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BirdNote: Wishbones And Dinosaurs

KPLU News - 2 hours 12 min ago

The anatomical structure we call the wishbone was long thought unique to birds. But fossil discoveries of recent decades have shown that some dinosaurs, including the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex, and the Velociraptors of ”Jurassic Park,” also had wishbones.

And there is now wide consensus among experts that this group of dinosaurs includes the direct ancestors of modern birds. Not only did they have wishbones but, like birds, they likely incubated their eggs, had hollow bones, and were clad in feathers!  

Wacky Wrestlers Of Yesteryear

KPLU News - 2 hours 33 min ago
Hoodslam — a popular spectacle that is staged monthly in Oakland, Calif. — is described by the San Francisco Chronicle as "part wrestling show, part carnival act and all comedy."

The foul-mouthed, adult-humored extravaganza is raunchy and rollicking as wrestlers "battle" each other while occasionally wielding strange weapons or tossing powder in faces.

Foreign Guesthouse Reportedly Attacked In Kabul's Diplomatic Area

KPLU News - 2 hours 36 min ago
Police in Afghanistan have confirmed that a foreign compound is under attack in the capital, Kabul, as explosions and gunfire can be heard.

NPR's Sean Carberry, reporting from the Afghan capital, says the gunfire and blasts could be heard in the city's diplomatic area.

As The Associated Press notes: "Kabul has come under regular attack in recent weeks.

OPEC Holds Production Steady, Signaling Lower Fuel Prices

KPLU News - 3 hours 23 min ago
OPEC oil ministers have agreed to keep production levels steady, virtually ensuring continued low prices at the gas pump and lower costs for jet fuel that could translate into cheaper air-ticket prices.

After the decision was announced, crude prices quickly tumbled on the global market.

A Nationwide Outpouring Of Support For Tiny Ferguson Library

KPLU News - 4 hours 6 min ago
The Ferguson Public Library is just a block away from the center of demonstrations at the Ferguson Police Department. As we've reported, when violent protests this week led to the burning of more than a dozen businesses and the uncertainty caused schools to close, the library stayed open.

It has become a quiet refuge for adults and children alike in this St. Louis suburb. And the nation has taken notice.

Holiday Travel Snarls Look To Be Easing

KPLU News - 4 hours 27 min ago
The weather is still wreaking havoc for Americans still traveling today in planes, trains and automobiles, but for the most part, the situation has improved dramatically as people crisscross the country making their way to Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends.

AAA estimates that 46 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles to attend Thanksgiving festivities — the most in seven years.

Accuweather says the s

Your Adult Siblings May Be The Secret To A Long, Happy Life

KPLU News - 5 hours 9 min ago
Somehow we're squeezing 16 people into our apartment for Thanksgiving this year, with relatives ranging in age from my 30-year-old nephew to my 90-year-old mother.

British Mystery Novelist P.D. James Dies At 94

KPLU News - 5 hours 12 min ago
British mystery and crime novelist P.D.

A Moment Of Gratitude For Those Who Help Us Travel

KPLU News - 6 hours 12 min ago

Nationally, this is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year. With so many people flocking from point A to point B, this week we thought we’d focus on the people who help us get to where we need to be.

Travel expert Matthew Brumley and KPLU’s Ed Ronco both recall a time they were thankful for someone who went above and beyond their job to help them travel easily.

3 NFL Games On Tap To Satisfy Thanksgiving Football Fans

KPLU News - 6 hours 31 min ago
There are three traditional Fs that highlight the Thanksgiving holiday: family, food and football. Today's three NFL games are each between division rivals, and all the teams are battling for a playoff spot.

First up, while everyone is still wide awake, is a real Thanksgiving tradition: The Detroit Lions (7-4) host the Chicago Bears (5-6) in a classic match-up between historic NFL foes.

Can Breeders Cure What Ails Our Breast-Heavy Turkeys?

KPLU News - 7 hours 9 min ago
Many Americans will be sitting down Thursday to a wonderfully meaty, broad-breasted white turkey that grew to maturity in a remarkably short period: just 136 days, on average.

We have decades of intense selective breeding to thank for the dramatic evolution of the average American turkey — from a scrawny 13.2 pounds in 1929, to a robust weight of nearly 30 pounds in 2012.

