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11:01 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

The Wisdom Of Trees (Leonardo Da Vinci Knew It)

Leonardo DaVinci noted that when trees branch, smaller branches have a precise, mathematical relationship to the branch they sprang from.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 12:15 pm

Hurricanes topple plenty of trees, but when you think about it, the more amazing thing is that many trees can stand up to these 100-mile-per-hour winds.

Now a French scientist has come up with an explanation for the resilience of trees. And astonishingly, the answer was first described by Leonardo da Vinci 500 years ago.

Leonardo noticed that when trees branch, smaller branches have a precise, mathematical relationship to the branch from which they sprang. Many people have verified Leonardo's rule, as it's known, but no one had a good explanation for it.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:01 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Singing Therapy Helps Stroke Patients Speak Again

Laurel Fontaine, 16, (left) and her twin sister Heather. When Laurel was 11 years old, she suffered a stroke that destroyed 80 percent of the left side of her brain. The singing therapy helped her regain the ability to speak.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 9:39 am

Debra Meyerson was hiking near Lake Tahoe 15 months ago when a stroke destroyed part of the left side of her brain, leaving her literally speechless. It happens to more than 150,000 Americans a year.

But now Meyerson is learning to talk again through an approach that trains the undamaged right side of her brain to "speak." Specifically, it's a region that controls singing.

For more than 100 years, it's been known that people who can't speak after injury to the speech centers on the left side of the brain can sing.

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It Was A Good Year For...
11:01 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

For Novak Djokovic, A Year To Celebrate In Tennis

In 2011, Novak Djokovic had just about the best year a male tennis player has ever had, including wins at three of the four Grand Slam tournaments.

"This is the athlete of the year," says Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated. "This is a brutal, brutal sport. This guy is playing on six continents, every surface....This is one of the all time great years in open tennis history."

This year, Djokovic also kept to a gluten-free diet. Must have been particularly difficult since his family's business is a pizza parlor.

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Around the Nation
3:12 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Bronx Family's Christmas Display Is 'So Bad, It's Good'

Onlookers gather in front of the Garabedian family home in the Bronx in this 2004 photo. The Garabedians have decorated their home for nearly four decades with lights and hundreds of animated figurines.
Mario Tama Getty Images

A few strings of lights and an inflatable Santa are enough for some people when it comes to holiday decorations. But not for the Garabedian family of the Bronx, whose over-the-top Christmas displays have been a traffic-snarling must-see for nearly four decades. And "traditional" is definitely not the right word for this holiday attraction.

The first giveaway might be the music the Garabedians play through speakers outside their home. Instead of a Christmas carol, you're more likely to hear a hit single from a singer like Engelbert Humperdinck.

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Around the Nation
3:08 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

For One Ala. Farmer, Workers Are Still Scarce

Earlier this year, Alabama passed a tough immigration law that prompted thousands of migrant workers to flee the state.

Shortly after, NPR spoke with Jamie Boatwright, a fourth-generation tomato farmer in Steele, Ala. When the law was passed, about 20 of Boatwright's farmhands — all of them from Mexico — left and his business was devastated.

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It Was A Good Year For...
1:16 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Instagram's Winning Recipe: Images And Social Media

Two iPhone screengrabs shows Instagram's filter mode, left, and a shared photo on the app, right.
iTunes

Originally published on Sat February 25, 2012 4:30 pm

There are a lot of photo apps out there for the iPhone. With most of them, you take a picture, put a filter on it and maybe add some lens blur. But many of them don't have a built-in way for you to share the photo.

"When we combined those two key ingredients, we came up with something that became Instagram," says Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, who is also one if its founders.

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Iraq
7:00 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Fears Renewed In Iraq With Wave Of Violence

After delivering mass, Monsignor Pius Kasha poses with security officials who are guarding the Syriac Catholic church in the Mansour neighborhood in Baghdad.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Sun December 25, 2011 8:44 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. Christian Iraqis in Baghdad celebrated Christmas mass today with prayer and music.

(SOUNDBITE OF CONGREGATION SINGING)

CORNISH: This, one week after the last U.S. forces left Iraq for good - a withdrawal that has been followed by a week of bloodshed and political chaos. NPR's Sean Carberry joins us from Baghdad to talk about the latest. Good morning, Sean.

SEAN CARBERRY, BYLINE: Thanks, Audie.

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News
7:00 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Young And Undocumented: Immigration In Ariz.

Increased deportations in the U.S. have led to more broken families among immigrants. Reporter John Faherty recently profiled three undocumented high school students living together without their families in a trailer in Phoenix, Ariz. Host Audie Cornish speaks with Faherty about his reporting on how Arizona's immigration law has impacted immigrant children.

Politics
7:00 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Gingrich Camp: More Talk Than Action?

Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign has suffered a setback on this Christmas weekend. Gingrich failed to get enough signatures to be on the ballot in Virginia, calling into question his organizational ability to sustain a long campaign.

Around the Nation
7:00 am
Sun December 25, 2011

The 'People's Caucus' To Protest Iowa Voting

Occupy Wall Street-style protesters in Des Moines, Iowa, are making plans to camp out at the headquarters of presidential candidates and disrupt campaign events leading up to the Iowa caucuses. They say they're dissatisfied with the response of candidates from both parties to their concerns, so they're organizing their own caucus-style event two days after Christmas.

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