This month, NPR's Backseat Book Club goes snooping in Nikki Maxwell's "private and confidential" Dork Diaries. But the secret's already gotten out; the series launched four years ago, and there are already 12 million books in print in 34 different languages. The sixth in the series — Tales From a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker — was just published in June.
Basil is growing thick and leafy in many backyard gardens throughout the U.S. right now, which means many people are thinking about pesto. It's one of the more basic sauces you can make — in addition to basil, all you need is Parmesan or Romano cheese, a little garlic, some extra virgin olive oil and Italian pine nuts.
Downtown Cairo is plastered with huge posters of Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the U.S.-trained Egyptian army chief who helped overthrow President Mohammed Morsi.
Credit Orlando Sierra / AFP/Getty Images
Romeo Orlando Vasquez Velasquez took a combat arms course at the School of the Americas at Georgia's Fort Benning in 1976 and another on small unit training in 1984. As a general in 2009, Vasquez overthrew the democratically elected president of Honduras.
Credit Rebecca Blackwell / AP
Yahya Jammeh, a captain in Gambia's army at the time, attended a police training course at Fort McLellan in Alabama in 1994. Later the same year, Jammeh and four other junior officers staged a bloodless coup of the Gambian government.
Credit Jim Watson / AP
Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who studied at the U.S. Army War College in 2006, led the recent military takeover of the government of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. El-Sissi is the latest in a series of U.S.-trained military officers who have ousted a civilian government.
Credit Delmer Martinez / AP
Top military and police officers led the 1991 overthrow of Haiti's government. Among them were Michel Francois (shown here in 1996), the country's police chief, and army chief Philippe Biamby. Both received training at the School of the Americas during the 1980s.
Credit Rebecca Blackwell / AP
Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo studied at several U.S. military schools and received training in military intelligence at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. He led the ouster of Mali's government in 2012.
Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the man at the center of the military takeover in Egypt, is the latest in a series of American-trained foreign officers to oust a civilian government.
Just seven years ago, he was a student at the Army War College in rural Pennsylvania. At a recent military graduation ceremony in Alexandria, Egypt, el-Sissi talked about his ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on July 3.
The army was forced to take that step, the general said, in the wake of mass protests against the elected government.
A rendering of objects currently in Low Earth Orbit (not illustrated to scale). According to NASA, "approximately 95 percent of the objects in this illustration are orbital debris, i.e., not functional satellites."
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 2:54 pm
A U.S. radar system that tracks thousands of objects orbiting Earth — from satellites to harmful debris — has been slated for shutdown, according to the Space News site. The ground-based network known as the "Space Fence" may cease to operate in October.
Originally published on Sat August 10, 2013 7:12 am
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the heavily taped packages that can't be opened without the aid of a utility knife and a blowtorch is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives. This week: an array of tips for anyone hoping to launch and sustain a career in music journalism.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. It is summer; and maybe you've already had your dash to the beach, or maybe you're just getting ready to go. If you're looking for something to pick up while you're lounging at the shore, you are in luck. We are kicking off our summer reading series. We're calling it "Island Reads." And for the next few weeks, we will be speaking with authors of Caribbean descent.
And now we continue our summer song series. We're talking to Gwen Thompkins, host of the program "Music Inside Out," which is heard on member station WWNO in New Orleans. She's introducing us to a handful of contemporary artists who've offered a new take on some old classics. Allen Toussaint has been writing songs and shaping the New Orleans rhythm and blues and rock sound since he was a teenager. Now he's in his 70s and he's experimenting with jazz. And Gwen Thompkins is back with us. Hi, Gwen.
Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 4:16 am
One of this week's most-talked-about stories is The Daily Beast's report that "the crucial intercept that prompted the U.S. government to close embassies in 22 countries was a conference call between al Qaeda's senior leaders and representatives of several of the group's affiliates throughout the region."
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 2:07 pm
This post last updated at 3:55 p.m. ET:
A federal grand jury has indicted two men on charges of obstruction of justice related to the Boston Marathon bombing investigation.
The U.S. Attorney's office for Massachusetts made the announcement on Thursday against two students from Kazakhstan, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both 19 at the time of the bombing. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison.
Researchers say one particular flavanol, (-)-epicatechin, may be the source of the brain benefits seen from consuming cocoa.
Credit Courtesy of Mars
Cocoa beans are naturally rich in flavanols, but these compounds can get stripped out by the time you get to a chocolate bar. Researchers use cocoa powder specially prepared to preserve the flavanols to figure out how they affect the brain.
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 1:05 pm
Our nearest star is about to pull a once-in-11-years move by swapping its north and south magnetic poles.
The sun's polarity switch is a natural part of "solar max" — the period of peak activity during what averages out to be roughly an 11-year cycle. According to NASA, this year will mark the fourth time since 1976 that scientists have observed the 180-degree pole flip.
Don LaFontaine had avoice anyone would recognize. As a voice-over artist, he recorded thousands of movie trailers and TV commercials, and became famous for his delivery of the phrase "In a world," which kicked off countless trailers. He died in 2008, but the new comedy In a World ... -- written and directed by actress Lake Bell — tells the story of voice-over artists competing to become the next LaFontaine.
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 11:46 am
We forget to listen closer, look closer. As a big-picture kind of guy, I do that myself, and that means missing details that make day-to-day life more vivid. Listening to High Aura'd, it's apparent that creator John Kolodij hears life with great clarity. Last year's Sanguine Features was a personal favorite of mine: a dark and buzzing LP that, when turned up loud, felt like a dark hallway with treasures tucked away in the corners.
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:28 am
The judge presiding over the case of Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people during a 2009 shooting rampage in Fort Hood, Texas, said Hasan can continue to defend himself, The Associated Press reports.
Caleb Newton, who lives in Spotsylvania County, Va., holds the 17-pound, 6-ounce northern snakehead fish he caught in June. The International Game Fish Association has approved a world record for his catch of the invasive predator.
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 9:59 am
A Virginia man has caught the largest northern snakehead on record with a rod and reel, landing a 17-pound, 6-ounce specimen of the fish often called "Frankenfish" for their monster-like appearance and tenacious survival skills.
Some scientists think new types of bird flus should arise only in chickens, not in labs. Here a worker collects poultry on a farm in Kathmandu, Nepal, where the H5N1 virus was infecting animals in October 2011.
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 8:56 am
Who do these guys think they are, the Dr. Frankensteins of virology?
First, two teams of virologists created more dangerous versions of the deadly H5N1 flu. Now they want to give the H7N9 virus, which has already sickened at least 134 people and killed 43 people in Asia, a few new capabilities: drug resistance, faster transmission between people and the ability to sneak past the immune system.
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 9:05 am
Driven by a recovery in the U.S. housing market, mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae netted profits of $10.1 billion in the second quarter, its sixth-straight quarter with positive results. The company, which has operated under federal conservatorship since 2008, reported its earnings Thursday.
Fannie Mae cited "a significant increase in home prices in the quarter," which nearly doubled that of last year's second quarter.
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 8:54 am
There were 333,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, the Employment and Training Administration says. Claims were up 1.5 percent from the previous week's 328,000 — and basically remained at the lower end of the range where they've stayed for the better part of the last two years.
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 8:50 am
"The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans' e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials," The New York Times reported Thursday.