You can thank brainy billionaire Elon Musk's Hyperloop proposal for bringing electro-magnetic-powered transportation and the linear induction motor back into the public consciousness.
The Hyperloop is a system for really-really rapid transit. If built, Musk claims it can carry people about 800 miles per hour, which could get you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in about 30 minutes.
Dave Dierig, research leader at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation, stands among the ceiling-high shelves that hold the 600,000 seed packets in this cold storage vault.
Credit Grace Hood / KUNC
The seed vault in Fort Collins, Colo., houses genetic material from across the globe.
Credit Grace Hood / KUNC
"You'll want your camera out for this," Dierig said as he lifted up the lid to a cryogenic freezer capsule. In the cryo chamber, the collection expands to include not just seeds, but animal embryos, semen and microbes.
When unapproved genetically modified wheat was found growing in Oregon earlier this year, it didn't take long for accusations to start flying. A flurry of initial finger-pointing cast potential blame on a federal seed vault in Fort Collins, Colo., which housed the same strain of wheat, developed by Monsanto Corp., for about seven years up until late 2011.
The Detroit River is the mile-wide boundary that separates the United States and Canada. And the city park on the Windsor, Ontario, side of the river offers a better view of the Detroit skyline than anywhere else.
In a quirk of geography, Detroit actually sits north of its Canadian neighbor. Natives like Stephen Santarossa, who's from Windsor, love this bit of trivia and relish the puzzled look on visitors' faces as they try to draw that mental map.
"Do you realize that you are now looking north?" he says.
Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 12:59 pm
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law Monday a controversial measure that overhauls the state's election laws. It requires government-issued photo IDs at the polls, reduces the early voting period by one week and ends same day registration.
A federal judge in Georgia threw out the discrimination claims against Paula Deen on Monday in a lawsuit that sparked widespread criticism, led sponsors to jump ship and the Food Network to drop her show.
Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 5:38 pm
A 19-year Army veteran was given a summons and told to leave the oceanside boardwalk in North Wildwood, N.J., Thursday, after a police officer refused to accept the presence of the veteran's service dog. Jared Goering says it was the first vacation for him and his wife, Sally, in years.
My parents married young — both were still undergraduates — and so by the time my father started graduate school in mathematics, he and my mother were the harried parents of three small children. They wanted us to see America. And so my father chose the University of Arizona — about as far as you could go from our West Virginia home without falling off the country's opposite edge. On our way, we stopped in Tombstone.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
I'm Robert Siegel.
For many communities around the country, the yellow school bus is the quintessential sign that school is in session. Well, one school district is taking its buses off the roads. Citing the need to cut costs, district officials in Hoover, Alabama are canceling school bus service starting one year from now.
A Boston jury has found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty of 11 murders, racketeering, extortion and other mob-related crimes. Bulger, who was the subject of a worldwide manhunt for more than a decade before being captured in 2011, likely faces life in prison. Audie Cornish speaks with WBUR's David Boeri.
More than 100 years after the eradication of cholera in the island nation of Haiti, the disease has reemerged with a vengeance. A new study out of Yale University traces the outbreak back to an infected Nepalese disaster response team, dispatched by the UN in the aftermath of Haiti's massive 2010 earthquake. Robert Siegel speaks with the study supervisor, Muneer Ahmad.
More now on Egypt. Over the past year, we've checked in often with Dr. Abdul Mawgoud Dardery. He is an English professor from Luxor. He got his PhD in Pittsburgh. He is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who ran for parliament as a candidate of President Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party. He was a moderate in that group and he won a seat from Luxor before the parliamentary elections were thrown out by a court.
He's in Washington this week as a representative of a pro-Democracy, anti-coup group. Welcome to the program once again.
A federal judge in New York City ruled that the police department has been violating the civil rights of tens of thousands of minority New Yorkers with its practice of warrantless searches, better known as "stop-and-frisk." It's a rebuke for city officials have defended the tactic as an important crime-fighting tool. Judge Shira Scheindlin is appointing a federal monitor to oversee reforms at the department.
Attorney General Eric Holder outlined federal steps to cut long prison sentences for some drug offenders. In a speech before the American Bar Association, Holder said the change is necessary to curb growing incarceration costs and to make the justice system more fair.
A trip to Malibu is the perfect getaway during your summer vacation. But good luck finding a place to park. Some Malibu residents place fake "No Parking" signs along the coast to keep tourists off of public beaches. And it's not just a problem in Malibu. A bill in the California Legislature would allow the state's Coastal Commission to start cracking down on the 600 backlogged public access violations along the coast.
