National News

First-year medical student Ngabo Nzigira gets ready to see a patient at the University of California, Davis in Sacramento.

California Experiments With Fast-Tracking Medical School

Some doctors in the state of California will soon be able to practice after three years of medical school instead of the traditional four. The American Medical Association is providing seed money for the effort in the form of a $1 million, five-year grant to the University of California at Davis.

Student Ngabo Nzigira is in his sixth week of medical school and he's already interacting with patients during training with a doctor at Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento.

Packages of edible insects lie on a display table at the Denver County Fair.

Will Americans Buy Bug Snacks? Maybe ... If They're Funny And Cute

Insects can be a great source of protein, and in many parts of the world, people gobble them up.

But here in the U.S., a certain "ick factor" has kept consumers from eating crickets, locusts and mealworms. To combat the ickiness and convert skeptical consumers, bug-food advocates are trying a specific marketing tactic: be clever and cute.

A rooftop view of East Baltimore, 1979.

Rich Kid, Poor Kid: For 30 Years, Baltimore Study Tracked Who Gets Ahead

Education is historically considered to be the thing that levels the playing field, capable of lifting up the less advantaged and improving their chances for success.

"Play by the rules, work hard, apply yourself and do well in school, and that will open doors for you," is how Karl Alexander, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist, puts it.

But a study published in June suggests that the things that really make the difference — between prison and college, success and failure, sometimes even life and death — are money and family.

When And How To Die: Germany Debates Whose Choice It Is

Stefan Daniel says he has no control over the multiple sclerosis that is short-circuiting his body.

The disease, which attacks the nervous system, has forced the 51-year-old German psychologist to give up his career and most hobbies, including running and photography.

He spends his days in an electric wheelchair and rarely ventures out of his Berlin apartment.

"It's so difficult for me to open the door," he laments.

Federal Judges Weigh Gay Marriage Cases From Four States

A panel of three federal judges heard arguments in six same-sex marriage cases Wednesday. The cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee "pit states' rights and traditional, conservative values against what plaintiffs' attorneys say is a fundamental right to marry under the U.S. Constitution," The Associated Press writes.

Ann Thompson of member station WVXU in Cincinnati summed up the arguments for our Newscast Desk:

Bank of America would pay more than $16 billion in a settlement that it's close to finalizing with the Justice Department.

Bank Of America 'Close' To Settlement With Justice Department

Bank of America and the Justice department are "close" to finalizing a settlement of $16 billion to $17 billion over allegations of mortgage-related abuses.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the outlines of a deal, which was then confirmed to NPR by a source familiar with the talks.

A final announcement may come next week or later, NPR's Jim Zarroli reports for our Newscast Desk.

At a news conference Wednesday, President Obama spoke mostly about foreign policy but also answered questions about his actions in the U.S.

Obama: 'I Have No Green Light' To Act Without Congress

In a news conference Wednesday that was largely about international relations and trade, President Obama also addressed the limits of his own authority at home.

"I never have a green light," Obama said. "I'm bound by the Constitution; I'm bound by the separation of powers."

The Massachusetts Water Resources Agency will begin accepting food waste at its Deer Island anaerobic digester near Boston to produce biogas in 2014.

Mass. To Make Big Food Wasters Lose The Landfill

Sure, there's plenty you can do with leftovers: foist them on your office mates or turn them into casserole.

But if you're a big food waste generator like a hospital or a supermarket, your scraps usually go to the landfill to rot.

In Massachusetts, that's about to change, as the state prepares to implement the most ambitious commercial food waste ban in the U.S.

Do You Want To Be Happy? Don't Set Your Expectations Too High

Sure, money can't buy you love, but it's hard to imagine that winning rewards won't make us happy.

It does, researchers say, but only if our immediate expectations aren't bigger than the size of the payoff. Disappointment squelches happiness.

"Your happiness increases only if you do better than you expected," says Robb Rutledge, a neuroscientist and senior research associate at University College London. "Just having a bigger salary isn't enough to make you happy."

After Grant Hernandez, an undergraduate security researcher at the University of Central Florida, hacked Nest, he programmed it to riff off a favorite line from the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Is Your Watch Or Thermostat A Spy? Cybersecurity Firms Are On It

There is a sharp divide in the technology world. One camp is racing to connect our devices to the Internet, to make everything — from the watch to the refrigerator — smart, so to speak.

The other camp is terrified of what that means: everyday objects that can be hacked, easily, to spy on us and hand off valuable data to cybercriminals. The cynics are gathered in Las Vegas this week, at the security conference Black Hat.

The Nest Hacker

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