2:39pm

Thu September 15, 2011
Around the Nation

Texas Fire Evacuees Return To Find Only Ashes

Originally published on Thu September 15, 2011 7:39 pm

Jeans hang on a clothesline next to a burned down trailer home in Bastrop, Texas. A wildfire raging for nearly two weeks has blackened 50 square miles and destroyed more than 1,500 homes.
Erich Schlegel AFP/Getty Images

For 17 years, Linda and Roger Ward lived in their two-story dream house in a subdivision in Bastrop County, southeast of Austin, Texas. They loved to sit on their back deck and listen to the wind in the pines.

On the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 4, everything changed.

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2:15pm

Thu September 15, 2011
Rick Perry

Perry Donor's Radioactive Waste Site Deal Scrutinized

Originally published on Thu September 15, 2011 7:39 pm

A large earth-mover carries PCB-contaminated soil from the Hudson River in New York to a burial pit at Waste Control Specialists near Andrews, Texas, in October 2009.
Betsy Blaney AP

Presidential candidate Rick Perry's ties to campaign donors came under more scrutiny this week when he was challenged during Monday's Tea Party debate.

Perry defended taking a contribution from a drug company and then mandating use of the company's new vaccine. "I raised about $30 million, and if you're saying I can be bought for $5,000, I'm offended," he said.

Actually, the drug company, Merck, has given Perry $28,500 overall. But that's still pocket change compared with what Perry's truly big donors have given.

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2:15pm

Thu September 15, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Tempest In A Lunch Box: Arsenic Traces In Apple Juice

Fears over arsenic in apple juice are overblown, experts say.
iStockphoto.com

A lot of parents might be worried about what's in their kids' sippy cups if they caught a recent report by TV talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz about high levels of arsenic in popular brands of apple juice.

But the Food and Drug Administration and medical experts are attacking Oz's report, saying it's inaccurate and needlessly panics parents.

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2:11pm

Thu September 15, 2011
The Two-Way

'Stagnant': Checking In On The Economy In Chillicothe, Ohio

Originally published on Thu September 15, 2011 7:39 pm

Chillicothe, Ohio as viewed from the historic Mountain House area.
Don O'Brien via Flickr

The economic indicators may all say that the United States is out of recession. But what is it like in the real world?

NPR's Robert Siegel traveled to Chillicothe, Ohio. Robert had visited in the fall of 2008, when the unemployment rate was 8 percent; he travelled there in January of 2010, when it was 12 percent. Today, it's 10.4 percent.

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1:47pm

Thu September 15, 2011
Science

This Machine Can Suck Carbon Out Of The Air

Carbon Engineering's machine, currently under construction, will draw carbon dioxide out of the air and turn it into a usable product.
Carbon Engineering

David Keith is a bit fidgety. Maybe that's because venture capitalists have asked to come see his carbon dioxide machine. Maybe it's because the project is running months behind schedule, as experiments so often do. Maybe it's because his critics say it'll never work.

Or maybe it's a taste of excitement, because it seems entirely possible that the trailer-truck-size machine that he's leaning up against is actually going to work.

"It's amazing to see all this talk and paper get turned into hardware," he says. "I really love it."

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1:35pm

Thu September 15, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Judge Blocks Florida Law Curbing Doctors' Questions About Guns

Should the doctor be prohibited from asking if you own a gun?
iStockphoto.com

The pediatricians are on a roll. A federal judge in Florida has issued an injunction blocking a state law that would make doctors think twice before asking patients about guns.

Why would your doctor or your child's doctor want to know if you have guns at home? Well, having one in the house is a health risk. And the doctors want to be able to talk over those risks, and how to mitigate them.

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1:30pm

Thu September 15, 2011

1:14pm

Thu September 15, 2011
Space

Here Come The Suns: New Planet Orbits Two Stars

Originally published on Thu September 15, 2011 9:03 pm

NASA's Kepler mission has discovered a planet that circles two stars instead of one. The planet, shown as the black dot in this artist's illustration, is similar to Saturn, though it is more dense and travels in a 229-day circular orbit around its two stars.
R. Hurt NASA/JPL-Caltech

A trillion is a huge number — when you're talking dollars or euros. But a trillion miles is not so much in the cosmic scheme of things. Astronomers say they've now found a planet that orbits two suns a mere thousand trillion miles from here. It's yet another example of a weird solar system being discovered around nearby stars.

Two years ago, NASA launched the Kepler observatory to look for Earth-like planets beyond our own solar system. It has found more than 1,000 apparent planets around distant suns.

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1:04pm

Thu September 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Medal Of Honor Recipient Is Among 'Best Of A Generation,' Obama Says

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty," U.S. Marine Dakota Meyer was just presented with the nation's highest honor for valor on the battlefield. He's the first living Marine since the Vietnam War to receive the Medal of Honor.

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12:37pm

Thu September 15, 2011
Asia

Bomb Explodes At Funeral In Pakistan

Originally published on Thu September 15, 2011 1:15 pm

Pakistani villagers and officials collect shoes at a funeral ceremony after a suicide bomb struck in Lower Dir, Pakistan, on Thursday.
M.A.Khan AP

At least 31 people, including three children, were killed Thursday in an attack at a funeral service in a Pakistani village near the Afghan border; 75 others were wounded.

According to Police Chief Saleem Khan, a suicide bomber walked up to the crowd of about 200 mourners in the northwest village of Lower Dir and detonated his explosives.

Police say the funeral was for Bakhat Khan, a member of the Mashwani tribe, which is reputed to be rabidly anti-Taliban. Residents near the scene of the bombing have raised volunteer militias against the Taliban.

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