NPR News

Revolutionary Oil Skimmer Nets $1 Million X Prize

Oct 18, 2011

A breakthrough in oil cleanup technology allows crews to skim spilled oil off the water's surface at a much faster rate. The new device wasn't developed by Exxon, BP or any of the major oil companies — it's the work of Elastec/American Marine, based in Illinois. And the design won the company a rich award from the X Prize Foundation.

Oil is attracted to plastic. And water is not. That, in essence, is the basis of Elastec's new skimmer.

New York's political titans are clashing over the future of a controversial nuclear plant north of New York City.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to close the aging Indian Point nuclear plant because of safety concerns. But the plant, which wants to extend its original licenses for another 20 years, has some powerful allies of its own.

Sometimes in sports, like in the rest of life, stuff just hangs around because, well, it's always been there. Such is the best-of-seven game series to determine our champions of professional baseball, basketball and hockey.

A seven-game series is a wretched excess, and I'm going to tell you why, but nobody in charge is going to pay any attention to me because a best-of-seven series has just always been the way of the world.

A task force is evaluating the risk posed by a sunken oil tanker, the SS Montebello. It went to the bottom after being attacked by a Japanese submarine during World War II. State and federal officials want to know if the ship is still carrying its cargo of oil, and if that oil could escape.

At stake is a coastline known for its stunning scenery and wildlife sanctuaries. The task force was put together a couple of years ago at the urging of state Sen. Sam Blakeslee.

Must Watch Video: Quantum Levitation

Oct 18, 2011

This is coolest thing we've seen in a long time:

The video was posted to YouTube two days ago by the Association of Science-Technology Centers and has already garnered 641,230 views. But what is going on here? It's quantum levitation, dude!

The first detailed analysis of Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan found that it would cut taxes for Americans making $200,000 or more a year and raise taxes for those making less than $200,000 a year.

The analysis was released today by the independent Tax Policy Center, a joint venture by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute.

In two interviews, today, NPR's Robert Siegel got reaction from Hamas and the Israeli government over a prisoner swap deal that freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.

When Robert asked Osama Hamdan, a senior official from the Hamas international relations department, what the deal meant for future relations between Hamas and Israel, Hamdan said it "depends on the Israeli side."

Judges announced that Julian Barnes' The Sense Of An Ending was awarded the 2011 Man Booker Prize. The Leicester-born Barnes was a Booker finalist three times before: in 1984 for his novel Flaubert's Parrot; in 1998 for England, England and in 2005 for Arthur and George

The AP reports:

Judges announced the winner of the 50,000 pound ($82,000) prize Tuesday at a ceremony in London.

How to explain Herman Cain's ascent among Republican presidential candidates?

Perhaps a partial reason is that he so far evokes more positive than negative responses among Republicans and GOP leaning independents in a Pew Research Center/Washington Post survey than two other highly touted candidates in the race, Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

No more blankets in the baby's bed. Not even when it's cold outside. No bumpers, pillows, or toys. All these accoutrements are hazards for newborns and infants, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has released new expanded guidelines for reducing deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, and other causes including suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia.