NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
9:44 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Mapping Differences In America's Musical Tastes, State By State

A map of the U.S. lists the musical acts that set states apart from each other. It's not a matter of an artist's popularity, says Paul Lamere, who made the map, but of a state's distinct preferences.
Paul Lamere, Director of Developer Platform at The Echo Nest

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 1:24 pm

Are you streaming music right now? If you're in America's Pacific region, there's a much better chance you're nodding along with Cat Power rather than grooving to Fantasia, which you'd be more likely to be doing if you were across the country in the South Atlantic. Those observations come from a map titled "Regionalisms in U.S. Listening Preferences."

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The Two-Way
8:10 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Arizona Gov. Brewer Vetoes Controversial Bill

Gov. Jan Brewer, R-Ariz., on Monday at the White House when she and other state executives met with President Obama.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters/Landov

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says she has vetoed controversial legislation that would have allowed business owners in her state to refuse to serve gays and others if those customers somehow offended the proprietors' religious beliefs.

Brewer, a Republican, announced her decision at a news conference held Wednesday afternoon, following a flurry of meetings between the governor and state legislators.

Update at 7:52 p.m. ET Brewer's Comments

"I call them like I see them," Brewer said of the proposal, "despite the cheers or the boos from the crowd."

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The Two-Way
6:20 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Robot Swarm: A Flock Of Drones That Fly Autonomously

An image from a video by the COLLMOT Robotic Research Project shows a group of drones flying autonomously across a field.
COLLMOT Robotic Research Project

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 6:31 pm

Can drones, the small unmanned aircraft that are at the forefront of fields from warfare to commercial delivery systems, fly without human intervention? A team of Hungarian researchers answers yes, having created 10 drones that self-organize as they move through the air.

The team based its creation on birds such as pigeons, which fly in tight bunches while making adjustments and decisions. They fitted quadcopters — drones with four rotors — with GPS, processors and radios that allow them to navigate in formation or while following a leader.

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Europe
4:20 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

British Diplomat Weighs In On Ukraine, Russia And Syria

The U.K. supports stability and democracy in Ukraine, says British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who visited NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., Wednesday.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:08 pm

The complicated situation in Ukraine is headed toward an important moment, as a vote on an interim government has been scheduled for Thursday. But tensions are running high in the region, with Russia ordering military exercises along its border.

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The Two-Way
3:19 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Federal Judge Voids Texas Gay Marriage Ban

Couples Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman and Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss speak with reporters outside the U.S. Federal Courthouse in San Antonio earlier this month. The judge in their case ruled Texas' ban on gay marriage unconstitutional Wednesday.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:01 am

Saying that a Texas law barring same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and demeans the dignity of homosexuals, a federal judge struck down the law Wednesday. The ruling from U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia doesn't mean gay marriages can be held in Texas, however; he placed a stay on the decision, anticipating an appeal by the state.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

'Planet Bonanza' Indeed: NASA Unveils 715 New Worlds

This artist rendering provided by NASA, shows Kepler-11, a sunlike star around which six planets orbit.
AP

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 4:47 pm

The job of NASA's Kepler mission is to peek at the far reaches of space in the hopes of finding potentially habitable planets. The space agency announced a stunning success, saying that Kepler had identified 715 new planets that orbit 305 stars. The discovery boosts the number of verified planets by around 70 percent.

"Four of the planets are about twice the size of Earth and orbit in their star's so-called habitable zone," NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports for our Newscast unit, "where temperatures might be suitable for liquid water."

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The Two-Way
2:05 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Ukraine Zeroes In On Leader For Interim Government

With Ukraine in a political limbo following the flight of its president Saturday, the name of Arseniy Yatsenyuk is being put forth as the country's next leader until new elections are held in May. Yatsenyuk is a member of the Batkyvshchina party, whose leaders include former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

On Wednesday, a web page dedicated to Yatsenyuk announced, "Began collecting signatures under the agreement on forming a coalition. The government will be voted on Thursday," according to a web-based translation service.

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The Two-Way
2:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Killers Sentenced In Hacking Death Of British Soldier

The victim: Fusilier Lee Rigby.
U.K. Ministry of Defense

One of the two men who hacked to death a British soldier on a London street in May 2013 was sentenced Wednesday to spend the rest of his life in prison. The other was given a minimum term of 45 years.

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The Two-Way
12:16 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Killers Were Tiny, Victims Were Huge At Chile's Whale Graveyard

The fossilized remains of a whale that washed up on a shore in what's now Chile more than 5 million years ago.
Vince Rossi Smithsonian Institution

Since construction workers discovered dozens of fossils along a highway in Chile in 2011, one question has preoccupied researchers:

What killed the whales, seals and other creatures that ended up there more than 5 million years ago?

Writing in Proceedings of The Royal Society B, scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and universities in the U.S. and Chile say the culprits were among the smallest possible killers: "Algal toxins."

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The Two-Way
9:54 am
Wed February 26, 2014

North Korea's Still In The Dark, As Photos From Space Show

This image was taken Jan. 30 by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. North Korea is the large dark patch in the middle. The only significant light is from its capital, Pyongyang. The next photo adds reference points.
NASA.gov

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 11:55 am

Pictures really do tell the story about how far behind economically North Korea is compared with its neighbors.

In 2002, as Eyder has said, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used a satellite photo to illustrate how in-the-dark the communist nation was.

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