Jennie Fields was well into her new novel about Edith Wharton — and her love affair with a young journalist — when she heard that a new cache of Wharton letters had been discovered. They were written to Anna Bahlmann, who was first Wharton's governess and later her literary secretary. Bahlmann had never been considered a major influence on Wharton, but Fields had decided to make her a central character in her book, The Age of Desire, even before she heard about the letters.
Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 10:59 am
Over the past several years, Lainey Hamrick and the volunteers at Colorado Supporting Our Troops have sent hundreds of care packages to members of the military in Afghanistan, Iraq and bases all over the world. In December, the group shipped 160 boxes of goodies overseas.
Sharks are some of the most feared and fascinating animals on the planet. They've had their own week of awareness-raising and celebration on the Discovery Channel for the last 25 years. But some say they are also delicious — as in the Chinese delicacy — shark fin soup.
American wrestler Jordan Burroughs has won the first and only U.S. gold medal in his sport at the London Games, beating Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi of Iran. Burroughs, the reigning world champion at the 74kg weight, won a point in the first two periods to put a quick end to the men's freestyle match.
Goudarzi took silver with the loss, and the two bronze medals went to Russian Denis Tsargush, whom Burroughs defeated in the semifinals, and Sosan Tigiev of Uzbekistan.
Egyptian riot police sit in the shade by damaged buildings as people walk through debris from the aftermath of clashes on Aug. 1 between Christians and Muslims in Dahshour, on the outskirts of Cairo. The violence was sparked by a dispute between a Muslim and Christian over laundered clothing.
A former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood occupies Egypt's presidential palace, leaving many of the country's Coptic Christians deeply anxious about their future.
Now, a new group calling itself the Christian Brotherhood has emerged, vowing to stand up for the rights of Copts.
On a Cairo rooftop recently, members of the new Christian Brotherhood are debating how to respond to the first major outbreak of Muslim-Christian violence since President Mohammed Morsi came into office in June.
Writer and humorist David Rakoff, who died Thursday at the age of 47, wrote with a perfect balance of wit and gravity about the cancer that would ultimately take his life.
Rakoff developed a devoted following as a regular contributor to the public radio program This American Life. His books of essays include Fraud and Don't Get Too Comfortable. Rakoff's most recent book, Half Empty, won the Thurber Prize for American Humor in 2011.
Zoe Chace and Robert Smith are reporting from European borders this week. This story is about the unofficial border within one country — the border that divides northern and southern Italy. This is the fourth story in a four-part series.
A decade ago, the Barilla pasta factory in Foggia, Italy, had a big problem with people skipping work. The absentee rate was around 10 percent.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:06 am
Ok guys, reality check here: Nutella is not really a health food, POM Wonderful may be wonderful, but it doesn't necessarily prevent heart disease and... eating Splenda Essentials doesn't single-handedly make the pounds drop off.
Up next, our monthly meeting of the SCIENCE FRIDAY book club. Flora Lichtman, our multimedia editor is going to stay here with us. And joining us now also is Annette Heist, our senior producer. Did you get your reading done? (Unintelligible) The book, the book, Annette, you chose, it was "Monkey Mind," right? "Memoir of Anxiety" by Daniel Smith. Tell us a little bit about why you chose that book. What sang to you when you chose it?
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Unless you've been hiding under a rock on Mars, you know that last weekend NASA's Mars Science Laboratory safely made its way down to the surface of the Red Planet and now the Rover Curiosity sits, set up camp in Gale Crater.
So what'll it do now that it's there? Joining me now to talk about it is John Grotzinger. He's project scientist for the mission, professor of geology at Caltech. He joins me from the JPL Campus in Pasadena. Welcome back to the program.
Science fiction hero Tom Swift has amazed children with his incredible inventions since combustion and electricity drove the nation into a new era. These stories captured a cultural love of science and inspired such famous figures as Steve Wozniak and Isaac Asimov — all while predicting new technologies decades in advance.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY from NPR. I'm Ira Flatow. How many pictures have you seen of Einstein in front of a blackboard, you know, scribbling equations, working through the math? That's how theoretical physicists spend their time, right? Either that or cooped up alone in their university offices with pencil and paper.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Earlier this week, yet another potential cure for Alzheimer's failed. Pfizer called off additional studies of its intravenous drug bapineuzumab, an antibody designed to seek and destroy plaques that build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.
Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 4:27 pm
Every nation that sent a delegation to the London Games sent at least one female athlete — a first for the Olympics. This year's Team USA has more female than male athletes — and the women have won nearly twice as many medals: 100 total medals, by my count, to 59 for the men.
So yes, it looks like this is the Year of the Woman at the Olympics, particularly for the United States.
Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 10:59 am
There is something special about Eastern Kentucky University: We call it "the Power of Maroon."
Eastern Further, a group of Eastern alumnae who recognize the positive impact that EKU has had on our lives, has organized a running team to compete in the Disney Princesses Half Marathon in February 2013.
Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 10:20 am
The Federal Trade Commission has finalized a settlement with Facebook in which the social media leader agrees to get users' approval before making any privacy changes and agrees to periodic third-party audits for the next 20 years on how it handles user privacy.
We told you about this settlement back in November, but today, Reuters reports, after a period of public comment, the settlement has become official.
Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 6:01 pm
In what could be the last podcast before GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's V.P. announcement, NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin once again review the finalists. Plus: A look at the latest Obama and Romney ads, more battleground state polls, primary results in Missouri and elsewhere, and a look ahead to the next Tea Party target: U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin on Aug. 14.
A wave of states are implementing or considering laws that would require a government photo ID to vote. Some say the laws could disenfranchise voters, others say ID is required for basic needs. Host Michel Martin talks with journalist Kristal Brent Zook and Abigail Thernstrom of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Graduate student Clement Cid sits atop the solar-powered toilet he helped to build at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. Underneath the platform, the toilet converts waste into fertilizer. The Caltech team will use fake feces to demonstrate the toilet's features next week at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation offices.
Credit Maximum Performance
Soybean paste is extruded into 350 gram segments for testing in toilets.
Credit Maximum Performance
Soybean paste is mixed to the right consistency and moisture content to produce fake poop at the Maximum Performance factory.
Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 10:31 am
Last week, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it's purchasing 50 pounds of fake poop.
A practical joke? No, not in the least.
Nor is this synthetic poop a plastic replica of the real thing; it's an organic version made from soybeans. The Gates Foundation will use it to test high-tech commodes at their Reinvent the Toilet Fair next week.
Shiming Zou of China is declared the winner over Paddy Barnes of Ireland during their men's light flyweight boxing semifinal in London. The match was scored a 15-15 tie; Zou won on the number of punches landed.
Four years ago, Irish boxer Paddy Barnes lost to China's Zou Shiming by a score of 15-0 in Beijing. Today in London, Barnes fought his way back into their match to tie Zou at 15-15 — but he still lost. Barnes accepted the decision, but the result might confuse anyone who isn't familiar with boxing's scoring system.
Saying it wants "to protect homeowners from surprises and costly mistakes by their mortgage servicers," the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today proposed new rules it believes would make the home loan process simpler and give struggling homeowners more of a chance to avoid foreclosures.