3:52pm

Thu March 28, 2013
The Two-Way

Supreme Court Notes: Bugs, Pumps And Stolen Credit Card Numbers

Same-sex marriage supporters demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

NPR's Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg sends us some odds and ends from a very momentous week in the Supreme Court.

Hear all that sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and nose blowing during this week's same-sex oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court?

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3:29pm

Thu March 28, 2013
The Two-Way

In Light Of High Court Arguments, What Does Gay Marriage Tells Us About Polygamy?

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 10:18 am

Robyn Brown, Meri Brown, Kody Brown, Christine Brown and Janelle Brown from "Sister Wives" arrive at the grand opening of Mike Tyson's one-man show at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

One of the more interesting exchanges to emerge from the Supreme Court hearings on gay marriage this week, wasn't about the sexes, instead it was when Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked a question about polygamy.

Sotomayor asked Ted Olson, the lawyer asking the court to repeal California's ban on gay marriage, that if he was right and "marriage is a fundamental right" could any state restrictions ever exist. In other words, does declaring gay marriage a civil right, pave the way to legalization of, say, polygamy?

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3:14pm

Thu March 28, 2013
The Two-Way

Syrian Opposition Leader Not Leaving Post

We told you over the weekend about the Syrian opposition leader who resigned in frustration, criticizing the international community for not doing enough to end the civil war in Syria. Turns out he's staying in his job.

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3:06pm

Thu March 28, 2013
Shots - Health News

Many Hot Water Heaters Set Too High, Upping Burn Risk

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 4:16 pm

Burns are nasty injuries — they're painful and, if you're not careful, they can quickly get infected. Two children die from burn injuries every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A surprising number of these deaths originate with tap water that is way too hot.

The problem, a new study suggests, is that many water heaters are set dangerously high.

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3:04pm

Thu March 28, 2013
It's All Politics

Reluctant Justices May Be Forced To Make History

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 10:34 am

Police stand guard in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday as the justices hear arguments on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Now and then, an issue before the U.S. Supreme Court changes the course of the nation's political history — whether the justices like it or not.

It's happening again with gay marriage. This week the court heard oral arguments in two key cases. One could restore legal same-sex marriage in California; the other could end discrimination against gay married couples in the administration of more than 1,000 federal programs.

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2:57pm

Thu March 28, 2013
The Two-Way

French President Tries Again For Tax On Rich

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 4:41 am

French President Francois Hollande takes part Thursday in an interview on French 2 TV in Paris.
Fred Dufour AP

French President Francois Hollande is trying again with his 75 percent tax on millionaires.

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2:26pm

Thu March 28, 2013
Business

Farm Bill's Sugar Subsidy More Taxing Than Sweet, Critics Say

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 8:55 pm

While many people enjoy sweet treats — like these chocolate bunnies — the price of a key ingredient has some people bitter. A government subsidy program is criticized for keeping sugar prices too high. But as prices fall, the government may buy sugar to help processors.
Toby Talbot AP

While you indulge in some Easter Peeps and chocolates this weekend, you might want to think about all that sugar. No, this isn't a calorie warning. In the U.S., raw sugar can cost twice the world average.

Critics say U.S. sugar policy artificially inflates sugar prices to benefit an exclusive group of processors — even though it leads to higher food prices. But this year, prices fell anyway. Now, the government could be poised to use taxpayer dollars to buy up the excess sugar.

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2:12pm

Thu March 28, 2013
Shots - Health News

Sand From Fracking Could Pose Lung Disease Risk To Workers

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 10:50 am

A worker stands on top of a storage bin on July 27, 2011, at a drilling operation in Claysville, Pa. The dust is from powder mixed with water for hydraulic fracturing.
Keith Srakocic AP

When workplace safety expert Eric Esswein got a chance to see fracking in action not too long ago, what he noticed was all the dust.

It was coming off big machines used to haul around huge loads of sand. The sand is a critical part of the hydraulic fracturing method of oil and gas extraction. After workers drill down into rock, they create fractures in that rock by pumping in a mixture of water, chemicals and sand. The sand keeps the cracks propped open so that oil and gas are released.

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2:12pm

Thu March 28, 2013
Animals

What's Behind The 'Fairy Circles' That Dot West Africa?

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 4:19 pm

Thousands of "fairy circles" dot the landscape of the NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia. Why these barren circles appear in grassland areas has puzzled scientists for years.
N. Juergens AAAS/Science

There's a mystery in West Africa that's puzzled scientists for years. Strange circles of bare soil appear in grassland; they're commonly called "fairy circles." These naturally occurring shapes last for decades, until the grass eventually takes over and the circles fade.

Now German scientists think they have an explanation — a horde of insects seems to be bioengineering thousands of miles of desert.

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1:15pm

Thu March 28, 2013
Animals

Algae Bloom Kills Record Number Of Florida Manatees

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 3:38 pm

A rescued manatee suffering from exposure to an algae bloom called red tide in southwest Florida comes up for air as it swims into a critical care tank at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.
Steve Nesius Reuters/Landov

More than 200 manatees have died in Florida's waterways since January from an algae bloom called red tide, just as wildlife officials try to remove the marine mammal from the endangered species list.

It used to be boat propellers that were the biggest killer of manatees, but red tide has been especially bad this year.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officer Steve Rice routinely scours the Caloosahatchee River in southwest Florida for dead manatees. He has found more than 20 in the past few weeks.

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