Scientists have discovered water that has been trapped in rock for more than a billion years. The water might contain microbes that evolved independently from the surface world, and it's a finding that gives new hope to the search for life on other planets.
The water samples came from holes drilled by gold miners near the small town of Timmins, Ontario, about 350 miles north of Toronto. Deep in the Canadian bedrock, miners drill holes and collect samples. Sometimes they hit pay dirt; sometimes they hit water, which seeps out from tiny crevices in the rock.
On a sunny spring day in eastern Afghanistan's Paktia province, Afghan officials and U.S. troops and civilians gather inside the ancient mud fort in the center of Forward Operating Base Gardez. They're attending a ceremony marking the formal end of the work of the provincial reconstruction team, or PRT.
President Obama announced late Wednesday that the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steve Miller, has resigned in the wake of a report that employees at the agency engaged in partisan scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
The president, appearing for a brief statement at the White House, said he had directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew "to accept the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS."
Whether its members see it as blessing or a curse, Vampire Weekend's early success placed the band squarely under a microscope. Since even before the release of its first album, Vampire Weekend's clever lyrics and use of worldly rhythms have commanded attention; fortunately, the group's fame hasn't waned as its music has become more dynamic and confident.
As part of NPR's series The Changing Lives Of Women, our fearless female journalists are answering tough questions about their careers and offering insight into what it means to "have it all." Nina Totenberg, Audie Cornish and others responded in online essays and some took their best mantras to social media as well.
Astronomers said Wednesday that a reaction wheel that keeps the orbiting telescope pointed at tiny, distant patches of sky to look for Earth-like planets has failed. If they can't fix it, Kepler will be relegated to a less prestigious mission, directing its gaze much closer to home in a search for so-called "near-Earth objects," i.e., meteors and asteroids.
MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, BYLINE: And I'm Audie Cornish.
The Obama administration is doing some intensive damage control this evening. Tonight, the president announced that the acting commissioner of the IRS, Steven Miller, is being pushed out over heightened scrutiny given to Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations.
School suspensions are a big issue in California. Last year, schools handed out 700,000 of them. But the Los Angeles Unified School District took a step to change that this week when it voted to ban suspension of students deemed "willfully defiant."
Revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted some conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny have put a spotlight on a part of the tax code increasingly popular with political groups: section 501(c)(4).
But what's the benefit for organizations to get approved for 501(c)(4) status?
The Justice Department's subpoena of Associated Press phone records as part of an investigation into what Attorney General Eric Holder has called "a very grave leak" to the news agency has set off a political firestorm on Capitol Hill, but there's a lot to the AP story published a year ago that started it all.
In the final set of host Ophira Eisenberg's favorite games, we try to identify literary classics and bestsellers based on their actual Amazon one-star reviews in "Everyone's A Critic." House musician Jonathan Coulton attempts a round of "Radio Pictionary," asking contestants to identify corporate logos by a description of his drawings. Finally, with the help of recent VIP Michael Ian Black, host Ophira Eisenberg re-imagines famous advertising slogans as if they were delivered by Valley Girls, in "Just Do It?"
Host Ophira Eisenberg begins the hour by exploring the international gustatory delights of...McDonald's. You know that "two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun" is a Big Mac. But do you know what's in a McAloo Tikki Burger, or where you can buy one? If so, play along to "Where In The World Is Ronald McDonald?" Plus, we mind our manners in a game called "The Mad Men's Guide to Etiquette."
We continue the hour of games handpicked by host Ophira Eisenberg with a tribute to a Billy Joel classic. In "We Didn't Start The Fire," house musician Jonathan Coulton rewrites some couplets of this oft-attempted, oft-maligned karaoke hit to quiz contestants about a few of its historical references. Jonathan also plays a cover of Billy Joel's "Pressure." Plus, Ophira chats with author Chuck Klosterman about his personal quirks, music, and pop culture.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
The President of the U.N. General Assembly said today that at least 80,000 people have been killed in Syria's two-year civil war, and that most of those casualties were civilians. The assembly also approved a resolution today calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside. But that vote was largely symbolic; the resolution is unenforceable.