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Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This being my last weekend with this blog, I wanted to repost a story I wrote a few years ago that has continued to intrigue me ...

I'm going to show you two kinds of nothing.

It actually takes quite a lot of fossil fuel power to reach the tiny Spanish island of El Hierro. You have to catch a commercial jet flight, a propeller plane and then a ferry to reach what was once the end of the known world, before Columbus set sail.

But once you're there, there's no need for fossil fuels at all. The ancient island off the west coast of Africa is now a model for the future, within months of running on 100 percent renewable energy, which consists of a mix of wind and hydro-power.

A Ferguson, Mo., police officer was shot while on patrol Saturday evening, according to St. Louis police amid continuing protests over the August police shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

The officer was shot in the arm at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday and was taken to an area hospital. Police say the officer, a woman, and is expected to recover.

They say the suspect fled on foot and is still being pursued.

Update At 2:42 a.m. ET:

That Friday, I was dizzy and sick to my stomach with what felt like food poisoning, only sometimes my chest throbbed. I declined my husband's offer of a ride to the emergency room because I had to prepare for a crucial school meeting on Monday.

Saying his country is prepared to resume peace talks with Pakistan, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the U.N. General Assembly Saturday that the discussion must take place "without the shadow of terrorism."

On national holidays, I hang a beautiful American flag in my front yard. It's a keepsake flag that, at the request of a congressman, flew over the Capitol.

It was sent to me by Jim Traficant, the Ohio Democrat who spent 17 years representing my hometown in Congress. He spent seven more years in prison after being convicted in 2002 of bribery and racketeering. He was one of only four congressmen in history to be expelled from Washington.

That flag helps me understand why Traficant remained popular with so many people in Youngstown. It helps me appreciate rogue politicians.

Former Rep. James Traficant, the Ohio politician whose career included 17 years in Congress and a conviction for bribery, has died at age 73. Traficant's family had been fearing for his life since earlier this week, when he was critically injured in a tractor accident.

In English, the 22-year-old woman's name means life. She's afraid to let us use it for the safety of the hostages that ISIS still holds. She was taken with thousands of other women and children, but she escaped, and now they're searching for her. Her nickname is Dudu.

We meet her and her four younger sisters inside a shipping container that's propped up on cinder blocks and fashioned into a makeshift shelter. It's where her extended family lives now, just outside the northern Kurdish city of Dohuk.

U.S. fighters and drone aircraft continue to strike targets tied to the so-called Islamic State group, with at least 10 missions carried out in Iraq and Syria since Friday. Some of the strikes hit around Kobani, a town close to Turkey's border with Syria that's been under siege.

Kobani is in an area where tens of thousands of Kurdish people have fled Syria in the past week, seeking safety in Turkey.

The virgin Astroturf is springy underfoot, and the neon yellow goal posts stretch up into the blue September sky. The Comets should be playing well.

They're not.

After seven years of away-games, the football team at Cody High School in Detroit has their own field. The facility at Cody was in such terrible shape that they couldn't play there.

That changed Friday night. Unfortunately, the Comets homecoming did not start well.

The number of canceled flights in and out of Chicago crept toward 800 Saturday afternoon, as workers tried to restore one of the nation's busiest air traffic control systems. The system was crippled Friday, officials say, after a disgruntled employee set a fire in a federal radar center. (We updated the number of cancellations at 5 p.m. ET).

The old federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay is one of the city's top tourist attractions. Beginning Saturday, it's also the site of an installation by one of China's most famous dissident artists, Ai Weiwei.

The work, "@Large" explores themes of freedom and confinement. Finding freedom under restriction is a worthy challenge, Ai says. Confined to China himself, the artist had to pull it all off without setting foot in the U.S.

Earlier this week, two spacecraft arrived at the planet Mars. One came from India, the other from the U.S. Both are now in orbit and collecting data. But the Indian probe is conducting its mission at a tiny fraction of the cost of its NASA counterpart.

"Some of the publicly available numbers are in the $74 million to $75 million range," says Amaresh Kollipara, a managing partner of Earth 2 Orbit, a company that pairs private satellite providers with the Indian space agency.

