Major League Baseball's regular season ended yesterday with the kind of day that would warm the commissioner's heart: fans cheering from coast to coast, a towering achievement for one very good hitter, and the promise of even more excitement to come as the playoffs begin. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman has been tracking this season. He's on the line.
Female Marines unload their rifles after a patrol with Afghan soldiers in Helmand province in June. The Marine Corps leadership has started an experiment to determine whether female Marine lieutenants have what it takes to become infantry officers and lead on the battlefield.
Women in the U.S. military have been flying warplanes for years, and recently began serving in artillery and tank units. But they're still barred from direct ground combat.
Now, for the first time in the course's 35-year history, the Marine Corps is putting the first women through its grueling Infantry Officer Course: 86 days crawling through obstacle courses, lugging heavy machine guns, navigating the woods at night.
Col. Todd Desgrosseilliers, the top trainer at Marine Base Quantico in Virginia, says there's a good reason the course is so tough that 1 in 5 Marines fail.
A demonstrator reacts after Pakistani policemen fire tear gas during a protest against power cuts in Karachi in June. Pakistan suffers from a massive energy crisis, one of several factors contributing to the country's severe economic troubles.
If you want to gain a good insight into Pakistan's economic situation, just look at a few of the country's newspaper headlines on any given day. The language says it all: prices soar, stocks plunge, budget deficit swells, foreign investment evaporates — and the list goes on.
Now, analysts are increasingly worried that the faltering economy could join Pakistan's pervasive insurgency and repeated political upheavals as another serious threat to the country's stability.
For one day, anyone who showed up to this alley in the U Street neighborhood of Washington, D.C., could take a free turn at playing Indiana Jones — donning a fedora and whip and fleeing from a gigantic, rolling boulder.
James Bond — the film franchise, that is — is turning 50. But if 007 is getting up there in years, his gadgets will never get old.
Throughout the series, the creators have always come up with wild gear for Bond to bring along on his missions — while often taking a lot more creative license than they might have needed. They've come up with pieces that were inventive and prescient at best, impossible in the real world at worst, as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tells NPR's David Greene.
Nicole Kotovos was searching for a way to start a new life when the idea struck her: She would go to her ancestral homeland of Greece and open an American-style bakery cafe. She would bring the cupcake fad to Athens.
What she didn't figure on was the historic downturn in the Greek economy.
The former New York TV producer arrived in 2008, just as the country's debt-mired economy was falling into a deep recession it still hasn't emerged from.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 10:47 am
I have spent the past few days sequestered with a crack team of political pros — actually, curled into a fetal ball, clutching a fading 1980 John Anderson poster — to gird myself for the vital first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.
So many questions lingered:
Would Romney offer to wager Obama $10,000 on who wins the race?
Would Obama tell Romney, "You're taxable enough, Mitt"?
Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 11:09 pm
We headed to Virginia's Prince William County, a swing county in a swing state, to watch Wednesday night's presidential debate with four undecided voters — three of whom voted for Barack Obama in 2008, one who voted for Republican John McCain.
They gathered in the Occoquan home of Kim Deal and Jim Drakes, and were joined by Connie Moser of Dale City and Al Alborn of Manassas.
Workers prepare Wednesday for the presidential debate at the University of Denver. Experts differ over whether even a televised debate is a good forum for sharing very specific details about policy proposals.
Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 4:19 pm
Responding to calls that the Republican presidential ticket provide more detail about some of its policy proposals, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan says TV isn't always the right medium for such specifics.
"I don't have the time," Paul Ryan told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday this week, when asked about his proposed revenue neutral tax cut. "It would take me too long to go through all the math."
In Durham, N.H., Oyster River Middle School seventh-graders Patrick Beary and Morgan Bernier play with StoryKit, a free app that helps middle-schoolers put together simple presentations, and elementary students make storybooks.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / New Hampshire Public Radio
Oyster River Middle School has invested in a wide range of mobile technology in the classroom. Even so, Oyster River's bring-your-own-device policy is seen as a way to ensure that kids are using technology every day, as teachers assume they'll do after they graduate high school.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / New Hampshire Public Radio
If there is one thing that the mobile-computing era has made clear, it's that kids love touch screens. Because those touch screens — smartphones, iPads, Kindles and the like — are an inevitable added distraction to the classroom, schools across the country are struggling to deal with the growing prevalence of the technology.
