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Joe's Big Idea
3:01 am
Mon June 24, 2013

For Sharpest Views, Scope The Sky With Quick-Change Mirrors

Before And After: These near-infrared images of Uranus show the planet as seen without adaptive optics (left) and with the technology turned on (right).
Courtesy of Heidi B. Hammel and Imke de Pater

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 11:55 am

It used to be that if astronomers wanted to get rid of the blurring effects of the atmosphere, they had to put their telescopes in space. But a technology called adaptive optics has changed all that.

Adaptive optics systems use computers to analyze the light coming from a star, and then compensate for changes wrought by the atmosphere, using mirrors that can change their shapes up to 1,000 times per second. The result: To anyone on Earth peering through the telescope, the star looks like the single point of light it really is.

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Shots - Health News
3:00 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Gloomy Thinking Can Be Contagious

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 10:59 am

When students show up at college in the fall, they'll have to deal with new classes, new friends and a new environment. In many cases, they will also have new roommates — and an intriguing new research study suggests this can have important mental health consequences.

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Shots - Health News
2:58 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Depression May Increase The Risk Of Dementia Later On

Depression is common among old people, affecting up to 25 percent.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 11:54 am

Depression can have physical consequences. Research now suggests that when people get depressed in middle age and beyond, they're more likely to develop dementia in old age.

But the link between depression and dementia remains something of a mystery. Researchers are working to understand why that occurs and what might be done to prevent dementia.

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U.S.
2:57 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Why The AR-15 Is More Than Just A Gun

"We've always sold more guns when Democrats are in office than we ever sell when Republicans [are] in office," says Mitch May, the general manager at Clark Brothers Gun Shop in Warrenton, Va.
Ailsa Chang NPR

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 12:07 pm

Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insist that gun control legislation is not dead — they say they're strategizing on how to bring the issue back to the Senate floor.

Even if it does return, one proposal unlikely to survive is an assault weapons ban. Military-style assault rifles now form a nearly $1 billion industry supported by gun owners who spend thousands of dollars collecting these firearms.

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Around the Nation
5:02 pm
Sun June 23, 2013

The 'Time Capsule' Of Mob Lingo At The Whitey Bulger Trial

The testimonies of James "Whitey" Bulger and his Winter Hill Gang cohort have been filled with well-preserved mob lingo.
Jane Flavell Collins ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 11:39 am

This week, we've been immersed in news about mobs both real and fictional, with the death of Sopranos star James Gandolfini and the continuing trial of James "Whitey" Bulger.

The Sopranos gave us a primer on mob language like "clipping" a "rat." But Bulger's Winter Hill Gang and his Boston Irish cohort were the real deal. Members of Bulger's old cohort came to the witness stand and used the real-life slang of their gang days.

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Music
5:02 pm
Sun June 23, 2013

DJ Betto Arcos Spins The Latest From Brazil

Graveola celebrates its hometown of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in the song "Babulina's Trip."
Flavia Mafra Courtesy of the artist

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Author Interviews
5:02 pm
Sun June 23, 2013

A Mother Rescues Her Daughter From War-Torn Syria

Louise Monaghan was previously a senior travel consultant. She's currently a full-time mother.
Courtesy St. Martin's Press

Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 6:51 pm

Louise Monaghan's journey to Syria to rescue her kidnapped daughter begins years ago at a club in Cyprus. It was there she met a Syrian man named Mostafa, whom she would marry.

"I was smitten from the first second," she tells NPR's Jacki Lyden. "I felt he was what I needed. He made me feel safe."

But Monaghan was not safe. Mostafa was verbally abusive and beat her. They married, and the couple had a daughter named May. When they divorced, Mostafa was given visitation rights, but he wanted more.

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The Two-Way
4:59 pm
Sun June 23, 2013

Hospitalized Nelson Mandela In Critical Condition

A print of Nelson Mandela and get well messages lay outside the home of the former President Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa earlier this month.
Themba Hadebe Associated Press

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 6:54 am

Nelson Mandela, the former South African president and anti-apartheid leader, is in critical condition in a hospital in Pretoria where he was admitted two weeks ago with a recurring respiratory infection.

A statement from South African President Jacob Zuma said the 94-year-old Mandela's condition had become critical over the past 24 hours.

"The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable. He is in good hands," said Zuma, referring to Mandela by his clan name.

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The Two-Way
2:47 pm
Sun June 23, 2013

Malaysia Declares Emergency From Cross-Border Blanket Of Smoke

The landmark Petronas Twin Towers (top, right) in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, are barely visible amid the thick smoke. It's even worse farther south.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 6:55 am

Malaysia has declared a state of emergency in the country's south after choking smog from slash-and-burn agriculture in neighboring Indonesia enveloped the region.

Residents in Muar and Ledang districts of Johor state have been told to stay indoors. This comes after a similar order in Singapore last week.

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The Two-Way
11:53 am
Sun June 23, 2013

High-Wire Artist Nik Wallenda Walks Across Arizona Gorge

Daredevil Nik Wallenda crosses a tightrope 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River Gorge, Ariz., on Sunday.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 11:18 pm

Update at 10:03 p.m. ET

Nik Wallenda successfully walked the 1,500 feet across the Colorado River Gorge in Arizona on Sunday. The high-wire daredevil, famous for similar walks like the one he did at Niagara Falls, made the precarious trek live on television and without a net or safety line.

The walk took Wallenda 22 minutes of edging his way along the 2-inch-thick cable.

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