This week, the world's largest democracy experienced the world's largest power outage. Nearly 700 million — that's more than half a billion — Indians were said to have been without power Tuesday. No air conditioning. No traffic lights. No metro system.
Most of the power is back now, but the outage had resonance for me from the long-ago years when I lived in New Delhi and experienced power failures almost as regularly as I did steaming cups of dark, sweet Indian tea.
Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am
The stock market rallied on Friday's jobs report, with the Dow Jones industrial average jumping more than 200 points. But what do the numbers mean for the political stocks of President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney? That's harder to measure.
This summer's drought continues to wilt and bake crops from Ohio to the Great Plains and beyond. Under a baking, late-afternoon sun just outside of the tiny east-central Illinois town of Thawville, John Hildenbrand walks down his dusty, gravel driveway toward one of his corn fields.
"You can see on the outer edge, these are a lot better-looking ears on the outside rows. Of course, it's not near as hot as it is inside the field," he says.
The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet has been serenading audiences in its native Washington, D.C., across the country and even as far as France for more than two decades. But its members are finding ways to bring something new to their performances. Bandleader and co-founder Ginny Carr says she wrote the words and music to all 10 songs on the quartet's new album, Hustlin' for a Gig — a relative rarity in a jazz world defined by time-tested standards.
Many of our commenters look to America's rich history of immigration in order to form their opinion of the 'English-Only' debate. Interestingly enough, this approach facilitated conclusions on both sides of the issue.
"John G" believes that, "Society, not law, determines the specific language used."
Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 9:29 pm
Whooping cough is getting a foothold once again in the U.S., and it seems to be getting stronger. More than 20,000 cases have been reported so far this year, compared with only about 8,500 last year, and Washington State has already declared a whooping cough epidemic.
It's nearly time to set The Torch to "dim" for the night, but we must note something historic that happened today: Wojdan Shaherkani competed for Saudi Arabia in the Olympics, becoming the first woman ever to do so.
Shaherkani wasn't a threat to win her match against Puerto Rico's Melissa Mojica. After all, Shaherkani is only 16, and her highest level of achievement in judo is a blue belt. Their match only lasted 1 minute and 22 seconds.
Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 5:34 pm
Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman has been sentenced to 78 months in prison.
It means Siegelman is headed back to prison after he was freed to appeal his case. The AP gives us some background:
"Siegelman, 66, and former HealthSouth chief Richard Scrushy were convicted in 2006. They arranged $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman's campaign for a state lottery in exchange for the governor appointing Scrushy to an important hospital regulatory board.
The Bourne Legacy, which opens in theaters this week, is the fourth thriller in the series, and the first without either Jason Bourne or the star playing him, Matt Damon. They're suddenly not necessary, even though the series is named for Bourne? Why am I not surprised?
Marilyn Monroe, a global symbol of beauty, glamour and sex, died on Aug. 5, 1962. Fifty years later, she's still in style — and making more money than ever. Monroe's come-hither expression is emblazoned on posters, T-shirts and refrigerator magnets. She's become a multimillion-dollar brand, but that may never have happened if not for the will she left behind, a document that reveals a much quieter — and more complicated — side to her legacy.
If one thing is clear at these London Games, it's that not doing one's best is not only uncool — it's not allowed. Witness the badminton-to-worstminton scandal that erupted earlier this week, when players turned the tournament structure into a "farce" by attempting to lose in order to manipulate their seeds in the next round.
Here's a way the candidates would like to be able to raise money - donations via text message. It's something nonprofits already do. The American Red Cross, for example, raised $32 million from texts after the earthquake in Haiti. But, for political campaigns, it's not a reality, not yet. In June, the FEC ruled that campaigns can collect donations from text messages, but wireless carriers still aren't onboard.
August is here and, for many, that means vacation and a last minute scramble for a good book to pass the quiet hours. Well, take heart. Our reviewer Alan Cheuse has reached deep into his pile of new books and found two spy thrillers, perfect, he says, for brisk summer reading.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
What now? That's the question many in and out of Syria are asking, one day after Kofi Annan announced he's quitting as special envoy to Syria. Annan blamed his resignation, in part, on a divided U.N. Security Council. As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, activists are now calling on Washington to work around the U.N. and do more to support Syria's rebels.
Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 5:08 pm
In one of the last showcase days for swimming at the 2012 Summer Olympics, American athletes Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin hit the pool at London's aquatic center Friday. Each of them were on a mission to end their individual event schedules with gold medals.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 11:10 am
Scientists are starting to discover that the standard way of measuring calories, established more than 100 years ago, may not be terribly accurate when it comes to higher fat, high-fiber foods like nuts. But when it comes to almonds, the count may be off by a whole lot.
Food scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently published a new study that finds almonds have about 20 percent fewer calories than previously documented.
To avoid the crowds at Niagara Falls, why not sail the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or ogle oil refineries in Port Arthur, Texas? In Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures In The World's Most Polluted Places, Andrew Blackwell describes traveling to the world's most contaminated destinations.
Dr. Jay Parkinson envisions a future of more efficient, hassle-free healthcare--and it starts online. He says he and his colleagues at the New York City-based healthcare start-up Sherpaa can solve 70 percent of patients' problems via email, eliminating a trip to the doctor's office.
You're listening to SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. A little later in the program, we'll be talking about NASA's landing of its new probe, Curiosity, to the Martian surface. But with us now is Flora Lichtman with our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora.
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.
FLATOW: This is a soothing...
FLATOW: I mean, I saw the video pick. It's so soothing, although it's on a topic that you wouldn't think is soothing at all.
A court battle between Apple and Samsung is underway in California, with each side arguing over intricate patent and trademark claims covering how the companies' phones and tablets work, look, and feel. Robin Feldman, professor at the UC Hastings College of the Law, explains some of the key issues in the court case and how it might affect the technology industry.
To find out what the London Olympics are like for the average fan, we asked Morning Edition executive producer Madhulika Sikka — a Brit who's vacationing in London — to describe it for us. Sikka received tickets through the lottery.
Congratulations, you've secured tickets for an Olympic event, and London 2012 awaits you. So, what's it like to navigate a city that has been bracing itself for the throng of Olympic visitors?
What is the role of humans in climate change? "Call me a converted skeptic," physicist Richard Muller wrote in an Op-Ed in the New York Times this week, describing his analysis of data from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project. Though Muller was once a notable skeptic regarding studies connecting human activity to climate change, he has now concluded that "humans are almost entirely the cause" of global warming.
If all goes according to plan, the Mars Science Laboratory rover, nicknamed 'Curiosity,' will touch down on the red planet this weekend following what NASA has called 'seven minutes of terror' during the descent. NPR science correspondent Joe Palca and John Grunsfeld, head of NASA's Science Directorate, give a preview of the mission and talk about what scientists hope to learn from the latest ambassador to Mars.