But a growing number of schools are embracing these hand-held, Internet-ready devices by creating policies that put them to use in the classroom.
Guitarist Ernest Ranglin is an elder statesman of Jamaican music. A self-styled composer and improviser, he has traveled and collaborated widely during his 80 years. In California last year, he teamed up with three much younger musicians from South Africa, the U.S. and Israel. The four musicians bonded and quickly recorded an album, named for the San Francisco street where they rehearsed: Avila.
Love songs are like the meat and potatoes of most rock and pop music, but sometimes you need something different. For the band Delta Rae from Durham, N.C., inspiration for new material comes from stuff like graveyards and being stuck in the wrong job.
Delta Rae is a six-piece band that includes three siblings: Ian, Eric and Brittany Holljes. Their music is like a kind of modern folklore.
"Supergenerations" of monarch butterflies migrate over 2000 miles from Canada to Mexico.
Credit SK Films
More than three decades have passed since Catalina Aguado and her husband discovered a monarch butterfly sanctuary in a Mexican forest — and helped solve the mystery of the monarch's migration. <em></em>
A young boy in Canada wondered where butterflies go in the winter — and spent 40 years trying to answer that question.
In 1973, Dr. Fred Urquhart — all grown up by then — placed an ad in a newspaper in Mexico looking for volunteers to tag and observe butterflies and find their destination. A woman named Catalina Aguado and her American husband, Kenneth Brugger, answered that ad. They spent two years searching in remote parts of Mexico.
Richard Aoki was known as the "minister of education" for the Berkeley, Calif., chapter of the Black Panther Party.
Credit Nikki Arai / Courtesy of Nancy Park
The Panthers were fundamentally a political party. Here, Panther Chief of Staff David Hilliard calls for a new U.S. Constitution from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on June 19, 1970, to guarantee all Americans the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — rights they say blacks had been denied.
Bobby Seale, Panther chairman and co-founder, campaigns on a rush-hour bus in Oakland, Calif., on April 13, 1973, to be Oakland's mayor. He lost, coming in a close second place, showing the strength of the party in the city where they formed.
On May 2, 1967, Black Panthers amassed at the Capitol in Sacramento brandishing guns to protest a bill before an Assembly committee restricting the carrying of arms in public. Self-defense was a key part of the Panthers' agenda. This was an early action, a year after their founding.
Credit Walt Zeboski / AP
Huey Newton co-founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in 1966 in Oakland, Calif., with Bobby Seale. This 1970 photo shows Newton in Philadelphia.
Credit Rusty Kennedy / AP
Black Panther members stage a protest outside the Canadian Consulate in San Francisco on June 27, 1977. The Canadian government detained Huey Newton as he returned from self-imposed exile in Cuba to stand trial for a 1964 murder. He was not convicted.
Credit Jim Palmer / AP
Police display guns and ammunition seized by officers on April 16, 1974, when 14 Black Panther Party members were arrested at the party's precinct headquarters. Bobby Seale called the raid a plot to discredit them, timed to hurt the organization's chances of winning a majority of seats in next year's City Council.
Click on the documents above to read excerpts from Richard Aoki's FBI file.
Credit Courtesy of Seth Rosenfeld
The iconic panther symbol was first used by Eldridge Cleaver as part of a Lowndes County Freedom Organization, a political party organized to represent African-Americans in central Alabama. In the picture is Jesse Favor, a candidate for Lowndes County sheriff in 1966.
Chicago police remove the body of Fred Hampton, leader of the Illinois Black Panther Party, who was slain in a gunbattle with police in Chicago on Dec. 4, 1969, when police tried to search the group's office. Hampton was one of several Black Panthers who were killed in shootouts with police.
Two young men are shown at a May 1, 1970, rally in support of Black Panther Party Chairman Bobby Seale and other Panthers in New Haven, Conn., who were being tried for the murder of a fellow Panther who confessed to being a police informant.
Credit David Fenton / AP
Aoki was an avid firearms collector and military enthusiast. After high school, he joined the Army and later was a reservist.
Originally published on Sun October 21, 2012 7:41 pm
Economic sanctions have a reputation for being the international equivalent of a slap on the wrist. But in Iran, there's evidence that they are working, and that the country's flamboyant President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might pay the price.
In the past year, Iran's currency has shed 80 percent of its value against the dollar, dropping by 25 percent in just the past week. That's caused a scramble for the few U.S. dollars available in the black market as people seek a safe haven against the free-falling rial.