Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 2:13 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.
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.
Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 12:49 pm
Sometimes you just know that a band isn't going to have to wait long before it reaches the stardom you think it deserves. Earlier this year, a friend sent me the new album from Shovels & Rope before it had been released. I'd requested it after seeing a video for "Birmingham," which shows the duo's members — Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent — playing the song as their dog runs around. I had to watch the video again just to confirm that the song was as great at I thought it might be. The second time confirmed it, and I immediately started playing it on my show.
Recently, I was listening to a new tribute album covering the songs of Fleetwood Mac, and thought once again how dreadful most tribute albums are: They don't add much to the legacy of the artists being saluted, while inadvertently freezing vital old music in an amber of sentimentality. Then I turned to When I'm President, an album of new songs by Ian Hunter.
Syrian rebels captured the Bab al-Salam crossing on the border with Turkey in July. Large numbers of refugees fleeing northern Syria for Turkey come to the crossing, which is orderly and well-run, at least for now.
Credit Vedat Xhymshiti / AFP/Getty Images
The Syrian army has been driven out of some towns in the country's northwest. But the Syrian Air Force has struck back in rebel-held places like Azaz, where at least 20 people were killed in this bombing raid on Aug. 15, according to residents.
Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 6:32 am
The Bab al-Salam border crossing, on Syria's northern border with Turkey, has settled into an orderly routine.
Back in July, rebel brigades wrested this border post in Syria's strategic Aleppo province from President Bashar Assad's army in a fierce battle. Now, passports are stamped and cars inspected by the rebels — polite, young, bearded men who wear mismatched military uniforms or civilian clothes.
While the military confrontation was a joint operation, bringing together many rebel brigades, the Northern Storm brigade retains exclusive control of the border post.
"All three Detroit automakers saw double-digit sales increases in August compared with the same month last year," the Detroit Free Press writes. The gains "show that the automotive industry remains one of the economy's few bright spots," it adds.
A growing number of companies are changing their health insurance plans to include benefits for transgender employees.
Yet even though professional groups such as the American Medical Association recommend coverage of services for transgender people —who identify with a gender other than the one they were born as—many companies continue to hold back. One of their big worries is cost.