2:45pm

Tue April 2, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

How Close Is Doomsday?

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 12:40 pm

Mindaugas Kulbis AP

How close are we to the end? How close are we to being among the last humans to ever live? Depending on who you are — your religion, politics, relative degree of pessimism or optimism — that question is bound to bring up images of some particular kind of cataclysm. It could be an all-out nuclear exchange or a climate change-driven mass extinction. But what if there was a way of answering the doomsday question in the most generic way possible.

Read more

2:39pm

Tue April 2, 2013
Middle East

Members Of Assad's Sect Break Ranks With Syrian Regime

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 6:56 pm

A Syrian woman walks past a poster for President Bashar Assad in an Alawite-dominated neighborhood in the western city of Homs, on Jan. 11, 2012. Support among the president's own minority sect is waning.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

The Alawites of Syria were a poor, little-known Shiite minority until longtime dictator Hafez Assad, a member of the sect, rose to power in 1970. His son, President Bashar Assad, is now fighting to maintain that power in a country that has risen up against him. Now, even some Syrian Alawites say they are willing to denounce the regime, despite the risks.

A recent gathering in Cairo was much like other conferences hosted by the Syrian opposition — a flurry of activity in the hotel lobby, late-night conversations and lots of cigarettes.

Read more

2:38pm

Tue April 2, 2013
It's All Politics

Reality Often Rivals Fiction In Political Corruption Scandals

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 3:22 pm

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara outlines corruption charges against several New York politicians on Tuesday.
Richard Drew AP

The federal criminal complaint against New York politicians arrested after an FBI sting was a reminder of how often real-life political scandals can read like the imaginings of Hollywood screenwriters.

Read more

2:25pm

Tue April 2, 2013
Shots - Health News

China's Air Pollution Linked To Millions Of Early Deaths

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 11:25 am

Men walk along a railway line in Beijing on Jan. 12, as air pollution reached hazardous levels.
Wang Zhao AFP/Getty Images

More than 1 million people are dying prematurely every year from air pollution in China, according to a new analysis.

"This is the highest toll in the world and it really reflects the very high levels of air pollution that exist in China today," says Robert O'Keefe of the Health Effects Institute in Boston, who presented the findings in Beijing this week.

Read more

2:17pm

Tue April 2, 2013
Business

For Legal Pot Sellers, A Big Tax Problem

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 6:56 pm

Erica Freeman of Choice Organics weighs medical marijuana for a customer.
Grace Hood for NPR

An obscure tax code provision crafted for drug dealers is giving state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries a headache.

In Colorado, federal income tax rates for dispensaries can soar as high as 70 percent because of a tax code section that does not allow businesses to claim certain deductions.

The section is known as 280E, and it was originally written for illegal drug traffickers. But today it's a thorn in the side of licensed dispensary owners like Erica Freeman.

Read more

2:17pm

Tue April 2, 2013
The Two-Way

'Buckwild' Star Died Of Accidental Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

We told you on Monday about the death of one of the stars of the MTV reality show Buckwild. The Kanawha County, W.Va., Sheriff's Office said there were no signs of foul play in the death of Shain Gandee, 21, his uncle David Gandee, 48, and a third, unidentified person.

Read more

1:02pm

Tue April 2, 2013
It's All Politics

Daughter Of Former Fla. Sen. Bob Graham Running For Congress

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 1:37 pm

Gwen Graham, a lawyer and administrator in the Leon County, Fla., school district, says she'll seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Rep. Steve Southerland next year.
Gwen Graham For U.S. Congress

The daughter of Florida political legend Bob Graham has announced she will run for Congress next year, taking on incumbent Republican Steve Southerland.

Gwen Graham, a lawyer and administrator in the Leon County school district, made the announcement Tuesday morning. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Congress is a dysfunctional mess," Graham wrote on her campaign website.

Read more

12:55pm

Tue April 2, 2013
Shots - Health News

Could Wind Turbines Be Toxic To The Ear?

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 8:18 am

A maintenance worker looks out over an off-shore wind farm in Liverpool, England in 2008. Some people are concerned about the potential health effects of noise from wind turbines.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

The U.S. is embracing wind energy, with wind turbines making up half of the new electricity added to the power grid last year. But a smattering of people who live near the turbines say they're a nuisance — and making them ill.

Read more

12:43pm

Tue April 2, 2013
Around the Nation

In Missouri, Days Of Drought Send Caretakers To One 'Big Tree'

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 7:52 am

This bur oak, called "The Big Tree" by Missouri locals, has been around for centuries. When a drought hit the state last year, the community came together to offer help and water for the iconic tree.
Courtesy of Christopher Starbuck

The devastating drought in the Midwest last summer is a story often told by the numbers, with statistics on large crop failures, days without rain and thousands of parched acres.

This story is also about a tree — a bur oak in rural Columbia, Mo., that everyone calls "The Big Tree." Although it's survived all kinds of punishments during its 350 years on the prairie, last year's record drought was especially tough.

Read more

12:40pm

Tue April 2, 2013
It's All Politics

Seeking Forgiveness And A House Seat, Sanford Again Faces GOP Voters

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 7:23 am

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford faces former Charleston County Councilman Curtis Bostic in the GOP primary runoff Tuesday. The winner will represent Republicans in a May 7 special election for a U.S. House seat.
Bruce Smith AP

Update at 8:41 p.m. ET Sanford Wins Runoff

Former Gov. Mark Sanford, whose political career was derailed four years ago by his admission of an extramarital affair, has won the GOP nomination for the U.S. House seat he once held, reports The Associated Press. Note at 8:10 a.m. Wednesday: Sanford won with about 57 percent of the vote. (We mistakenly said earlier that he won "by" about 57 percent.)

Read more

Pages