As China and India race to Mars, we'll venture outside our solar system and consider this mind-expanding possibility: There could be 40 billion planets in our Milky Way galaxy that are orbiting stars in a habitable zone that could support life - 40 billion. Makes you kind of puny, doesn't it?
Florida's citrus industry has a new problem. It's long wrestled with crop diseases like canker and greening. But the effort to halt greening has killed millions of bees, as growers have increased their use of pesticides.
And that, in turn, is straining relationships between citrus farmers and their longtime partners, beekeepers. Here's Ashley Lopez of member station WGCU.
ASHLEY LOPEZ, BYLINE: Harold Curtis runs an 1,100-acre grove in southwest Florida. He walks through the rows of trees, packed full of plump, juicy oranges.
Voters in New York City go to the polls Tuesday to choose their next mayor, and it appears all but certain that they'll elect Bill de Blasio, the city's public advocate.
The Democrat has built a wide lead in the polls by distancing himself from the incumbent mayor, billionaire Michael Bloomberg. In fact, de Blasio has made income inequality the central issue of his campaign, name-checking the Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities dozens of times at debates and stump speeches.
Howard University, one of the country's most prominent historically black schools, has hit a rough patch in recent months.
The school's Faculty Senate recently voted no confidence in leaders of the school's Board of Trustees. That vote came just weeks after Howard's president announced a surprise early retirement and Moody's Investors Service downgraded the university's credit rating, as my Code Switch teammate Gene Demby has reported.
The Large Stone Carving is the heaviest stone in the Forbidden City in Beijing. It was believed to have weighed more than 300 tons when it was first transported to the site between 1407 and 1420.
Credit NYPL Digital Gallery
Judging from a carving found in an Egyptian tomb, experts say 172 men were used to transport the 60-ton Statue of Tehuti-Hetep, circa 1880 B.C. Water was used to lubricate the colossus as it slid along wooden planks.
The distance between the Forbidden City in Beijing (a) and the Dasiwo Quarry in Fangshan (b) is about 43 miles. Double lines on the map represent rivers; single lines represent roads.
Credit Bob Jordan / AP
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton, N.C., was moved almost 3,000 feet inland on July 9, 1999, to protect it from the advancing ocean.
Great works of ancient engineering, like the Pyramids or Stonehenge, inspire awe in every beholder. But some onlookers also get inspired to figure out exactly how these structures were made.
Howard Stone, an engineer from Princeton University, had such a moment in Beijing's Forbidden City — a city-within-a-city of palaces and temples built in the 15th and 16th centuries. A carved, 300-ton slab that formed a ramp to one structure particularly caught Stone's eye. "How in the world did it get here?" he wondered.
Maltreatment during childhood can lead to long-term changes in brain circuits that process fear, researchers say. This could help explain why children who suffer abuse are much more likely than others to develop problems like anxiety and depression later on.
Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping aboard the Tiangong-1 space module in June. China is leading what some see as a space race among Asian countries: It has worked on a lunar rover, a space station and an unmanned mission to Mars.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
Wu Ji, director general of the China National Space Science Center, says he's excited that his organization now has the funding and the mandate to pursue more purely scientific space projects. But he expresses disappointment at the difficulty of cooperating with colleagues at NASA.
India's launch Tuesday of a satellite bound for Mars is the latest milestone in a space race among Asian nations. China, though, is still seen as the leader. A decade ago, China became the third nation to put up a manned spacecraft; it has worked on a lunar rover, a space station as well as its own unmanned mission to Mars.
Sir Terry Pratchett is one of Britain's best-selling authors. His science-fiction series Discworld has sold millions of copies worldwide. Pratchett is incredibly prolific — since his first novel was published in 1971, he has written on average two books every year.
But in 2007, 59-year-old Pratchett announced that he had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. As a result, Pratchett can no longer read.
Small flickering oil lamps known as diyas are lighting up Indian homes in South Asian communities around the globe on Sunday as hundreds of millions of people observe Diwali.
Otherwise known as the Festival of Lights, it's a religious celebration of self-awareness and reflection. Diwali is a public holiday in a number of other nations, but it's not nearly so well-known in the U.S., where families must rely on themselves to keep the tradition alive.
For years, Newark, N.J., had the reputation of being a crime-ridden, low-income city. Former Mayor Cory Booker helped change that perception.
Thursday, the Democrat was sworn in as a U.S. senator, and it's unclear what that means for the city's future.
While Booker brought attention — and funding — to Newark, he couldn't completely tackle the violence that has persisted for years. As mayoral candidates begin making their cases, crime is a common theme.
Los Angeles saw a dramatic boom in growth after the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913. The system delivers water from the Owens River in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains to the city.
