Washington State Strikes Down Death Penalty, Citing Racial Bias

The Washington Supreme Court has struck down the state's death penalty, saying that it is imposed arbitrarily and with racial bias. "We are confident that the association between race and the death penalty is not attributed to random chance," the justices wrote in a majority opinion. Gov. Jay Inslee issued a moratorium on the death penalty in Washington in 2014, and on Thursday he called the opinion a "hugely important moment in our pursuit for equal and fair application of justice." Thursday...

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crowd at Bryce Jordan Center
Emily Reddy / WPSU

In State College on Thursday, some 12,000 people turned out for the memorial of long-time Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Mourners trekked in through the rain to fill Bryce Jordan Center for the memorial.

Paterno statue with crowd
Emily Reddy / WPSU

A steady stream of mourners visited the bronze Joe Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium yesterday. They went to pay homage to the legendary Penn State football coach.

Most visitors stood and contemplated the statue of Joe Paterno in silence. A few at a time, some walked up to the statue and added candles, flowers, hand-written notes, and Penn State gear to the growing pool of offerings at his feet. By mid-afternoon, someone had draped an American flag over Paterno’s upraised arm. A rosary hung from his other hand. And he wore a blue and white striped Penn State scarf.

Daryl Gregory lives in State College and writes fantasy and science fiction novels.  His new book is a collection of short stories called "Unpossible and Other Stories."

This I Believe: I Believe In Bananagrams

Sep 8, 2011

“Take a letter. Okay, take another. Ha! Take a letter!” We all groan, looking at our Z’s ,K’s and Q’s seriously piling up. We exchange looks with each other that say, “Now how is this fair?” while my mom happily continues to build her ultimate crossword. When the tiles are finally gone, my mom throws her hands in the air and yells “WOOO HOOOO!” That was one of the many times that my mom had beaten our butts at Bananagrams, and the feeling of relief that the round of humiliation was over wasn’t unfamiliar. But then, of course, someone says, “Who's in for another round?

This I Believe: I Believe In Second Impressions

Apr 14, 2011

I was just shy of 17 the first time my brother Daniel introduced me to his girlfriend. Her name was Kristen, and I hated her immediately. But my brother loved her. Granted, I may not have known what love was, but in my teenage years, love meant a brother who would rather be with his girlfriend than with his siblings. Call it what you want *cough* jealously *cough*, but I wasn’t happy.

This I Believe: I Believe Life Should Be "Pun"derful

Mar 24, 2011

One morning, I called the local barbershop to make an appointment. Unfortunately, the barber was all booked up for the day. 

"Well, this is a hairy situation," I said to my girlfriend as I hung up the phone. She replied, "They certainly left you stranded." 

Call me a pundit, a glutton for punishment, or just a "pun"derful guy…I believe in puns. 

You want to spice up any conversation, here's some sage advice. Have a little fun with it. That's why it's called a “play on words” after all. 

This I Believe: I Believe In Eating My Convictions

Mar 10, 2011
Essayist Lyndsie Wszola.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

I believe in eating my convictions. When I was twelve, I stopped eating meat because I liked animals and didn't want to hurt them. My grandmother saw this decision as a personal betrayal.  

Tim Ziegler next to construction sign on dirt road.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Marcellus shale drilling across Pennsylvania has expanded tremendously in the last couple of years. To extract the natural gas, companies drill straight down about 5,000 feet then shoot highly-pressured water mixed with chemicals and sand vertically through the shale to release the gas. It’s called hydrofracturing, or “fracking.” The whole process requires heavy equipment and millions of gallons of water to be trucked in over roads built to carry passenger cars.

Penn State professor Alex Hristov
Emily Reddy / WPSU

It’s feeding time at an experimental dairy barn not far from Beaver stadium. A big square machine on wheels spits a pile of hay in front of each cow on one side of the barn, and lab assistant Chan Hee Lee pours a bucket of dried green leaf bits on top.

As the feeding machine finishes up and rolls out of the barn, Alex Hristov says they tried a lot of things before they found oregano reduced cows’ methane output.

“We started with essential oils,” Hristov said. “Lavender, mint. Citrus, onion, anything, you name it.

So why is Hristov focused on cutting methane?

This I Believe: I Believe In Remembering

Aug 12, 2010

I sometimes forget I have an older sister. She passed away before I was born, but that doesn't mean I don't have a sister. I didn't know about her until I was 12 years old. But now I think of her often.

