Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 8:04 am
Pulling out a porcupine quill is painful and slow, as many a dog discovers to its dismay after tangling with the big rodent. But those tenacious quills are inspiring efforts to develop better medical devices, including less painful needles.
It turns out that no one had really picked apart why it's so hard to remove a porcupine quill. Barbs, sure. But the barbs not only stick like mad. They also make it much easier for the quill to pierce skin and flesh.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 8:06 am
Just as the name implies, Clostridium difficile is a difficult pathogen to beat. It causes a nasty infection in your gut, and it's often resistant to many antibiotics.
But C. difficile got even more troublesome about 10 years ago when a particularly virulent form of the bug cropped up in hospitals across the U.S and was no longer vulnerable to one of the most common classes of antibiotics.
While North Korea has long struggled with dire food shortages, the United Nations now assesses its food situation as being the best in many years. But NPR has had unusual access to five North Koreans in China, who paint a dramatically different, and alarming, picture.
Even as North Korea mourned its leader Kim Jong Il last December, one surprising thing was on people's minds: fish. State-run television showed people lining up in shops; the dear leader's last wish, apparently, was to provide fish to his people.
As the National Hockey League lockout drags into its 86th day, which featured news that more games have been cancelled including the All-Star game, some of the league's biggest stars are getting plenty of action back in their home countries.
In Russia, major NHL players such as Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin are giving a boost to the fledgling KHL—the Kontinental Hockey League.
Russian NHL players are scattered throughout the KHL teams that still carry names from the Soviet era when Russia dominated world hockey.
Developers of smartphone and tablet apps aimed at children have done little in the past year to give parents "the information they need to determine what data is being collected from their children, how it is being shared, or who will have access to it," the Federal Trade Commission reports.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we'll hear about elections in Ghana. We'll talk about whether the election of President John Dramani Mahama to a new term confirms the country's reputation for leadership in democratic processes, or perhaps undermines it. That's later.
We want to turn now from Ghana to Nigeria, where there is disturbing news. The mother of Nigeria's finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was kidnapped this weekend. Police say they've launched a massive search to find her.