Enron, Worldcom, Bernie Madoff, the subprime mortgage crisis.
Over the past decade or so, news stories about unethical behavior have been a regular feature on TV, a long, discouraging parade of misdeeds marching across our screens. And in the face of these scandals, psychologists and economists have been slowly reworking how they think about the cause of unethical behavior.
In general, when we think about bad behavior, we think about it being tied to character: Bad people do bad things. But that model, researchers say, is profoundly inadequate.
Afghan women pass U.S. soldiers near Bagram Air Base outside Kabul in 2010. While conditions for Afghan women have improved over the past decade, but they still face many restrictions, as well as abuses like honor killings.
Credit Joel Saget / AFP/Getty Images
An Afghan woman makes handcrafts last October at a shelter run by women, for women. So-called honor killings are common in deeply conservative Afghanistan, along with other punishments for women suspected of contact with men outside their family.
In a remote part of Afghanistan early last year, a girl was sentenced to death. Her crime was possession of a cellphone. Her executioners were to be her brothers. They suspected her of talking on the phone with a boy. The girl, in her late teens, had dishonored the family, her brothers said.
"My older brother took the cellphone from me and beat me very badly. It was dinnertime. They told me that they would execute me after dinner. They said to me this would be my last meal," says "Lina," a pseudonym.
President Barack Obama is greeted by Lt. Gen. Curtis "Mike" Scaparrotti, and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker as he steps off Air Force One at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan earlier today (Tuesday, May 1).
One year to the day after announcing to the world the death of Osama bin Laden, President Obama is in Afghanistan, the nation from which the al-Qaida leader and his followers planned and organized the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The news of the president's unannounced trip was confirmed just before 3 p.m. ET. Obama is scheduled to deliver a televised address aimed at Americans this evening at 7:30 p.m. ET.
A recent NPR story about homeless veterans brought a remarkable email from listener Gary Bressick, who runs an insurance agency in Los Angeles. The story focused on one veteran, James Brown, who had just moved into his first apartment after living on the streets for most of the previous three decades.
Are religious people more moved by compassion than those who described themselves as less religious or non-religious?
A group of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley set out to answer that question and what they found would surprise some: In three experiments, the social scientists found that the less religious were more generous when presented with situations that stimulated their compassion, which the scientists defined as "an emotion felt when people see the suffering of others which then motivates them to help, often at a personal risk or cost."
In his first race at the 5000-meter distance, runner Lopez Lomong set a 2012 world record. But the American also ran into some unusual trouble late in the race. This file photo shows Lomong at the 2008 Olympics.
Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 1:07 pm
The sports world is brimming with talk about Lopez Lomong, the American runner who set a 2012 world best in the men's 5,000-meter race in California Sunday. It was Lomong's first race at that distance (just over 3 miles), which he covered in 13 minutes and 11.63 seconds. But the race took a very unusual turn in its final laps.
A year ago Tuesday, Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces inside a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. When President Obama announced the news, he called the death of bin Laden "the most significant achievement to date" in the war against al-Qaida.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. A year ago today, U.S. Special Forces launched a secret mission to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, so we thought it appropriate to spend the first part of our program today getting different perspectives on what the death of bin Laden has meant to the security of the United States and the world.
It's been a year since U.S. special forces entered Abbottabad, Pakistan and killed Osama bin Laden. Host Michel Martin looks at the impact bin Laden's life and death had on the Arab world with journalist and policy analyst Rami Khouri. He says bin Laden tried to play on Arab anger, and failed.
If you make your own yogurt, there's a chance your yogurt could outlive you.
That's because some bacteria that grow and feed on the sugar in milk – the process that ferments milk into yogurt — can procreate indefinitely in new generations of yogurt.
But not all yogurts have these immortal powers. The typical store-bought yogurt only carries a few strains of bacteria that have been isolated by scientists. Those bacteria on their own can't regenerate very long — maybe just for a generation or two.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns with Sen. Kelly Ayotte on Monday in Portsmouth, N.H. A 43-year-old freshman senator, Ayotte is among those under consideration as a vice presidential running mate, according to a Romney adviser.
If history holds, Mitt Romney is still months away from announcing a vice presidential running mate on the Republican ticket. But he continues to make appearances with those who could be on the so-called short list.
Or in Romney's case, it may still be a rather long list.
On Monday, Romney campaigned with freshman Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the 43-year-old former state attorney general, in her home state of New Hampshire.
An Associated Press investigation has concluded that the U.S. military and its allies in Afghanistan have been "under-reporting the number of times that Afghan soldiers and police open fire on American and other foreign troops."
In a bid to encourage its members to become organ donors, Facebook just announced that "starting today, you can add that you're an organ donor to your timeline, and share your story about when, where or why you decided to become a donor."
Also, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg write, "if you're not already registered with your state or national registry and want to be, you'll find a link to the official donor registry there as well."
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is "not a fit person" to lead a major international company, a committee of U.K. parliament members concludes today in a scathing report about the News Corp. chief and the actions of his British tabloids, NPR's Philip Reeves tells our Newscast Desk.
The report also accuses Murdoch's companies of "misleading a parliamentary committee," Philip says, and exhibiting "willful blindness" regarding their illegal activities.
The writer Robert Caro has spent about 35 years writing about President Lyndon Johnson and he still isn't done. As we heard on the program yesterday, Caro has come out with his fourth book on Johnson's life.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Years ago, one reviewer noted that Caro's research was so exhaustive that his book on Johnson's youth in Texas described the average annual rainfall in the Texas hill country in the years before Johnson was even born.
The president's counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, made another statement yesterday. He argued that drone strikes to kill militants are legal.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Brennan's remarks were unusual. It's rare that the administration mentions drones at all. Yesterday, Brennan chose to say that the missile strikes by unmanned aircraft which take place in countries like Yemen and Pakistan fit within international law.