Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 1:03 pm
Did you know plants use quantum mechanics every day? That quantum computers can hack the encryption used in online commerce? Or that a 'quantum internet' could someday teleport your emails? MIT's Seth Lloyd discusses those and other quantum mysteries in this episode of "Ask a quantum mechanic."
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 1:03 pm
Alan Alda founded The Flame Challenge last year to promote better science communication, and he started by asking scientists to come up with a kid-friendly explanation for a flame. Now, Alda is back with round two of the popular contest, and kids want to know: What is time?
Egyptians are voting on a new constitution - but the vote is polarizing the country. Meanwhile, in Syria, the main opposition group is now recognized by the U.S., but there are questions about al-Qaeda affiliates fighting alongside them. To make sense of the developments, host Michel Martin talks with Abderrahim Foukara of Al Jazeera International.
Lawrence Guyot spent his life fighting for civil rights - but often at great personal cost. He was jailed and beaten regularly by police in the Deep South while helping black people get involved in politics. Host Michel Martin speaks with Washington, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who worked alongside Guyot, about his life and activism.
In this week's Barbershop, the guys weigh in on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrawing her name from consideration for secretary of state. They also discuss Michigan's right-to-work law and whether unions are still relevant today.
An Egyptian activist holds a banner used to spray paint graffiti on a wall urging Egyptians to vote against a draft constitution. The opposition says the constitution does not represent all Egyptians, but their efforts have not been particularly well organized. President Mohamed Morsi and his Islamist supporters support the draft constitution. Voting begins Saturday.
For three consecutive weeks, the Egyptian opposition has called mass protests against a controversial draft constitution that Egyptians are being asked to vote on beginning Saturday.
At each rally, protesters chanted against the document and its key proponents: The Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi, who was among the group's leaders before he was elected Egypt's president.
But the opposition appears to be losing momentum, while the Islamists still appear to be going strong.
"In recent weeks, new lines of attack have been raised to malign my character and my career. Even before I was nominated for any new position, a steady drip of manufactured charges painted a wholly false picture of me."
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 10:02 pm
Though we hear about them every holiday season in that famous song, chestnuts – whether roasting on an open fire or otherwise – have been noticeably absent from many American tables for decades, thanks to a deadly fungus that decimated the species near half a century ago. But a small army of determined growers have been on a seemingly quixotic quest to put chestnuts back on the American table, and they're just starting to see results.
"Being welcomed by and embraced by Igbos, who take Judaism so seriously ... it raises the question of what it means to be a Jew," says William Miles.
Three years ago, Miles, a self-proclaimed semi-practicing Jew, decided to celebrate Hanukkah in Africa's most populous country. He wrote about his experience in a new book called Jews of Nigeria: An Afro-Judaic Odyssey. He tells NPR's Tell Me More host Michel Martin that he found "a very Jewish community, but also a very African community."
A supporter of the opposition to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was playing soccer near a Republican Guard tank earlier today outside the presidential palace in Cairo. Egyptians are being called to vote over the next two weekends in a referendum on a draft constitution.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 9:12 am
"The U.S. will send two batteries of Patriot missiles and 400 troops to Turkey as part of a NATO force meant to protect Turkish territory from a potential Syrian missile attack, the Pentagon said Friday." (The Associated Press)
That's what the University of Chicago is asking. The admissions office received mail addressed to Henry Walton Jones, Jr., aka Indiana Jones. The character is said to have attended the school. The package contained a dust-covered replica of the journal in the Raiders of the Lost Ark film.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 7:02 am
The bank UBS has been in the middle of a huge investigation into interest rate manipulation. There are several reports that a subsidiary of UBS is making a settlement deal with U.S., British and Swiss officials.
The Consumer Price Index is one of the most familiar measures in economics and politics. But some in Washington want to change the way the index is calculated to better reflect people's shopping habits.
