Pigeons may not be known for their flying prowess, but they are actually pretty good at maneuvering right angles. Andrew Biewener and colleagues at Harvard's Concord Field Station caught pigeons in a parking garage, made a flying course in the lab and filmed the birds with high speed cameras to see how pigeons make tight turns.
In her new book, The Heights: Anatomy of a Skyscraper, author Kate Ascher sheds light on the infrastructure and services that make life and work possible in a modern skyscraper. She examines everything that goes into designing, building and maintaining these towering buildings.
Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 1:10 pm
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's visit to Myanmar, where she has pledged with opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi to continue the push for democracy and respect for human rights there, has focused attention on that long-oppressed Asian nation.
The Irish actor Michael Fassbender stars in two current films that revolve around the perils of sex â€” which means you see him have a lot, so he'll have something to regret.
You know how the sex will play out in Shame, because of, well, the title. Fassbender plays a sex addict, Brandon Sullivan, born in Ireland, raised in New Jersey, and he seems to work in advertising, which is unfortunate since he resembles Mad Men's John Hamm.
Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 11:37 am
Paul Motian, a jazz drummer and composer who spent more than 50 years in the music industry, died November 22, from complications of multiple myeloma. He was 80.
The New York Times' Ben Ratliff once called Motian "one of the greatest drummers in all of jazz." The rare drummer who disliked drum solos, Motian recorded some of his most memorable work with pianist Bill Evans and bassist Scott LaFaro. Their recordings include the classics Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Portrait of Jazz.
A new study in the December issue of the American Sociological Review comes up with some findings that lots of women may feel they already know too much about: Working mothers spend significantly more time multitasking at home than working dads. And those mothers aren't happy about it.
Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 2:17 pm
Dogs who have served alongside U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan now typically go on to live with their handlers in the civilian world after their service days are over, as All Things Considered reported in August.
That's a change from the past, when many combat dogs were euthanized once they were done working with the military.
Seven time zones, nearly 6,000 miles, and a lot of tea and borscht. That only begins to describe the long journey by David Greene, NPR's Moscow correspondent. He's been in Russia for just over two years and for his last reporting trip, he's riding the Trans-Siberian Railroad from Moscow to Vladivostok.
While crossing the world's largest country and bridging two continents, he'll make stops to capture the mood and the culture of Russia at an important milestone, two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union.
And things should be calmer in Southern California too, where "freakishly powerful winds" on Thursday stunned people and left behind shredded rooftops and "yards littered with downed trees," as the Los Angeles Times says.
"Pakistani officials at a border coordination center gave the go-ahead to American airstrikes that inadvertently killed 24 Pakistan troops, unaware that their own forces were in the area, according to U.S. officials briefed on the preliminary investigation," The Wall Street Journal reports this morning.
A Pakistani official quoted by Reuters says that's not true.
Some time ago, a restaurateur made a bet with Leon Panetta, then head of the CIA, that if the U.S. found Osama bin Laden, he would open a bottle of wine from 1870. Panetta said this week that he has collected on the bet. After the raid, Panetta sent word to Ted Balestreri to watch TV and prepare to deliver the $10,000 bottle of wine.
Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 10:30 am
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with a court battle over trademarked wax. Maker's Mark, the Kentucky bourbon, comes in a bottle sealed by dipping it in red wax. The company considers that a trademark, even though no two bottles are exactly the same. So Maker's Mark was not happy when the makers of Jose Cuervo tequila tried to sell bottles the same way. The two sides have now taken this issue to an appeals court instead of simply settling it over a drink. You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Inside palace walls built by Saddam Hussein, U.S. generals plotted the war's course, tracked the mounting death toll and swore in new American citizens under gaudy glass chandeliers.
Just outside the palace, American troops whacked golf balls into man-made lakes or fished for carp while others sat down with a cigar and a can of nonalcoholic beer hoping for a respite from incoming rockets or mortar shells.
Along another lake some distance away, a jailed Saddam tended to tomatoes and cucumbers in a small, walled-off enclosure with guards patrolling overhead.
Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 10:30 am
The tough economy has taken its toll on most states, putting budgets deep in the red and putting people out of work.
But North Dakota has a low 3.5 percent unemployment rate and a state budget with a billion dollar surplus. That's because of a major oil boom in the western part of the state, a discovery of at least 2 billion barrels to be gained by fracking â€” the controversial process of injecting fluid deep into underground rock formations to force the oil out.
Chris Whitney lived in San Francisco in the 1980s, when there wasn't much known about AIDS. But then he tested positive for HIV in 1985. He explains what happened next to his frien Erin Kuka.
"The first person I told was the person I was dating at the time, and that was pretty much the last conversation I had with him," Whitney says. "You know, the fear just took over. That kind of made me really wary about opening up to people.
AIDS activists haven't always been happy with Barack Obama. But many of them were on this Worlds AIDS Day.
The president used the occasion to pledge a 50 percent increase in the number of HIV-infected people getting treatment through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR â€” from around 4 million now to 6 million by the end of 2013.
The American electorate is getting more diverse, more educated and younger. These demographic trends seem to suggest that voters could, in theory at least, be more Obama-friendly in 2012, especially in some key states. But it's not clear whether these shifts can outweigh the dragging economy and the president's dismal approval ratings.
By one measure, the browser landscape was reshaped last month: According to data released today by StatCounter, which measures browser usage, Google's Chrome has taken over the No. 2 spot, sending Mozilla's Firefox to third place.
A Pew Hispanic Center study released today finds that two-thirds of undocumented immigrants in the United States have lived in the country for more than 10 years. The study also found that 46 percent of undocumented immigrants had minor children.
In its press release, Pew says this research is important because it comes on the heels of a hot debate on immigration during the Republican presidential debates.
Children in foster care are significantly more likely than other kids to be given mind-altering drugs, according to a study of five states released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office.
The report, which focused on children in the Medicaid program, also found that foster kids were more likely to be prescribed five or more psychotropic drugs at an age and at doses that exceed the maximum FDA-approved levels â€” both of which carry serious health risks.
Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 3:37 pm
This is just a guess, but the single part of America's food system that inspires the most horrified fascination is probably the slaughterhouse. One reason may be that these factories that turn cattle, hogs and chickens into packaged meat are generally off-limits to the public and photographers.