Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts a new TV series called <em>Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey.</em> It's an update of the influential 1980 PBS series <em>Cosmos: A Personal Journey, </em>hosted by Carl Sagan.
When it comes to "callings" we usually think of people who feel drawn to religious career paths. But if you ask Neil deGrasse Tyson how he became an astrophysicist he says: "I think the universe called me. I feel like I had no say in the matter."
Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:27 pm
"Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the U.S. National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of Internet users not suspected of wrongdoing," The Guardian writes today in its latest report based on material leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel briefs reporters at the Pentagon on Monday. Hagel and President Obama will need to fight through a wall of resistance to their proposed defense budget cuts, say former members of a defense base closing commission.
Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 2:17 pm
Cutting defense spending in Washington is about as popular as proposing Social Security cuts. In other words, not very.
Which explains why, following Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's announcement Monday that the Obama administration's new budget would propose shrinking the Army, closing bases and ditching weapons systems, the responses from Capitol Hill lawmakers have been some version of "over my dead body."
"North Korea fired four projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles off its southeast coast Thursday," South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reports, citing a "South Korean defense ministry official" as its source.
On the NPR Newscast: Peter Kenyon reports from Kiev
We're adding updates throughout this post as the day continues.
Tensions continue to rise in Ukraine, where months of public protests led last week to the downfall of President Viktor Yanukovych's government. His opponents are now installing pro-Western ministers to replace the pro-Russian leaders who worked for Yanukovych. The interim government is expected to be in charge at least until new elections can be held, perhaps in late May.
Good morning. I'm David Greene with a wild story of adventure and escape. OK, not that wild. Mundu, two year old koala, went missing from his exhibit at the San Diego Zoo on Tuesday. Not to worry, he's been found. He escaped his enclosure and fell asleep, spending the day in a tree nearby. Zookeepers lured him back with eucalyptus.
Good morning, I'm David Greene. Team USA hockey player David Backes did not bring home gold this year. But he did bring home two stray dogs from Sochi. The stray animal population in the Russian resort town received a good bit of attention during the games, and Backes hopes these animals will help raise awareness. The dogs will be monitored in an animal shelter for 30 days, where one caretaker says they'll be getting them ready for adoption, and also teaching them English.
Born in a tiny pueblo south of Madrid, Esperanza Puente arrived in the Spanish capital fresh out of high school. It was the late 1980s, and Spain was reveling in newfound freedoms after its military dictator Francisco Franco died and democracy took hold.
"The end of the 1980s was a wild time in Madrid — alcohol, drugs, nightlife, sex without commitment. When I arrived from a small village, I ate it up, like it was the end of the world!" recalls Puente, now 43, smiling. "But I ended up pregnant, and my boyfriend suddenly didn't want anything to do with me."
Levees, like this one in New Orleans, must be certified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before appearing on federal flood maps. This change has resulted in higher flood insurance premiums in some areas.
Credit Mario Tama / Getty Images
Ward Aucoin is facing a sharp jump in his flood insurance premium, due to a 2012 law that may be revised. A crabber to make ends meet, Aucoin lives in Louisiana with his wife and two daughters, Taylor (far right) and Zoe.
The Terni apartment complex in Rio de Janeiro's far west zone of Campo Grande. Many residents were relocated to this area because their old neighborhoods were knocked down to make way for building projects related to the Olympics.
Jeane Tomas scraped all her money together to build a house where she could raise her son. She'd been renting in the favela, or shanty town, of Vila Harmonia and wanted to put down roots in the community where she lived when her child was born.
The house went up — only to quickly come down.
"There is this frustration to have worked so hard, dreamed so much to leave everything behind," she said.
Now that the Winter Olympics in Sochi are over attention will be turning to Brazil, the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 1:58 pm
For something that's become so ubiquitous in our lives, the World Wide Web is just a youngster. It was only 25 years ago that Tim Berners-Lee first created a rudimentary information retrieval system that relied on the Internet. It's since exploded into a primary means by which we learn, work and connect. (To put things in perspective, the film Die Hard is older than the World Wide Web.)
Can drones, the small unmanned aircraft that are at the forefront of fields from warfare to commercial delivery systems, fly without human intervention? A team of Hungarian researchers answers yes, having created 10 drones that self-organize as they move through the air.
The team based its creation on birds such as pigeons, which fly in tight bunches while making adjustments and decisions. They fitted quadcopters — drones with four rotors — with GPS, processors and radios that allow them to navigate in formation or while following a leader.
Debbie Dingell with Michigan Sen. Carl Levin and then-presidential candidate Barack Obama during a 2008 campaign event in Flint, Mich. Dingell is expected to announce Friday that she will run for her husband's House seat.
Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 8:22 pm
Debbie Dingell is expected to announce Friday that she will run to succeed her husband, John Jr., for the southeast Michigan congressional seat that's been in the family since John Sr. was elected in 1933.
Though several news outlets reported her intentions, former Michigan state legislator Bill Ballenger of InsideMichiganPolitics.com retained a kernel of skepticism.
California is getting some much needed rain this week, but more than two-thirds of the state is still in extreme drought conditions, and that has the state thinking about alternative ways of getting water.
On the coast in Carlsbad, Calif., construction workers are building what will be the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. When finished in early 2016, it is expected to provide up to 50 million gallons of fresh drinkable water every day.
The plastic additive has been vilified by environmental advocacy groups. But the chemical had no effect on rats fed thousands of times the amount a typical person ingests, government scientists are reporting in the journal Toxicological Sciences.
A demonstrator confronts riot policemen during an anti-government protest in Caracas, Venezuela's capital, on Feb. 22.
Credit Raul Arboleda / AFP/Getty Images
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jose Jaua have tried to improve relations between the two nations, to no avail so far. They're shown here in Guatemala in June 2013.
Credit Moises Castillo / AP
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro cheers during a motorcycle rally organized in support of the government in Caracas on Monday. Although Maduro says he wants to send an ambassador to the U.S., he recently expelled three American diplomats from his country.
The escalating political crisis in Venezuela has set off alarms in Washington. But there's little the U.S. has been able to do, aside from criticize the jailing of opposition figures or the rising death toll as protesters continue to take to the streets, blaming the government for high inflation and crime.
When you hear the word outsourcing, you might think of threats to American jobs. To cyber experts, there's another threat: to our data.
This week, thousands of the industry's leading minds from around the world are discussing the Internet and security at their annual powwow in San Francisco, the RSA Conference. These topics matter more and more to us non-experts, especially as people become the victims of cybercrime.