All Things Considered on Four Corners Public Radio

Weekday Afternoons from 4 to 6
Melissa Block, Michele Norris, Robert Siegel

Two-hour in depth news program from National Public Radio.

Local Host(s): 
Jim Belcher
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Composer ID: 
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Science
1:35 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Powerful But Fragile: The Challenge Of Lithium Batteries

A United Airlines 787 Dreamliner arrives at O'Hare international Airport in Chicago in November. Aviation authorities in the U.S. and abroad have grounded the planes because of problems with batteries on board.
Nam Y. Huh AP

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 5:58 pm

Boeing announced late Friday that it is postponing deliveries of its new 787 Dreamliner because of problems with its big batteries. Aviation authorities in the U.S. and abroad grounded the new jetliners after those batteries failed in two planes operated by Japanese airlines, including one battery that burned while the plane was on the ground.

These lithium-ion batteries are new to jetliners. They're powerful and lightweight, and, unfortunately, they're also fragile.

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Shots - Health News
4:10 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

It's Legal For Some Insurers To Discriminate Based On Genes

Slides containing DNA sit in a bay waiting to be analyzed by a genome sequencing machine.
David Paul Morris Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 8:48 am

Getting the results of a genetic test can be a bit like opening Pandora's box. You might learn something useful or interesting, or you might learn that you're likely to develop an incurable disease later on in life.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
4:10 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Homebuilding Is Booming, But Skilled Workers Are Scarce

New homebuilding reached a 4 1/2 year high in December, welcome news for an industry that lost 2 million jobs during the downturn. Despite those job losses, the sector is experiencing a labor shortage in some parts of the U.S.
Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 4:29 pm

The construction industry in the U.S. is staging a comeback. In one indicator, the Commerce Department announced Thursday that new homebuilding has reached its highest level in 4 1/2 years.

While that's a promising sign for the industry, more than 2 million construction jobs have been lost in the sector since employment hit its peak. While some might expect that means plenty of people are ready to fill the new jobs, many markets around the country are actually experiencing a shortage of construction workers.

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Environment
3:43 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Understanding Climate Change, With Help From Thoreau

Researchers in Massachusetts and Wisconsin are comparing modern flower blooming data with notes made by Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold. The sight of irises blooming during a Boston winter helped spur the research.
Darlyne A. Murawski Getty Images/National Geographic Creative

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 10:35 am

Modern scientists trying to understand climate change are engaged in an unlikely collaboration — with two beloved but long-dead nature writers: Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold.

The authors of Walden and A Sand County Almanac and last spring's bizarrely warm weather have helped today's scientists understand that the first flowers of spring can continue to bloom earlier, as temperatures rise to unprecedented levels.

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It's All Politics
3:40 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Some House Republicans Deny Risk Of Default In Debt Ceiling Debate

Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp, shown in June 2012, says the U.S. won't default unless the president chooses to let it happen.
John Hanna AP

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 4:10 pm

The federal government hit its debt limit at the end of last year. Since then, the Treasury Department has been taking what it calls "extraordinary measures" to keep the government funded and avoid defaulting on U.S. obligations.

But those measures will run out sometime between the middle of February and early March. Then it's up to Congress to raise the debt limit.

House Republicans are wrestling with the best strategy at a retreat Thursday and Friday in Virginia. And some have been denying that there is a risk of default if the debt ceiling isn't raised.

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All Tech Considered
3:38 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Bump On The Road For Driverless Cars Isn't Technology, It's You

Car companies are picking up automobile concepts such as this Lexus SL 600 Integrated Safety driverless research vehicle, shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January in Las Vegas.
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 11:07 pm

When you watch science fiction movies, you notice there are two things that seem like we will get in the future — a silver jumpsuit and driverless cars.

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U.S.
2:57 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Aurora Theater's Reopening Sparks Mixed Emotions

Workers dismantle the fence around the remodeled Century theater in Aurora, Colo., in preparation for the cinema's reopening Thursday. The theater's owner sent 2,000 invitations to the private event, being held for victims' families and first responders.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 4:10 pm

The Aurora, Colo., theater where 12 people were killed in a mass shooting last summer reopens Thursday, with a private event for victims' families and first responders.

But some families are giving the event a pass, arguing that the decision to reopen is insensitive. Jessica Watts lives just a few miles from the theater where her cousin, Jonathan Blunk, and 11 others were killed and dozens more wounded.

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NPR Story
2:42 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Many Of Nation's Mayors Receptive To Obama's Ideas On Reducing Gun Violence

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 4:10 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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NPR Story
2:42 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Woman Behind 'Dear Abby' Guided Readers Through Personal Crises

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 4:10 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Her real name was Pauline Friedman Phillips, and she was one of the most widely read advice columnists in the world. You probably recognize her as Dear Abby.

Phillips died yesterday at a hospital in Minneapolis. She was 94 and had struggled for many years with Alzheimer's.

NPR's Neda Ulaby has this remembrance.

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Shots - Health News
1:52 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Anonymity In Genetic Research Can Be Fleeting

Each strand of DNA is written in a simple language composed of four letters: A, T, C and G. Your code is unique and could be used to find you.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 3:12 pm

People who volunteer for medical research usually expect to remain anonymous. That includes people who donate their DNA for use in genetic studies.

But now researchers have shown that in some cases, they can trace research subjects' DNA back to them with ease. And they say the risk of being identified from genetic information will only increase.

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