NPR News

Python Could Help Treat Heart Disease

Dec 9, 2011

Adult Burmese pythons can swallow prey as large as deer. Now, researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder say the way the python's heart balloons after it eats could help treat human heart disease. Molecular biologist Leslie Leinwand discusses her team's python experiments.

The news that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) have decided not to participate in the Dec. 27 Republican presidential debate that businessman/TV personality/self-proclaimed potential independent presidential candidate Donald Trump is supposed to be moderating means just two GOP contenders would be left for the event:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.).

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has grown and changed since its inception, and few people know that better than the chair, Rep. Charles Gonzalez, D-Texas. His late father was one of the founders of the group. He speaks with host Michel Martin about the CHC's evolution and its mission.

This week Tell Me More's 'In Limbo' series has explored four personal stories of immigrants in the middle space between legal and illegal. To better understand the complex laws that have affected their lives, host Michel Martin speaks with Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies.

Tell Me More Editor Ammad Omar and host Michel Martin comb through listener feedback from recent segments, including immigrants' personal stories and male mentoring in light of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. They also discuss news updates from Florida A&M University, where a suspected hazing incident has shaken the campus.

This week, the Barbershop guys discuss a series of comments by Newt Gingrich suggesting that underprivileged kids could improve their work ethic by cleaning school bathrooms. Also, after nearly 30 years and numerous appeals, Philadelphia prosecutors are no longer seeking the death penalty for convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

On Saturday, college football's best player will be awarded the Heisman Trophy in New York. This year's front-runners attend Baylor University, Stanford University and University of Alabama; but 75 years ago, the Heisman winner was a Yale man. In 1936, at a time when the Ivy League was a hotbed of football talent, Yale end Larry Kelley was the first to win a Heisman Trophy.

Most people will find the first 20 minutes of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy difficult to follow — I did, and I've read John le Carre's novel and seen the haunting 1979 BBC miniseries starring Alec Guinness, although decades ago.

The movie is chopped up into short scenes featuring people we don't know working for a circus — what? — and for someone called "C," and talking about a woman called Karla? Meanwhile, the star, Gary Oldman, doesn't say a word for the first 18 minutes.

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in October to its lowest point of the year as Americans bought fewer foreign cars and imported less oil. Exports of American-made autos also fell.

This interview was originally broadcast on April 20, 2011. The Cave of Forgotten Dreams is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

In 1994, three French cave explorers discovered hundreds of prehistoric paintings and engravings on the walls of the Chauvet Cave in southern France.

Carbon dating has since shown that the depictions of rhinoceroses, lions, cave bears, horses, bison, mammoths and other animals are between 30,000 and 32,000 years old.

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