Smoking has its risks, but in California higher prices for health insurance probably won't be among them.
The federal health law allows states to charge smokers up to 50 percent more for a health plan, but a bill moving forward in the California Legislature would prevent that from happening.
The Affordable Care Act is supposed to remove discrimination in the pricing of health insurance for things like gender and medical condition. Critics say a tobacco surcharge creates a new category of discrimination against smokers.
With instant messages buzzing, emails pinging and texts ringing, how can employers increase productivity in the workplace? Software companies are tackling the problem, tracking employees' computer time to find ways to improve their efficiency.
NPR's Yuki Noguchi tried RescueTime to measure her productivity. Here are the results.
Even when people think they're buckling down, studies show the average office worker wastes over a third of the day. There's Facebook, of course, and the email from a friend with a YouTube link. After all that, is it time to go get coffee?
Worker pay is the most expensive line item in the budget for most businesses, which means billions of dollars are going to waste.
But here's the silver lining: It turns out lack of productivity presents a big business opportunity.
Joe Hruska is pretty blunt about how much work anyone does in a typical day.
Poacher-turned-conservationist Karamoy Maramis, who works at Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park in Sulawesi, holds a maleo, a bird that exists in nature only on the Indonesian island.
Credit Rebecca Davis / NPR
Fishermen arrive on Wakatobi island in Sulawesi waters off eastern Indonesia in 2009. In the 19th century, the island's rich and unique biodiversity helped Wallace understand how species adapted to their environment — and how regions are defined by the animals that live in them.
Credit Aek Berry / AFP/Getty Images
Maleos are a prime example of an animal that has adapted to its environment, using geothermal energy to incubate their eggs rather than body heat. They dig into the earth, which is heated by hot springs, are able to sense spots that are exactly 86 to 97 degrees, and lay their eggs there.
There are still relatively few women in tech. Maria Klawe wants to change that. As president of Harvey Mudd College, a science and engineering school in Southern California, she's had stunning success getting more women involved in computing.
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 4:00 pm
A civilian cargo plane crashed in Afghanistan, killing all seven crew members, the U.S. military said Monday.
NPR's Tom Bowman is reporting on it for our Newscast team. He says:
"Officials say the crash killed all seven crew members. And there is no word yet on their nationalities.
"Emergency responders are still on the scene of the crash, at the sprawling base north of Kabul. Officials are still trying to determine the reason for the crash but say there's no indication of hostile fire.
Iceland has become the first country to elect members of parliament from the Pirate Party — an international online freedom movement.
Three Pirate Party MPs will take seats following historic polls in Iceland that saw a new coalition come to power on a promise of easing economic austerity measures.
According to The Associated Press:
"The conservative Independence Party and rural-based Progressive Party — who governed Iceland for decades before the 2008 [economic] crash — each had 19 seats in Iceland's 63-seat parliament, the Althingi. ...
Three popular pesticides will soon be illegal in the European Union, where officials hope the change helps restore populations of honey bees, vital to crop production, to healthy levels. The new ban will be enacted in December.
"I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over €22 billion ($28.8 billion) annually to European agriculture, are protected," said EU Health and Consumer Commissioner Tonio Borg.