Innovation is the name of the game these days — in business, in science and technology, even in art. We all want to get those big ideas, but most of us really have no idea what sets off those sparks of insight. Science can help! In the past few years, neuroscientists and psychologists have started to gain a better understanding of the creative process. Some triggers of innovation may be surprisingly simple. Here are five things that may well increase the odds of having an "Aha!" moment.
There's an easy way to spot diseases that aren't getting much attention.
You don't even have to leave your chair, if you've got a computer and access to databases of scientific papers published around the world. Just compare the number of papers on a disease with the number of people affected by it.
Anne-Marie Slaughter is the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. She was previously the director of policy planning for the U.S. State Department and dean of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
You might think the presidential race is settled with two candidates. But there's one candidate you might not have heard much about. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is running for president on the Libertarian Party ticket. Johnson speaks with host Michel Martin about his policies and the challenges he has getting his message heard.
Title IX was the landmark legislation that required most educational institutions to offer equal opportunities for girls and boys. It changed history and opened up the floodgates to basketball courts, soccer fields and classrooms to women all over the country. Host Michel Martin speaks with three experts about what more needs to be done.
By an 8-0 vote, the Supreme Court today threw out fines the Federal Communications Commission filed against Fox and ABC.
The court did not address whether the FCC rules violated anyone's First Amendment right to free speech. Instead, the justices ruled that the FCC "failed to give Fox or ABC fair notice prior to the broadcasts in question that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be found actionably indecent."
An artist's rendering shows one of NASA's twin Voyager spacecrafts, which launched in 1977.
Credit NASA via AP
This image of the Earth and moon (upper left) in a single frame, the first of its kind ever taken by a spacecraft, was recorded by Voyager 1 on Sept. 18, 1977.
This image of the Earth and moon in a single frame, the first of its kind ever taken by a spacecraft, was recorded by Voyager 1 on Sept. 18, 1977.
A concept drawing shows NASA's two Voyager spacecraft exploring a turbulent region of space known as the heliosheath. The heliopause marks the boundary between our solar system and interstellar space.
NASA's website says both Voyager probes carried "a phonograph record — a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing <a href="http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/sounds.html">sounds and images</a> selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth."
From the retired librarian in Kentucky who gave President Obama's campaign $19 to the Arkansas investment banker who gave the superPAC backing GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney a half-million dollars — it's all there at the Federal Election Commission website.
"Turmoil" doesn't seem like a strong enough word anymore to describe what's happening in Pakistani politics.
Tuesday, Pakistan's highest court ruled that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was "disqualified" from remaining in office because he had refused to reopen a multi-million-dollar corruption probe aimed at President Asif Ali Zardari.
George Zimmerman's written, audio and video accounts of what happened when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin have been put online by his defense team. Much of what is in the materials has been previously reported, but their release offers the most detailed looks so far at his claim that he acted in self defense.
The materials, posted here, include the statement Zimmerman wrote on Feb. 26 — the day of his fatal encounter with 17-year-old Trayvon in Sanford, Fla. In it, the neighborhood watch volunteer writes:
Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 10:11 am
"A Syrian MiG 21 fighter jet has landed in Jordan," al-Jazeera and other news outlets report. And according to Reuters, a Jordanian official says the pilot has asked for asylum. The BBC is reporting that news as well.
According to the royal website, the applicant who's chosen will have dominion over the royal residences — including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, overseeing a staff of 60. The position is described as "challenging and exciting."
Dissident and artist Ai Weiwei said Thursday that he has been forbidden from leaving China, despite the lifting of strict bail conditions imposed after he was released from detention last year. This comes a day after a hearing on his tax evasion case, which he was prevented from attending.
Traffic rolls past a speed limit sign in Ohio. Researchers believe they have found a new way to encourage drivers to stay within a safe driving speed: giving them a financial reward that diminishes as they speed.
Some 12,000 Americans die every year in traffic crashes caused by speeding, according to government statistics. Officials have tried many strategies to get drivers to slow down. And now they might have found something that works, after researchers placed a GPS device inside cars that gives drivers an incentive not to speed.
Traffic safety experts have tried using big flashing signs to tell you how fast you're going. (The psychological subtext: Drivers are rational, and they will slow down if they know how fast they're going.)
Voter walk outside of a polling place at the First Baptist Church of Windermere, in Orlando, Fla., during the state's primary on Jan. 31.
Credit Matt Rourke / AP
Audience members listen to President Obama speak about immigration reform at Chamizal National Memorial Park in El Paso, Texas, on May 10, 2011. Both Obama and Republican Mitt Romney see garnering Latino votes as critical to winning the fall election.
As Americans watched their nest eggs sink during the Great Recession, many wondered whether they would ever be able to retire. Come this fall, millions of workers who invest in 401(k)s will learn their plans are probably worth even less than they thought.
"Fees take away from the accumulated savings of your lifetime," says Mary Beth Franklin, a contributing editor at InvestmentNews.
Daily auctions are held on foreclosed properties in front of the county courthouse in Corona, Calif. About 80 bidders, representing investors, show up to bid on properties.
Credit Yuki Noguchi / NPR
Mike Strugatz is an investor who's bought and renovated about two dozen distressed homes in the Riverside and Lake Elsinore area. He says with less inventory on the market recently, it's getting harder to find properties, and banks are demanding higher prices even for destroyed homes.
Credit Yuki Noguchi / NPR
Jennifer Bryant has made more than 30 offers on houses, mostly from her cellphone, in many cases without viewing the property. She has lost every bid, and says she often loses to all-cash buyers.
For-sale homes in California are sparse, even in areas with high foreclosure rates. It has led to buyers like Jennifer Bryant, who is willing to throw money at just about anyone willing to sell her a house.
Since February, Bryant has made 35 offers on homes in Riverside, only to be elbowed out by other bids. With few houses available and many bidders chasing these properties, she feels she has, at most, an hour to consider each house.
Retired senior police investigator Zafar Qureshi, 59, stands outside his home in Lahore, Pakistan, where security guards are stationed 24 hours a day. The former police official has probed some of the highest profile cases of official misconduct in Pakistan, and says he fears for his safety and that of his children in a country that he says is steeped in a "culture of corruption."
Credit Julie McCarthy / NPR
Arsalan Iftikhar Chaudhry (center), son of Pakistan's Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, leaves the Supreme Court after attending a hearing. He is facing allegations of accepting bribes from a powerful property developer totaling some $4 million.
Credit Aamir Qureshi / AFP/Getty Images
Sonia Naz (left) accused two Punjab police officers of extorting money from her and then sexually assaulting her after she complained to a court. Qureshi's investigation supported her claims, but he says he was forced out of a job as a result. Meanwhile, Naz's seven-year-old case has been revived by the Supreme Court.
Pakistan's National Assembly has been summoned to elect a new prime minister for the fragile coalition of President Asif Ali Zardari. A consensus candidate, current Textile Industry Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin, emerged soon after the Supreme Court's dramatic firing of outgoing Premier Yusuf Reza Gilani.
The court disqualified Gilani from office this week for defying court orders to pursue dormant corruption charges against President Zardari.
Mexicans go to the polls July 1 to choose their next president, and polls show that voters seem inclined to embrace the past. The center-left Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ruled the country for more than seven decades before being ousted 12 years ago, holds a solid lead.
But Mexico's young are making their voices heard: Some fear a return of authoritarian rule; others simply want jobs.