Last weekend, air pollution in Beijing reached record highs, raising concerns about the cost of China's rapid industrialization. David Pettit, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, discusses the pollution problem in China's capital, and why severe smog can be deadly.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman. Up next: the man who wrote the book - well, the books, rather - on data visualization. He was doing infographics before everybody was doing infographics. Back in the '80s, data scientist Edward Tufte remortgaged his house so he could start a company and self-publish his first book, "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information." Sound like a snoozer? Well, that book, along with his others on the same topic, have sold more than a million-and-a-half copies.
In the Broadway play The Other Place actress Laurie Metcalf ("Jackie" on the TV show "Roseanne") plays a scientist suffering from the dementia she studies. Playwright Sharr White discusses the play and the challenge of presenting complicated science on a theater stage.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira Flatow today. Solar wind, geothermal - now there's a new renewable energy source to add to that list. It's free, completely reliable and totally unlimited: the force of gravity. Two British designers have invented a lamp that runs on gravity alone. Their GravityLight - yes, that's its name, aptly named - uses, you guessed it, the pull of gravity on a weight to generate up to 30 minutes of light.
Astronomers have discovered a clump of 73 quasars that spans four billion light years at its widest point--that's like 40,000 Milky Way galaxies lined end-to-end. The only problem? Theory says the quasar cluster is too big to exist. Astronomer Gerard Williger and reporter Ron Cowen discuss this cosmological oddity, and other news about the cosmos.
Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 3:35 pm
Toyota has agreed to settle lawsuits with the relatives of two people killed in one of their vehicles, allegedly after the engine suddenly accelerated. Paul Van Alfen and Charlene Jones Lloyd died near Wendover, Utah in 2010 when their Toyota Camry crashed into a wall.
A masked assailant threw acid into the face of the Bolshoi ballet's artistic director on Thursday in Moscow in what may have been a "reprisal for his selection of dancers in starring roles at the famed Russian company," The Associated Press reports.
President Obama lays down his marker on guns and exhorts Congress to act. But the House has no intention of voting to ban assault weapons, and rural Democrats in the Senate remain skittish. Meanwhile, Chuck Hagel gets some important backers in his bid to join the cabinet, and Mark Sanford hopes all is forgiven as he tries to return to Congress. But if he deserves a second chance, then so do NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. An amateur prospector in Australia thought he'd stumbled on a car hood. It turned out to be a giant gold nugget shaped like a goldfish. The owner of the local gold shop told the Herald newspaper that if the anonymous prospector was silly enough to melt it down it would be worth nearly $300,000.
Unlikely, since its size and shape make it so rare. The gold will be worth far more to a museum or collector. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
As President Obama prepares to start a second term, MORNING EDITION has asked NPR's foreign correspondents to gauge worldwide expectations for the next four years. We turn, this morning, to Kenya. Pride still runs deep there for the president, with roots in Kenya. But expectations of America's role have shifted from donor aid to partner in trade. NPR's Gregory Warner has the story.
On Thursday, Algerian forces opened fire on Islamists holding dozens of foreigners hostage. The militants, who have been linked to al-Qaida, say they took over the gas facility deep into the Sahara Desert in retaliation for France's attack on Islamic militants in the west African nation of Mali.
Few films trying to capture a child's experience of an adult world manage to nail the details. In real life, kids aren't typically the precocious sorts espousing wisdom beyond their years — kids fidget, they ask questions, they get scared. They act like kids.
Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:42 am
The newsroom has confirmed that the president puts on his pants like most of the rest of us: one leg at a time.
I make light. What it did today was change its stylebook and dropped referring on-air to the president of the United States as "Mr." in second references. Beginning with the inauguration of President Barack Obama for his second term next Monday, "Mr." Obama and his successors will be called by just their last names on second reference. "Obama," for example. Just like the rest of us.
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 6:06 pm
He has repeated the catchphrase over and over again, though he really had to say it only once: No one ever doubted for a minute that Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn't be back.
How you feel about the hit-or-miss neo-spaghetti-Western The Last Stand may depend on how much you really missed Schwarzenegger while he was taking time off from acting to serve two terms as governor of California.
When Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Annabel (Jessica Chastain) welcome his orphaned nieces (Isabelle Nelisse, left, and Megan Charpentier) into their home, they also inadvertently welcome one particularly malevolent spirit.
Credit Universal Pictures
Lilly and Victoria provide a haunting presence at the heart of <em>Mama</em>, a horror film backed by executive producer Guillermo del Toro.