Who needs jocks when you've got Jennifer Hudson and Amy Poehler?
That seems to be the message coming out of the White House following a star-studded meeting yesterday led by White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. Its mission: Figure out how to help promote the Affordable Care Act.
Vermont, New Hampshire and Delaware get a notable benefit of being small: faster Internet connections. In the latest Akamai State of the Internet Report, they top the list of states with the fastest average connection speeds, and make the top 10 states with fastest peak connection speeds, too.
Check out the rankings, which include download speeds measured in megabits per second, and the year-on-year change for those numbers.
In India, police have widened their hunt for the principal of an elementary school. It's the place where 23 children died last week after eating a toxic school lunch. The principal has been missing, along with her husband, since the day the children fell sick. An arrest warrant has been issued for her. In the meantime, parents of the victims are trying to cope with the tragedy. NPR's Julie McCarthy visited some of the families who live in one of India's poorest states.
It's been a bad month in U.S.-Afghan relations and efforts to negotiate a long-term security pact have been sidelined by a series of controversies and rhetorical bombshells. As the end of the NATO mission creeps closer, Afghans are increasingly worried that the bad atmospherics between Washington and Kabul could leave the Afghan people without enough U.S. support and vulnerable to predatory neighbors.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, has outlined the costs and benefits of the military options the U.S. is considering for Syria. The options include training rebels, military strikes and establishing a no-fly-zone. Dempsey offered his assessment in a letter to the top Senator on the Armed Services Committee. He noted there would be "unintended consequences" to any action, a reference to the past decade of military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If every era gets the historical fiction it deserves, we have been good indeed. From the transcendent psychological rummagings of Hilary Mantel to the gooey pleasures of Philippa Gregory, we can set aside flowery bodice-rippers (not that there's anything wrong with those) and view the dusty figures through lenses literary, pop culture-y, or near-pornographic.
When they come — and they are coming — will the robots we deploy into human culture be capable of evil? Well, perhaps "evil" is too strong a word. Will they be capable of inflicting harm on human beings in ways that go beyond their programing?
While this may seem like a question for the next installment of The Terminator franchise (or The Matrix or whatever, pick your favorite), it's a serious question in robotics and it's being taken up by researchers now.
The Newport Folk Festival's history is dotted with historic moments involving musical icons — Bob Dylan plugging in jumps immediately to mind. But, while organizers still take care to stack each festival with huge names and star veterans, the margins are smartly and lovingly curated, too. The 2013 Newport Folk Festival is no different, with an impressive slate of boundary-pushers and genre-eschewers. Here are five of the newest and most promising faces, with a downloadable song from each.
Social media sites have gotten so difficult to ignore that millions of people are using apps to stop them from wasting time on the Internet. So if you lack self-control, no problem. Just download SelfControl — the app.
Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 10:01 pm
Several years ago, I was driving through Northern California when an eerie orange hue flooded the landscape. It took several more miles to see the plumes of smoke in the distance, the charred hillsides — and the occasional firefighter seeking some shade near the road.
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 5:53 pm
Brett and Rennie Sparks have inhabited a unique musical world together since the '90s. As The Handsome Family, husband Brett sings and writes the melodies while wife Rennie focuses on the lyrics; the resulting ghost stories and murder ballads have won the band an intense cult following. After years spent in Chicago, where Wilco helped boost its profile, The Handsome Family now resides in Albuquerque, N.M.
The online health insurance marketplaces can't open soon enough for Chris and Kristi Petersen. Enrolled in the Iowa high-risk insurance pool because insurers on the private market won't cover them, the couple pays more than $1,300 each month for a plan with a $2,500 annual deductible and a 20 percent copay for medical services. It's more than they can afford.
"At the end of this year, these exchanges are either going to have to offer some relief, or I'm just going to quit working and let the welfare take care of us," says Chris. "I'm fed up with it. I'm fed up with insurance."
Lucius makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. Led by singers Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe, Lucius mixes eerily tight vocals with lush instrumentation for a sound that's won fans everywhere from Seventeen magazine to Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman.
Still, the many comments I received to my July 9 column on referring to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand as "perky" and speaking with a "girlie" voice were so generally insightful that I thought I might pick up on them here.
Switching gears now. We are about halfway through the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. That's where observant Muslims abstain from food, drink and intimacy during daylight hours and take special care to pray and reflect on their spirituality. If you are currently observing Ramadan, you might sometimes forget that it's time to pray or eat until you hear this coming out of your pocket.