Credit Damian Dovarganes / AP
Water flows through The Los Angeles Aqueduct Cascades near Newhall Pass in Sylmar, Calif. The aqueduct, which carries millions of gallons of water to the city of Los Angeles, turns 100 years old this week.
Today the beauty of Los Angeles is dramatically symbolic of the ancient prophecy the desert shall "blossom like a rose."
This blossoming was made possible by the birth of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, opened 100 years ago this month. The opening of the aqueduct might as well have been the birth of the modern West and the image of the city as a Garden of Eden.
The vast quantities of water the aqueduct moved made Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and other cities across the region possible.
The small town of Rjukan has long had to make do without sunlight during the cold Norwegian winters.
But that changed Wednesday, when the town debuted a system of high-tech mirrors to reflect sunlight from neighboring peaks into the valley below.
Rjukan, originally founded 100 years ago as an industrial outpost for the energy company Norsk Hydro, is nestled between several mountains and does not receive direct sunlight from late September to mid-March — nearly six months out of the year.
Thirty or so attendees at St. Mary Primitive Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla., gathered on a recent evening to hear a presentation by the Obamacare Enrollment Team on their options to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
"If anybody is interested in getting enrolled, we can get you enrolled tonight," they were told.
Signs outside the church looked official: A familiar, large "O" with a blue outline, white center and three red stripes.
There's a phrase in French — "L'esprit de l'escalier," meaning "staircase wit" — for that moment when you've lost an argument and are walking away, and waaay too late, think of the perfect comeback. If you could just rewind your life a few minutes, you'd win the argument.
That's pretty much the setup in the new British comedy About Time.
Among Betto Arcos' new music picks from Brazil is percussionist Wilson Das Neves, who has been an active and integral part of Rio De Janeiro's music scene since he began playing professionally in the 1950s.
When the federal health exchange marketplace opened Oct. 1, we visited jazz musician Suzanne Cloud in Philadelphia. She tried to start an account early in the morning, but technology thwarted her plans.
She wasn't alone, as it became clear quickly that the unprecedented system for Americans in 36 states to shop and enroll for health insurance was broken in several places. A week into her failed attempts, Cloud stayed positive.
Sports marketing and management firm Fantex has reached a deal with San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis for an initial public stock offering. Fantex is paying Davis $4 million for the rights to 10 percent of his earnings, and the company is also creating a tracking stock linked specifically to the football player's economic performance. Davis is the second player to try this arrangement with Fantex. Sportswriter Fatsis joins Robert Siegel to explain how this is all supposed to work — and why he's dubious.
An East Los Angeles rivalry has become the largest high school football game west of the Mississippi. The football teams of Garfield High School and Roosevelt High School will meet on the gridiron Friday night for the 79th year. The game is expected to draw 20,000 fans.
Texas good ol' boy Ron Woodroof was a player — drugs, alcohol, women, gambling. As Dallas Buyers Club starts, he's at a rodeo, snorting cocaine, with a fistful of bets, when he gets it on with two prostitutes. Not a "healthy" lifestyle — one that's left him gaunt, weak, coughing.
With the advantage of hindsight, what's ailing him seems obvious now. Back in 1986, it didn't, until doctors did a blood test and told him he had 30 days to live.
Runners train in Ngong, Kenya, in 2012. The country has produced the world's best distance runners for decades, and most belong to the Kalenjin people.
Credit John MacDougall / AFP/Getty Images
Kenya's Wilson Kipsang set a world marathon record when he won the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 29 in 2 hours, 3 minutes and 23 seconds. He is Kalenjin, a group that has produced many of the world's best distance runners.
Kenyan Wilson Kipsang won this year's Berlin Marathon in 2 hours, 3 minutes and 23 seconds — an average of 4:42 per mile. It was easily the fastest marathon time ever recorded, an incredible feat for another powerful Kenyan runner.
But perhaps equally remarkable was that his fellow Kenyans also came in second, third, fourth and fifth place in this major international race. On the women's side, Kenyans placed first, second and fourth.
Getting young, healthy people to sign up for health insurance is seen as critical to the success of the Affordable Care Act. It's precisely those people who will help offset the cost of the older, sicker ones.
But while cheap health insurance and subsidies based on income are intended to make the program appealing to the young, what if they haven't even heard of the health care law? Or don't want to buy even an inexpensive policy?
Much of the world is turning hotter and dryer these days, and it's opening new doors for a water-saving cereal that's been called "the camel of crops": sorghum. In an odd twist, this old-fashioned crop even seems to be catching on among consumers who are looking for "ancient grains" that have been relatively untouched by modern agriculture.
Sorghum isn't nearly as famous as the big three of global agriculture: corn, rice and wheat. But maybe it should be. It's a plant for tough times, and tough places.