Shortly before we moved to the United States from Kirgizstan, on New Year’s Day, my dad pulled me aside and told me we had to go visit a “special little person.” My dad took a deep breath and told me about the short life of my older sister.

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NPR Stories

Lisa Spinelli loves small children — their innocence, their enthusiasm, above all their promise. But The Kindergarten Teacher's protagonist, achingly played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, knows that most 5-year-olds don't grow up to be particularly creative or even interesting. Exhibit A: herself.

The second Civil War will be fought over Thanksgiving. That's the devilish concept at the heart of The Oath, the new dark comedy from Ike Barinholtz that imagines families tearing at each other's throats over the latest machinations of the U.S. government. It doesn't have to imagine too hard. Written and filmed in a white-hot rage over the last year, The Oath barely bothers to mask the inspiration for its dystopia.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi vowed this week to demand President Trump's tax returns if Democrats win control of the House of Representatives next month.

Pelosi, seeking to regain her gavel as House speaker after elections in November, told The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board that the move "is one of the first things we'd do — that's the easiest thing in the world. That's nothing."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Human Retinas Grown In A Dish Reveal Origin Of Color Vision

In order to see the red of a sunset or the green of spring leaves, developing human eyes need to get the right hormone at the right time. That's the finding of a team of scientists who studied how color vision develops using hundreds of human retinas grown in the lab. The discovery, published Thursday in the journal Science , could help accelerate current efforts to cure colorblindness. It could also lead to new treatments for diseases including macular degeneration, the leading cause of...

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Michael Weakens After Historic Slam Into Florida Panhandle

Updated at 5:30 a.m. ET Thursday Tropical Storm Michael is weakening as it churns across south-central Georgia. On Wednesday, Michael was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the continental U.S. in more than a quarter-century, according to the National Hurricane Center . At least one person has died from complications related to the storm. Gadsden County, Fla., Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Anglie Hightower told NPR the man was killed after a tree fell through the roof of his home. In...

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Easy DNA Identifications With Genealogy Databases Raise Privacy Concerns

Police in California made headlines this spring when they charged a former police officer with being the Golden State Killer, a man who allegedly committed a series of notorious rapes and murders in the 1970s and '80s. Authorities revealed they used DNA from a publicly available genealogy website to crack the case. Since then, police around the country have started doing the same sort of thing to solve other cold cases. That prompted Yaniv Erlich, the chief science officer at the Israeli...

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A Woman's Rage: Songs About Being Fed Up

Some anniversaries are hard to celebrate. How should we greet the arrival of October, a year after the stories broke initiating the reckoning that soon became known as #MeToo? Since The New York Times and The New Yorker published their exposés — on Oct. 5 and Oct. 10 of last year, respectively — of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein's long career as an alleged serial rapist, a new nationwide discussion has formed about sexual assault, abuse and harassment. Often, this ongoing reckoning feels...

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FACT CHECK: Trump's False Claims On 'Medicare For All'

USA Today published an opinion column by President Trump Wednesday in which the president falsely accused Democrats of trying to "eviscerate" Medicare, while defending his own record of protecting health care coverage for seniors and others. The column — published just weeks ahead of the midterm elections — underscores the political power of health care to energize voters. But it makes a number of unsubstantiated claims. Here are 5 points to know 1. The political context: Health care has...

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Chazelle's 'First Man' Chronicles Personal Losses Behind Armstrong's 'Giant Leap'

On July 20, 1969, an estimated 530 million people watched on live television as Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong became the first human to step upon the surface of the moon. Nearly 50 years later, Academy Award-winning director Damien Chazelle revisits Armstrong's "giant leap for mankind" — but with a more intimate lens. First Man , starring Ryan Gosling, focuses on the personal sacrifices behind Armstrong's monumental step. Chazelle, whose previous films include La La Land and Whiplash ,...

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Father-Daughter Pilots Take To The Sky For Albuquerque's Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

One of the most iconic and colorful festivals of the Southwest is underway this week in New Mexico. Each year, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta draws hundreds of hot air balloons from around the world, and for some like pilots Troy and Savannah Bradley its a family affair. Here & Now s Peter ODowd speaks with the father-daughter duo about the event. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Democrats Enter Campaign's Final Stretch Flush With Cash

Not so long ago — the administration of President George W. Bush — $1 million could get you elected to Congress. Now, four weeks from Election Day, Democrats say 60 of their candidates raised that much or more , just in the last three months. Fueled by an energetic base of small donors, Democrats are going into the final stretch of the election with a substantial financial advantage, erasing Republicans' typical fundraising edge. The money is flowing to unlikely districts and is frequently...

