When Ray Bradbury died this week, he was hailed as one of science fiction's great writers. Best known for works like "The Martian Chronicles," Bradbury himself didn't think science fiction was a good label for his work. He said science fiction was about what could happen, and believed most of his work was actually fantasy. And yet, in the real world of space exploration, Bradbury was revered. Science writer Andrew Chaikin, for one, considers Bradbury the poet laureate of space exploration.
On July 1, the European Union says it will stop buying oil from Iran. Europe is one of the most important markets for Iran's oil, and in anticipation of the boycott, Iranian oil exports worldwide are already down by more than 25 percent.
Iran's leaders say they can weather this pressure, and so far they have refused to budge on their controversial nuclear activities, ones that prompted a series of economic sanctions.
As a result, it appears as if Iran will only face even greater difficulties when it comes to exporting oil, the lifeblood of its economy.
The year began with New Year's resolutions to get fit and ever since, Morning Edition has been talking to athletes, musicians, a mail carrier and the head of the IRS about the music that gets them moving. The Ultimate NPR Workout Mix series concludes with a contribution from Michelle Obama.
The first lady is the mover and shaker behind "Let's Move," a campaign designed to get young people, in particular, to eat better and exercise more.
During a recent tour of the White House vegetable garden, Obama shared the key to her workout routine.
Imagine a school where every child gets instant, personalized writing help for a fraction of the cost of hiring a human teacher — and where a computer, not a person, grades a student's essays.
It's not so far-fetched. Some schools around the country are already using computer programs to help teach students to write.
There are two big arguments for automated essay scoring: lower expenses and better test grading. Using computers instead of humans would certainly be cheaper, but not everyone agrees on argument No. 2.
The writer, poet and critic Dorothy Parker was technically not a native New Yorker; she was born at her family's beach cottage in New Jersey. But she always considered New York City to be her beloved hometown. It's where she grew up, where she struggled during her early days as a writer, where she became famous, and where she died of a heart attack at the age of 73.
Children who get CT scans are at slightly increased risk for brain cancer and leukemia, according to a large international study released Tuesday.
CT scans create detailed images of the inside of the body. So they're great for diagnosing all sorts of medical problems — so great that their use has soared in recent years. More than 80 million are being done every year in the United States.
Some sad news this morning: The world has lost a literary giant. Author Ray Bradbury died last night after a long illness. He was 91 years old. He wrote such classics as "The Martian Chronicles" and "Fahrenheit 451" - futuristic tales from a man who never used a computer, or even drove a car. NPR's Arnie Seipel has more on Bradbury and his curious life.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Eight thousand people will carry the Olympic torch before it reaches London to open the summer games, though one would-be torch barer isn't even human. He's a small red fuzzy monster.
KEVIN CLASH: (As Elmo) Elmo's ready to start training to be a monster torch-bearer. Yay. Oh, oh, Cramp, cramp.
Tiny bags of pretzels followed by some kind of rubber mystery meat - for those who fly, you know exactly what I'm talking about: the joys of airplane food. Well, some airlines are now trying to shake things up. They're showcasing some new cuisine in hopes of luring more passengers. But producing food that actually tastes great at cruising altitude is not easy, as NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.
And our last word in business this morning is: litigious days.
(SOUNDBITE OF "HAPPY DAYS" THEME SONG)
MONTAGNE: That, of course, is the theme from "Happy Days," the hit sitcom from the 1970s and '80s. These days, not everyone is so happy. Several cast members from the show are battling with CBS and Paramount, for unpaid royalties.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
Here a couple of the more alarming warnings coming out of the eurozone this week. Greece says it could go broke by July. Spain says it probably can't raise money from investors because they're demanding interest rates that are too high.
Despite all these troubles, one country is still eager to join the eurozone: Latvia. In fact, all three Baltic States remain supportive of the euro.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
Wisconsin's combative Governor Scott Walker has survived an attempt to remove him from office. Labor unions, angry over the Republican governor's successful push to strip them of most collective bargaining rights, had battled Scott Walker and hoped Wisconsin voters would oust him.
