When the Soviet Union splintered two decades ago, one of the biggest U.S. worries was how to ensure that the vast Soviet arsenal of nuclear weapons was kept secure.
The American response was the Cooperative Threat Reduction program of 1992. The U.S. provided money and expertise to lock down and track weapons of mass destruction and make sure they stayed out of the hands of rogue regimes or terrorists.
The program has been hailed as a great success, with thousands of Soviet nuclear weapons dismantled over the years.
For nearly a decade, scientists and Northwest tribes in Washington state fought bitterly over whether to bury or study the 9,500-year-old bones known as Kennewick Man. Scientists won the battle, and now, after years of careful examination, they're releasing some of their findings.
For starters, Kennewick Man was buff. I mean, really beefcake. So says Doug Owsley, head of physical anthropology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, and the man who led the study of the ancient remains.
There's new information on the ongoing outbreak of a rare meningitis caused by a fungus that somehow got into a steroid drug. Federal officials now say the drug got injected into 14,000 patients — 1,000 more than earlier thought.
The names Columbine and Virginia Tech have both become tragic shorthand for school shootings in America. In the wake of those shootings, schools have developed a fairly typical lockdown procedure when there's a threat: sound the alarm, call police, lock doors and stay put.
The standard school-lockdown plan is intended to minimize chaos so police arriving on the scene don't shoot the wrong people. Students practice following directions, getting into classrooms and essentially, waiting.
Ben Affleck's new thriller, Argo, chronicles a secret CIA rescue mission — a mission that remained classified for years. When details finally came to light, the operation sounded like something only Hollywood could come up with. As we find out, there's a reason for that.
It's 1979, and the Iranian public's hatred for their U.S.-backed shah erupts when he leaves the country. A crowd grows around the U.S. Embassy in Tehran — they're climbing the gates and taking dozens of Americans hostage.
Many Americans today feel like they've lost or are losing their shot at a college education because paying for it often seems out of reach. So how big of an issue is this in the presidential campaign?
Here's what President Obama has done to help families pay for college: He negotiated a deal with Congress this summer that kept the interest rate on government-backed Stafford loans from doubling for 7.5 million students.
When you think about the great music of science fiction, a few staples spring to mind — say, the theme from the classic Star Trek series, or John Williams' compositions for the Star Wars movies.
Nathan Johnson, the composer for the new time-travel thriller Looper, wanted to break with tradition. Instead of going for that slick, orchestral sound, he immersed himself in the world of the film to find his source material.
Affirmative action in higher education appeared to take a potentially lethal hit on Wednesday, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments testing the constitutionality of a race-conscious admission program at the University of Texas, Austin.
Two Americans have won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Koblika were awarded the prize for their work on protein receptors that tell cells what's going on around the human body. Their research has allowed drug makers to develop medication with fewer side effects. The pair with share the $1.2 million award.
Fifty years ago, Pope John XXIII launched a revolution in the Catholic Church. The Second Vatican Council opened on Oct. 11, 1962, with the goal of bringing the church into the modern world. Catholics could now hear the Mass in their local language. Laypeople could take leadership roles in the church. And the church opened conversations with other faiths.
For American nuns, Vatican II brought freedoms and controversies that are playing out today.
It's been a tumultuous time for American orchestras. Labor disputes have shut down the Minnesota Orchestra and Indianapolis Symphony, and strikes and lockouts have affected orchestras in Chicago, Atlanta and Louisville in the past year.
Though it's been around for three decades, 3-D printing has finally started to take off for manufacturing and even for regular consumers. It's being used for making airplane parts on demand and letting kids make their own toys. One designer is pushing the limits of 3-D printing by using it to make an acoustic guitar.
Two very different views from two different witnesses today as the House House Oversight and Government Reform Committee opened its probe into the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
You wouldn't be surprised to learn that a laboratory run by the U.S. Department of Commerce is working on more precise methods to measure stuff.
However, you might not expect it to be at the cutting edge of the mind-bending world of quantum physics. But on Tuesday, David Wineland became the fourth employee at the National Institute for Standards and Technology, a federal lab, to win a Nobel since 1997. Wineland learned he will share the Nobel Prize in physics with Frenchman Serge Haroche for work that's both esoteric and practical.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in a landmark case about race and college admissions. In 2008, a white student named Abigail Fisher was denied admission to the University of Texas, Austin.
Fisher sued the university, claiming she was denied admission because of her race. Her suit, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, could mean the end of admissions policies that take race into account.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Robert Siegel. Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky will most likely spend the rest of his life in prison. Sandusky was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys. And today, he was sentenced to at least 30 years in a state correctional facility.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Robert Siegel.
Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a landmark case about race and college admissions. In 2008, a white student named Abigail Fisher sued the University of Texas in Austin. Ms. Fisher claimed she was denied admission to UT because of her race.
Shemekia Copeland says she didn't really find her singing voice until her teen years, when her father, the late blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, began suffering from health issues. On her new album, 33 1/3, she finds a different kind of voice — one that's eager to participate in a national dialogue.
Rion Tucker is covering a lot of ground in his home state of Maine these days. The 20-year-old is a canvasser for Equality Maine, and he's been knocking on lots of doors in an effort to make sure that voters in his state pass a ballot initiative in November legalizing same-sex marriage.
For all their variety and variation, cities are, at their root, physical systems. That means, at some fundamental level, they are also expressions of the laws of physics. In physics size matters (or "scale" as we call it). Physicists learn different things about an object by looking at it from different scales. In our first exploration of physics and cities we stayed at the street level. At that scale we saw cities as machines: cars and elevators, pipes and plumbing. Then we went up to the roof. At that scale we saw cities as engines, vast systems for turning energy into work.
On her 22nd birthday this summer, Sarah Wagner of suburban Wheaton, Ill., who describes herself as a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs, opened an email to find an incredible surprise — a recorded message from her favorite Cubs player:
"Hey, Sarah! Kerry Wood here! Thanks for your message and I hope you're having a great summer!"
"When I heard for the first time, I instantly smiled," says Wagner. "I think my hands probably went over like my mouth, like, 'Oh my gosh, Kerry Wood is talking to me, even though he has no idea who I am!' "