For more, see Adam Davidson's cover story in this month's issue of The Atlantic.
Greenville County, South Carolina is where manufacturing's past and future live side by side. This is not a metaphor; it's a visible fact. In South Carolina, and throughout America, factories produce more than ever. Yet in Greenville, there are abandoned textile mills everywhere you look.
Vast new tracts of the Internet are up for sale as of Thursday. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as ICANN, is forging ahead with plans to sell new domain categories despite some vocal opposition from regulators and advertisers.
Forget .com or .org β for a registration fee of $185,000, applicants can register a new suffix like .music, or perhaps a brand like .NPR. If you think of the Internet as virtual land, new continents are now on the block.
Russia had one of the world's most famous revolutions nearly a century ago, in 1917. Yet for centuries, the country has seemed to prefer strong leaders who promised stability rather than revolutionary change. On a trip across Russia today on the Trans-Siberian railroad, NPR's David Greene found many Russians who expressed disappointment with their current government. But most said they wanted changes to be gradual, and were not looking for a major upheaval.
Ever since the collapse of the domestic steel industry, blue-collar workers living in the mountain towns near the border of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio have struggled to find jobs.
But last June, Shell Oil Co. announced it would build a huge petrochemical refinery somewhere in that Appalachian region. The plant, known in the industry as a "cracker," could bring billions of investment dollars and thousands of jobs.
For years, civil rights attorney Constance Rice says, she would wake up every morning trying to figure out new ways to sue the Los Angeles Police Department into policing minority communities more fairly.
In her memoir, Power Concedes Nothing, Rice details how she went from the LAPD's antagonist to reformer, convincing police that they needed to court the backing and support of the city's African-American and Latino populations.
Relations between the attorney and the police force have warmed over the years: The LAPD even hosted Rice's book release party.
At the 2012 North American International Auto Show, it's clear that the industry's love affair with alpha-numeric designations hasn't waned. There's the ATS, the 700C, the MKZ. Now comes the CTX, a new line of Craftsman riding lawn mowers. They are fast, powerful and loaded with amenities.
"Everybody knows that Detroit's the national stage for cars β Motor City is where autos come from. So this show made perfect sense to come here and launch the tractor," says Onney Crawley, Craftsman's director of brand management for lawn and garden.
Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 1:02 pm
Private auditors paid to review food safety at the Colorado cantaloupe packer responsible for last summer's massive outbreak gave the facility rave reviews just before contaminated melons were shipped, which killed 30 people.
You can buy Twinkies on the cheap right now. Safeway, just around the corner from our office here in Washington, has them on sale - two boxes for five bucks. So the NPR Science Desk was inspired to take part in the fine, long-standing tradition of experimenting with Twinkies.
NPR's Allison Aubrey reports on their findings.
ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: My colleagues, Julie Rovner, our health policy correspondent, and Adam Cole, a new addition to our team, had one idea.
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 5:53 pm
Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli will leave the third highest-ranking post at the Justice Department in March after nearly three years managing a bustling portfolio that has run the gamut from mortgage abuses and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to stamping out domestic violence in Indian country.
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 5:31 pm
"The Marine Corps is promising to investigate a disturbing web video that appears to show [four] Marines in Afghanistan urinating on the bloody corpses of [three] alleged Taliban fighters," Gannett Co.'s Marine Corps Times reports.
Running long-distance races isn't going to hurt your heart any more than other vigorous sports, researchers say. Just make sure you're fit enough to attempt the feat in the first place.
In the past decade, nearly 11 million runners participated in long-distance races, but only 59 suffered cardiac arrests, according to findings just published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Most of the cases happened to be in runners with undiagnosed, pre-existing heart problems.
This year's auto show in Detroit could set the stage for a shake-up in the fiercely competitive β and hugely profitable β luxury car scene. That's because there's a new kid on the block, and its name is Cadillac.
The General Motors company says its new small, high-performance ATS will allow it to compete for the first time with Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. But getting a brand-new luxury car like the ATS ready for market can be a grueling process.
What if your New Year's resolution to get more exercise could be fulfilled β by taking a pill? That's the far-flung idea suddenly brought much closer to reality by the discovery of a hormone called irisin, which is produced by the human body in response to exercise.
Irisin may hold some of exercise's key benefits that relate to obesity and Type 2 diabetes, researchers say.
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 4:57 pm
"The House Ethics Committee said Wednesday it needs more time to consider sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)," The Associated Press writes, "but released a report in which the alleged victim detailed a pattern of sexually suggestive remarks and unwanted hugs."
Audie Cornish talks with Thomas Haupt, respiratory disease epidemiologist for the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. He's the lead author of the study that helped uncover the source of a mysterious and large uptick in Legionnaires' disease. The study, "An Outbreak of Legionnaires Disease Associated with a Decorative Water Wall Fountain in a Hospital" was published in the online journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.
The next 40-some weeks or so are going to be a screaming tower of political babble, a cacophony of accusing and boasting, pandering and slandering. I watch the news these days with the mute button permanently depressed, lest I fall into a permanent depression myself. There's only so much contention and vitriol a sensitive soul can bear.
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 3:39 pm
Ever wondered who the big greenhouse-gas emitters are in your neck of the woods? The answer is now just a click away.
The US Environmental Protection Agency today unveiled a new website that identifies most of the nation's biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases. It lets you, for example:
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 5:45 pm
Parts of Nigeria are under a 24-hour curfew, after demonstrations against a government policy to end fuel subsidies turned into a fiery rampage in the city of Minna. The BBC reports that "hundreds of rioters set fire to government and political party offices and also targeted the homes of local politicians."
As we've said before, to figure out what the Federal Reserve means when it reports about how the economy is doing and whether policymakers think it's doing better or worse, you need to carefully compare the central bank's latest words to what it has said in preceding months.
U.S.-Pakistan ties are virtually frozen. And now, relations between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Washington are once again getting frosty.
Over the weekend Karzai surprised the Americans with the demand that the largest U.S.-run prison be turned over to Afghan control much sooner that planned.
It's the latest in a series of announcements by the Afghan government that sometimes appear designed to embarrass and annoy U.S. officials, as well as complicate American plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 3:34 pm
After a third-place finish in New Hampshire, the state he poured his heart and soul into and placed all his bets on, Jon Huntsman doesn't need any more bad news. Just a cursory look at the headlines, and you find they're mostly talking about the end. Even the Christian Science Monitor doesn't mince words, asking, "Is Jon Huntsman toast?"
An explosion in Tehran Wednesday killed an Iranian nuclear scientist while he was driving his car. It's the fifth such death in five years, and Iranian officials immediately blamed Israel. The attack is the latest manifestation of escalating tensions between Iran and the West.
When Pope Benedict XVI goes to Latin America in March, Mexico is an obvious choice, with nearly 100 million Catholics.
But communist-run Cuba is also on his itinerary. The 84-year-old pontiff does not travel often, and this leg of his trip will be a strong show of support for Cuba's church leaders and their growing role in pushing President Raul Castro's government for change.
More than anywhere else in Cuba, the Santa Rita church in Havana's Miramar district is the place where religion and politics intersect.