The lg Nobel Prize honors discoveries that are very scientific yet humorous. Winners include researchers who showed dung beetles navigate using the Milky Way. Other scientists proved that people who are drunk think they're more attractive.
With her weird, wistful new novel MaddAddam, Margaret Atwood completes the apocalyptic trilogy she began with Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. Like its predecessors, MaddAddam is a blend of satiric futurism and magic realism, a snarky but soulful peek at what happens to the world after a mad scientist decimates humanity with a designer disease. That mad scientist is the brilliant bioengineer Crake, whose story is retold in this novel by the Crakers, the post-humans he designed to experience no sexual jealousy, and to eat nothing but plants.
What happens when hipsters grow up? Do they become less insufferable with age? Do they learn to contribute something useful to the society they've long scorned, and in turn were scorned by? Maybe they, like Norman Rush's deceased character Douglas, leave New York City and go live in a castle somewhere, work on secret projects for the Israeli government, get a trophy wife and raise a child who opts to worship Odin and live wild in the surrounding forest.
There's a lot of searching on Capitol Hill but no discovery yet of a way to avoid a federal government shutdown at the start of next month.
Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are searching for enough House GOP votes for a spending bill that could pass in the Democratic-controlled Senate and keep the government open past Sept. 30.
Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers are searching for a way to repeal the Affordable Care Act with the help of the Democratic-controlled Senate and President Obama.
Outside the courthouse in New Delhi on Friday, demonstrators gathered to call for — and then celebrate — the death sentences handed down for four men convicted in the December gang rape and murder of a young woman.
"It took all of 90 seconds" for the judge to announce his decision and then leave the courtroom, NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from New Delhi. One of the four convicted men "shrieked and slumped," while outside a cheer went up when spectators heard the news, she adds.
Wadjda tells the story of a 10-year-old Saudi girl determined to have a bicycle in a culture that frowns on female riding. Writer-director Haifaa al-Mansour says she wanted to put a human face on the situation of women in Saudi Arabia, where driving is not permitted.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states are stepping in with billions of dollars for Egypt's military as it attempts to neutralize the Muslim Brotherhood as a political force. The exception is Qatar, which along with Turkey, is left to condemn the ouster of Egypt's Islamist president last month. The rift poses new challenges for U.S. policy in the region.
A wounded Syrian, suffering skull, stomach and pancreas injuries from an explosion, in intensive care at Ziv Medical Center in Israel. Hospital staff asked that faces and names not be included to protect the safety of the Syrian patients who could get in trouble with Syrian authorities if it were discovered that they were in Israel.
At about 2 p.m. on a recent day, hospital personnel at Ziv Medical Center in northern Israel got a text message from the Israeli army: We're on our way with four wounded Syrians. Half an hour later, two army ambulances pulled up to the emergency room.
Two soldiers carried in the injured Syrian, his hands covering his head. Then, another was brought in on a wheelchair.
Teams of army paramedics and hospital doctors huddled around the Syrians, asking their ages, tearing away their clothes and quickly assessing their injuries.
We're going look more closely at whether the United States is providing arms to Syria's rebels. The commander of the Free Syrian Army General told Morning Edition on Thursday that his group was not receiving weapons. But American officials contend they are providing weapons to the rebels.
Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 5:32 am
The past couple of weeks have sometimes felt like an international thriller as American and Russian leaders moved their chess pieces around the board. Renee Montagne talks to Washington Post columnist and novelist David Ignatius about the strategies involving Syria.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov resume meetings in Geneva on Friday. The talks are aimed at working out the details of a program in which Syria's Bashar Assad would give up his chemical weapons.
Something peculiar is happening to rivers and streams in large parts of the United States — the water's chemistry is changing. Scientists have found dozens of waterways that are becoming more alkaline. Alkaline is the opposite of acidic — think baking soda or Rolaids.
Research published in the current issue of Environmental Science and Technology shows this trend to be surprisingly widespread, with possibly harmful consequences.
What's especially odd about the finding is its cause: It seems that acid rain actually has been causing waterways to grow more alkaline.
To mark the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, Jews fast from sundown to sundown. But before the sun sets, friends and family gather to enjoy one final meal. And for the Jews of Eastern Europe, that meal traditionally includes kreplach.
Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 10:13 am
For a while in Jamie Meltzer's mesmerizing documentary Informant, I wondered whether subject Brandon Darby, the lefty activist turned FBI informer, was being played by an actor.
But no: It's Darby, and he's a handsome fellow, with haunted eyes blazing out of a bone structure to die for, and with a Montgomery Clift dimple in his chin. Staring straight into the camera, he testifies with the intense calm of a messiah or a madman, which all too often comes to the same thing. Among other things, this powerfully confused man is a study in American extremity.
Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:09 pm
Leaders who respect each other and have a good relationship don't mock each other.
Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin do not have a good relationship.
Just as Russia and the U.S. are attempting to work out a delicate deal to rid Syria of chemical weapons, the Russian president published an op-ed in The New York Times thumbing his nose at President Obama.
Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:04 pm
At least two waterspouts were seen over Lake Michigan on Thursday, near the Wisconsin border, amid strong winds and a marine warning issued by the National Weather Service.
The Associated Press says the waterspouts — tornadoes that form over the water — merged into one and then split again. The video below, taken by an amateur in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., appears to be a single, merged, waterspout: