England's Channel 4 is airing the Muslim call to prayer every morning during the month of Ramadan. It's a decision that's caused controversy among both Muslims and non-Muslims. Host Michel Martin speaks with BBC radio host Sheetal Parmar about the issue.
If you think flight delays in the U.S. are bad, try China.
A new report from travel industry monitor FlightStats says China is the world's worst when it comes to delays at major airports.
FlightStats compiled statistics from June for the report, determining that eight of the world's worst airports for flight delays were in China. Beijing and Shanghai topped the list, although New York's LaGuardia had the highest number of flight cancellations.
A day at the shore can leave beachgoers with more than a sunburn — a gulp of seawater can expose swimmers to disease-causing microbes like norovirus, salmonella, and adenovirus. Marine scientist Rachel Noble and environmental medicine researcher Samuel Dorevitch discuss the risk, and what's being done to limit swimmers' exposure.
As New Yorkers braced themselves for Hurricane Sandy, coastal geologist Cheryl Hapke was out surveying Fire Island, a barrier island off the Long Island coast. Days later, Hapke was back to document the hurricane's effects and found a breach cutting the island in two. Now locals and scientists are debating whether the inlet should be filled in or left as nature intended.
"Someone described my office as an eight-year-old's daydream," says astronomer Jill Tarter, who has been collecting E.T.-themed office ornaments for 30 years. Tarter was the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute's first employee, and the inspiration for the character in Carl Sagan's Contact.
A group of British academic researchers has announced plans to band together in a search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Alan Penney, the coordinator of the newly-formed UK SETI Research Network, describes the group's strategy for looking for signals from the stars.
People are turning to artificial sweeteners as a lower-calorie alternative to sugar. Writing in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, researcher Susan Swithers argues that artificial sweeteners may negatively affect our metabolism and brain — and even lead to weight gain.
For years, electrical experts have been calling for a "smart grid" that could better sense and adapt to changing conditions, from electrical outages to shifts in power consumption. Massoud Amin, referred to by some as the "father of the smart grid," talks about how and why the country should improve its aging electrical infrastructure.
Reporting in Science, researchers write of discovering four radio bursts from outer space. Physicist Duncan Lorimer, who detected the first such explosion in 2007, discusses what could be causing these radio signals, such as evaporating black holes, an idea proposed by Stephen Hawking in the 1970s.
Social media guru Clay Shirky looks at "cognitive surplus" — the shared, online work we do with our spare brain cycles. While we're busy contributing to the web in our small ways, we're building a better, more cooperative world.
Pianist John Bunch was born in Tipton, Ind., a small farming community north of Indianapolis. As a boy, he studied piano, and at 14, he was already playing with bands in central Indiana. During WWII, he served on a B17 Flying Fortress that was shot down over Germany. Bunch and his crew were taken captive, and while in a prison camp, he learned to arrange for big bands.
Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 12:55 pm
The morning's major economic news:
-- Inflation. Wholesale prices rose 0.8 percent in June from May, fueled by a 2.9 percent surge in the price of energy products, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. As drivers can confirm, a 7.2 percent jump in the cost of gasoline was responsible for most of that boost.
Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 10:27 am
If you have a Twitter account, there's an excellent chance you already know about Sharknado, SyFy's meteorological-marine horror movie that premiered last night. When I tell you that a lot of people were tweeting about Sharknado, I'm not lying.
Not to mention ... well, you know. Possibly NPR personalities.
The Kremlin's security agency has bought $15,000 worth of electric typewriters. A source told a Russian newspaper that after WikiLeaks and the Edward Snowden scandal, the Kremlin decided to "expand the practice of creating paper documents."
Russia is preparing for the 2014 Winter Games — turning a sleepy valley in the Northern Caucasus Mountains into an Olympic village, with brand-new facilities for every Alpine sport. Officials say it will be a world-class destination for winter-sports enthusiasts long after the Games are over. Environmentalists say it's an ecological disaster in the making.