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3:55pm

Thu January 5, 2012
Around the Nation

Sinking Ship? Saving The Historic Kalakala Ferry

Not Dead Yet: On July 3, 1935, the Kalakala started daily ferry service between Seattle and Bremerton, Wash. Today, it sits unused in a nearby Tacoma dock.
Martin Kaste NPR

3:28pm

Thu January 5, 2012
The Two-Way

New Consumer Czar: 'This Is A Valid Appointment'

Richard Cordray, incoming head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, stands offstage after President Obama spoke about the economy in Ohio on Wednesday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Richard Cordray, the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, defended his appointment in an interview with All Things Considered today.

"This is a valid appointment," he told NPR's Robert Siegel. "But, again, I'm not going to be distracted by the details of that. My job is to be the director of this consumer bureau, to look out for consumers across the country and I'm going to focus 100 percent on that job."

Robert asked if he was just going to "ignore whatever litigation might develop from that" and Cordray said, "that's correct."

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3:11pm

Thu January 5, 2012
Animals

Zoo Crafts Love Nest To Save Ozark's Salamanders

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 4:27 pm

An adult Ozark hellbender is typically brown or green with black markings that help it blend in with its rocky river-bottom habitat.
Jeff Briggler Missouri Department of Conservation

It's flat. It's slimy. And it hides under rocks on the river bottom. It's the Ozark hellbender, and at up to two feet in length, it's one of the world's largest salamanders.

But Ozark hellbenders are disappearing: Fewer than 600 are left in the rivers of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Scientists have been making a huge effort to get them to breed in captivity. And now, thanks to a major effort at the Saint Louis Zoo, 2012 could be the year of new hope for hellbenders.

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2:57pm

Thu January 5, 2012
Planet Money

How A Computer Scientist Tried To Save Greece

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 10:13 am

Diomidis Spinellis used a mind map like this to find tax cheats.
Flickr user: MyThoughtsMindMaps

It's like a bad joke. Why did the Greek government borrow so much money?

Because it couldn't get its own citizens to pay taxes.

The Greek government estimates that one third of taxes owed never get paid. And apparently it was far easier to borrow money even at outrageous rates than to make Greeks pay what they owe.

So in 2009, the Greek finance ministry called in an unlikely hero: A methodical, computer science professor at Athens University, Diomidis Spinellis.

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2:48pm

Thu January 5, 2012
Presidential Race

Spotlight Shines On Late Riser Rick Santorum

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 8:29 am

Then-Sen. Rick Santorum is interviewed after a debate with his Democratic challenger, Bob Casey, in 2006. Santorum later lost the Senate seat to Casey.
Alex Wong Getty Images for Meet the Press

Rick Santorum has been upsetting elections from the beginning.

He was only 32 years old when he toppled a seven-term incumbent in a majority Democratic district in western Pennsylvania.

Just four years later, Santorum rode the Republican wave of 1994 into the Senate representing Pennsylvania. And from the beginning, Santorum has stood for unwavering social conservatism, especially on the issue of abortion.

"Give the baby a chance to live," said Santorum while delivering a speech on the Senate floor in 1997.

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