National News from NPR

Pages

Planet Money
1:57 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Why Legos Are So Expensive — And So Popular

Lego minifigures are displayed on October 18, 2012 in the newly-opened store of the Danish construction toys group at the "So Ouest" shopping center in Levallois-Perret, west of Paris.
Thomas Samson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 9:26 am

I went to Toys R Us recently to buy my son a Lego set for Hanukkah. Did you know a small box of Legos costs $60? Sixty bucks for 102 plastic blocks!

In fact, I learned, Lego sets can sell for thousands of dollars. And despite these prices, Lego has about 70 percent of the construction-toy market. Why? Why doesn't some competitor sell plastic blocks for less? Lego's patents expired a while ago. How hard could it be to make a cheap knockoff?

Luke, a 9-year-old Lego expert, set me straight.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:19 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

We're Living Longer, But Not All That Healthier

Average life expectancy around the world has ticked up over the past twenty years. Here it's shown for men in 2009. The extremes are in dark green and dark red, which represent 78 to 82 years old and less than 66 years old, respectively.
Courtesy of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 3:52 pm

People around the world are living longer than they did two decades ago, but many people aren't very healthy during those extra years.

That's a key finding from a large-scale study estimating what makes people sick worldwide.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:17 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Sales Soar In Gaza Of Fragrance Named For Rocket Fired At Israel

Bottles of M75 on sale at a shop in Gaza City. The fragrance is named for the rockets fired from Gaza into Israel.
Ashraf Amra APA /Landov

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 7:50 am

Before anyone else does, we'll make the "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" reference that comes to mind when you read this:

Read more
Shots - Health News
11:18 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Caution: Walking Under The Influence Of Mobile Devices

He better not be talking to his mom.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 4:50 pm

Here's an experiment you can try. But please be the scientist and not the test subject.

Watch people cross the street and note whether they're yakking on the phone, texting or bopping to tunes while they do it. If you're really ambitious, time how long it takes them to cross.

This past summer researchers from the University of Washington did it. They watched more than 1,100 pedestrians at the 20 intersections in Seattle that racked up the most pedestrian injuries over the last three years.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:16 am
Thu December 13, 2012

From A Life Of Crime To Designing Jewelry, All In A Nairobi Slum

Zakale Creations is a jewelry-designing operation that employs 30 young people who were previously involved in crime. The Nairobi-based operation is the brainchild of John Mucheru, himself a former mugger.
John Burnett/NPR

After covering East Africa for five months, a profound problem I encountered in every country was what will happen to the continent's exploding cities.

The U.N. predicts that by 2040, six in 10 Africans will live in cities — an estimated 1 billion people. One of the pressing questions for African leaders is how to occupy all the idle young men who turn to crime because there are no jobs.

In Nairobi's Huruma slum, I came across a point of light — one man's attempt to take in thieves and prostitutes and give them honest work, of all things, making jewelry.

Read more
Environment
11:15 am
Thu December 13, 2012

The Boom And Bust Of Fracking

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 1:08 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, those apps you've been downloading to keep the kids occupied during car rides and sports practices? It turns out, according to federal regulators, they are collecting all kinds of information that they aren't telling you about. So we will. In a few minutes.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:09 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Here's Some Good News: Volunteering Is On The Rise

Nov. 22: Volunteers prepared Thanksgiving dinners for people in the Queens borough of New York City, which was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 3:23 pm

Enough of the bad news for a moment.

Smack in the middle of the holiday season, here's something that underscores how generous many Americans are:

"64.3 million Americans (more than one in four adults) volunteered through a formal organization last year, an increase of 1.5 million from 2010," the Corporation for National and Community Service and the National Conference on Citizenship report.

Read more
Remembrances
10:49 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Remembering Ravi Shankar

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 1:08 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And finally today, we want to take a moment to remember a legend in Indian classical music. Ravi Shankar died this week at the age of 92. He played the sitar, a long six-stringed wood instrument. He used it to communicate Indian music and culture to an American audience, and in fact audiences around the world. Shankar is known both for his own musicianship and his collaborations with Western greats like the Beatles and John Coltrane. Here's a collaboration with American violinist Yehudi Menuhin. The album is called "West Meets East."

Read more
Technology
10:49 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Protecting Kids' Digital Privacy

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 1:08 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, she is Palestinian, Muslim, she has cerebral palsy and she earns a living as a stand-up comic and that is no joke. We'll meet Maysoon Zayid in just a few minutes.

But, first, we want to talk about something you may want to have on your radar if you're still shopping for holiday gifts and one of the things on your list is a mobile device, especially one that a child might use or borrow.

Read more
Games & Humor
10:49 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Arab American Comedienne: No Apology For Jokes

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 7:50 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Switching gears now, the issues of Palestinians, both in the U.S. and abroad, are often in the news, but not, I think it's fair to say, because of the comedy scene, which is where Maysoon Zayid comes in.

Read more

Pages