This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Joe Palca. Do you ever get the feeling you're being watched? These days if you're not careful, your phone knows where you are, and there's a good chance somebody else does, too. Or you've noticed that the ads on sites you visit are starting to look a little too personalized, like how did they know I was planning a vacation to New Orleans.
You know the theory that a big collision, a comet or an asteroid, something like that, helped kill off the dinosaurs? The idea has been around for a while. But this week, new research published in journal Science provides more accurate dates for the giant impact and the dino demise.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Joe Palca, sitting in for Ira Flatow. If you add it up, we spend a lot of time sleeping, about a third of our lives, actually, and it turns out our bodies don't just power down as we slumber. Research is showing that sleep plays an important role in how our brains process and store the information that we learn throughout the day.
The United States Postal Service said it lost $1.3 billion in first quarter of its fiscal year. While that's still a huge number, it's a big drop from the $3.1 billion loss the service posted during the same time period last year.
We want to go live now to the nation of Tunisia, where tens of thousands of people turned out today for the funeral of an assassinated opposition leader. Political tensions turned violent as young men clashed with police. The scene was a reminder of the precariousness of the situation in Tunisia - two years after the Arab Spring revolution began there. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley was at the funeral and joins me on the line. And Eleanor, what was the scene at this funeral? What did you see?
"Police and mourners clashed at the mass funeral on Friday of secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid, whose assassination has plunged Tunisia deeper into political crisis," Reuters writes.
According to the wire service, "braving chilly rain, at least 50,000 people turned out to honor Belaid in his home district of Jebel al-Jaloud in the capital, chanting anti-Islamist and anti-government slogans."
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie isn't laughing about his weight anymore. After poking fun at himself earlier this week, he ended up telling a former White House doctor to "shut up," when she commented on his size. Did he overreact? The Barbershop guys weigh in.
As a leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, Richard Land has spent nearly 25 years on the front lines of America's so-called 'culture war'. Now, as social conservatives worry that they're losing key policy battles, Land tells host Michel Martin that he may be stepping down from his post, but not from the fight.
In the early '80s, Italy's Taviani brothers, Paolo and Vittorio, made one of the true modern masterpieces, TheNight of the Shooting Stars. Set in the last days of World War II, when Germans laid mines all over Tuscan villages and Fascists loyal to Mussolini killed their own countrymen, it was a very cruel film.
As the Africa Cup of Nations reaches fever pitch, allegations of unfair officiating are drowning out the trumpet-like vuvuzelas blasting in South Africa. Host Michel Martin speaks with Nigerian soccer journalist Osasu Obayiuwana for a look ahead to the final between Nigeria's Super Eagles and Burkina Faso's Stallions.
Civil rights advocates have long relied on a principle called, "disparate impact," to prove minorities are discriminated in housing. Now, the Supreme Court is poised to review whether it's a legitimate tool in such cases. Host Michel Martin speaks with investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who has written about the issue for ProPublica.
The song is called "I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing)," and it's billed as the first space-Earth musical collaboration. The project is a very long-distance project from Canadians Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies and Chris Hadfield, who currently commands the International Space Station.
Not everyone dresses up for trivia night, but since her table at St. Rita was named for the Minnesota Vikings, Laura Mueller couldn't resist.
Credit Alan Greenblatt / NPR
Husband-and-wife judges Virginia and Steve Bria (left) alongside Nick Pfister checked answers carefully during each round at last weekend's trivia night at St. Rita Catholic Church in Vinita Park, Mo. Some St. Louis-area trivia fundraisers are massive, while others such as St. Rita's attract a few hundred people.
Credit Alan Greenblatt / NPR
Raffles are a good way to raise money, with winners and the house splitting the pot. Mary Tevlin, who teaches art, gets ready to buy more tickets at St. Rita's trivia night.
Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 12:10 pm
There was barely room to walk from one end of the social hall to the other last Saturday night at St. Rita Catholic Church in Vinita Park, Mo.
The occasion wasn't a wedding, a christening or even a bingo game. It was trivia.
You can participate in trivia contests on slow nights in bars in practically any city across the country. But in the St. Louis area, trivia has evolved into a major source of revenue for nonprofit organizations.
Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 7:35 am
A Smoking Gun report about the hacking of several email accounts belonging to members of presidents George W. and George H.W. Bush's family and some family friends has prompted a criminal investigation.
The Houston Chronicle says that Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath confirmed an investigation is under way, but declined further comment.
Trying to stay warm, a woman in New York City hung on to her hood Friday.
Credit Justin Lane / EPA /LANDOV
A warning sign flashes for motorists on the expressway into Boston as snow starts to fall on Friday.
Credit Elise Amendola / AP
Andre Tranchemantague (left) and Will Guerette ski to a bar during the early stages of the snowstorm in Portland.
