We are broadcasting today from the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. And just steps away from this building, right outside is something that should be familiar to anyone who's ever received a postcard from Seattle or taken home a pen or a glass or anything tchotchke of any kind. And it's the Space Needle, built in connection with the 1962 World's Fair. It is an iconic part of the Seattle skyline.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that human genes cannot be patented. The case involves a dispute over patents held on the BRCA1 and the BRCA2 genes, the so-called breast cancer genes; and tests a company, Myriad Genetics, used to look for mutations to those genes.
Anyone who has taken some time on Earth Day to contemplate the planet has my next guest to thank. Danis Hayes was the first national coordinator for Earth Day back in 1970, and if I might insert a personal note, Earth Day back in 1970 was also the anniversary of my first science story I ever did. So this is very interesting, and I'm very happy to have as my guest today Denis Hayes, who is, and as I say, he's head of the Solar Energy Research Institute under President Jimmy Carter.
Think for a minute about the victims of climate change. You might envision the polar bear, right? You see a lot of that in the news, atop a block of melting ice or - where there's no ice to grab onto, or the great ice sheet covering Greenland drip, drip, dripping away, or the tiny island of Tuvalu whose people and beaches might soon be swallowed by rising seas.
Sanford Under The Spotlight As Trial Begins The national media has descended on the town of Sanford, Florida, for the trial of George Zimmerman. He's the man accused of murdering teenager Trayvon Martin. Host Michel Martin speaks with Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett to find out how emotions are running in his town.
Breaking the norms of faith isn't always easy — especially for Orthodox Jews. But Ruth Balinsky Friedman wants to take up the traditionally male-dominated role of faith leader. She speaks with host Michel Martin about what a woman can bring to the position.
Millions of Iranians cast ballots Friday in elections to replace incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a race that is being characterized as a potential challenge to the country's ruling Islamic clerics.
A slate of conservatives tacitly backed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are facing off against the lone moderate, Hasan Rowhan, a former nuclear negotiator.
Other candidates include Saeed Jalili, also a nuclear negotiator; Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf; and Khamenei's diplomatic adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati.
Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 12:51 pm
Look through a series of 15th-century woodcuts, and you'll find that the leper is as much an icon of medieval art as the crown or the cross.
Leprosy was so common in Europe during the Middle Ages that it's estimated 1 in 30 people was infected with the bacteria. But by the turn of the 16th century, after the Crusades had swept across Europe, the disease mysteriously disappeared. And it never returned.
This left scientists puzzled. Did the bacteria mutate to become less harmful, or did Europeans become resistant to the germs?
The European Union is a big fan of traveling pets. It has pet passports that allow them to travel through all the member states. Still, until this week there was a limit. Travelers could only take up to five pets across the borders. Now, thanks to a pet-loving member of the EU Parliament, those who prefer to travel with herds of animals are now free to roam, as long as they're heading for a competition or a sporting event.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
NPR's business news starts with a man, a plan, a canal.
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MONTAGNE: Not Panama this time. This canal is in Nicaragua. Yesterday, the Nicaraguan congress granted a Chinese tycoon the exclusive right to develop a multi-billion dollar rival to the Panama Canal. The bill grants the investor 50 years of control over the potential shipping route - pending a study of its viability. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer. The Obama administration has shifted policy on Syria with an announcement, last night, that it will step up support for rebels who've been losing ground in recent weeks. The White House says it will start providing direct military support to rebel commanders.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
They're calling it the Road to Majority. It's the third annual meeting of conservative religious activists with the Faith and Freedom Coalition. The conference is underway now in Washington, D.C. Its stated aim: To boost the conservative vote for next year's midterm election.
As NPR's David Welna reports, it's also a platform for Republican stars eyeing the White House in 2016.
In Maine, the state's effort to keep tabs on its black bear population is getting some help from a group of college kids. The program has undergraduate students capturing bears, running tests on them, and attaching tracking devices before releasing them back into the wild.
Maine Public Radio's Jay Field went along on a recent expedition into the woods.
In Syria's ally Iran, people are voting for president today. It is Iran's first presidential election since the stunning vote in 2009. Back then, a surprisingly early declaration of victory for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked a wave of protests, followed by years of government repression. This time around, six candidates are contending for power amid widespread skepticism about the election, and intensive security on the streets.
Kevyn Orr will ask unions, retirees and banks to take big losses on debt the city just can't afford to pay. But Orr is walking a fine line trying to convince those parties to accept a bankruptcy-style settlement, without actually going to bankruptcy court — at least, not yet.
"Oh, I checked every place in town, and they were outrageous," says Shannon Kelly. "It would be anywhere from $4 to $500, and I just don't have that right now."
Kelly had just walked into Rent N Roll, a rent-to-own tire store in Ocala, Fla. She was looking to rent a set of tires for her truck. Tire rental stores like this one have been around for a while, but until recently, most of their customers rented fancy rims. These days, it's becoming more common for the stores to rent simple tires to people who don't have the cash to buy tires outright.
Captain Sunshine wears a yellow yarmulke, yellow T-shirt and a bright-yellow cape held around his shoulders with a silky red ribbon. At a recent rally of about 200 electric-car owners in Israel, he called out questions to the crowd.
"We're saying to the government and to the army," he shouted through a squawky mic, "20 percent of your fleets should be electric cars. Do you agree?"