Annie Glenn, Rene Carpenter, Louise Shepard, Betty Grissom, Trudy Cooper and Marjorie Slayton attend a luncheon held in their honor by the American Newspaper Women's Club on April 27, 1962, in Washington, D.C. Mercury Seven wife Josephine Schirra is not pictured.
Credit Harvey Georges / AP
Lily Koppel writes for <em>The New York Times</em> and is also the author of <em>The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal.</em>
In the late 1950s, after the Soviet Union successfully put their satellite, Sputnik 1, into orbit, American fears over the Communist threat reached a new height. The U.S. was trailing badly in a competition that would come to define the next decade – the race to space.
So on April 9, 1959, the U.S. kicked off its own space age by introducing the country to its first astronauts, known as the Mercury Seven. Their story is well known, but the story of their wives is often overlooked.
As Sochi, Russia, prepares to host the 2014 Olympic Games, workers walk past piles of dirt at the construction site of Fisht Stadium and Olympic Park on May 20.
Credit Artur Lebedev / ITAR-TASS/Landov
Yulia Saltykova (center) stands with her family on the site of a highway that, when finished, will cut off all access to their home. The family is one of many that say they have been displaced or harmed by Sochi's Olympic construction.
Credit Corey Flintoff / NPR
An aerial view of the construction site of Sochi's Olympic Park on the shore of the Black Sea.
As Russia prepares to host the world for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, it faces a number of challenges: The weather is mild for winter sports; residents are complaining about being displaced; and the project is costing a huge amount of money.
Yet the Black Sea resort town, a favorite of President Vladimir Putin, is bustling with construction cranes. Workers are racing to complete high-rise hotels and state-of-the-art venues for figure skating, speedskating and hockey.
Egypt's leaders are negotiating with Ethiopia over a Nile River dam project the Ethiopians have begun building, according to reports. The news comes after a week of forceful talk about the dam project, including one session with Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi in which politicians discussed armed intervention, apparently not aware their words were being broadcast on live television.
In order to make tough cuts of beef more tender, the industry uses a mechanical tenderizing process that involves piercing the meat with needles.
This is effective in breaking up the tough muscle fibers, but there's a downside, too: a higher risk of surface bacteria making their way into the cut of meat, which can set the stage for food poisoning. That's a particular concern when it comes to the center of meat cuts, which don't get heated to the same temperatures as the exterior.
Nelson Mandela has been hospitalized since Saturday with a recurring lung infection. The government says his condition is unchanged — serious, but stable. But his poor health and advanced age — 94 — suggest the former president's days are numbered. Retired archbishop Desmond Tutu described the anti-apartheid campaigner as an "extraordinary gift".
OK, so it might be a little presumptuous to call a winner considering that neither Sony's nor Microsoft's new console is on the market quite yet.
On Monday, however, on the first day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, where the gaming industry tells consumers what to buy this holiday season, Sony dropped the mic to universal applause, as Digital Trends described it.
Sean Kelley, senior vice president at the Eastern State Penitentiary, displays a plate of "food loaf," a punishment food currently served in Pennsylvania prisons. Over the weekend, the historic penitentiary, now a museum, served visitors sample meals from the 1800s, 1900s and today.
Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 11:11 am
Our fascination with prison food is usually limited to death row prisoners' elaborate last meal requests and urban legends about disturbingly low-grade meat. But nowadays, the walls between the prison cafeteria and the outside world are coming down, at least metaphorically.
This young female rhinoceros, photographed in Kenya in 2011, was killed by ivory poachers a few months after this photo was taken.
Credit Courtesy of Tom Snitch
Park rangers and army personnel in Nepal carry unmanned aerial vehicles used to track wildlife and poaching activity. The drones, which can be programmed to fly automatically, are outfitted with cameras that relay live video to the ground.
Credit WWF Nepal
Chris Miser, owner of Falcon UAV, uses a laptop to control and monitor an unmanned aerial vehicle in test flights in May at Olifant West, a private game preserve in South Africa.
A crowd of wildlife rangers gathered on a woody hillside in Nepal last year to try something they'd never done before. A man held what looked like an overgrown toy airplane in his right hand, arm cocked as if to throw it into the sky. As his fellow rangers cheered, he did just that. A propeller took over, sending it skyward.
The craft was an unmanned aerial vehicle, also known as a drone, though not the military kind. Its wingspan was about 7 feet, and it carried only a video camera that filmed the forest below.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its practice of collecting vast data about the phone calls made in the United States. The ACLU claims the government surveillance violates the Constitution's guarantee of free speech, association and privacy.
A public health poster from 1952 encourages Americans to get checked for sexually transmitted diseases. Gonorrhea is the second-most-common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S., with more than 300,000 cases reported in 2011.
Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 12:31 pm
Forms of gonorrhea that don't respond to the last line of antibiotics have rapidly spread in Great Britain, expanding the reach of drug-resistant disease.
The number of gonorrhea cases with decreased sensitivity to the front-line drug cefixime increased by nearly six times from 2004 to 2011 in England and Wales, a team from the U.K.'s Health Protection Agency reported Tuesday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:53 pm
Low Cut Connie is a Philadelphia band led by piano player Adam Weiner, who's a born ham: an entertainer who will pound his piano (and his listeners) into submission. Low Cut Connie began when Weiner and his partner, Englishman Dan Finnemore, decided to team up.
In this installment of World Cafe, the band plays music from last year's Call Me Sylvia and tells the tale of bonding in a stuck freight elevator.
I have vivid memories of my mom going out of town one weekend and my dad feeding me fried bologna sandwiches for three nights in a row. He didn't make the sandwiches because I liked them; he made them because he can't cook. He can't get around a kitchen. He doesn't know how to chop an onion. He has no idea how to roast a chicken. But the man can grill.
New technologies are not all equal. Some do nothing more than add a thin extra layer to the top-soil of human behavior (i.e., Teflon and the invention of non-stick frying pans). Some technologies, however, dig deeper, uprooting the norms of human behavior and replacing them with wholly new possibilities. For the last few months I have been arguing that Big Data — the machine-based collection and analysis of astronomical quantities of information — represents such a turn.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal today that would designate all chimpanzees as an endangered species.
Currently, chimps in the wild are classified as endangered but those in captivity are not classified as such. The Washington Post reports that the change could affect chimps that are used in medical research and are used as pets.
In 1907, the first president of the American Psychological Association called only children "sickly, selfish, strange, and stupid." He concluded that "being an only child is a disease in itself."
In her book One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One, journalist Lauren Sandler takes on these stereotypes and sifts through a huge body of research that debunks many of the worst myths about only children.
Sandler, an only child and mother of one, talks to NPR's Lynn Neary about the joys of raising just one.