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Education
3:15 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Can A New Building Save A Failing School?

Research shows that students who attend school in buildings that are in disrepair score lower on state tests than students in satisfactory buildings.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 5:59 pm

When students and teachers at School 16 in Rochester, N.Y., start the new school year in a newer school building, they'll leave their old building's laundry list of infrastructure problems behind.

As teachers finish unloading boxes and setting up their new classrooms, they hope the newer, nicer digs will give students renewed pride in their school. Education experts say the move could also bring a bump to the school's flagging test scores, because better school buildings actually improve academic performance.

A Drain On Spirit And A Drain On Grades

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The Two-Way
3:12 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

State Must Grant Murder Convict A Sex Change Operation, Judge Rules

Michelle Kosilek, formerly known as Robert, in 1993.
Lisa Bul AP

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 3:15 pm

A federal judge in Boston today "ordered state prison officials to provide a taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery to a transgender inmate serving life in prison" for murder, The Associated Press writes.

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It's All Politics
3:11 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Are You Better Off? Democrats In Charlotte Say It's Complicated

Caroline Sink (from left), Liz McKeithen, Mary Edith Alexander and Sue Collins were handing out lemonade and cookies in front of the First Presbyterian Church.
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 5:21 pm

Are you better off than you were four years ago?

As Mark reported earlier, that's the question Republicans want Americans to ask themselves as they head to the polls this November.

The question was brought to the forefront after Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley was asked that question on CBS' Face the Nation.

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Music News
2:39 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Why We're Happy Being Sad: Pop's Emotional Evolution

A less complicated time? Petula Clark holds her 1965 gold record for "Downtown," an uptempo song in a major key.
R. McPhedran Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 3:48 pm

Six years ago, Glenn Schellenberg decided to do an experiment.

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The Two-Way
2:18 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

There's A 'Bear Epidemic' Out West, And It's 'About To Get Worse'

Perhaps not the sight you want to see when you come home: A black bear.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

As Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen has reported for All Things Considered, encounters between humans and bears are up sharply across the western U.S. The bears are having to cover more territory because of droughts that have dried up some of their natural foods, including berries.

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Author Interviews
2:15 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Mickey Edwards On Democracy's 'Cancer'

Mickey Edwards served as a Republican congressman for Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District from 1977 to 1993.
Gia Regan Yale University Press

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 2:48 pm

In his 16 years in Congress, Republican Mickey Edwards came to a strong conclusion: Political parties are the "cancer at the heart of our democracy," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

In his new book, The Parties Versus the People, the former Republican congressman from Oklahoma details how party leaders have too much control over who runs for office, what bills make it to the floor and how lawmakers vote.

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The Salt
2:07 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

McDonald's Goes Vegetarian — In India

Even this Maharaja Mac, made specifically for the Indian market, will be off the menu at the new vegetarian McDonald's in India.
kawanet Flickr.com

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:13 pm

McDonald's, home of the iconic Big Mac, is going vegetarian. Well, at least in India, where 20 to 42 percent or more of the population (depending on how you count) eschews meat, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

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Author Interviews
1:39 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Conservation Biologist Explains Why 'Feathers' Matter

Thor Hanson's own cast of Archaeopteryx lithographica presents what he calls the "ancient wing written in stone."
Thor Hanson Basic Books

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 2:11 pm

It was the absence of feathers that got conservation biologist Thor Hanson thinking about the significance of them. Hanson was in Kenya studying the feeding habits of vultures, and he noticed the advantages that vultures had relative to other birds because of their bare, featherless heads.

"Having lost their feathers allows [vultures] to remain much cleaner and more free from bacteria and parasites and disease," Hanson tells Fresh Air contributor Dave Davies.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:23 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Zanzibar Shows Cholera Vaccine Can Protect Even The Unvaccinated

A vaccine against cholera bacteria like these protected people in Zanzibar.
CDC

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 2:09 pm

Cholera vaccine gives indirect protection to unvaccinated people in communities where a substantial fraction of the population gets the vaccine, a study in Africa shows.

The effect is called "herd immunity." It works because there are fewer bacteria circulating in communities where vaccination levels are relatively high.

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Business
12:38 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Automakers Report Strong August Sales

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with auto sales on a fast track.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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