Collecting huge amounts of information about all of us and then using supercomputers to sift through, analyze and study it — this is a reality of modern life, and it can be a tremendously powerful thing.
Researchers can use techniques like those to identify genetic markers linked to breast cancer, better understand climate change or figure out how to combat hospital infections.
In the U.S., posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD has become part of our national vocabulary. During the Vietnam War, though, it wasn't yet a medical diagnosis, nor was it accepted as an explanation for erratic behavior. Today, a number of Vietnam veterans filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of the tens of thousands of Vietnam vets they say got kicked out of the military because of problems related to PTSD.
NPR's Quil Lawrence reports their suit aims to get these veterans the benefits they missed out on for decades.
The latest in a series of nasty winter storms socked the nation today. It rolled north through the mid-Atlantic this morning, right up the East Coast bringing freezing rain, heavy snow and plummeting temperatures. More than 2,900 flights were cancelled today and more than 7,100 were delayed. The federal government and many schools and offices also shut down.
NPR's Allison Keyes reports, for many in the nation's capital, spring can't come fast enough.
When most people drive to church on Sunday, it's to sit for an hour-long service on uncomfortable wooden pews. Not at the Daytona Beach Drive In Christian Church in Florida.
As church attendance continues to decline in the United States, some parishes are doing what they can to draw congregants: embracing social media, loosening dress codes and even altering service times for big sporting events. At this church, people park in rows on the grass facing an altar on the balcony of an old drive-in theater. To hear the service, they switch on their radios.
The crisis in Ukraine has prompted the U.S. and Britain to cancel their official delegations to the Paralympic Games for disabled athletes that are set to get underway later this week in Sochi, Russia. The athletes will still participate in sports from wheelchair curling to sled hockey, where the athletes are strapped onto sleds that balance on two skate blades. They use two sticks to propel themselves across the ice and handle the puck. It's really fast and really physical.
To the list of political issues with which we began this mid-term election year, which had the Affordable Care Act and the economy at the top, we can now add Russia's involvement in Ukraine.
But while the domestic issues divide along fairly clear blue and red lines, the political question of what the U.S. should do about Russian President Vladimir Putin's deployment of the Russian military into Ukraine's Crimea is scrambling Washington's normal partisan lines.
A long-running case with great symbolism for the immigration debate in the country has likely come to an end today: The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from a Dallas suburb over its stringent laws against illegal immigrants.
On my third day in Tehran last week, I was detained by Iran's notorious "morals police." This volunteer corps, with a presence in nearly every city and town, polices infractions against Islamic values. These guardians patrol parks, recreation centers, shopping malls and cafes where young people gather.
My introduction to the morality squad began with shouts and threats and ended with fruit juice and a hug from a lady cop in a black chador that covered bleached blond hair and a snug red leather jacket.
College athletes astound us with their power and speed, but they can pay a price years later. Division I players are more likely to be disabled, depressed and in pain in middle age, a study finds. And they may end up worse off because they fail to make the switch from high-level competition to the low-level activity of the rest of us.
For history nerds, it's fascinating to see the word "Crimea" back in the news. The last time this peninsula on the Black Sea dominated world headlines was nearly 160 years ago. (Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin met there at the town of Yalta in 1945, but that wasn't really about the region.)
Long ago, McDonald's chose to honor St. Patrick banishing the snakes from Ireland with its Shamrock Shake, made with real snake. It was known for its subtle flavor and powerful aphrodisiac qualities. While the recipe has changed slightly over the years, the powerful aphrodisiac qualities remain.
Peter: Sucking this up through the straw is pretty hard work just to get something that tastes like toothpaste.
Miles: Shamrocks are good luck, but I think the woman who rang us up took it too far when she said, "You're gonna need it."
When America entered World War II, some of Hollywood's most celebrated directors enlisted and risked their lives. But they weren't fighting — they were filming combat.
Through the 1930s, Hollywood and the federal government held a mutual suspicion of each other. But after Pearl Harbor, the War Department asked Hollywood directors to make short documentaries that could be presented in theaters before the featured films. The ideas was to show Americans what was at stake, give them a glimpse of what our soldiers were going through and stir up patriotic feelings.
In "Reno County Girl," Chuck Mead serenades us with a tale about a young woman with whom his narrator fell in love. It's a loping country song, Mead's version of cowboy music, but as its pretty melody unfurls, you realize that its scenario is bleak: Mead's character urged her to leave home despite the objections of her father, and it turns out Daddy was right — this guy leaves her all by her lonesome much of the time.
The Chinese government has blamed the deadly stabbing attack in southwest China on Muslim separatists from the country's northwest, but it has yet to provide hard evidence for the claim.
Police said they have captured the final three suspects in a knife attack that killed 29 people and left more than a 140 injured in the city of Kunming on Saturday, according to the state-run New China News Service.
Russian troops enter a former Soviet republic claiming they must protect ethnic Russians who have strong ties to the motherland. The U.S. and other Western nations threaten sanctions, but do little. Russia effectively gets its way.
We're talking, of course, about Russia's 2008 decision to send troops into South Ossetia, a breakaway Georgian region with a large Russian population.
Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:14 am
It was a simple slip of the tongue, people say. But when the pope accidentally utters a vulgarity during a public speech, people notice. That's what happened during Sunday's weekly blessing by Pope Francis, sparking a flurry of comments on social media.
Update at 12:45 p.m. ET: "Total Nonsense," Russian Official Reportedly Says:
Any claims that the Russian military has warned Ukraine to surrender in Crimea or face an assault on Tuesday are "total nonsense," a Russian Defense Ministry official says, according to The Voice of Russia.
As we mentioned, "12 Years a Slave" had a major impact at last night's Academy Awards. The film walked away with three awards - best picture, best supporting actress for Lupita Nyong'o and best adapted screenplay for John Ridley. The film was packed with star power, including a small but provocative role for Alfre Woodard as Harriet Shaw, the slave mistress of a nearby plantation owner.
And now we turn to Back Talk. That's where we hear from you about the week's stories. Editor Amita Parashar Kelly is with us for that. Welcome, Amita. And I know that we got a big response to one of our stories last week. So why don't you tell us about that?
PARASHAR KELLY: Yeah. Well, Michel, we got hundreds of tweets, comments and some actual mail about our conversation with evangelical leader Scott Lively. Now he's a pastor who's traveled around Africa and the world preaching against gay rights.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We're headed to South Africa now where many people are focused on the trial of Oscar Pistorius, the famed Olympic athlete and double amputee known as Blade Runner for the striking prosthetics he uses to race.
For much of the nation, March has come in with a leonine roar.
Are these late-season snow shows examples of climate change? "No," says weather historian Jim Fleming of Colby College. "The polar vortex is a natural and variable stratospheric event. One of its anomalies hit Russia and Central Europe in winters past. This year it is our turn."
Drivers will soon be able to control their iPhones by hitting dashboard knobs, tapping a touchscreen or via voice control as part of a system Apple is unveiling to bridge the gap between smartphones and cars.
Called CarPlay, it aims to keep drivers from fumbling with their phones while they're behind the wheel, even as it brings them more options (and potential distractions) in a wider range of apps that drivers can access on the go.