Just off the train from the Newport Folk Festival, Bob Boilen jumps at the chance to share a song by The Oh Hellos, his favorite discovery of the weekend. On "The Valley," the Texas band thunders and strums its way to a glorious sing-along chorus. Robin Hilton follows that with a premiere from Frazey Ford, whose soulful voice reinforces the celebratory mood of "September Fields."
Bob takes us in a different direction with Sun Kil Moon's devastating "Carissa," Mark Kozelek's autobiographical account of the freak accident that killed his cousin. Feeling the need to brighten the room a bit, Robin plays Fences' bouncy pop tune "Arrows," featuring a guest verse from Macklemore and production by Ryan Lewis.
Later in the show, Bob shares GOAT's "Hide From The Sun" before Robin plays new music from the full-throttle, jangly, punk rock trio Spider Bags.
Bob closes out the show with Zola Jesus' "Dangerous Days," a high-powered dance-rock tune that gives him the energy needed to pick up his suitcase and get home for some much-needed sleep.
If you want to hear more from the Newport Folk Festival, we've got sets from Jenny Lewis, Jeff Tweedy and lots more at our Newport Folk hub.
A jury has awarded former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura $1.8 million in a defamation suit against a deceased author.
The jury on Tuesday determined that Ventura was the figure described as a "celebrity" Navy SEAL in Chris Kyle's 2012 book American Sniper.
The SEAL was called "Scruff Face" in the book, but Kyle later identified him as Ventura, who became a professional wrestler and one-term independent governor after leaving the Navy.
Kyle wrote that in 2006 he had decked Ventura in a bar in California, after Ventura said that he hated America and that Navy SEALs "deserve to lose a few."
Ventura denied having said any such thing and said the account had hurt his career, as well as his standing among the community of SEALs. Kyle died last year but Ventura sued his estate.
"The verdict will tell the world Chris Kyle's story was a lie," David Bradley Olsen, Ventura's attorney, said. "One-point-five million people have bought the book. Millions more heard Fox TV trash Jesse Ventura because of it. And the story went viral on the Internet and will be there forever."
In testimony videotaped prior to his death, Kyle stood by his account.
"Legal experts had said Ventura had to clear a high legal bar to win, since as a public figure he had to prove 'actual malice,' " The Associated Press reports. "According to the jury instructions, Ventura had to prove with 'clear and convincing evidence' that Kyle either knew or believed what he wrote was untrue, or that he harbored serious doubts about its truth.
The jury voted 8-2 in favor of Ventura, awarding him $500,000 in defamation charges and $1.345 million for "unjust enrichment."
Jurors had been instructed to reach a unanimous verdict, but were unable to do so. Federal rules allow for split verdicts, if both sides agree.
"The decision came just a day after the jury sent a note to court saying it could not reach a verdict after five days of deliberation," Minnesota Public Radio reports. "U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle (no relation to Chris Kyle) told jurors to 'take one more shot' at coming to a consensus."
An American court has ordered U.S Marshals to seize $100 million worth of oil sitting in a tanker off the coast of Galveston, Texas. But that oil may never reach American shores.
The oil comes from Kurdistan, a semiautonomous region in northern Iraq. In recent weeks, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has been sending oil through a pipeline to Turkey and attempting to sell it overseas.
The hitch is that Iraq's central government says the oil belongs to the nation — a stance supported by the international oil market.
"We believe that Iraq's energy resources belong to the Iraqi people and certainly have long stated that it needs to go through the central government," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told Bloomberg News.
A court agreed with Iraq's claim late Monday night.
"You have to have a pretty strong appetite for litigation to buy Iraqi oil which comes from the KRG, because it is pretty clear to most parties that the marketing and export of oil from a country is a right which accrues to the national government," David Goldwyn, a former special envoy for international energy affairs at the State Department, told NPR's Jackie Northam recently.
That has interfered with Kurdish hopes of carrying out oil sales, and with them gaining more economic power and international recognition.
Four tankers carrying 4 million barrels of Kurdish oil have set sail from the Turkish port of Ceyhan since May, but only one shipment has been offloaded. The oil waiting near Galveston was intended for a company called Talmay Trading Inc., which is registered in the British Virgin Islands.
The American company that had been hired to offload the oil from the United Kalavrvta, AET Offshore Services, asked in a separate court filing for a restraining order so it could get out of the job. AET said it "would be placed at considerable risk if required to ... take possession of the cargo before those disputes and claims of ownership are resolved," according to Reuters.
As Jackie reported, Kurdish security forces, the peshmerga, now control major oil fields in northern Iraq. The territory may hold as much as 45 billion barrels of oil reserve.
But offloading and selling it is proving to be a difficult task.
"I think the KRG are in real trouble now because everything seems to have been laid on the hopes of making a breakthrough in sales, and they have been thwarted at each turn," Richard Mallinson, an analyst at the London-based research firm Energy Aspects, told The Wall Street Journal. "It does feel like their shot at getting into the market is exhausted."
It's not yet clear where the United Kalavrvta or the oil it's carrying will wind up.
"It wouldn't surprise me if it ends up sitting there for a little while or ends up going to another port," Jamie Webster, senior director of global oil markets for IHS, told the energy industry newsletter FuelFix.
A class of insecticides called neonicotinoids, which are used on a lot of big corn and soybean fields, have been getting a pretty bad rap lately.
Researchers have implicated these chemicals, which are similar to nicotine, as a contributor to the alarming decline of bee colonies. That led the European Union to place a moratorium on their use, and environmentalists want the U.S. to do the same.