Credit Robert F. Bukaty / AP
Men fill up a gas tank at a fueling station in Queens, N.Y. Blizzard warnings were in effect from New Jersey through southern Maine, with Boston expected to bear the brunt of the massive storm that could set records.
Credit Shannon Stapleton / Reuters/Landov
Rasmus Thomsen of Denmark works on his computer as he waits at Boston's Logan International Airport after flights were canceled or delayed.
Credit Bizuayehu Tesfaye / Reuters/Landov
Kevin Quick plows a slushy mix in front of a bank during the storm in Buffalo, N.Y. In some parts of upstate New York, snow fell early Friday morning and was expected to increase throughout the day, with the heaviest accumulations expected in eastern New York on Friday night.
Credit David Duprey / AP
Jack Percoco reaches into depleted shelves for milk at a supermarket in Somerville, Mass.
Credit Elise Amendola / AP
Riders wait in a bus stop where color-tinted windows collect snow during a storm in Portland, Maine. The storm sweeping into Maine already has dumped half a foot of snow around Portland, and contributed to a 19-car pileup.
Credit Robert F. Bukaty / AP
A snowman sits on the duck pond in the Boston Common as snow falls in Boston.
Credit Jared Wickerham / Getty Images
People walk through Times Square as a major winter storm moves in on Friday in New York City. Snow and freezing rain fell over Midtown Manhattan as the city braced for the major storm.
Credit John Moore / Getty Images
Trying to stay warm, a woman in New York City clung on to her hood Friday.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep, with a story of the power of words. Trevis D. Baker swore at a cop in Rochester. Police arrested him, but New York State's highest court threw out the charges. He has a First Amendment right to swear, so long as it's not a challenge to fight. Because the arrest was invalid, the court disallowed a search police conducted afterward.
Good morning, I'm David Greene with this headline: "Hung-over Energy Secretary Wakes Up Next to Solar Panel." It's a fake story from The Onion, with a doctored photo showing Secretary Steven Chu in bed with a solar panel. Chu played along. On Facebook, he said he won't confirm or deny the charges, but clarified his recent announcement that he's stepping down is unrelated.
He even gave a plug to the energy source, saying: It's no surprise lots of Americans are falling in love with solar.
Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 4:32 pm
(We'll be updating this post throughout the day; most recently at 12:30 p.m. ET.)
Police in Southern California were still searching Friday for former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Jordan Dorner, who they say is the lone suspect in a series of shootings over the past week that have left three people — including a cop — dead. It's feared he is intent on killing more police officers in revenge for his firing from the L.A. police force four years ago.
All right. And our last word in business today is snakebite.
Over the next couple of weeks skies in many parts of Asia will be lit up with fireworks to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The Year of the Dragon is ending and Sunday marks the start of, yes, the Year of the Snake.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
It's been a tense 24 hours in Southern California. The former Los Angeles police officer wanted in connection with three murders is still at large this morning, despite a manhunt that has spanned hundreds of miles.
An asteroid the size of an office building will zoom close by Earth next week, but it's not on a collision course, NASA says.
Still, some people think this near-miss should serve as a wake-up call.
"It's a warning shot across our bow that we are flying around the solar system in a shooting gallery," says Ed Lu, a former astronaut and head of the B612 Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting humanity from asteroids.
The asteroid known as 2012 DA14 was first spotted last year by astronomers in Spain. It's thought to be about 150 feet across and made of rock.
Congress likes to say it no longer does earmarks, the provisions that direct federal dollars to serve local interests or campaign supporters. And though that may be true, it's also a fact that targeted provisions are still useful in moving legislation — even critical legislation like the bill that pulled Washington back from the fiscal cliff last month.
More than 200 houses of worship damaged in Superstorm Sandy have applied for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But given the separation of church and state, it's unclear whether federal funds are available to them.
The sanctuary of Temple Israel of Long Beach, N.Y., was flooded with more than 10 feet of saltwater in some places, says Rabbi David Bauman.
"Roughly 5 to 7 feet [of water] in most, and there were surges — particularly in our mechanical room — that went upwards of 12 to 14 feet," he says.
Attorney General Robert F. "Bobby" Kennedy uses a bullhorn to address a crowd of demonstrators, June 14, 1963, at the Justice Department. Four months earlier he had walked 50 miles in one day to prove to his brother John that he could do it. His march helped make extreme walking and hiking popular activities.
Fifty years ago this Saturday, U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy went for a walk — a 50-mile walk, to be exact — trudging through snow and slush from just outside Washington, D.C., all the way to Harper's Ferry, W.Va.
He had no preparation, and no training. And in spite of temperatures well below freezing, he wore Oxford loafers on his feet.