Your Daily Dose of NPR Enlightenment

Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Canada To Measure Marijuana Use By Testing Sewage

In Canada, Health, International, marijuana, News, NPR, Science on April 13, 2018 at 5:47 pm

In an effort to track cannabis consumption more closely, the Canadian government has instructed Statistics Canada, Canada’s national statistical agency, to analyze sewage waste from about a quarter of Canada’s total 36 million inhabitants. In hopes to estimate how much cannabis Canadians consume, in total, through the sewage measurements. But the route from a wastewater treatment plant to that kind of calculation gets really murky really fast, such as: “The suburban users, are they peeing in the city but consuming in the suburbs?”…read the full story here.

From African Mummies to the Harlem Shake

In All Things Considered, History, International, Music, Pop Culture on February 22, 2013 at 1:33 am

I’ll admit, I was late to the Harlem Shake phenomenon. A 30-second video where one person dances to a dubstep beat surrounded by people seemingly going about a task not paying attention, then 15 seconds in the video cuts to everyone dancing with obscure costumes and props. Here NPR speaks with Jay Smooth, Harlemite and host of the hip-hop video blog Ill Doctrine, about the origin of the Harlem Shake and how it has evolved into the popular meme.

Also worth a read: Long Before the Harlem Shake, We Did the Shimmy

Baby Boxes

In All Things Considered, Health, International, NPR on February 18, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Eeeegh, how terribly sad. Listen to this report on the spreading use of  “Baby Boxes” in Europe where family members – or in some cases, pimps and sex trade workers – anonymously drop off newborns they cannot care for.

European "Baby Box"

European “Baby Box”

“When the infant is placed inside and the door is closed, it can’t be opened from the street again. Meanwhile, an alarm goes off inside and a neonatal team rushes to care for the infant.”

baby box 3

Baby Box instructions

Baby Box instructions

“Give me a child until he is 7, and I will show you the man.”

In Fresh Air, International, NPR, Pop Culture, Television on February 6, 2013 at 2:39 pm

The  monumental British documentary series, 7 UP, first followed 14 seven-year-olds from varying economic backgrounds in 1964 – and has continued checking in every seven years thereafter. This year marks the 7th follow up, the cute and candid 7-year-olds are now 56…and after 49 years, the personalities and social statuses haven’t skewed much.

Fresh Air’s Terry Gross spoke with the director, Michael Apted, and one of the 14 subjects, Nick Hitchon, on their experience with the series and thoughts on the latest installment. Listen to the interview here.

“[T]he idea was that we would get some 7-year-old children from different backgrounds — from rich backgrounds, from poor backgrounds, from rural backgrounds … and have them talk about their lives … and see whether that told us anything. And of course it did, because it was both very funny and also chilling, showing that, in fact, the class system was very active, and that people in certain backgrounds had a real vision of their future, and others really didn’t know what day it was.”

Also worth reading:

○ They Grow Up, but They Remain a Lifetime Pursuit [NY Times]

What “56 UP” Reveals [New Yorker]

Deadliest Jobs in America

In All Things Considered, Health, International, NPR on January 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Two neat graphics from Planet Money:

Deadliest Jobs in America

What Americans Do For Work



Chicago’s Cold War Missile Launch Sites

In Chicago, History, International, NPR, Politics, WBEZ on January 23, 2013 at 5:40 pm

WBEZ in Chicago recently launched Curious City, where Chicagoans submit their curiosities about the city and surrounding area – and CC does their best to answer. Recent inquiries have included “did Al Capone really have secret tunnels throughout the suburbs?” and  “where does all the Lincoln Park Zoo animal waste go?” (I’d never thought about it, but was indeed curious for the answer).

This week, Curious City discusses the question “What happened to the Nike Missile sites around Chicago?” During the Cold War, Chicago had several missile launch sites scattered about the lakefront, including at Belmont Harbor. The story of the Nike Missiles, how they got here and where they went, is a fascinating piece of forgotten Chicago history.

IFC Radar Towers at Promontory Point, 55th St & South Shore Drive[Courtesy of Michael Epperson /]

IFC Radar Towers at Promontory Point, 55th St & South Shore Drive
[Courtesy of Michael Epperson /]

1961 map of Chicago missile sites []

1961 map of Chicago missile sites

Necks for Sex

In International, NPR, Travel on January 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm

A quick read on “necking” in the male giraffe community. Now this would have been neat (traumatizing??) to see on a school zoo trip.

From ‘Make Me Fat’ app to ‘Make Me Asian’…yes, someone approved this

In International, NPR, Pop Culture, Technology on January 18, 2013 at 12:33 am

This is one of those ideas that you can’t believe went through many rounds of  ‘OK’s…i yi yi.

“”Make Me Asian,” a smartphone app that drew the ire of Asian-American activists for what they say are stereotypical depictions, is no longer available on the Google Play Store.” Read story here.

A screenshot from the "Make me Asian" app page in the Google Play store. The app is no longer available. [ play]

A screenshot from the “Make me Asian” app page in the Google Play store. The app is no longer available. [ play]

“…It’s circulating in the rodent reservoirs”

In Health, International, NPR, Science, Travel on January 17, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Well this is comforting. Hear microbiologist Elisabeth Carniel discuss the reemergence of the plague.

A copper engraving from 1656 shows a plague doctor in Rome wearing a protective suit and a mask. / Artwork by Paul Furst /

A copper engraving from 1656 shows a plague doctor in Rome wearing a protective suit and a mask. / Artwork by Paul Furst /

Now microbiologists have evidence that strains of the plague may be able to reactivate themselves and trigger new outbreaks — even after lying dormant for decades.

OFICINA DE EMPLEO…and a flash mob

In International, Music, NPR, Travel on January 14, 2013 at 10:02 pm

I’m just as sick of flash mobs as you are…but the setting, timing, and song choice for this one…you can’t help but smile.

“Spanish unemployment tops 26 percent, and most economists forecast that rate will get worse before it gets better.”