One of the best stories of the London Olympics was Oscar Pistorius running for South Africa on his prosthetic legs. His fight to make the Olympic team brought new attention to sports for people with disabilities. And the attention also brought new competitors — who now are vying with Pistorius to claim the title of world's fastest amputee.
The Voyager 1 spacecraft's 35th anniversary is proving to be unexpectedly exciting, as scientists gathered this week to examine new hints that the spacecraft is on the verge of leaving our solar system.
Voyager 1 is now more than 11 billion miles away from Earth. It blasted off in September 1977, on a mission to Jupiter and Saturn. But it also carried a Golden Record filled with music and the sounds of our planet, in case it encountered intelligent life as it moved out toward the stars.
For any religion, keeping up traditions in the modern world can be a challenge. The Parsi community in India, however, faces a unique obstacle.
Parsis, who came to India from Persia (Iran) a thousand years ago with their Zoroastrian faith, have gone to great lengths to maintain their unique funeral rituals. But they've had to make a few adjustments to keep up with the times and to not upset the neighbors.
Parsi funerals begin in a way familiar to many faiths: prayers are chanted and mourners pay last respects.
Hebrew scripture is a "message in a bottle," says Yoram Hazony, and in The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture, he tries to decipher that message. Hazony's new book makes the case for a different reading of the ancient texts — and argues that the Hebrew Bible is a work of philosophy in narrative form.
Cities around the nation have tried a variety of approaches to revitalizing their urban cores. Some have turned to repurposing old infrastructure to breathe new life into neighborhoods.
One such effort is under way in the nation's capital, where the redevelopment of a bridge linking a wealthy part of the city with a lower-income one may present an opportunity — if an ambitious park plan can be brought to fruition.
South Africa's mining industry is under heavy scrutiny after 44 people died during protests at a platinum mine near Johannesburg. Now, the industry is facing challenges on another front: Lawyers have filed a class-action lawsuit against three of the country's biggest gold mining companies.
They're suing on behalf of miners who worked during the apartheid era and now have lung disease.
A settlement in the case — and another like it — could reach into the billions of dollars.
When students and teachers at School 16 in Rochester, N.Y., start the new school year in a newer school building, they'll leave their old building's laundry list of infrastructure problems behind.
As teachers finish unloading boxes and setting up their new classrooms, they hope the newer, nicer digs will give students renewed pride in their school. Education experts say the move could also bring a bump to the school's flagging test scores, because better school buildings actually improve academic performance.
Originally published on Mon September 3, 2012 4:06 pm
The astronomer in me will tell you that summer officially ends on Sept. 22. That's the date of the Autumnal Equinox, the point in Earth's orbit where the hours of day and night are equal. That definition is fine for a scientific understanding of the cosmos, but when it comes to experience, we all know that summer really ends on Labor Day. And in that division between the ways we meter time (for science or business) and the way we actually live time, there is a Labor Day lesson we might keep close to our hearts all year long.
Syrian air force jets bombed the rebel-held town of Al-Bab in northern Syria on Monday, killing at least 18 people, according to Syrian activists.
Over the summer, the rebels gained control of a number of towns and villages along the Syrian-Turkish border. Now, those places are being bombarded from the air and from the ground by government forces.
Azaz, in northern Syria's Aleppo province, is one of these places. There, the tombstones in the old section of the town's cemetery are laid out in neat rows.
Crowd funding began as a way to support the arts on the Internet. Artists could go online to pitch a new album, for example, in the hope that thousands would give small amounts. But now it's expanded to entrepreneurs, and the rules aren't quite as clear.
Democrats today, for the most part, balance between two slightly competing ideas: that government is part of the solution, while still acknowledging that it can be part of the problem. Meanwhile, they're up against a long-running Republican messaging campaign against "big government."
The concept of big government goes back to around the beginning of the 20th century. Princeton historian Julian Zelizer traces the idea to the Wilson administration and its initiatives, including the creation of the Federal Reserve.
Many people in Missouri are still backing GOP Rep. Todd Akin — some more strongly than before — after his controversial remarks about rape and pregnancy.
