The forces on the unmanned hypersonic glider tested last summer by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) were so great that large parts of its skin peeled off causing its emergency system to plunge it into the ocean.
As we reported last August, the Falcon HTV-2 "was shot up on a rocket and right at the edge of space, it separated and glided through the atmosphere at 13,000 mph."
Later this week, we get some key data to help judge the state of the nation's housing market. There are some early signs of recovery, but home prices are still falling in many areas, as NPR's Chris Arnold reports.
CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Tomorrow, we'll get the latest word on home prices from what's called the S&P Case-Shiller index. That keeps showing price declines in many areas. Though those price drops have been leveling off, so things definitely aren't as bad as they were.
Our story begins last month inside a busy Washington, D.C. subway station plastered with posters of giant dollar bills. One of them says: "Tell Congress to stop wasting time trying to eliminate the dollar bill." Another asks: "Do you heart the dollar?"
Political fights in the nation's capital normally involve billions or even trillions, not single dollars. What's going on here?
Chrysler, Ford and General Motors gained market share in the past couple years. Helped by Toyota's much-publicized recalls, the problems that Japanese carmakers faced after last year's earthquake and tsunami, and an improving reputation for the quality of American-made vehicles, Detroit's Big Three grabbed 47 percent of sales last year — up from 45.1 percent in 2010 and 44 percent in 2009.
Our friend Micki Maynard of Changing Gears, though, reports that the Detroit companies' comeback — in terms of market share — may be over.
Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 2:22 pm
Greenpeace released its latest report today asking, "How clean is your cloud?"
The annual report examines the server farms built by the largest Internet companies — including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo — and ranks them according to how efficient their cloud facilities are, and where they get their electricity.
Yahoo — which has struggled to please investors in recent years — was the only major Internet company in the study to get most of its electricity from renewable or clean energy sources, according to the report.
In 1925, people lined up to buy anti-evolution books in Dayton, Tenn., where the "monkey trial" of teacher John T. Scopes took place. Tennessee recently enacted a law encouraging teachers to question accepted science on evolution and other issues.
Credit Topical Press Agency / Getty Images
Scopes (center), a high school science teacher, was put on trial for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution, an act that was illegal. He was convicted and fined $100, but the verdict was overturned on appeal.
Credit Hulton Archive / Getty Images
Roger Cone, chairman of the department of molecular physiology and biophysics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., says he thinks scientists "have a responsibility to be in the public sphere."
Credit Courtesy of Vanderbilt University
Tennessee state Rep. Bill Dunn, a Republican from Knoxville, says the legislation he co-sponsored does nothing to threaten the teaching of evolution or other science subjects.
The U.S. now imports far more oil from Canada than from any other country. Persian Gulf imports now account for less than 15 percent of the oil consumed in the U.S. This photo shows the Syncrude oil sands extraction facility near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, in 2009.
Credit Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images
The source of U.S. oil imports has been evolving. Canada, Latin America and Africa have been sending more oil to the U.S., while Middle Eastern crude is playing a smaller role. This photo shows an oil operation in 2007 off the coast of Angola, a leading producer in Africa.
Since the Arab oil embargoes of the 1960s and 70s, it's been conventional wisdom to talk about American dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf. But the global oil market has changed dramatically since then.
Today, the U.S. actually gets most of its imported oil from Canada and Latin America.
And many Americans might be surprised to learn that the U.S. now imports roughly the same amount of oil from Africa as it does from the Persian Gulf. African imports were a bit higher in 2010, while Persian Gulf oil accounted for a bit more last year.
The agency says there were 380,000 such applications, up from 367,000 (a number that has been revised upward; previously, the agency had estimated there were 357,000 claims in the week ended March 31).
Claims had been running at the lowest pace since March and April 2008. At 380,000, the pace is the lowest since June 2008.
One veteran businessperson along Kansas City's Prospect Avenue took a very personal interest this week in a celebration of a multi-million dollar community development project along his blighted strip of the boulevard.
Which tax preparation service is best? That's what writer Joel Stein hoped to find out when he took his 2011 income data to different firms — including an H&R Block office, seen here in a file photo from last year's tax season.
In 2012, the federal tax return deadline is Tuesday, April 17 — so if you haven't already filed your income tax return, you have about one week left to shop around for different options to finish your taxes, or request an extension.
There are a couple interesting Anonymous stories out there in the ether today. First, the news.
The group claims to have hacked a number of Chinese government websites. Last month, Anonymous China launched its own Twitter account. It was endorsed by the YourAnonNews account, which is kind of the unofficial clearinghouse of Anonymous posts on Twitter. And then the folks who are behind this project got to work.
The nation's unemployment rate edged down to 8.2 percent in March from 8.3 percent in February, but only 120,000 jobs were added to private and public payrolls the Bureau of Labor Statistics said this morning in a report that was less positive about the labor market's health than economists had expected.
Prior to the news, forecasters had predicted BLS would say about 200,000 jobs were added to payrolls last month.
Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 12:59 pm
The author of Three Cups of Tea has agreed to repay $1 million to a charity he founded, after the Montana Attorney General's office found that he had mismanaged the nonprofit by spending charity money on personal items.
The AP reports that Greg Mortenson misspent Central Asia Institute funds on "family vacations and millions on charter flights."
The AP adds Mortenson pretty much had unchallenged control of the non-profit:
Job seekers attend a career fair in New York City. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the quick drop in unemployment might have been a reversal of overzealous cutbacks during the financial crisis.
The monthly employment report Friday could help answer a key question about the economy: Will the recently strong job growth slow once employers finish replacing the people they fired during the depths of the recession?
Now, before we move on, you should know that the company making the announcement is Dr. Web, which sells anti-virus software that will protect a computer against that kind of virus. It's also important to note that many of the parties weighing in are part of a security community that makes money off selling anti-virus software.
Tonight, in Whitesville, W.Va., mourners will silently walk with candles on sidewalks lined with luminary lights to remember the 29 coal miners who died two years ago today in the nation's worst mine disaster in 40 years.
That memorial will follow a 3 p.m. ET event in Beckley,W. Va., where an honor guard will ring a bell 29 times to mark the moment the Upper Big Branch coal mine erupted in a massive explosion.
Jobs at U.S. businesses increased by 209,000 in March, according to a report released Wednesday by the payroll processing firm ADP. That's in line with expectations for the monthly jobs report due out Friday.
Analysts expect Friday's official employment report from the Labor Department to show that employers added 215,000 in March and that the unemployment rate remained at 8.3 percent, according to Bloomberg News.