One week after the Catalan parliament gave him the power to do so, Catalonia's leader is calling for a vote in the northeast region of Spain on whether it should become independent. The vote is set for November 9, but Spain's central government has said it won't let the vote occur.

Catalonia has already launched a website for the independence vote, referring to it with the shorthand 9N. The website includes a sample ballot that asks two questions: Should Catalonia be a state, and should that state be independent?

It's time for your weekly look back at the tech headlines from NPR and beyond. Let's get to it ...

Denying Ebola Turns Out To Be A Very Human Response

Sep 27, 2014

It was not a disease. It was a curse.

That's what the family of one Liberian Ebola patient told Dr. Kent Brantly after their relative died in the treatment center where he worked in July.

The logical next step, the family believed, was to seek revenge and kill the person who placed the curse.

As you may have heard, America's diplomats are struggling these days with a few distracting and unpleasant events in far-off parts of the world. But they're rising to the challenge: They're sending in the chefs.

The U.S. State Department launched a Diplomatic Culinary Partnership two years ago in order to "elevate the role of culinary engagement in America's formal and public diplomacy efforts." Some of the country's most renowned chefs have volunteered to help out, joining the department's "Chef Corps."

Police in Ferguson will no longer be allowed to wear bracelets in support of Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager.

The shooting in August unleashed days of unrest on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.

Hundreds of millions of computers and networks are at risk after a bug called Shellshock was found this week. It turns out it's actually been around for a while — it took 22 years to discover this bug. If exploited by hackers, the impact could be huge.

After a long-running controversy over his original punishment, a convicted rapist in Montana was sentenced to 10 years in jail on Friday.

As we've reported, Stacey Dean Rambold was originally sentenced to 30 days in jail for raping one of his 14-year-old students.

They're large, even ungainly. But there may be no animal more beloved in Florida than the manatee.

Sorry, dolphins. It's the manatee that is the state's official marine mammal. But as manatees meander through Florida's shallow bays, rivers and canals, they often encounter people. And that's where problems arise.

It has been nearly two years since Hurricane Sandy crashed ashore in New Jersey, devastating cities throughout the region. As cities and towns along the coast consider how to prepare for future weather patterns, and avert the kind of damage that happened in 2012, a two-pronged response has emerged — a kind of municipal fight-or-flight response.

One option is to retreat — encourage residents to move away from the water. The other is to resist — armor the coast so it can take a battering without flooding city streets.

Investigators from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) say that they cannot figure out how genetically engineered wheat appeared, as if by magic, in a farmer's field in eastern Oregon in the spring of 2013.

Heavy drama played out this week — and not just on Shonda Rhimes' TV shows.

The bond-investing world was roiled by news that Bill Gross — the man known as "The Bond King" — has abruptly left the huge investment firm he founded in 1971. The departure left a lot of people scratching their heads on Wall Street.

"The natural question is: What's going on at PIMCO?" said David Kotok, chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors. "There's all kinds of speculation" about why Gross left.

"And the answer is, it's speculation — and so we don't know," Kotok said.

Many sobering statistics have emerged from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, but one number in particular has stuck with me: More than 200 health care workers have died so far.

It is hard for me to conceive of the bravery required to take care of people with this awful, contagious disease. And yet, when I recalled Connie Willis' groundbreaking, Hugo Award-winning science-fiction novel Doomsday Book, the resonances came back to me with the sound of tolling bells.

Dauda Fullah works in the tent where he faced his own death.

The skinny 23-year-old was an Ebola patient at the treatment center set up at Kenema Hospital in Sierra Leone.

Fullah's father had contracted the disease a few months ago and died a few days later. He helped bury his dad; that night he came down with a fever.

It was 50 years ago today (Friday, Sept. 26) that the world was introduced to what may have been the oddest idea around for a TV comedy until Hogan's Heroes cracked jokes in a German prisoner of war camp a year later.

Yes, Hollywood wanted to make America laugh about seven people who got marooned on a tropical island. And that oddly endearing show celebrating its golden anniversary had an unlikely name: Gilligan's Island.

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