More than 100 years ago, Golgi staining on nerve cells opened the gates to modern neuroscience. Scientists recently developed the Technicolor version of Golgi staining, Brainbow, allowing more detailed reconstructions of brain circuits.
Credit AFP/Getty Images
With a combination of genetic tricks and fancy proteins, researchers have colorfully labelled hundreds of individual neurons with distinctive hues to create a "Brainbow."
During the State of the Union, President Obama said the nation is about to embark on an ambitious project: to examine the human brain and create a road map to the trillions of connections that make it work.
"Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy — every dollar," the president said. "Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's."
The mostly forgotten explorer Paul du Chaillu introduced the world to gorillas. His methods were attacked and his work discredited during his lifetime, but he also experienced fame and redemption.
Author Monte Reel illuminates the little-known tale of the 19th century explorer in his new book Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure That Took the Victorian World by Storm.
Fifty years ago, the notorious Alcatraz prison shut its gate behind guard Jim Albright as he escorted the last inmate off the island on March 21, 1963.
"As we're going out, I know, when I come back from this trip, I don't have a job, I don't have a home anymore," Albright remembers. "I didn't want the island to close, I didn't want to leave. I liked it there."
About 60 dump trucks full of debris from the fallen World Trade Center will be sifted for victims' remains beginning Monday. The debris was collected for the past two and a half years from construction sites in the neighborhood.
Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 1:34 pm
After nearly five hours of questioning, the satirist known as the "Egyptian Jon Stewart" was released on bail Sunday.
Bassem Youssef is charged with insulting Islam and President Mohammed Morsi. He's among the most prominent critics of Egypt's Islamist president to be called in for questioning recently, prompting concerns that the president is cracking down on his detractors and members of the opposition.
Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 12:36 pm
The FBI, Texas Rangers and local police are investigating the killings of a Texas district attorney and his wife, who were found dead on Saturday. The slayings come two months after an assistant district attorney for the same county was shot dead in a parking lot a block from his office.
From left, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Michael Bennett, D-Colo, arrive at a news conference after their tour of the Mexico border with the United States on Wednesday in Nogales, Ariz. The senators are part of the "Gang of Eight," a larger group of legislators collaborating on changes to immigration.
Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 11:37 pm
A final deal on a changing immigration laws is at hand but still incomplete, according to two of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" senators collaborating on it.
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona discussed a new agreement on a low-skilled worker program as a positive sign of progress, but both said there is more to be done.
Director Cristian Mungiu on the set of his new film, Beyond the Hills. As in his earlier 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, the filmmaker focuses on two young women adrift in the post-Soviet wilderness of Romania.
Credit Sundance Selects
A group of nuns shares a meal in Beyond the Hills. Though the director is hesitant to underline metaphors in his film, contemporary observers won't find it hard to discover what seems like suggestive references to the Romania of dictator Nicolai Ceaucescu.
Cristian Mungiu became the poster boy for the Romanian New Wave when his film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days took the top prize at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2007. Like that film, Mungiu's latest turns an unblinking camera on two troubled young women in a dysfunctional society. Beyond the Hills is now opening in theaters across the U.S.
Like its predecessor, Beyond the Hills was a prizewinner at Cannes: Its two young stars shared the best actress prize last year, and Mungiu won best screenplay.
After celebrating Mass along with more than 250,000 faithful, Pope Francis delivered a plea for peace in his first Easter Sunday message to the world, decrying the seemingly endless conflicts in the Middle East and on the Korean Peninsula.
Credit Alberto Pizzoli / AFP/Getty Images
Argentinian flags waved for the pontiff; Pope Francis is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, the first pope from the Americas.
Credit AFP / AFP/Getty Images
Since the start of his papacy on March 13, Francis has repeatedly put his concern for the poor and suffering at the center of his messages, and the Easter speech he delivered from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica reflected his push for peace and social justice.
Credit AFP / AFP/Getty Images
The sun competed with clouds in the sky, but the square was a riot of floral color in Rome, where chilly winter has postponed the blossoming of many flowers. The pope advised people to let love transform their lives, or as he put it, "let those desert places in our hearts bloom."
Credit Alberto Pizzoli / AFP/Getty Images
Aboard an open-topped popemobile, Francis took a lighthearted spin through the joyous gatherers, kissing babies and patting children on the head.
Credit Vatican Press Office / AFP/Getty Images
Pope Francis wished a "Happy Easter" greeting could reach "every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons." Francis prayed that Christ would help people "change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace."
