Something peculiar is happening to rivers and streams in large parts of the United States — the water's chemistry is changing. Scientists have found dozens of waterways that are becoming more alkaline. Alkaline is the opposite of acidic — think baking soda or Rolaids.
Research published in the current issue of Environmental Science and Technology shows this trend to be surprisingly widespread, with possibly harmful consequences.
What's especially odd about the finding is its cause: It seems that acid rain actually has been causing waterways to grow more alkaline.
To mark the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, Jews fast from sundown to sundown. But before the sun sets, friends and family gather to enjoy one final meal. And for the Jews of Eastern Europe, that meal traditionally includes kreplach.
Thomas Weller would have died in a snow bank in 1964 had a stranger not helped him. Weller, 65, has been helping strangers in the same way ever since.
"I've been called the Lone Ranger. And I've been called an angel more times than I can count," he says. "But, I'm no angel! When you help somebody else, you help yourself. And, it's ... real gratifying."
Click on the audio link above to hear Weller's story.
Audio produced for Morning Edition by Jasmyn Belcher.
Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 8:13 am
For a while in Jamie Meltzer's mesmerizing documentary Informant, I wondered whether subject Brandon Darby, the lefty activist turned FBI informer, was being played by an actor.
But no: It's Darby, and he's a handsome fellow, with haunted eyes blazing out of a bone structure to die for, and with a Montgomery Clift dimple in his chin. Staring straight into the camera, he testifies with the intense calm of a messiah or a madman, which all too often comes to the same thing. Among other things, this powerfully confused man is a study in American extremity.
This artist's illustration shows the Voyager 1 space probe. The spacecraft was launched on Sept. 5, 1977, and as of August 2012, it is outside the bubble of hot gas, known as the "heliopause," that radiates from the sun.
NASA's two Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977, have made history in a dramatic fashion by exploring the outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Now one of the vehicles, Voyager I, has made another pioneering leap. It is the first spacecraft to leave the vast bubble of hot gas that surrounds our solar system.
At long last, Voyager 1 is now in interstellar space.
Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 5:09 pm
Leaders who respect each other and have a good relationship don't mock each other.
Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin do not have a good relationship.
Just as Russia and the U.S. are attempting to work out a delicate deal to rid Syria of chemical weapons, the Russian president published an op-ed in The New York Times thumbing his nose at President Obama.
Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 5:04 pm
At least two waterspouts were seen over Lake Michigan on Thursday, near the Wisconsin border, amid strong winds and a marine warning issued by the National Weather Service.
The Associated Press says the waterspouts — tornadoes that form over the water — merged into one and then split again. The video below, taken by an amateur in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., appears to be a single, merged, waterspout:
Johanna Terron, 14, has lost over 20 pounds over the past year. She receives a prescription for fruits and vegetables from her pediatrician at Lincoln Hospital.
Credit Allison Aubrey / NPR
Ron Samascott with his local apples at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York. The city is teaming up with Wholesome Wave, hospitals and farm markets to pilot a fruit and vegetable prescription program.
Evidently it was quite fortuitous. Just a couple of days after MTV's Video Music Awards, Oxford Dictionaries Online released its quarterly list of the new words it was adding. To the delight of the media, there was "twerk" at the top, which gave them still another occasion to link a story to Miley Cyrus' energetic high jinks.
Members of the disco group Lipps, Inc., including Steven Greenberg (far left), pose for a portrait in 1978. Greenberg, who wrote the group's hit "Funkytown," is seeking to reclaim the song's full copyright from Universal Music Group.
The Iowa-born, Zimbabwe-bred actress Danai Gurira (<em>The Walking Dead</em>) stars as half of a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn and coping with culture clash in <em>Mother of George.</em>
Credit Oscilloscope Laboratories
Traditional Yoruba mores and American expectations are just the beginning of the hurdles that Gurira's Adenike and Isaach de Bankole's Ayodele must negotiate; the question of a child will enter the equation as well.
Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:51 pm
From the start, Mother of George looks at its two protagonists, Adenike (Danai Gurira) and Ayodele (Isaach de Bankole), across distinct gender lines. The film opens at their traditional Yoruba wedding with two contrasted, tightly framed, straight-on shots of the groom and bride's parties.
Later, after the ceremonies, the differences between the two groups become more defined: We watch the women give Adenike child-rearing advice, while the men talk about how best to hide their infidelities.
Women's tennis champion Billie Jean King is best remembered for her 1973 exhibition match, known as "The Battle of the Sexes," with self-proclaimed male chauvinist Bobby Riggs. But King also had a remarkable career, both as a tennis player and as a trailblazer for women: She won a record 20 Wimbledon titles, six of them for singles, and she led an uprising of underpaid female players to demand fairer treatment and compensation in professional tennis.
In Wonder, R.J. Palacio tells the story of Auggie, a tough, sweet, 10-year-old boy, who was born with distorted facial features — a "craniofacial difference" caused by an anomaly in his DNA.
Palacio tells NPR's Michele Norris that the book was inspired by a real-life encounter with her own kids six years ago. They were at an ice cream store and sat next to a little girl with a severe facial deformity. Palacio's 3-year-old son cried in fear, so the author grabbed her kids and fled. She was trying to protect the girl but also avoid her own discomfort.
For Tunisia's ruling Islamist party, Ennahda, what happened this summer in Egypt is a cautionary tale and a constant reminder of the risks it faces as it navigates through its own political crisis.
In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood easily dominated all post-revolutionary elections, only to be ousted by the military in July. Brotherhood supporters now carry yellow placards, a reminder of the military crackdown, and that same placard now hangs on Ennahda's headquarters in the Tunisian capital, Tunis.
Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:56 pm
Thirty-five years after the assassination of Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov by a ricin-tipped umbrella as he waited for a bus in London, no one knows for sure who was responsible. And now it's quite possible that no one ever will.
Concepcion Picciotto, also known as Conchita or Connie, is seen at her daily protest in front of the White House on March 5, 2010 in Washington, DC. Picciotto has lived in the small camp on Lafayette Square directly opposite the presidential mansion since August 1, 1981 in protest of nuclear arms.
Syrian refugees wait in Beirut before a flight to Germany on Wednesday. More than 100 Syrians were on the flight, the first mass relocation program for Syrian refugees. Germany has agreed to take in 5,000 of them.
Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 3:21 pm
As a Syrian Christian man rolled the family luggage through Beirut's international airport, he practiced his German: "Thank you, danke, dankeschon."
The man, who asked not to be named, is part of a group of Syrian refugees offered temporary resettlement by Germany for two years. The contingent, which flew out Wednesday, included 70 adults and 37 children and infants.
Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 3:31 pm
Stop us if you've heard this one: A spacecraft flies out of the solar system ...
Yes, the planetary probe Voyager 1, launched in the era of Jimmy Carter and bell-bottoms, has finally left the room, so to speak, years after completing its primary mission: a "grand tour" of the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn (twin Voyager 2 also visited Uranus and Neptune).
And years after we first started talking about its departure.
While researching his buoyant, impassioned (and thoroughly subtitled) new book about education, I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Movie Maker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America's Education Gap,M. Night Shyamalan suddenly found himself at the head of an inner-city school English classroom. And he was terrified. "Time stopped," he writes, "similar to when you are on a plane with turbulence that's supposed to last thirty seconds, but it feels like much, much longer."