All Things Considered for Friday, January 24, 2014

Melissa Block speaks with our regular political commentators, EJ Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution and David Brooks of The New York Times. They discuss the latest on the charges faced by former Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell and the upcoming State of the Union address.
Las Vegas may seem to be an unlikely place for Republicans to gather to nominate their next presidential candidate. That's exactly why city leaders are getting such a head start on their pitch to do just that.

Firefighters Search The Ashes After Nursing Home Blaze

Firefighters are painstakingly combing the frozen rubble of a nursing home in eastern Quebec. The seniors' residence was quickly engulfed in flames shortly after midnight on Thursday, killing at least five residents and trapping dozens of others.

Tickety-Tock! An Even More Accurate Atomic Clock

Scientists have unveiled an atomic clock that sets new records in timekeeping — it could run 5 billion years without gaining or losing a second. That sort of precision is not trivial, researchers say. Clocks have ripple effects for all kinds of technology, from cellphones to GPS and more.
Not dead yet! That's the news from the New Madrid fault line in the Midwest. For years geologists thought it was winding down seismic activity, but a new study says it's not. Melissa Block talks with seismologist Susan Hough of the U.S. Geological Survey, who co-authored the study.
Friday was the first day of negotiations at the Syrian peace conference. There were no direct talks, however. Instead, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi shuttled between government and opposition delegations in separate rooms.

There's A Whole Lot Of Waste Outside Beirut's Gates

Lebanon's stylish capital is looking shabby. Mounds of stinking garbage are piled in Beirut's streets, byproducts of an ongoing political crisis that has paralyzed the government. Angry locals have staged a sit-in outside an overflowing landfill, and waste disposal has ground to a halt. The protesters — and the trash — could be there awhile.
What exactly does The Recording Academy do besides stage the annual Grammys telecast? The non-profit has been criticized for how it spends its money — and for how it hands out awards.
We call babies "bundles of joy," but decades of social science research show that kids don't make parents happier. In her new book, Jennifer Senior takes a closer look at how we quantify joy.
Much has been made of the need for young, healthy people to sign up if the Affordable Care Act is going to work. But it may be that the key word here is not young, but healthy. Insurance companies get paid more for older people, regardless of their health.

Texas Sets Up Roadblock For Health Care Navigators

Texas this week approved regulations that require training and background checks for people who help consumers navigate the Affordable Care Act. But the federal government already requires this kind of trainign. KUHF's Carrie Feibel reports that Texas officials say the rules protect the consumer, while others say it is yet another way to thwart Obamacare.
Massive protests continue to escalate in Ukraine, as demonstrators extend their barricades further into Kiev. At least three protesters have been killed in clashes with riot police so far, and protests are beginning to spread into the western regions of the country. Corey Flintoff offers an update on the unrest from the center of Kiev.
Stocks turned sharply lower on Friday. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indices continued to tumble for the second straight day. The drop is part of a global selloff, as investors focus on the growing financial turmoil in the developing world.
This year, one lucky little company's professionally produced commercial will air during the Super Bowl's third quarter — all free — thanks to a contest held by the software firm Intuit. The four finalists include an organic egg farm and a natural compost supplier. For Intuit, it's a smart way to drum up more business.
The National Transportation Safety Board is calling for the swift enactment of tough new standards on trains carrying crude oil. With the huge increase in oil shipped by rail across North America, safety officials warn another major disaster could be looming.
Expectant moms are eating for two, but that isn't a license to indulge. A convincing body of research suggests that what happens in utero can set the stage for obesity. And a new study in mice suggests one way that poor maternal diet might play a role: by rewiring a part of the brain that regulates appetite.

Movie Reviews: Gloria & Stranger By The Lake

Bob Mondello reviews two foreign films about people struggling to make connections: the Chilean drama Gloria, and the French thriller Stranger by the Lake.
In a few weeks, the best athletes in the U.S. will be walking the Sochi runway wearing quilted sweaters and peacoats — but will they win "Best Dressed"? The uniforms, unveiled this week by Ralph Lauren, have been received with a mixed reaction. Melissa Block checks in with ESPN blogger Paul Lukas about Winter Olympic fashion.
Welcome to awards season. Between the Golden Globes, the SAG awards, and the upcoming Oscars, it's enough to make anyone question America's fixation on movies. But author Kevin Roose says that Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins, a novel with a funny take on the movie industry, shows that there's something important going on behind the glitz.

A Gem From The Archives: We Revisit A Mac Doubter

To mark the 30-year anniversary of Apple's introduction of the Macintosh computer, we dug into our archives for our interview with Peter McWilliams about the new device. Back in 1984, McWilliams, author of The Personal Computer Book, doubted that the Mac would catch on with a wide audience.
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