In a study published July 24, researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey found that these chemicals are also leaching into streams and rivers in the Midwest — including the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. And that may be bad news for aquatic life in the region, the scientists say.
"We did the study because the use of the neonicotinoids has been increasing dramatically, especially in the Midwest," says Kathryn Kuivila, an environmental organic chemist with the USGS.
And since these chemicals are highly water soluble, it made sense to investigate whether they were present in the region's streams and rivers, Kuivila tells The Salt.
These pesticides aren't sprayed on. Instead, they're used to coat the seeds of many agricultural crops. But they still end up in the soil and then in the water that runs off farms.
Runoff transports the chemicals from the field to streams and rivers, and since they don't break down easily in the environment they can stick around in these bodies of water for long periods of time, the USGS study notes. And while they're not especially toxic to humans, they can harm a wide variety of insects. At certain concentrations, they can hurt other animals as well.
The USGS found three chemicals in particular to be especially prevalent throughout the region: clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid. Clothianidin was found in three quarters of the 79 water samples that the researchers gathered in 2013 at nine different stream sites. The highest concentration they found was over 250 nanograms per litre. That's 250 parts per trillion — it doesn't sound like a whole lot, but Kuivila says it may be enough to affect wildlife.
Mike Leggett, a director of environmental policy at CropLife America, the trade group representing biotechnology companies including Bayer CropScience and Syngenta — both big manufacturers these pesticides — released a statement pointing out that the concentrations USGS found were far below the Environmental Protection Agency's benchmarks.
"The highest levels detected were at least 40 times lower than benchmarks established by EPA to be protective of aquatic life, and most detections were up to 1,000 times below that level," he writes.
Indeed, by the EPA's benchmark, clothianidin is toxic to invertebrates who are chronically exposed to the chemical only at levels higher than 1,100 nanograms per litre.
But recent research suggests that lower levels of these chemicals could also be toxic to aquatic life — including aquatic insects. And a study published in Nature found a correlation between these insecticides and declining bird populations, perhaps because the the chemicals are killing off insects that the birds eat, or because the birds are eating insecticide-coated seeds.
Researchers are also unsure of how exposure to multiple neonicotinoids may affect organisms, Kuiliva notes. And they don't know to what extent a combination of these insecticides and other pesticides is hurting wildlife, she says.
And while a tiny amount of these chemicals may not kill certain animals, it can still harm them, says Christian Krupke, an entomologist at Purdue University who wasn't involved in the study. "An insect doesn't have to be dead to not be functioning," he says.
Neonicotinoids affect insects' nervous systems. An insect exposed to a small amount of one of these chemicals may get disoriented, and may not be able find food or defend itself from predators.
"There's a lot we don't know," he says, despite the fact that neonicotinoids came out in the 1980s and 90s. "Something as basic as how much is in the water has just been found out now."
A few weeks ago, we took a look at nonverbal greetings around the world. In Japan, they bow. Ethiopian men touch shoulders. And some in the Democratic Republic of the Congo do a type of head knock.
But the American fist bump stood apart from the rest.
Knocking knuckles was the only greeting we could find that signaled both victory and equality; neither bumper has the upper hand, so to speak.
But of many of our readers pointed out that bumping fists may have another superior quality: it's cleaner than a traditional handshake.
Now scientists in Wales have confirmed what these astute reader's already knew. You're much less likely to pass along bacteria when you bump fists than shake hands or high-five, biologists reported Monday in the American Journal of Infection Control.
The study was small. Only five pairs of people bumped, shook and slapped palms. But the findings were clear-cut. A moderately strong handshake transferred more than five times as much Escherichia coli bacteria onto a recipients hand than a fist bump, biologist David Whitworth and his colleague at Aberystwyth University found.
And that strong, sturdy handshake your grandpa taught you was even dirtier. It transferred nearly 10 times more bacteria than a fist bump.
The high-five fell between the two other greetings. Slapping palms, on average, passed along twice as much bacteria as the fist bump.
To quantify the cleanliness of each greeting, Whitworth and his colleague had volunteers put on a sterile glove and then dip their hands into a solution packed with bacteria. After the glove dried, each volunteer shook, bumped or high-fived another person wearing a clean glove. The scientists then measured the amount of E. coli on the recipient's hand.
In general, more microbes moved to the recipient when the greetings were longer, stronger and involved more skin-to-skin contact.
The bacteria used in the study were harmless. But Whitworth thinks the findings would also apply to pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
Many nasty microbes, such as Clostridium difficile and influenza, spread in clinics and hospitals through the hands of health care workers. And several infectious disease doctors have recently called for a ban on handshakes in hospitals.
But completely forbidding this classic greeting altogether at clinics may go too far, says Mary Lou Manning, of the Thomas Jefferson University School of Nursing in Philadelphia.
"We always have to take our cues from a patient," says Manning, who is the president-elect of the Association for Professionals in Infections Control. "If a patient extends his hand, I don't think I would refuse it. I would just wash my hands before and after."
And Manning definitely won't switch to bumping. "Fist bumping just seems more of an informal kind of greeting — a way to greet friends, not patients," she says. "I haven't been a fist bumper, and I don't intend to become one."
But she is a big fan of Whitworth's study. "I think it's fabulous," she says. "It's getting us all talking about the role of germ transmission from hands. I think awareness can potentially lead to behavior change and disease prevention."