After an extensive investigation lasting well over a year, NPR's ombudsman has concluded the network's series on South Dakota's efforts to put Native American children in foster care was fundamentally flawed.
The network and the ombudsman, Edward Schumacher-Matos, who is paid to critique NPR's news coverage, have split sharply over his findings.
Jeanne Pincha-Tulley, a Type 1 incident commander, addresses the media in the then-evacuated town of Idyllwild, as the Mountain Fire grows closer. Pincha-Tulley has a reputation for being frank and direct with the media and public. "For the next two days," she said, "the fire is going to put embers right over this town."
Credit Nate Rott / NPR
A Smokey the Bear sign stands undamaged by the flames that raced by it two days earlier on their way to engulfing 42 square miles of the San Jacinto Mountains in California. The sign sits next to the Esperanza Firefighters Memorial Highway, named after five firefighters who died battling the Esperanza Fire in similar terrain in 2006.
A line of dirty fire engines rumbles off of Southern California's Pine to Palms Highway into an open field, trailing a cloud of brown dust. The drivers' faces are smudged with black soot.
Across the road, helicopters land to fill with water and fuel before whacking their way back up through the smoky sky. The scenic San Jacinto Mountains behind them are bare and black, burnt clean of tree and bush. Puffs of gray smoke rise like faint ghosts.
"It's a very curious time in high-energy physics," says Michael Peskin, a researcher at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. On the one hand, researchers have just made the most significant discovery in decades: In July of last year, they announced they had found the Higgs particle at a collider in Switzerland. The Higgs is part of the mechanism that gives mass to everything. It is so fundamental that without it, we wouldn't exist.
Family music comes in a broad range of styles – folk, rock, punk and even polka. But, compared with its popularity among adults, there have been very few R&B and soul music albums for kids. Enter Shine and the Moonbeams.
Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 5:56 am
It's bad enough to have to be tested for dementia. It's even worse if the test isn't fair. Researchers in Chicago found they needed to update the screening test for a type of early onset dementia so that the measure would more accurately pick up symptoms among a new wave of patients — baby boomers and Gen Xers.
After Medgar Evers was murdered, his wife, Myrlie Evers, carried on his work. This photo shows Myrlie Evers and her children, Van, 9; Darrell, 16; and Rena, 14, in June 1969 in their Claremont, Calif., home.
Credit Myrlie Evers Private Collection
Medgar Evers embraces friends James Meredith (left), the first black student to enroll in the University of Mississippi (with Evers' help), and iconic writer James Baldwin (right), who covered the civil rights movement for magazines like The New Yorker. Van Evers stands in front: "It's one of the very few photos I have of my dad and me," he says.
Credit J. Van Evers
Leading ladies of the civil rights movement: Van Evers waited years for the opportunity to get Dr. Betty Shabazz (educator and widow of Malcolm X), Coretta Scott King (activist and widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) and his mother, Myrlie Evers-Williams, in the same room at the same time for a portrait.
Credit J. Van Evers
At his second inauguration, President Obama speaks with Nolan Evers, 12, and Alex Evers, 13, about the importance of their grandfather Medgar's work, as their grandmother Myrlie Evers-Williams looks on.
James Van Dyke Evers was only 3 when his father, Medgar, was assassinated in the driveway of the family's home in Jackson, Miss., in June 1963.
A sniper shot Medgar Evers in the back as he returned from a meeting late at night. Tensions had been running high because Evers, the first field secretary for the NAACP, was making headway in pushing the state's black citizens to register to vote. White Mississippians who had lived comfortably under segregation could feel the ground shifting beneath them — and they didn't like it.
This handwritten recipe for veal kidney pie, from The Unknown Ladies Cookbook, includes a surprising combination of ingredients, including kidney, lettuce, apples, currants and rosewater. It is heavily spiced with mace, cinnamon and nutmeg and sweetened with sugar.
Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 2:56 pm
Cooking with calf's head and cow heel may not sound like the most palatable way to spend an afternoon, but it's all in a day's work for librarian Judith Finnamore of London's Westminster Archive Centre.
Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 6:14 pm
The conclusion of Beyonce's high-wattage Super Bowl spectacular — and the subsequent blackout in the New Orleans Superdome — are the first and second most tweeted-about moments in Twitter history, according to the social media giant.