While the proposed change is described as a technical fix, it could also cut the federal deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 6:06 am
Under fire from Republicans, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice took herself out of the running to become the next secretary of State. Rice told President Obama that if she were to be nominated, the confirmation process would be "lengthy, disruptive and costly."
The term "right to work" has been in the news a lot this week. On Tuesday, Michigan became the 24th state to enact right-to-work legislation. It means unions can no longer require workers to pay full dues, even if they're working in a union shop.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 6:35 am
As the negotiations drag on, the lack of progress means the key players have necessarily taken to repeating themselves. Sometimes, word-for-word, as they describe how they have worked for a solution while their opponents have stonewalled.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 7:51 am
In an interview with David Greene, outgoing Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro reflects on her tenure at the agency, and the disappointment that she wasn't able to overhaul money market funds. She leaves the job on Friday.
This monitor screen image shows a graphic of the orbit of the satellite carried by the Unha-3 rocket, which North Korea launched this week. The image is from the Korean Central News Agency, distributed in Tokyo by the Korea News Service.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., speaks Tuesday at a news conference calling for no reduction in the Medicare and Medicaid budgets, as part of the year-end budget talks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Waxman said he does not support means testing for Medicare.
When it comes to reducing Medicare spending, asking wealthier seniors to pay more is one of the few areas where Democrats have shown a willingness to even consider the subject.
"I do believe there should be means testing. And those of us with higher income in retirement should pay more," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on last Sunday's Meet the Press. "That could be part of the solution."
A helicopter placed this inflatable tree raft in the forest canopy in Panama.
Credit Roger Le Guen / Panacoco
Jurgen Schmidl fogs the forest understory with insecticide to help in the collection of specimens.
Credit Courtesy of Maurice Leponce / Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Here, researcher Maurice Leponce hangs from the "canopy bubble."
Credit Jurgen Schmidl / University of Erlangen
Here, Dawn Frame and Alexey Tishechkin in the crane's gondola net insects attracted to the flowers of Nectandra purpurascens.
Credit Courtesy of Roger Le Guen
Researchers also used a hot air balloon-style system to collect arthropods from thie top of the forest canopy.
Credit Courtesy of Maurice Leponce
A construction crane was also built in the forest to allow access to different levels of the forest.
Credit Courtesy of Maurice Leponce
Researchers used the canopy, which in some places was as much as 13 stories above the forest floor, to collect insects.
Credit Courtesy of Noui Baiben
Researchers used this inflatable tree raft that sits atop the forest canopy to help them collect almost 130,000 arthropod specimens from a section of Panamanian rainforest about the size of a football field.
Credit Courtesy of Yves Roisin
This large moth, a Thysania agrippina, sometimes called the great gray witch, is one of the more than 6,000 species identified in a multi-year census of a section of Panamanian rainforest.
There are more species of insects than pretty much anything else in the world. And scientists know there are millions they haven't even identified yet. Now, in a tropical rainforest in Panama, a multinational team of scientists has just completed the first ever insect census.
Scott Miller, an entomologist at the Smithsonian who worked on the Panama, shows off one of the species from the survey that's at the National Museum of Natural History's insect zoo in Washington, D.C.
Allegations of the existence of a secret network of doctors and nuns who stole newborn babies and sold them for adoption are reviving a dark chapter in Spain's recent history.
More than 1,000 people have gone to court hoping to track down sons and daughters or brothers and sisters they were told died in childbirth.
In Madrid's Puerta del Sol square last month, Antonio Iniesta stood next to a poster with the words bebes robados (stolen babies). His demonstration is intended to publicize his search for a brother he's convinced is alive.
Parents in one small California community have used a "parent-trigger" law for the first time to shut down and take over an elementary school. It's a revolt led by parents who say the school has failed their children, but others say it's not the school's fault.
The school is in tiny Adelanto, Calif., home to several prisons connected by desolate stretches of highway on the fringes of the Mojave Desert.