When the people who make Necco Wafers changed their recipe to use natural flavors and colors in 2009, they thought they were doing their customers a favor. But then those customers told the New England Confectionery Company — loudly, and repeatedly — that they preferred artificially enhanced candy.
"Our normal mail volume probably went up twenty-fold" after the change, says Necco Vice President of Research and Quality Jeff Green says. "Some positive, and some negative. But a lot of negative."
Time for our home video feature, where NPR movie critic Bob Mondello suggests something for those who like to pop their own popcorn and pop in a video. For this Halloween week, Bob suggests sending a shiver up your spine with some classics from: Alfred Hitchcock: The Essentials Collection.
<p>Amanda Nottke, who earned her Ph.D. from Harvard, sorts through used micropipettes that will be shipped to overseas science labs.</p>
Credit Ari Daniel Shapiro for NPR
Science is an expensive endeavor. Labs in the U.S. can easily spend millions of dollars each year on equipment, chemicals and supplies alone. But for scientists in the developing world, these costs are often prohibitive. That's where a clever idea has made all the difference.
In a Harvard Medical School corridor on a rainy Saturday afternoon, a handful of graduate students are emptying boxes of scientific equipment into the hallway to take inventory: microcentrifuge tubes, radiation counters, micropipetters, Erlenmeyer flasks.
<p>"Los Mata Zetas," or the "Zeta Killers," described themselves in a recent video as a paramilitary group that will go after members of the Zeta drug cartel. The Mexican government, however, has described it as a rival drug cartel that is just seeking to eliminate competition from the Zetas.</p>
Credit AFP / AFP/Getty Images
In the latest twist to Mexico's drug wars, a new group has vowed to launch a paramilitary offensive against a leading drug cartel in Veracruz, a city that has become a flash point in the violence.
Over the past month, more than 100 bodies have been strewn around the city, which is one of Mexico's largest and oldest ports. The violence prompted Mexican President Felipe Calderon to declare that Veracruz has been "left in the hands of the Zetas," one of the most brutal criminal organizations in the country.
<p>Indian children light fireworks in New Delhi for Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. The festival marks the victory of good over evil and commemorates the time when Hindu God Lord Rama achieved victory over Ravana and returned to his kingdom Ayodhya after 14 years in exile.</p>
Credit Sajjad Hussain / AFP/Getty Images
Today Hindus across the world are celebrating Diwali, or the festival of lights. There's plenty of coverage about the celebrations, and the Hindustan Times has a good overview.
<p>Occupy Oakland protesters carry away a man who was hit by a police tear gas canister Tuesday near the Oakland City Hall.</p>
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Police crackdowns in Atlanta and Oakland, Calif., to disperse protests affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement could mark a turning point in the tactics of both the demonstrators and the authorities dealing with them, experts say.
Oakland police equipped with riot gear fired tear gas and, according to demonstrators, used rubber bullets and flash grenades on Tuesday to clear Frank Ogawa Park in front of City Hall. In Atlanta, helicopters circled over a small city park just after midnight Wednesday as officers moved in to arrest about 50 protesters.
Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday is forming an 11-member student council that will provide the education department with feedback on issues affecting students. The Next-Generation Student Council is inviting 10th and 11th grade public school students to apply for membership to the year-long program. Students will meet with Holliday and department staff both in person and digitally from around the commonwealth. They’ll discuss how decisions made at the state level affect the education of the students and how student achievement can be improved.
Legislation pre-filed for the 2012 Kentucky General Assembly would allow more special needs students to earn a high school diploma. As the parent of a daughter with a mild mental disability, Sen. Dennis Parrett (D-Elizabethtown) understands the challenges special education students face. At the beginning of the school year, an individual education program is written for each student, which identifies their unique needs and instructional goals.
Opening statements are set to begin Thursday in Boston at the trial of Tarek Mehanna, a 29-year-old American charged in U.S. District Court with conspiracy and providing material support to al-Qaida, as well as planning to attend training camps abroad and making false statements to authorities. He faces a possible life sentence if convicted.