6:31 p.m. ET: Some Senators Left Out

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All Tech Considered
3:21 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

CES 2014: Toothbrush? Bed? Car? Put Some Internet On It

The Kolibree toothbrush, billed as the world's first Internet-connected toothbrush, monitors dental hygiene.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 8:18 am

The International Consumer Electronics Show is nothing less than a gadget-lover's dream.

Every year thousands of companies from all over the world flock to Las Vegas in the first week in January to show off the products they hope to sell in the coming year. What began as a trade show featuring the latest high-fidelity stereos 40 years ago has become an annual electronics circus.

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Politics
2:37 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Tighter Access To 'Death Master File' Has Researchers Worried

To help cut down on fraud, Congress is limiting access to the Social Security Administration's data about people who die in the United States each year.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 7:51 am

The "Death Master File." It sounds like a ledger the Grim Reaper might keep, but in reality, it's a computerized list containing some 86 million names and other data kept by the Social Security Administration.

An obscure provision tucked into the budget deal that Congress approved last month would limit access to the list — and that has everyone from genealogists to bankers concerned.

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Shots - Health News
2:30 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Health Care Costs Grew More Slowly Than The Economy In 2012

NPR

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 1:55 pm

Health care spending grew at a record slow pace for the fourth straight year in 2012, according to a new government report. But the federal officials who compiled the report disagree with their bosses in the Obama administration about why.

The annual report from the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published in the journal Health Affairs, found total U.S. health spending totaled $2.8 trillion in 2012, or $8,915 per person.

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It's All Politics
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Democrats Tackle Politics Of Income Inequality

White House National Economic Council Chairman Gene Sperling speaks during the daily briefing at the White House on Monday. With Congress back, the Senate is expected to work on a three-month extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 11:26 am

President Obama and fellow Democrats, just back from a long holiday break, are immediately embracing a legislative agenda that would increase the minimum wage and extend unemployment insurance benefits to an estimated 1.3 million long-term jobless in America.

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Soldier Suicides
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Army Takes On Its Own Toxic Leaders

NPR interviewed dozens of current or former soldiers who said they have struggled under toxic leaders.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 8:15 am

Top commanders in the U.S. Army have announced publicly that they have a problem: They have too many "toxic leaders" — the kind of bosses who make their employees miserable. Many corporations share a similar problem, but in the Army's case, destructive leadership can potentially have life or death consequences. So, some Army researchers are wondering if toxic officers have contributed to soldiers' mental health problems.

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It's All Politics
2:09 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

4 Lessons From Liz Cheney's Ill-Fated Senate Run

Liz Cheney campaigns in Casper, Wyo., on July 17, one day after announcing her GOP primary challenge to Sen. Mike Enzi.
Matt Young AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 4:26 am

Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, ended her Wyoming Senate primary challenge Monday, saying in a statement that a family health situation is responsible for her decision. (ABC News reports that sources close to Cheney said one of her daughters has diabetes.)

Even before family health issues arose, Cheney's apparently dimming prospects against GOP Sen. Mike Enzi would have been enough to give pause to many candidates.

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Shots - Health News
1:56 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

How Much Does A New Hip Cost? Even The Surgeon Doesn't Know

How much is that hip implant in the X-ray? Only the hospital administrator and the company that made it know for sure.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 10:07 am

What will a gallon of milk set you back? How about a new car? You probably have a rough idea.

But what about a new knee or a hip replacement? Chances are you have no clue. And you aren't alone. The surgeons who implant the devices probably don't know either, a survey finds.

Medicare spends about $20 billion each year on implanted medical devices. Nearly half of the total goes to orthopedic procedures. As the population ages and more Americans get joint replacements, the spending on implants is likely to keep rising.

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The Two-Way
1:36 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Foul Weather In Britain Linked To U.S. 'Polar Vortex'

High tide storm waves batter the Cumbrian coast, completely inundating the harbor wall at Whitehaven on Monday.
Ashley Cooper Barcroft Media/Landov

Britain's southwest coast is getting slammed by a winter storm, with high winds driving waves as high as 27 feet ashore in an unusual event that meteorologists say is likely linked to the bone-chilling "polar vortex" gripping much of the U.S.

The U.K. Met Office is warning of continued "exceptionally high waves."

It said the waves were triggered by a large, deep depression in the Atlantic which was "whipping waves up" out at sea.

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NPR Story
1:35 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Technology Writer Calls For 'Information Environmentalism'

Evgeny Morozov says that perhaps constant connectivity is not a good thing. (Ed Yourdon/Flickr)

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 2:14 pm

Technology writer Evgeny Morozov says we’ve ceded key decisions on public space to technology companies, and he is joining the call for a movement to take the space back.

“We’ve decided by default that more connectivity is a good thing, but maybe it isn’t,” Morozov tells Here & Now’s Robin Young.

For one thing, Morozov argues, we turn to technology to escape boredom, but information overload also leads to profound boredom.

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NPR Story
1:35 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

A Modern Greek Saga: Sisyphus And The Ivy

Tom Banse/Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 2:14 pm

Some causes just seem hopeless some days. But you’ve no doubt met people who insist on tackling intractable problems locally and around the world.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Tom Banse of the Northwest News Network introduces us to a particularly dedicated fellow who wages a solo fight each weekday morning against invasive English ivy vines in his home state of Washington.

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NPR Story
1:35 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

JP Morgan To Pay $2 Billion Settlement In Madoff Case

The headquarters of JP Morgan Chase on Park Avenue December 12, 2013 in New York. JP Morgan Chase and federal authorities are close to a USD $2 billion settlement over the bank's ties to financier Bernard L. Madooff that involve penalties and deffered criminal prosecution. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 2:14 pm

JP Morgan Chase is expected to reach a deal with federal authorities this week to pay about $2 billion in civil and criminal penalties to the government for its ties to Bernie Madoff.

The bank is suspected of ignoring signs of Madoff’s criminal financial scheme in order to win more commissions on services it provided.

With this payout, JP Morgan will have paid $20 billion to the government in the past year to resolve investigations.

The government reportedly plans to give some of the $2 billion settlement to investors affected by Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

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The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Don't Just Shiver, Here Are 3 Cold-Weather Experiments To Try

A bubble freezes in very cold weather.
SimonSaysBaka via YouTube

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 3:37 pm

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Africa
1:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

How I Almost Got Arrested With A South Sudanese Ex-Minister

South Sudan's then-Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Peter Adwok Nyaba (center) celebrates the first anniversary of the country's independence in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, on July 9, 2012. Since then, all of South Sudan's Cabinet ministers have been sacked — including Adwok — for allegedly conspiring to overthrow President Salva Kiir.
Ding Haitao Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 11:28 am

The unmarked, unpaved streets of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, can be tough for an outsider to navigate.

By the time I found the house of Peter Adwok Nyaba, the country's former minister of higher education, science and technology, it was already 5 p.m. The sun was dangerously low on the horizon. I had less than an hour to interview Adwok and get back to my hotel before the citywide curfew — imposed when the violence began three weeks before — took effect. After 6, there would be no one on the streets except myself and soldiers.

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Environment
1:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Arctic Methane Bubbles Not As Foreboding As Once Feared

European scientists were alarmed in 2008 when they discovered streams of methane bubbles erupting from the seafloor in Norway's high Arctic. This gas, which contributes to global warming, was apparently coming from methane ice on the seafloor. A follow-up study finds that methane bubble plumes at this location have probably been forming for a few thousand years, so they are not the result of human-induced climate change. But continued warming of ocean water can trigger more methane releases in the Arctic, with potentially serious consequences to the climate.

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