It doesn't happen often, but there are times when a single book turns the world on its head. Isaac Newton's Principia unraveled the mystery of gravity. Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species explained how evolution worked.
But before either of these, there was On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres by Nicolaus Copernicus. It was published in 1543. In it, Copernicus made the astounding claim that Earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around.
The U.S. Supreme Court, an institution steeped in tradition, steps into the turbulent world of new technology Tuesday. At issue before the court is whether police must get a warrant from a judge before they can attach a GPS tracking device to a car so they can monitor a suspect's every movement for an indefinite period of time.
The case could have enormous implications for privacy rights in the information age.
From Los Angeles to New York City and Miami to Dallas, professional basketball fans face November without the NBA. The league keeps canceling games because of the ongoing lockout as players and owners squabble over future contracts.
Most NBA cities have other professional sports to turn to with hoops on hiatus. But some markets, like downtown Oklahoma City, only have one game in town.
David Horcajada fishes a beer can out of his backpack at a Madrid square.
"Five years ago, believe me, there were really few people drinking on the streets," he says. "Right now, everybody is drinking on the street because people cannot afford to pay for drinks at bars. So since we're Spanish and we do drink, we party a lot, so it doesn't matter if we don't have money. We'll keep doing it."
More than 100 protesters have been killed in the past five days in clashes with government forces, Syrian activists said. Despite a ceasefire agreement with Arab League and despite protests from international governments, Bashar Asad's regime has continued its relentless assault against the opposition.
Ben Lerner's debut novel, Leaving the Atocha Station is one of the most compelling books about nothing I've ever read.
Ordinarily, I'm not a fan of this kind of spinning-one's-wheels-in-the-sand fiction. Austen and Dickens and Hammett got to me early and spoiled me: I like plot. But Lerner's offbeat little novel manages to convey what everyday life feels like before we impose the structure of plot on our experience.
As he listens to the current debate in Washington over the budget deficit, taxes and economic policy, former President Bill Clinton says the discussion lacks a lot.
"It's all about 'is the government good or bad or taxes always good or bad?' " he told Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep during an conversation that's scheduled to air Tuesday. "There's very little talk about what actually works."
That's why Clinton has a new book — Back to Work — with this subtitle: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy.
Originally published on Mon November 7, 2011 8:06 pm
The nationwide Occupy movement might be targeting Wall Street, but it's arguably municipal governments that have felt the biggest impact so far.
Protesters have staged weeks-long sit-ins at public spaces in cities from New York to Atlanta to Pittsburgh to Oakland, Calif. Although the demonstrations have been largely peaceful, hundreds of protesters have been arrested and there have been a handful of violent clashes with law enforcement.
The United States Supreme Court heard arguments on Monday in a case that combines the Middle East conflict with the dueling foreign policy roles of Congress and the president. Specifically, the question was whether Congress can force the executive branch to list Israel as the birthplace for United States citizens born in Jerusalem.
After elections yesterday, Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega looks set on serving a third term. La Prensa, one of the country's largest daily newspaper, reports with almost 39 percent of the precincts reporting, Ortega leads with close to 64 percent of the vote.
A Chicago woman just told reporters that in a 1997 encounter with 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain in Washington, D.C., he reached under her skirt and tried to pull her head toward his crotch.
A Cain spokesman calls the story "more false accusations."
Sharon Bialek, who said she had come to Cain for employment advice, claimed he took her out to dinner and then in his car "suddenly reached over and put his hand on my leg under my skirt and reached for my genitals." Then, she said, he "grabbed my head and brought it toward his crotch."
This is another story in the "Robbers In The Wrong Place, At The Wrong Time" category. This past Friday in Los Angeles, Luis Rosales walked into a Comfort Inn and police say he pulled a gun on the clerk.
What Rosales didn't know is that two mixed martial arts fighters were in town for the World Jiu-Jitsue No-Gi Championship in Long Beach.
Originally published on Mon November 7, 2011 12:54 pm
Mustafa Abdul Jalil's liberation speech on Oct. 23 raised eyebrows in the west with his comments that Sharia law would be the basis for a new Libya's legislation and that polygamy would therefore be allowed. People were quick to react and comment that he had let the cat out of the bag and that it would be impossible to backtrack.
Shopping online can be a real time-saver, and you can get some great deals. But skip lollipops that come with the virus that causes chickenpox.
This caution comes after a woman in Nashville, Tenn., advertised lollipops contaminated with the varicella virus on Facebook. The tainted pops were intended for parents who want to expose their children to the disease.
Originally published on Mon November 7, 2011 12:58 pm
Attorney Gloria Allred's office just sent this message to reporters:
"A woman who alleges that she was sexually harassed by Presidential hopeful, Herman Cain, when she sought his help with an employment issue when he was President of the National Restaurant Association will hold a news conference with her Attorney, Gloria Allred on Monday, November 7th, at 1:30 p.m. (e.s.t.) at the Friars Club, 57 East 55th Street New York, NY 10022.
The mayor of Hattiesburg, Miss., Democrat Johnny DuPree, is the first black candidate to win a major party's nomination for governor in the state since Reconstruction. He's a long shot in the election against a well-funded lieutenant governor, Republican Phil Bryant. DuPree is not focusing on race, saying he'd rather talk about issues and his leadership skills.
You didn't have to be a boxing fan in the '70s to know the name Joe Frazier and to know that he'll forever be linked to Muhammad Ali.
Smokin' Joe was, as The Associated Press reminds us, the first man to beat Ali, "knocking him down and taking a decision in the so-called Fight of the Century at Madison Square Garden in 1971. He would go on to lose two more fights to Ali, including the epic 'Thrilla in Manila.' "
There's been a huge increase in the wealth gap between older Americans and those just entering adulthood, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data done by the Pew Research Center.
According to Pew's study:
In 2009, "households headed by adults ages 65 and older ... had 47 times as much net wealth as the typical household headed by someone" under 35 years of age. Pew says that "back in 1984, this had been a less lopsided 10-to-1 ratio."
Originally published on Mon November 7, 2011 1:18 pm
The alleged sexual abuse of children by a former assistant coach on the Penn State University football team was allowed to continue for at least a decade because of "a culture that did nothing to stop it" at the school, Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan just told reporters in Harrisburg.
"Intelligence provided to U.N. nuclear officials shows that Iran's government has mastered the critical steps needed to build a nuclear weapon, receiving assistance from foreign scientists to overcome key technical hurdles," The Washington Post reports this morning.
This week's column was intended to focus on a primer for tomorrow's (Nov. 7) off-year elections. The election preview is below. But I wanted to get something out of the way first.
There still seems to be an idea out there that somehow Vice President Joe Biden is going to leave the 2012 Democratic ticket — by his own choice or otherwise — and be replaced by Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state who has long said she will depart the Cabinet after President Obama's first term.