So far this year, 25 states have ended the Extended Benefits program. That program made sure people out of work for long periods of time continued receiving financial assistance. But there was a catch: if a state's unemployment rate improved, the money would stop flowing. The fact that some states are seeing lower unemployment may seem like a good sign for the economy. It's no comfort to the people who are still out of work.
Now, same-sex marriage is just one reason the Vatican has issued a strong criticism of a book. It's written by a prominent American Catholic theologian, Sister Margaret Farley. That rebuke from the Vatican comes as leaders of an organization of American nuns are in their own dispute with Rome. And to understand what's behind these tensions among Catholics, we called up John Allen, senior correspondent with the National Catholic Reporter.
Just a note for our listeners: Part of this conversation deals with mature themes.
To be perverse, I'd suggest that for the horse-racing industry, it'd be best that I'll Have Another does not — yes, does not — win the Triple Crown this Saturday.
Oh, certainly, absolutely every year you want a horse to win the first two races — the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness — so that suspense builds and a horse has a chance to win the Belmont and take the Triple Crown. But isn't it better to have the potential winner barely get beat so that the losing streak continues, building interest?
If you have a mortgage on your home, you can deduct the interest from your taxes. It's a popular, well-entrenched policy. But according to one policy adviser to a U.S. senator, "the mortgage-interest deduction, from a purely policy perspective ... makes no sense."
When Mexicans go to the polls on July 1 to choose their next president, a woman will be among the candidates, the first from a major political party. She belongs to the National Action Party — or PAN — the party of current President Felipe Calderon.
On a recent visit to the Mexican border city of Juarez, Josefina Vazquez Mota steps onto a catwalk that juts into the center of a long banquet hall crammed with table after table of women. When she speaks, they cheer.
They don't have a plan to save the euro or draw down the war in Afghanistan, nor do they have clear policies on an array of issues, but the German Pirate Party is winning converts and elections with its vision of digital democracy through "liquid feedback."
Despite public relations mishaps and a haphazard organizational structure, the Pirate Party is shaking up the stolid, bureaucratic world of German politics and jolting rival parties with its rising popularity.
Merrill Garbus, the woman behind the experimental folk-rock band tUnE-yArDs, wrote her song "My Country" with the state of the union on her mind. The melody resembles "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" at first but quickly veers into more chaotic territory.
And our last word in business this morning is: Jubilation.
Hundreds of thousands of Britons gathered outside Buckingham Palace last night for the Diamond Jubilee concert, celebrating the queen's 60-year reign. The evening offered a break from Britain's bad economic news and another opportunity to rebrand positively the Royal Family.
The massacre in the place known as Houla has kept worldwide attention on the relentless violence in Syria. Western countries and the United Nations blame Syrian government troops and pro-government thugs for killing more than a hundred people, nearly half of them children. NPR's Kelly McEvers made a closer examination of those events and found that's only part of the picture.
Hollywood studios are dealing with big budget flops and the release of G.I. Joe: Retaliation has been postponed until March. Kim Masters, host of The Business, and editor at large for The Hollywood Reporter, talks to Renee Montagne about the summer woes at movie studios.
And here's a reminder of how TV is adjusting to the modern world. Trey Parker, a creator of the animated comedy series "South Park," spoke in Los Angeles at the big E-3 video game industry conference yesterday. And Parker poked fun at the ever wired world of digital entertainment.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker faces Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a recall election Tuesday that has attracted a lot of outside money. The attempt to remove Walker came after he successfully pushed to limit collective bargaining rights for public sector unions.
You might say there's a tectonic shift going on in morning television. TV critic Eric Deggans says that ABC's "Good Morning America" is doing something that seemed unthinkable for more than a decade: it is rocking NBC'S "Today Show" off its ratings pedestal.
ERIC DEGGANS: Even "Today" show co-host Matt Lauer admits it.
MATT LAUER: The show is not where I want it to be right now. The ratings are not where I want them to be right now.