Back in the 1920s, the U.S. government thought blimps might be the next big thing in warfare. So the government started producing helium. And they created the Federal Helium Reserve, a vast store of helium that sits underground in the Texas panhandle.
Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 2:31 pm
A big embarrassment came this week for the Republican Party, which has made voting integrity and fighting voter fraud a major issue.
A consulting firm hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in five battleground states has been let go after one of its workers apparently submitted over 100 questionable registration forms in Florida's Palm Beach County.
The party severed its ties with the firm — Strategic Allied Consulting — because it has "zero tolerance" for voter fraud, said RNC spokesman Sean Spicer.
Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 1:19 pm
An oddity of U.S. presidential politics is that candidates and their campaigns spend nearly all their time telling voters how superior they are to their rivals in virtually every area: the wisdom of their policy proposals; the soundness of their characters and judgments — everything, really.
Except for debating.
It's the old game of setting the bar high for your opponent and lower for your candidate, of course. That way, anything short of a disastrous debate performance can be claimed as a knockout victory.
On the surface, the new coronavirus detected in the Middle East this month looks quite similar to SARS. It apparently causes severe respiratory problems, and can be lethal.
But with viruses, the devil is in their details — the genetic details.
Dutch virologists have just published the whole genome of the new coronavirus — all 30,118 letters of its code. And, the sequence reveals that the mystery virus is most closely related to coronaviruses that infect bats in Southeast Asia.
Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 2:52 pm
The Food and Drug Administration isn't sure, but Rita Desollar of Pekin, Ill., feels she knows what killed Heidi, her 7-year-old German shepherd. She feels it was the chicken jerky strips she bought at her local Walgreen's.
Desollar says on the Wednesday before Memorial Day, she gave two pieces of Waggin' Train jerky to Heidi as a treat. A few days later, Heidi was throwing up and "in a lot of distress," she says. By the time the holiday rolled around on Monday, Desollar says, Heidi was convulsing in her bed. She died that day, before Desollar could even take her to the vet.
Federal authorities in Southern California have arrested the man who produced the now infamous anti-Islam video, the one that recently sparked unrest in many Muslim countries. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was arrested for violating his probation from a previous bank fraud conviction. The judge at his hearing this afternoon denied Mr. Nakoula bail, calling him a flight risk, that's according to news agency reports. We now go to NPR West, and we're joined by NPR's Carrie Kahn, who has the latest on Nakoula's arrest.
First-grade teacher Euginia Miller reads to her class at Avondale Elementary School in Birmingham, Ala. In this crucible of the civil rights movement, the city's schools are being reintegrated, as a handful of middle-class parents ignore the school district's poor reputation and enroll their kids in the city's public schools.
Credit Dan Carsen / WBHM
Avondale Elementary School in Birmingham, Ala. In this crucible of the civil rights movement, the city's schools are being reintegrated, as a handful of middle-class parents ignore the school district's poor reputation and enroll their kids in the city's public schools.
When Laura Kate Whitney enrolled her 4-year-old, Grey, at Avondale Elementary, a public school in Birmingham, Ala., she and her husband were bucking a trend. Whitney and her husband are white, middle-class professionals. Public schools in Birmingham are 95 percent black, and 90 percent of the students are on free or reduced lunch.
Whitney's is one of about two-dozen similar families who are not buying into the conventional tradeoff that if you live within city limits and have means, you send your kids to private schools.
Right now, as we near the end of the 2012 fall TV premiere week, there's a tendency for a sense of weariness to set in. So many of the new TV series are so bad this year, and not one of them is outstanding. It tends to get a little depressing.
But then you think about the rich bounty of returning series, and how good television drama has gotten lately, and there's cause to rejoice all over again.
Mammoths and saber-toothed cats may be the most famous beasts of the Ice Age. But they shared the prairie with horses and camels, too--both of which evolved in North America and crossed the ice bridge into Eurasia, before disappearing here. Matthew Kohn and Christopher Hill talk about the lesser-known fauna of the Ice Age.
Last week, Fox and Friends saw a photo on The Drudge Report and started saying that President Obama had time to sit down with a comical "pirate" but not to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The only problem: The photo was three years old.
Up next, the biology of raptors, moving from giant animals to the birds, we're going to talk about here in Boise. Just outside of town is the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. And that park has one of the highest concentrations of nesting raptors in the world, more than 20 different birds of prey, including golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, screech owls.
When police find DNA at a crime scene, the amount and how it's handled are crucial components in solving a case. Greg Hampikian, Director of the Idaho Innocence Project, discusses the use and misuse of DNA analysis, and why he says all DNA evidence is not created equal.
Cheatgrass, an invasive weed, is choking out native sagebrush in the Great Basin--and setting the stage for hotter, more catastrophic fires there. Jen Pierce, an expert on ancient fires, and Mike Pellant, of the Great Basin Restoration Initiative, talk about how fires are reshaping landscapes in the American West.
Less than six weeks to go and President Obama seems to have opened up a lead in the battleground states of Ohio, Virginia and Florida. Aside from poor economic numbers and worsening international events, Mitt Romney's best hope lies in the debates, which begin next week. Also to no one's surprise — and Sen. Claire McCaskill's delight — Todd Akin stays in the Missouri Senate race.
Join NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin for the latest political news in this week's roundup.
On Sept. 30, 1962, chaos broke out at the University of Mississippi — also known as Ole Miss — after an African-American man named James Meredith attempted to enroll.
That night, students and other protesters took to the streets, burning cars and throwing rocks at the federal marshals who were tasked with protecting Meredith. By the time the riot was over, observers said the grounds looked like a war zone, and the smell of tear gas hung in the air.
Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 11:08 am
The man charged with killing 12 people and wounding 58 others at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater on July 20 threatened a University of Colorado psychiatrist about six weeks before the massacre and was barred from campus "as a result of those actions," according to local prosecutors.
They also say in court documents released this morning that James Holmes' alleged threat was reported to university police at the time.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, violence erupted at the University of Mississippi 50 years ago when an African-American student tried to enroll. We'll look back on that day in just a few minutes.
But, first, to the United Nations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday, the only way to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear bomb is to draw a clear red line.
From left: Frank Wild, Ernest Shackleton, Dr. Eric Marshall and Jameson Adams head back to base camp after getting within 97 miles of the South Pole — closer than anyone had gotten before them — in January 1909.
Credit Hulton Archive / Getty Images
British explorer Robert F. Scott during his doomed Antarctic expedition, circa 1912.
Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 9:12 am
So you're headed out to explore the frozen wilderness of the Antarctic, facing one of the most punishing climates on Earth. What kind of medical supplies do you strap onto your sledge in case of emergency, miles from any sign of civilization?
While denying it did anything wrong, Bank of America announced this morning it will pay "$2.43 billion and institute certain corporate governance policies ... to settle a class action lawsuit brought in 2009 on behalf of investors who purchased or held Bank of America securities at the time the company announced plans to acquire Merrill Lynch."
A sensational political scandal in China involves murder, abuse of power, and an attempted defection. And the case of senior politician Bo Xilai took another twist today. After months of speculation, it has just been announced that he has been expelled from the Communist Party and will face criminal charges. NPR's Louisa Lim is on the line with us from Beijing, and Louisa, what kind of charges is Bo Xilai going to face?
Friday morning quarterbacks seem to be unanimous in saying that having a "regular" crew of officials back on the field for Thursday night's NFL game between the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns made an immediate — and positive — difference.