In Florida, the official state animal triggers mixed feelings. The Florida panther has been on the endangered species list for nearly 50 years. From a low point in the 1970s when there were only about 20 panthers in the wild, the species has rebounded.
Now, nearly 200 range throughout southwest Florida. And some officials, ranchers and hunters in the state say that may be about enough.
Florida panthers are a subspecies of the cougar or mountain lion. They're slightly smaller than their cousins, but like them, the panthers need lots of room to roam.
#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom share pieces that have kept them reading. They share tidbits using the #NPRreads hashtag — and on Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.
This week, we bring you five reads.
From Ina Jaffe, NPR's Los Angeles-based correspondent:
An Internet insurrection is taking place on reddit, where moderators have shut down many of the social sharing site's most popular sections in an apparent protest over the dismissal of Victoria Taylor.
Iceland's minority Pirate Party has its first major legislative victory — repealing a 75-year-old blasphemy law that made it a crime to "ridicule or insult" the teachings of a legally recognized religious community.
In what could prove the largest-ever merger in the insurance industry, Aetna has announced a $37 billion deal to acquire rival Humana.
The agreement, announced by the Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna, "would bolster Aetna's presence in the state- and federally funded Medicaid program and Tricare coverage for military personnel and their families," according to The Associated Press.
Some tasty saltwater fish carry a toxin that you may never have heard of.
And a recent study found that more people in Florida may be getting sick from eating fish contaminated with the toxin than previously thought.
By comparing Florida public health records with survey results from thousands of fishermen, scientists from the University of Florida found that ciguatera fish poisoning, as the condition is called, is significantly underreported in the state.
Chocolate might be headed toward a crisis, depending on whom you ask.
That's at least what the 2015 Cocoa Barometer has to say. It's an overview of sustainability issues in the cocoa sector, written by various European and U.S. NGOs, and was released in the U.S. this week. And what they're really worried about is the people who grow the beans that are ground up to make our beloved treat.
Greece's prime minister has put his political clout behind the "no" camp in a referendum to decide whether the country should accept the terms of an international bailout. But the people appear to be evenly split on the issue, according to two new opinion polls.
One survey, conducted by the respected ALCO institute just 48 hours before the referendum that could decide Greece's economic fate and future in the eurozone, gives the "yes" camp 44.8 percent against 43.4 percent for the "no" side, according to Reuters.
A Russian rocket filled with much-needed supplies for the International Space Station lifted off from a pad in Kazakhstan early today after two previous re-supply missions failed.
NPR's Corey Flintoff reports that the successful launch of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, known as the Progress 60P, which is set to dock with the station on Sunday, was a relief to the astronauts and cosmonauts on the space station.
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Good morning. I'm David Greene. There was a big scare this week that bubble wrap as we know it is dead. The Internet flipped out when Sealed Air Corp announced a new type of bubble wrap. It'll be cheaper to store and ship but much less satisfying.
Their gourds tell a story — and earn them a living. That gourd in the photo — the one on the left? It is covered with miniature pictures of a potato harvest in Peru. There's even a wee burro hauling the day's crop.
In 1776, the American colonies declared independence from Britain.
But it wasn't until 1796 that someone dared to tackle a question that would plague every generation of Americans to come: "What is American food?"
American Cookery, the very first American cookbook, was written by Amelia Simmons (more on this mysterious woman later). In it, she promised local food and a kind of socioculinary equality. The title page stated that the recipes were "adapted to this country and all grades of life."
The smartphone has become a staple of life. But what about the personal assistant inside that phone? Not so much.
Maybe you turn to Apple's Siri or Google Now for a quick search or a snarky answer to a question. But imagine a world where your phone actually gets you. You, personally. Turns out two tech giants — Google and Apple — disagree on whether that's a worthy goal.
The federal government Thursday granted recognition to the Pamunkey Indian tribe of Virginia. The tribe, whose members encountered the first permanent English settlers some 400 years ago, had long sought the recognition.
The Pamunkey tribe has just over 200 members, about a quarter of whom live on a reservation near Richmond.
The U.S. government's system for regulating the products of biotechnology, including GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, was born in 1986, and it has been controversial from the start. Now, it will be getting a makeover — in part to assure the public that GMOs really are adequately regulated.