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Three Pulitzer Prize-Winning Historians Aim To Put American Politics In Context

It's hard to make time for history books when there is so much history crashing down on us every single day — and especially when that history is divisive, aggressive and seemingly never-ending. Case in point: This book review was due a week ago. Rather than finish this assignment, I spent the week in Senate hallways and hearing rooms, watching in real time as the most contentious Supreme Court confirmation in a generation turned into a national flashpoint on sexual assault and gender...

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Light And Dark, Characters Shine In 'Blanca & Roja'

Sisters Blanca and Roja del Cisne have always known that one of them is doomed to become a swan. It's been this way for generations and generations of their family — there is always a "good" sister who will live out her human life, and the other, darker sister, who will fly away, never to see her family again. The strange and magical nature of their family keeps them apart from the rest of the town where they live, and it's so difficult for them to assimilate that their parents eventually...

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Emotional Support Squirrel A No-Go On Frontier Flight

Jokes aside about flying squirrels, nuts served on planes and bushy-tailed passengers, squirrels and planes do not actually mix. At least not on Tuesday at Orlando International Airport, where an unidentified passenger hadn't gotten the memo. She boarded her Cleveland-bound Frontier Airlines flight toting a cage containing the furry occupant. She did her due diligence by noting on her reservation that she would be bringing an emotional support animal, Frontier said in a statement. She even...

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'Florida,' 'Heartland' Among National Book Awards Finalists

The selections were winnowed down from 1,637 books. On Wednesday, the National Book Foundation announced the 25 books that remain in the running for the National Book Awards, now in its 69th year. The writers come from such places as Pittsburgh, Norway, Iran and Poland, and many of them have delved into some of the most pressing conversations of our time: racism, masculinity, addiction, the destruction of indigenous culture, class divides and corporations. And for the first time since the...

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WPSU's Fall Fundraising 2nd Pre-Drive Challenge!

Many thanks to everyone who helped WPSU make our first cake & icing challenge! Now a 2nd challenge is in effect: we raise another $10,000, it's capped with $5,000 by 3 anonymous donors!

Listen to Morning Edition, weekdays from 5:00am to 9:00am & Weekend Edition, Saturday & Sunday from 8:00am to 10:00am on WPSU-FM.

The Great American Read

PBS asked Americans to name their best-loved novel, and they've compiled a list of the top 100. Hear WPSU listeners make a case for their favorites, then vote for yours at pbs.org/greatamericanread.

Get The New Free WPSU App!

Take public media anywhere you go with the WPSU mobile app available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android and Amazon devices.

NPR's "Planet Money/How I Built This"

Saturdays at 7:00am: “Planet Money” and “How I Built This” are two half-hour shows that together make a one-hour weekly program on business and entrepreneurship from NPR.

The NPR Politics Show: Saturdays At Noon, Through Midterms Week

The Politics Show is the definitive guide to the 2018 midterms: a one-hour roundtable discussion airing for nine weeks that presents a deep dive on the major races & issues.

Get your NPR News Fix This Weekend!

Listen to the latest from NPR News this weekend on Weekend Edition, Saturday & Sunday mornings, 8:00-10:00am; and All Things Considered, Saturday & Sunday evenings, 5:00-6:00pm on WPSU-FM.

It's Folk Season

The Folk Show is back on WPSU-FM Saturday afternoons from 1-5pm, now through December, when the Metropolitain Opera Radio Season begins again.

Keystone Crossroads: Rust or Revival? explores the urgent challenges pressing upon Pennsylvania's cities. WPSU is a contributing station.

Turn Your Old Car into Public Radio!

Got an old car? The Car Talk Vehicle Donation Program will take it off your hands & turn it into great public radio on WPSU-FM. To donate your car, visit the link below or call 1-866-789-8627. Thanks!

WPSU's Community Calendar

Find out what's happening in Central & Northern PA on WPSU's Community Calendar! Submit your group's event at least 2 weeks in advance, and you might hear it announced on WPSU-FM.

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Reasons To Stay

In case you missed WPSU's Regional Murrow Award-winning series, "Reasons to Stay," which explores what keeps people in central Pa, check it out at the link below.