You can literally see rockets when you drive into Huntsville, Ala., also known as the "Rocket City." NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is here, along with scores of aerospace and defense contractors. The city also has one of the largest fully digital school districts: 24,000 Huntsville City Schools students use laptops or tablets instead of textbooks.
All of this partly explains the new cybersecurity class at Grissom High School. Huntsville City Schools and U.S. Army Cyber Command are developing the curriculum, which will eventually begin in middle school.
Jamesport has the largest Amish community in Missouri, and horse-pulled buggies are often parked alongside cars. Horse owners in the state are divided over whether to allow horses to be killed for meat in the U.S.
Credit Frank Morris for NPR
Dave Rains owns a would-be horse processing plant near Jamesport, Mo., but a lawsuit has prevented him from getting his business running.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell (center) gets a tour of King Cove, Alaska.
Credit Annie Feidt / Alaska Public Radio Network
Bonita Babcock (right) looks on as a physician assistant at the clinic in King Cove, Alaska, explains to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell how a road from King Cove to Cold Bay would improve health care.
The town of King Cove, Alaska, is crowded onto a narrow spit, surrounded by ocean and isolated by rows of volcanic mountains.
It's an Aleut Native community of about a thousand people, and for roughly a third of the year, treacherous winds close its airstrip. There's no road between King Cove and Cold Bay, the nearest town with year-round air facilities. When the weather turns bad, the only way out of King Cove is a two-hour boat trip through choppy seas.
National Guardsman Andrew Sullens (left) climbs Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, Calif., with Pat Warren, lead climber from Paradox Sports. Sullens, who lost his leg below the knee while serving in Kapisa province, Afghanistan, participated in the three-day climb with other veterans to honor the anniversary of September 11th.
Credit David P. Gilkey / NPR
National Guardsman Andrew Sullens (left) climbs Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, Calif., with Pat Warren, lead climber from Paradox Sports. Sullens, who lost his leg below the knee while serving in Kapisa province, Afghanistan, participated in the three day climb with other veterans to honor the anniversary of September 11th.
Fifteen Iraq and Afghanistan vets, many of them disabled, climbed Half Dome and El Capitan in Yosemite National Park on Sept. 11. The climb is the culmination of a three-day hike, which for many of the vets has had the therapeutic effect of reproducing a combat patrol — just without the bombs or bullets.
Twelve years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the loved ones of victims are still getting calls from the New York City Medical Examiner's Office about newly identified remains.
Sandra Grazioso from Clifton, N.J., said her family got one of those calls last week. She lost both of her sons in the terrorist attack — Tim, 42, and John, 41. Two more body parts belonging to Tim had been identified.
"An upper arm and shoulder and a tooth," Grazioso says. "A molar."
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The AFL-CIO wraps up its annual convention today in Los Angeles. The meeting comes as unions struggle with lots of challenges: falling membership, declining wages and hostile state legislatures. To boosts its ranks, the labor movement is now looking in some unlikely places, as NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.
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This week's diplomacy over Syria was widely described as improvisational. John Kerry made a comment that his own aides were at pains to describe as rhetorical. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pounced on it opportunistically. Well, today there's some revisionist reporting on that score, reporting that Kerry and Lavrov were actually building on a year's worth of U.S.-Russia conversations.
A screen grab of Elizabeth O'Bagy's appearance on Fox News on Sept. 5. She has been on many news programs in recent days commenting on the Syrian war. She was fired on Wednesday for falsely claiming to have a Ph.D., according to her employer, the Institute for the Study of War.
Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 2:06 pm
If you're following the Syrian debate, there's a good chance you've come across Elizabeth O'Bagy, an analyst on the Syrian war, who went from obscure think tank analyst to media darling to unemployed in roughly a week.
Here's how she did it.
O'Bagy, 26, was a senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington. Her specialty, the Syrian rebels, received only periodic flickers of attention.