Stories Of Your First Thanksgiving In The U.S.

KPLU News - 10 hours 21 min ago
This past week, we called for stories about your first Thanksgiving in the United States. Who'd you spend it with? Where were you coming from? What'd you eat? What'd you think of it? we wondered.

And many of the stories we heard from you were about food: You had issues roasting the turkey properly. Your mom found, um, a creative solution to making your bird a golden brown. You ate a lot of different alternate Thanksgiving meals.

School For Husbands Gets Men To Talk About Family Size

KPLU News - 10 hours 22 min ago
It's a bunch of guys sitting around talking.

About the benefits of birth control.

About how a woman should take care of herself when she's pregnant.

About breast-feeding.

You know, the kind of things guys never talk about.

They're twelve of them, sitting in a circle under a tin roof. Some wear long, colorful tunics. Their flip-flops are scattered around the outer edge of the carpet.

Millennial Doctors May Be More Tech-Savvy, But Is That Better?

KPLU News - 10 hours 23 min ago
The University of Texas Southwestern class of 2014 is celebrating graduation. Class vice president Amy Ho has shed her scrubs for heels and a black dress. She says with modern technology, med school really wasn't too hard.

"If you want to do the whole thing by video stream, you can," she says. "I would wake up at 10 a.m., work out for an hour or so, get some lunch and then video stream for 6 hours and then go to happy hour.

In Ferguson And Across The Country, Protests Are More Subdued

KPLU News - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 22:00
Protests of Mondays grand jury decision were dampened somewhat on Wednesday night — particularly in Ferguson, Mo., where only a few dozen protesters braved the snow to demonstrate.

NPR's Elise Hu says things are fairly subdued there.

"We're estimating about 30 demonstrators are out tonight, tops, which means they are outnumbered by National Guard troops that are manning the front of the police department. Most of them are protesting quietly. There's few folks who are yelling some things at the National Guard, but ...

Jacksonville Split Over Joining A Southern Port Dredging Frenzy

KPLU News - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 15:01
Vince Cameron knows all the people buzzing around the Port of Jacksonville in their bright blaze vests. "My dad was a longshoreman for 44 years on these docks before he retired," he says. "I'm a child of this port."

In his hard hat and with a whistle around his neck, Cameron looks on as a weathered Horizon Lines freighter pulls in from Puerto Rico.

The ship is "a baby in the whole scheme of things," says Cameron, president of the local longshoreman's union. "It's a good ship ... but she's kinda slow and she uses diesel fuel.

How Ferguson Residents Are Giving Thanks This Holiday Season

KPLU News - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 14:22
The kickoff to the holiday season in St. Louis has been overshadowed by unrest following the grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson. And for some residents of Ferguson, the meaning of this year's Thanksgiving — amid the anger, hostility and unresolved issues — is hazy.

The Schnucks grocery store is pretty busy on this cold, gray Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Michael Howell, a local musician picking up a few staples, says he just wants to relax at home and have a little turkey.

Texas Execution Nears For Murderer Whose Competence Was Debated

KPLU News - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 14:22
On Dec. 3, Texas is scheduled to execute Scott Panetti for murdering his in-laws in 1992. There is no doubt he committed the crime, and there is also no doubt that Panetti is mentally ill.

For Two Men Who Helped Migrants In Mexico, A Brutal Death

KPLU News - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 14:22
This is the story of the murder of two aid workers in Mexico. The men fed Central American migrants traveling north through Mexico on a freight train that stopped near their home.

They were critical of both the corrupt police who abused and extorted the migrants as well as the organized crime gangs that kidnapped and robbed them.

There were no witnesses to the double homicide and police won't comment about the case. Their murder didn't even get a mention in the local press.

I met the men on several occasions this summer while reporting on

Why American Honey Importers Are Wary Of 'Turkish' Honey

KPLU News - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 12:54
Turkey is a land of fine honey. Bees produce more of the sweet stuff in Turkey than in any other country except China. And Turkish consumers happily eat most of it themselves. Very little Turkish honey is exported. When it is, it usually commands premium prices.

But some American honey producers say they've observed something odd: cheap Turkish honey headed to the U.S. The U.S. producers think it's not really Turkish honey, and that it actually comes from a country farther to the east.

True Source Honey, the industry group, says the U.S.