The U.S. Supreme Court took up the subject of lying on Wednesday.
Specifically at issue was the constitutionality of a 2006 law that makes it a crime to lie about having received a military medal. But the questions posed by the justices ranged far beyond that — from advertising puffery to dating lies.
That's a 12.76-carat pink diamond that was found at Rio Tinto's Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia. The mine said it is the biggest of its kind found in the country, which is a big deal because that mine produces 90 percent of the global market diamond supply.
Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 12:19 pm
Since we introduced you to AeroShot, a product that delivers a blast of caffeine through an inhaler, a few months back, it seems a lot of folks — mostly around college campuses in New York and Boston — have tried the quick pick-me-up.
Sony launched the PlayStation Vita, its first hand-held gaming device in seven years, Wednesday. Vita, of course, is the Latin word for "life." And after suffering a series of tough blows — from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami to a relentlessly strong yen and a significant hacking attack — a bit of new life is just what the struggling company needs.
The Vita went on sale at a Best Buy in Los Angeles Wednesday morning. Despite the company's $50 million marketing campaign, only about a dozen gamers were on hand.
The Supreme Court engaged in a lively debate Wednesday when it heard oral arguments in a case testing whether the 2006 Stolen Valor Act is constitutional. The law makes it a crime to lie about military honors.
The Supreme Court has officially declined to decide one of its bigger cases of the term: whether or not doctors, hospitals and other health care providers can sue a state to challenge cuts in the Medicaid health program for the poor.
At the groundbreaking on the National Mall on Wednesday, President Obama said the newest Smithsonian museum has been has "a long time coming" and will serve "not just as a record of tragedy, but as a celebration of life." The National Museum of African American History and Culture is expected to open in 2015.
Three different congressional offices have received mailings that contained a suspicious powdery substance.
Terrance W. Gainer, the Senate Sergeant at Arms, sent an email to congressional staff saying that a Senate State office and House District office received a mailing yesterday and a Senate State office received a letter today. Gainer said the letters were postmarked in Portland and the substance was found to be harmless.
Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 5:25 pm
Remember last year, when we reported that Italian scientists claimed to have broken the speed of light? Remember the mystical implications of that? The possibility that Einstein was wrong? That our very basic idea of physics was challenged? The idea that you could be shot before a bullet left a gun?
Then you also remember that our friend and astrophysicist Adam Frank warned that these results should be looked at with great suspicion.
Peter Gleick is not just any scientist. He got his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley and won a MacArthur "genius" award. He is also an outspoken proponent of scientific evidence that humans are responsible for climate change.
And earlier this week, he confessed that he had lied to obtain internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a group that questions to what extent climate change is caused by humans.
A key federal panel Wednesday recommended the Food and Drug Administration approve the first new weight-loss drug in more than a decade.
At the conclusion of a day-long hearing, the FDA's Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 20-2 to endorse a request from Vivus to approve the drug Qnexa. The same panel gave a thumbs-down to Qnexa in 2010.
Qnexa is a combination of two generic drugs that are already on the market:
The top lawyer at the Pentagon offered a strong defense of the Obama administration's targeted killing program Wednesday, arguing the use of lethal force against the enemy is a "long-standing and long-legal practice."
In a speech at Yale University's Law School, Jeh Johnson said there's no real difference between high tech strikes against members of al-Qaida today and the U.S. military decision to target an airplane carrying the commander of the Japanese Navy in 1943.
It's that time of year again — the time when the sports world starts to zone in on basketball's March Madness, hockey's playoff push, baseball's spring training ... and monster trucks. That's right, it's prime time for four-wheeled contraptions that specialize in crushing each other.
While it may be hard to get past the deafening radio ads, a funny thing can happen on the way to a Monster Jam show. It turns out that young fans' giddiness over the awesome destruction they're about to witness can be pretty contagious.
Priorities USA Action, a superPAC backing President Obama, has unveiled a new ad running in Michigan in advance of that state's GOP primary next week. It takes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to task for opposing the auto industry bailout.
Not all that long ago, many Americans thought of Chinese food as fried rice, chow mein and orange chicken. And one reliable place to find it was at the mall, at places like Panda Express.
But food court mainstay Panda Express is now in the midst of a major transformation. That means moving from mall basements to stand-alone restaurants and keeping pace with an increasingly sophisticated American palate.
Wednesday marks the traditional Tibetan New Year, but many Tibetans won't be celebrating. They'll be mourning the almost two-dozen people who set themselves on fire in the past year as a protest against Chinese rule. Eyewitnesses say the town of Aba, site of many of the self-immolations, resembles a Chinese military camp, with soldiers and riot police every few feet. NPR's Louisa Lim traveled elsewhere on the Tibetan plateau to cover the story and sent this dispatch.
Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 5:55 pm
A team of United Nations nuclear experts has returned from Iran empty-handed. In a statement today, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran refused the team access to a military site at Parchin.
President Obama spoke Wednesday at the formal groundbreaking for the Smithsonian's newest museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The museum, Obama said, has been "a long time coming" and will serve "not just as a record of tragedy, but as a celebration of life."
If you happen to notice sometime later this year that you're suddenly paying a lot more for orange juice, you can blame America's food safety authorities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after several weeks of deliberation, has blocked imports of frozen, concentrated orange juice from Brazil, probably for the next 18 months or so, even though the agency says the juice is perfectly safe.
Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 12:37 pm
A group affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement is planning a national conference in Philadelphia this summer. According to the group, which is dubbed "The 99% Declaration," an online election will decide on the 876 delegates — a man and woman from each Congressional district — who will gather in Philadelphia on July 4th.
Of course, the date and place is a nod to the delegates who met in Philadelphia in 1776 to declare independence from the British monarchy, who the founding fathers said had failed to address the grievances of Americans.
All throughout the school's 110-year history, the Manassas High School football team in Memphis, Tenn., was known as a losing team. In 2009, volunteer coach Bill Courtney led the struggling Manassas Tigers to the playoffs.
Filmmakers Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin chronicle the challenges of the team — on and off the field — in the documentary Undefeated.
Lindsay and Martin talk with NPR's Neal Conan about the film, nominated for an Academy Award in the documentary feature category.
Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 4:44 pm
What is America's policy when it comes to dictators? Well, it depends.
The U.S. has adopted different approaches toward different dictators and authoritarian regimes in recent years. In some cases — notably Iraq and Afghanistan — the U.S. military invaded to change the leaders of those countries.
But American presidents have also hosted friendly visits with leaders from undemocratic countries with questionable human rights records.
Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 1:59 pm
NEAL CONAN, HOST:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. After all the votes are counted, Romney still wins in Maine. Super-donors dominate the superPACs, and new frontrunner Rick Santorum struggles to stay on-message. It's Wednesday and time for a...
RICK SANTORUM: Phony ideal...
CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.
VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?