Akin was polling ahead of the incumbent, Democrat Claire McCaskill, in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, but his support fractured into several distinct camps after his comment that women's bodies can block pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." (He has since apologized.)
Rev. Sun Myung Moon died Sunday at age 92. The controversial founder of the Unification Church was known for attracting young converts in the 1970s and for conducting mass weddings.
Sun Myung Moon was born in 1920 to a poor family in what is now North Korea. His life took a dramatic turn on Easter Sunday, 1936, when, he says, Jesus appeared before him. As he told cartoonist and interviewer Al Capp, Moon recognized Jesus from a vision he had had at age 3. Moon said he spoke with Jesus in Korean.
"We carried conversation with mind-to-mind, heart-to-heart," Moon said.
A lot has changed for Alanis Morissette in the past two decades. Raised Catholic in Ottawa, she spent much of her youth believing she couldn't sing. When she began her music career as a teenager, it was as a dance-pop artist — and, briefly, Vanilla Ice's opening act. Finally, in 1995, she released Jagged Little Pill, an international smash that made Morissette an overnight celebrity, won her an armload of Grammy awards and left her with a "scorned woman" image that she hasn't shaken since.
Barack Obama won more than 95 percent of the black vote in the last presidential election, and Democrats are expected to have a huge advantage this November. Even so, Republicans looked for ways to appeal to those voters at their convention in Tampa, Fla.
Though the convention hall was packed with delegates this week, it wasn't until gospel star Bebe Winans and the Tampa Bay City Life Church Chorus came on stage that there was any sizable number of African-Americans around.
When we think of the seminal moments in the birth of the United States of America, many people would point to the battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill. But according to Robert Sullivan, the founding landscape of our nation is not in Massachusetts. It is in and around New York.
In his new book, My American Revolution: Crossing the Delaware and I-78, Sullivan writes that the majority of battles in the Revolutionary War were fought in the middle colonies: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
Art Garfunkel is best known as half of the legendary duo Simon & Garfunkel. The harmonies he created with Paul Simon left an indelible mark on American music, but less remembered is his string of Top 40 hits as a solo artist.
Every Tuesday night at the 5 Spot, some 200 people show up the East Nashville bar for Two Dollar Tuesdays: a $2 coverage charge, $2 beers and five musical guests. It's hosted by Derek Hoke, an unassuming, laid-back guy with the cowboy hat and retro-vintage eyeglasses.
"I call it a speed showcase," Hoke says. "Everybody plays five songs, and I tell them to play the 'best of' — you know, get up there, kill and get off. There's somebody coming up right after you, and we have to plow through this thing."
And now to E.J. Dionne and David Brooks, our regular Friday political commentators, both just back from Tampa. Welcome home.
E.J. DIONNE: Thank you.
DAVID BROOKS: Good to be here.
BLOCK: I want to talk to you both about what we heard in Mitt Romney's speech last night and also what we didn't hear. We did hear a very explicit appeal to people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Let's take a listen.
You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.
Harvard University is investigating what it calls an unprecedented case of cheating. College officials say around 125 students may have shared answers and plagiarized on a final exam last spring. From member station WBUR in Boston, Curt Nickisch has reaction on campus.
CURT NICKISCH, BYLINE: This is not what a brand-new class of carefree 18-year-olds expected to be talking about as they went through freshman orientation today.
Corey Sharpe is one of the many people out working to restore electricity in Louisiana. He's a lineman with DEMCO. That's the Dixie Electric Membership Corporation, the state's largest power co-op. We reached him on the job in Denham Springs just outside Baton Rouge.
COREY SHARPE: Right now we actually just pulled up to an outage. A huge oak tree just fell on kind of - by one of our power lines and knocked down a service, the one at someone's house. So that's what we just came up to right here.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. The floodwaters have begun to recede in Louisiana and Mississippi as the remnants of Hurricane Isaac move north. Utility companies are scrambling to restore power to hundreds of thousands of customers. In some places, floodwaters are hampering the recovery. That includes an area about 30 miles west of New Orleans where we find NPR's Joel Rose.