Earlier this year, the percentage of Americans who are working or looking for work fell to its lowest level since 1979.
The figure (wonks call it labor force participation rate) rose for decades, as more women entered the workforce. It started falling over a decade ago. And the decline is now being driven by a bunch of different factors — some of which are scary and recessiony, and some of which are not.
The collapse of the garment factory in Bangladesh is seen as a gross violation of safety and workers rights. There are international organizations which try to guide and encourage companies and governments towards better codes of conduct, but the groups have no legal recourse.
In Birmingham, Ala., on Thursday, children took to downtown streets in a reenactment of historic events there 50 years ago. It's part of a series of events this year marking Birmingham's crucial role in the civil rights movement.
In December, six-year-old Benjamin Wheeler was among those killed in the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School. Since then, his father, David Wheeler has met with officials in Washington, D.C., urging tighter controls to rein in gun violence. He speaks with Melissa Block about his views on the legislative process and what his path forward is from here.
Y'know, I think this bummed-out superhero thing is catching. Depressed Bat-guy, brooding Spider-dude, even the Man of Steel seems existentially troubled in previews of his most recent incarnation.
And smart-alecky Iron Man? He'd appeared inoculated by Tony Stark's reflexive snark from succumbing to a similar ailment — but even he's having anxiety attacks these days. Ever since that Avengers dust-up with those unpleasant aliens last summer, he's evidently been having trouble sleeping.
Author A.J. Jacobs demonstrates the sheer volume of the enormous beard he grew as part of his quest to live his life according to the Bible, chronicled in his book <em>The Year of Living Biblically</em>.
Credit Josh Rogosin / NPR
A.J. Jacobs' chronicled his quest to become the healthiest man alive in <em>Drop Dead Healthy</em>.
Spoiler alert: These two initially incompatible people (played by Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dyrholm) will eventually fall for each other in <em>Love Is All You Need,</em> a romantic comedy that isn't either, and whose titular premise we regret to report is not always true.
When a husband steps out on his wife while she's getting chemo, she's entitled to a weekend in the Mediterranean with Pierce Brosnan, right?
Right, but I believe he went there quite recently with Meryl Streep, did he not, albeit without the cancer? I didn't much care for Mamma Mia!, but the garish musical at least embraced its vulgarity with a full heart and a toe-tapping ABBA soundtrack. And now that I've seen Love Is All You Need, I'd settle for Streep doing the splits.
In the opening minutes of Something in the Air, the protagonist carves an "A" (for anarchy) into his school desk, and participates in a street demonstration that ends in a punishing flurry of police billy clubs. "The revolution's near," apparently — to quote the 1969 Thunderclap Newman hit that provides the film's title.
A wildfire, dubbed the Springs Fire, in Ventura County has burned more than 6,500 acres and shut down a 9-mile stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway.
NPR member station KPCC is live-blogging. They report that at around 1 p.m. ET., authorities ordered the evacuation of an area that includes "California State University, Channel Islands, where students were notified by text, email and by the campus-wide speaker system to evacuate."
Natalie Maines is a small woman with a really big voice. Flanked by Emily Robison on banjo and Martie McGuire on fiddle, Maines powered the Dixie Chicks to some 30 million records sold. And then came the collapse — after what the band calls "the incident."
Pete Lawrie Winfield makes music as Until The Ribbon Breaks, stark music with a good deep vibe; Massive Attack or James Blake would be good touchstones. Until The Ribbon Breaks doesn't have much music out yet, but "Pressure," a new song, has urgency. "'Pressure' was written at a time of upheaval and transition for me," Winfield writes. "I was sleeping at my studio and had no idea what I was going to do next.
A woman holds a .22-caliber Crickett youth rifle at a Gander Mountain store in Flint Township, Mich. This type of gun, which is marketed to children and comes in a variety of colors, was involved in the shooting death of a 2-year-old girl in Kentucky.
Credit Steve Jessmore / The Flint Journal/Landov
A man and a boy out hunting with shotguns, circa 1955.
Employers using the E-Verify program are required to post an E-Verify Participation Poster, shown here in a handout photo. A Senate bill would make participation in the system, used to check employees' immigration status, mandatory for all employers.
Credit U.S. Department of Homeland Security / Reuters/Landov
Some employers around the nation have been using E-Verify to check the immigration status of employees for years. Operated by the Department of Homeland Security, the online system is designed to make it harder to hire unauthorized workers — and harder for those workers to find jobs.
While participation in the program has been voluntary since 1996, the immigration bill now in the Senate would make E-Verify mandatory.
Jordan's fastest-growing city lies in the middle of the desert, where the sand is so white that from a distance it looks like snow. There's little running water and not much electricity.
The name of this place? The Zaatari refugee camp, home to more than 100,000 Syrian refugees.
"This is a city — not one that anybody would want to create if they had a choice," says Caroline Gluck of Oxfam, one of the aid agencies working in the Zaatari camp. "It's certainly not urban planning at its best."
These robotic flies, which were built in a Harvard lab, can flap their wings independently of each other and fly around while tethered to a power and control wire.
Credit Kevin Ma, Pakpong Chirarattananon / AAAS/Science
An insect's eye lets it see really well because each of its light-sensitive cells has a dedicated lens. This miniature camera, which mimics an insect eye, is made from an array of microlenses arranged on a stretchable sheet that can be inflated like a balloon to a hemispherical shape.
Credit University of Illinois and Beckman Institute
A smartphone can tell you where to get a cup of coffee, but it can't go get the coffee for you. Engineers would like to build little machines that can do stuff. They would be useful for a lot more than coffee, if we could figure out how to make them work.
But the rules of mechanics change at small scales. Friction becomes dominant; turbulence can upend a small airplane.