The Salt
1:25 am
Thu September 29, 2011

The Pawpaw: Foraging For America's Forgotten Fruit

Pawpaws may look like mangos, but unlike other tropical fruits, they are native to North America.
Abby Verbosky for NPR

So what the heck is a pawpaw?

Recently, I heard about a secret snack. Kayakers who paddle the waters near Washington, D.C., told me about a mango-like fruit that grows along the banks of the Potomac — a speckled and homely skin that hides a tasty treat.

A tropical-like fruit here, really? Yep. It's the only temperate member of a tropical family of trees. You can't buy the pawpaw in stores, so for years, the only way to eat them was straight from the tree.

Read more
Around the Nation
1:23 am
Thu September 29, 2011

California's New Prison Policy Has Some Skeptics

California is days away from launching a dramatic shift in the way it handles criminal offenders: Starting in October, the state will redirect tens of thousands of nonviolent felons away from state prisons to local facilities.

The state's plan is called "realignment." It shifts certain functions from the state to the counties, says Barry Krisberg, who teaches criminal justice at the University of California, Berkeley, law school.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:34 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Adm. Mullen Sticks By His Assertion That Pakistan Supports Extremist Network

U.S. Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen speaks during a press conference in Baghdad on Aug. 2, during a visit to press top Iraqi officials to make a decision on the future of the U.S. troop presence in Iraq.
Ali Al-Saadi ALI AFP/Getty Images

In an interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said he would not change "a word" of the testimony he gave the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.

"I phrased it the way I wanted it to be phrased," Adm. Mike Mullen said.

Read more
The Salt
6:03 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Pricier PB&J's In The Forecast, Thanks To Peanut Shortage

Peanut butter prices are up, and will likely increase again.
Edward Todd

How much you are willing to pay for your favorite sandwich? If it has peanut butter in it, you may soon be recalculating. A looming shortage of U.S. peanuts is causing the price of peanut butter to soar.

"We have quite a peanut shortage this year," says Tiffany Arthur, an agricultural economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency — the folks who make emergency loans to farmers. "Things are snowballing and prices are sharply rising," she says.

Read more
5:23 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Bullfighting In Spain Stays Alive Despite Regional Ban

Tomas performs at the Monumental bullring in Barcelona, Spain, Sept. 25. Since the end of the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco, Catalan nationalists have sought to cast off all things Castilian — referring to Spain's heartland.
Manu Fernandez AP

Spain's northeast region of Catalonia held its final bullfight last weekend, after voting to ban the practice last year.

But it's a different story elsewhere in Spain. While relatively few Spaniards are real aficionados of bullfighting, many more see it as a national tradition, and don't want it banned.

On a recent day, Antonio Gutierrez and his friends puff on cigars and shuffle dominos on a folding table near Madrid's famed Las Ventas bullring. They're a bit suspicious of a foreigner asking about bullfights.

"Bullfighting is very, very good. OK?" says Gutierrez.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:22 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

FBI: Mass. Man Arrested For Plot Against Pentagon, Capitol

The FBI arrested a Massachusetts man, who they say plotted to attack the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol using "small drone airplanes" loaded with explosives.

Bloomberg reports:

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
5:19 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Today, Make Sure Rabies' Days Are Numbered

Around the world, bites from dogs infected with rabies are the most common way for humans to become infected.

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 5:40 pm

It seems sometimes that there's hardly a space on the calendar that hasn't been claimed for a campaign to raise awareness for an illness or health condition.

Today, for instance, is World Rabies Day, I learned from a tweet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggesting a celebration to learn about how to prevent the fatal disease.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:57 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Justice Department Asks Supreme Court To Take Up Health Care Law

The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to hear a case that will decide on the constitutionality of the 2010 health care overhaul law.

"The department has consistently and successfully defended this law in several courts of appeals, and only the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled it unconstitutional," the Justice Department said in a statement. "We believe the question is appropriate for review by the Supreme Court."

Read more
Digital Life
4:40 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Who Are You, Really? Activists Fight For Pseudonyms

In the past, Google Chief Eric Schmidt, shown this month, has expressed impatience with Internet anonymity. At the Techonomy conference last year, he said, "One of the errors that the Internet made a long time ago is that there was not an accurate and non-revocable identity-management service."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 7:04 pm

Social media companies don't like people creating accounts under fake names. That's long been the case at Facebook, but over the summer, Google's new social network, Google Plus, surprised users by making a point of shutting down accounts with names that didn't look real.

Some online activists refer to Google's action as the "nym wars" — short for "pseudonym wars." They see it as part of a worrying trend to force people to use their real names online.

Trying To Weed Out 'Trolls'

Read more
The Two-Way
4:15 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Braves, Red Sox Fans Ready For The End, Ugly Or Not

Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez: the face of frustration.
Patrick Smith Getty Images

There's one game left in baseball's 2011 regular season and four teams are tied for the last two playoff spots. It all ends tonight, or maybe not.

Some claim that this is the type of scenario that makes sports exciting. For the fans of two teams, however, the drama is not welcome.

Read more