Credit Gregorio Borgia / AP
After the Mass in St. Peter's Square, Francis shared in the crowd's exuberance.
Credit Dan Kitwood / Getty Images
Before delivering his Easter message, Pope Francis celebrated Easter Mass on the esplanade in front of the basilica.
Credit Alessandra Tarantino / AP
Tens of thousands gathered to hear Pope Francis' blessing.
Credit AFP/Getty Images
Pope Francis celebrates the Easter mass on Sunday at the Vatican.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. The struggle for Syria continued this past week. Since the conflict has now moved beyond the two-year mark, hopes for a political solution have ebbed and flowed with no clear end in sight while tens of thousands of people have died. This week, the violence continued even on the campus of the main University of Damascus when a mortar attack killed at least 10 students at an outdoor cafe.
In Italy, there are no Easter egg hunts, no marshmallow Peeps and definitely no jelly beans.
Instead, there are chocolate eggs — massive, elaborately decorated, beautifully wrapped chocolate Easter eggs that now fill shop windows across the country. The sweet treats are considered Italians' food gift of choice at this time of year. And each one comes with a surprise tucked inside.
"You want something that really gives a big effect," says Rome-based food writer Elizabeth Minchilli.
On-air challenge: You will be given some words. For each one, you provide a four-letter word that can follow the first to complete a familiar two-word phrase. The four letters of the second word can always be found inside the first word. For example, given "personal," the answer would be "loan."
Maya Angelou and her mother, Vivian Baxter. Although it took years, Angelou and her mother eventually developed a close and loving relationship.
Credit Dwight Carter / Random House
Maya Angelou is most famous for her poetry, autobiographies and essays, although her career has also included journalism, acting, dancing, screenplay writing and more. Her latest book is called Mom & Me & Mom.
Maya Angelou has lived a life so expansive and extraordinary that, even after seven autobiographies, she still has more stories to tell. Her latest book, Mom & Me & Mom, explores her relationship with her mother, Vivian Baxter. When Angelou was young, Baxter sent Angelou and her brother away to be raised by their grandmother; years later, she called them back to live with her again, the start of a sometimes fractious but eventually loving relationship.
The NCAA women's basketball tournament's Sweet 16 round continues Sunday, with No. 1 overall seed Baylor taking on No. 5 University of Louisville. Baylor is the defending national champion, and is widely considered the team to beat in this tournament.
Baylor has been one of the most successful women's programs in the nation since head coach Kim Mulkey's first national championship in 2005. The Lady Bears have lost only one game in the past two seasons, and Brooklyn Pope, the lone graduate student on the roster, says they're mentally tougher in 2013.
It is hard to imagine that after three years of acrimony and debate we could still be so confused about President Obama's Affordable Care Act.
Is it actually possible Americans know less about Obamacare now than they did three years ago? Apparently that is the case, and the news comes just as the most sweeping effects of the law are about to kick in.
The uneasy confluence of sports and politics is featured in a new book by The Nation's Dave Zirin, called Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down.
During the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War, athletes routinely made their political views known. In some cases, that isolated them from sports fans. In other cases, their influence led to real change. But in recent decades, those voices fell silent. Some say the siren's call of endorsement deals made them gun-shy about speaking their minds.
If you're just joining us, you're listening to WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Laura Sullivan.
Quick trivia question: Name a global superpower technology company, that is the world's biggest seller of smartphones headed by a charismatic CEO surrounded by a cult of personality. I'm guessing most of you just said Apple, right? You would be wrong. The answer is Samsung.
Same-sex couples in the military will be watching closely now that the U.S. Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Anxiously awaiting a decision are Army lieutenant colonel Heather Mack and her wife, Ashley Broadway, who've been together for 15 years and have two children. They say repealing DOMA would help many enlisted same-sex military couples, who don't receive funds to move non-military spouses from one base to the next.
Music producer Phil Ramone, who worked on albums by Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto, has died at the age of 72. Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Laura Sullivan looks back at some of the huge records that benefitted from his magic touch.
Originally published on Sat March 30, 2013 2:05 pm
Former Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks is jailed in San Bernadino County, Calif., following a high-speed freeway chase with Barstow police and members of the California Highway Patrol. Just hours earlier, Brooks had been kicked out of the lower house of the Nevada State Legislature for making threats and behaving erratically.
Barstow Police Chief Albert Ramirez said the incident began when Brooks summoned a tow truck because of a flat tire, and then had a disagreement with the driver.