It may have just been a coincidence that on the eve of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's visit to Israel, President Obama signed legislation that increases U.S. military and security aid to the Jewish state.
But the timing was nonetheless fortuitous for the president, and showed once again the benefits of incumbency in an election year.
Every recent opening ceremony of the Olympics went for glitter and glamour, in an escalating war of excess. Ceremony fanatics consider the Beijing opening ceremony the gaudiest of all — and Oscar-winner Danny Boyle (the director of Slumdog Millionaire) had $42 million to try to outdo the Chinese organizers.
Instead, Boyle says, "You can't get bigger than Beijing. So that, in a way, kind of liberated us. We thought, 'Great. Oh good. We'll try and do something different, then.' "
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 10:33 am
The Olympics begin this afternoon, and the stores are filling up with school supplies, meaning that you only have a few more weeks to fit in a summer vacation. And if you'd like to add a quirky food-themed museum to your getaway plans, The Salt has compiled a few suggestions that are certainly off the beaten path.
As we've reported, there were no public events on the Olympic sporting schedule today, the day of the opening ceremony. But we must note that two world records were set at the London 2012 Games this morning. That's when South Korean archer Im Dong-hyun scored a record 699 points.
Police in Prince George's County, Md., "have arrested a man who [they say] referred to himself as 'a joker' and threatened to shoot people at his former workplace," The Washington Post's The Crime Scene blog writes.
The Harvard researcher probably speaks for many of the 23,000 scientists, activists and policy mavens who came to the Washington conference. But they're going home with a big question on their minds: Can the world afford it?
And I'm Flora Lichtman. In 2007, thousands of people in Mexico took to the streets, protesting the price of tortillas. In three months, the price of corn had gone up 400 percent. Why? According to my first guest, it all started with a spike in oil prices triggered by Hurricane Katrina. That led to increased demand for ethanol, and U.S. farmers who grow a lot of the corn that Mexicans eat planted less corn for eating and more corn to make ethanol.
A flurry of extreme weather events, including wildfires, heat waves and droughts may have convinced more Americans that the planet is warming. A poll by the Brookings Institute found that 62 percent of Americans now believe in global warming, and nearly half of them have cited warmer temperatures or change in weather patterns as the reason for their belief.
The universe is being pushed apart at a faster and faster rate. And the culprit? Dark energy. Astrophysicist Adam Riess shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for that discovery, and now's your chance to ask him about it--or anything else you've been wondering about the cosmos.
Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 12:46 pm
Bioengineers are developing microchips, about the size of a thumb, that can behave like human organs. Donald Ingber, director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, discusses how the "organ-on-a-chip" works and why the technology could replace the animal model for drug testing.
Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 12:20 pm
On a gray, polluted Beijing morning, parents peer through a fence anxiously at their little darlings' wobbly dribbling skills on the soccer pitch, as they try to score goals against former Manchester City goalkeeper Alex Williams.
No surprise: The economy grew only sluggishly in April, May and June. The U.S. Commerce Department says gross domestic product — the sum of all goods and services produced in the country — grew by just 1.5 percent in the second quarter.
Amid the slapstick comedies, sequels and superhero movies that have come to define summer moviegoing, two films opening today center on disturbed and disturbing romantic ties. Ruby Sparks and Killer Joe aren't fantasy or horror pictures, but they're within screaming distance — close enough to remind you how much deeper artists go when they barrel past realism into weirder areas of the psyche.
Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 12:46 pm
The London 2012 Summer Games are set to begin in earnest, with today's opening ceremony kicking off a weekend of gold-medal competitions. But if you're in America and you hope to watch the Opening Ceremony live, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed: NBC is tape-delaying its broadcast until Friday night.
Today, reluctantly, we say goodbye to someone our listeners may have come to feel attached to, even though they've never heard her voice on our show.
Until about 3 years ago, we were so obsessed with getting Fresh Air on the air every day that we were virtually ignoring all the social media possibilities, and our website was pretty bare-boned. Then we hired Melody Kramer to be our associate producer for online media.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 10:34 am
Here in the U.S., McDonald's food is not usually considered all that healthy. But in China, it is.
That's because Chinese consumers trust American brands more than their own, says Shaun Rein, founder of China Market Research, who studies Chinese consumer behavior. Rein says that in China, McDonald's is seen as providing safe and wholesome food.
Mitt Romney figures, why just create gaffes in the United States when I can do the same in Europe? But before he leaves he socks it to the president at the VFW. Also, a look ahead to Tuesday's Republican Senate runoff in Texas. And Alaska Republican Don Young and Hawaii Democrat Mazie Hirono make nice in a most unusual commercial.
Join NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving in the latest installment of the It's All Politics podcast.
Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 12:56 pm
Spanish Olympians are learning a painful lesson as they suit up for Friday's opening ceremony in London: You get what you pay for.
With Spain on the brink of bankruptcy, its Olympic committee decided to save money this year. It got its Olympic uniforms for free, from the Russian designer Bosco, which also provided kits for the Russian and Ukrainian teams.
We ran into USA Men's basketball at the security sweep today. Yes, even big-time basketball players and coaches must suffer the indignity of the magnetometer. We were all making our way through security into the Main Press Center, where the team was about to meet journalists.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo, coach Mike Krzyzewski and much of the rest of the team seemed to have little trouble getting screened. Assistant coach Nate McMillan may have forgotten to empty his pockets, because he got the pat-down.
Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 12:57 pm
Good morning. Today's lone public Olympic event is the Opening Ceremony, which begins at 4 p.m. EDT. NBC will not air the broadcast until the evening, however, at 7:30 p.m. in all time zones. We'll have a post later about that issue, and how you can watch. For now, here's a rundown of news items: