NASA is calling it "The Rose." By any other name, it's a mammoth storm on Saturn's north pole. Its eye spans an estimated 1,250 miles — 20 times the size of an average hurricane's eye on Earth. Winds in the Saturn storm's eye wall are believed to be four times as fast.
The stunning image of the spinning vortex was given "false colors" to emphasize low clouds (in red) versus high clouds (in green). NASA estimates that the clouds at the outer edge are moving at up to 330 miles per hour.
There are still relatively few women in tech. Maria Klawe wants to change that. As president of Harvey Mudd College, a science and engineering school in Southern California, she's had stunning success getting more women involved in computing.
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 4:00 pm
A civilian cargo plane crashed in Afghanistan, killing all seven crew members, the U.S. military said Monday.
NPR's Tom Bowman is reporting on it for our Newscast team. He says:
"Officials say the crash killed all seven crew members. And there is no word yet on their nationalities.
"Emergency responders are still on the scene of the crash, at the sprawling base north of Kabul. Officials are still trying to determine the reason for the crash but say there's no indication of hostile fire.
Iceland has become the first country to elect members of parliament from the Pirate Party — an international online freedom movement.
Three Pirate Party MPs will take seats following historic polls in Iceland that saw a new coalition come to power on a promise of easing economic austerity measures.
According to The Associated Press:
"The conservative Independence Party and rural-based Progressive Party — who governed Iceland for decades before the 2008 [economic] crash — each had 19 seats in Iceland's 63-seat parliament, the Althingi. ...
Renowned concert soloist and prolific, Grammy-winning cellist Janos Starker died Sunday. He was 88.
Starker's career began in his native Hungary, where he entered the Budapest Academy at age 7 and made his solo debut four years later. Starker dedicated his life to music, and left a legacy of teaching and performing.
Three popular pesticides will soon be illegal in the European Union, where officials hope the change helps restore populations of honey bees, vital to crop production, to healthy levels. The new ban will be enacted in December.
"I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over €22 billion ($28.8 billion) annually to European agriculture, are protected," said EU Health and Consumer Commissioner Tonio Borg.
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 4:27 pm
Apparently, fan fiction and fan art aren't the only options for expressing your love of Sherlock, Doctor Who and The Hunger Games. There's also tea.
If you visit the online tea store of Adagio Teas, you'll find a collection of "Fandom Blends." They're the teas that customers have mixed and named after characters in favorite TV shows, books, movies and comics.
Patricia East is a developmental psychologist who began her career working at an OB-GYN clinic in California. Thursday mornings at the clinic were reserved for pregnant teens, and when East arrived the waiting room would be packed with them, chair after chair of pregnant adolescents.
It was in this waiting room, East explains, that she discovered her life's work — an accidental discovery that emerged from the small talk that staff at the clinic had with their young clients as they walked them back for checkups.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged on Monday that for the past decade or more, his office has been receiving secret cash payments from the CIA, but that it's only small amounts used for "operational" purposes.
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 2:33 pm
Artisan health food giant Carl's Jr. is currently testing a new summer menu item: the Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich. The timing couldn't be better, as it'll help you gain that final pesky 75 pounds before hitting the beach.
Forget about the American dream. Nowadays, the next big thing is the Chinese dream. In Beijing, it's the latest official slogan, mentioned on the front page of the official People's Daily 24 times in a single week recently.
With this level of publicity from the official propaganda machine, the Chinese dream even looks set to be enshrined as the new official ideology.
With immigration a hot-button issue in Washington, some version of immigration reform is likely this year. Even so, immigrant activist Sandra Sanchez concedes that the country might not be ready for an overhaul of its immigration laws.
Sanchez, director of the American Friends Service Committee Iowa's Immigrants Voice Program, doesn't mean that in political terms, but in practical ones. "We need to be prepared for the wave of millions of potential applicants that will be needing ... legal services," she says. "And we will not have enough resources to serve them."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The country is about to undergo the largest transition of national health policy ever. The Affordable Care Act, the signature legislative achievement of President Obama's first time, continues to phase in. Some of the more popular measures are already in effect. Parents can keep children on their own plans until they turn 26. Women have greater access to birth control.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. While Syria is the crisis of the moment in the Middle East, Iran looms as an even more difficult challenge in the months ahead. And these two issues are not unconnected. Iran remains the most important ally of President Assad in Damascus, and the survival of his regime is critical to Iran's larger struggle with its Arab rivals.
For 40 years now, Sweet Honey in the Rock has created music deep in the tradition of the African-American community. When the women joined us in our studios in 2005, they outlined the group's message: Keep moving forward, and make a way for those who are coming behind you.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I REMEMBER, I BELIEVE")
SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK: (Singing) I don't know how my mother walked her trouble down. I don't know how my father stood his ground. I don't know how my people survived slavery. I do remember. That's why I believe.
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 1:08 pm
Raising pork can be a tough business for producers, who've lately been watching feed prices rise along with the cost of corn. That's one reason why a small but growing number of former commodity pork producers are trying their luck with specialty breeds instead. These premium pigs, raised on small farms with methods that appeal to consumers, can also fetch a premium price.
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 2:02 pm
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo — designed to carry paying passengers beyond Earth's atmosphere — passed a key test Monday, shooting past the speed of sound under its own rocket power.
The spacecraft developed by Sir Richard Branson's space tourism venture dropped from its mother ship over the Mojave Desert and then, for the first time, fired its engine. It hit Mach 1.2 and reached an altitude of 56,000 feet before gliding to a landing.
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 8:39 pm
"I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport," National Basketball Association center Jason Collins writes in a Sports Illustrated essay posted Monday, "but since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation."
With that, the 34-year-old veteran of 12 NBA seasons and six pro teams becomes the first active player in the four major American team sports to come out.
When Marc Maron started his podcast "WTF with Marc Maron" out of his garage in September 2009, he was in a dark place: He was going through a divorce, his comedy career had hit a wall and — in his mid-40s — he didn't have a Plan B.
"I was at a place in my life where I had gotten very cynical," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I had lost a lot of hope for my comedy and everything else, and I really feel that I was no longer able to really appreciate other people's stories. I had lost my ability to really kind of listen and enjoy the company of other people."
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 12:05 pm
The man accused of sending letters containing the poison ricin to President Obama and other officials made a brief appearance in an Oxford, Miss., federal court Monday morning. J. Everett Dutschke, 41, was arrested Saturday, several days after another Mississippi man, former suspect Paul Kevin Curtis, was released.
Dutschke is charged with possessing a biological weapon, identified as ricin, and attempting to use it as a weapon. If convicted, he could face a sentence of life in prison.
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 10:40 am
When Fox Sun Sports reporter Kelly Nash was at Fenway Park in Boston on Saturday to cover the Houston Astros' game with the Red Sox, she decided to take a few "selfie" photos while atop the famous Green Monster in left field.
Below, batting practice was underway. So some balls were flying in her direction. Nash turned her back to the field, held her smartphone up and started snapping.
And when she looked at one of the photos she'd just taken, Nash says, she discovered she'd come much closer to being beaned than she'd realized.
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 9:59 am
"You are our witnesses because you will go beyond our lives," Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel told the world's young people Monday morning during an event to mark the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's opening.