Then came the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria, followed by President Obama's declared intent to carry out a military strike in Syria.
The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, connecting Oakland and San Francisco, opened earlier this month. But it's the western span that's now causing controversy.
The California Senate is expected to vote this week to approve a resolution naming the span after Willie Brown, a former San Francisco mayor and state Assembly speaker. The idea sailed through the state Legislature last month, winning approval on a 68-0 vote.
Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 1:41 pm
In August, we asked folks to share stories from moments when they've been the odd person out, the only one of their kind. We wanted to hear the uproariously funny and poignant stories that stuck in people's memories. And many of the memories that were shared came from the classroom. Below, you'll find some of our favorites — enjoy.
Writer, hip-hop artist and filmmaker MK Asante's new memoir is called Buck. It's about growing up in North Philadelphia in the 1990s. Asante describes his adolescence as, "Me, unsupervised, with my brother gone, my dad gone, my mom gone, and me just on the block in the neighborhood, roaming the streets of Philly - just lost."
Buck captures Asante's transformation from a drug dealer and delinquent to a poet and professor.
The country will pause Wednesday morning to remember the victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. At the site of the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan, the names of all the victims will be read, along with the victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
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President Obama's push for a military strike on Syria is on hold, at least for now. The administration is exploring a possible diplomatic alternative that calls for Syria to surrender its stockpile of chemical weapons. That could provide a face-saving out for the president, who appeared unlikely to win Congressional approval this week for a strike.
Lauren Henderson goes everywhere with her service dog Phoebe — to the grocery store, Disneyland, the beach. For Henderson, who used to be paralyzed, her 100 pound, lumbering Saint Bernard is a necessity.
An actor who lives in Malibu, Calif., Henderson uses her dog for stability and balance. And if she falls, Phoebe helps pull her back on her feet.
"She's basically like a living walker," Henderson says.
Long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad swims toward shore in Key West, Fla., on Sept. 2, the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the help of a shark cage. She arrived at the beach about 53 hours after beginning her swim in Havana.
For sportswriters the fattest target has always been the America's Cup. It's too easy. It's like all those political writers who make fun of vice presidents and think they're being original. Sportswriters have been going har-de-har-har about the America's Cup even long before one of their wags said it was like watching paint dry. Or like watching grass grow. One or the other. Maybe both.
A debate is taking place in Iowa over the ability of people who are legally or completely blind to carry guns in public. The issue stems from a 2011 change in the state's gun permit rules, allowing visually impaired people to carry firearms in public.
On Tuesday in Washington, D.C., the four girls killed in the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Ala., posthumously received the Congressional Gold Medal. The recognition comes after a year of civil rights ceremonies across the South. The events have drawn renewed attention to how the civil rights movement should be taught to a younger generation.
Adult film production in California is now suspended after a number of performers tested positive for HIV. Four cases have been reported in the past few months, including one on Monday.
If ever there was an "I told you so moment" for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, it's now. The organization has been campaigning for condoms to be mandatory during porn shoots. Last year, it sponsored a measure in Los Angeles County to that effect, which voters approved.
Finally this hour, NASCAR nastiness. This past Saturday, one team appeared to pull out all the stops to rig a big race. One driver spun out his car, and another took an unnecessary pit stop. Both moves helped advance their teammate to the playoffs. NASCAR fined their team - Michael Waltrip Racing - $300,000, and suspended their general manager indefinitely.
Now, this is the biggest fine in NASCAR history, according to Nate Ryan. He's a senior motorsports reporter for USA Today Sports. He joins us from Charlotte, N.C. Hey there, Nate.
In the 1930s, the Dust Bowl ravaged crops and helped plunge the U.S. into an environmental and economic depression. Farmland in parts of Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas disappeared.
After the howling winds passed and the dust settled, federal foresters planted 100 million trees across the Great Plains, forming a giant windbreak — known as a shelterbelt — that stretched from Texas to Canada.
Now, those trees are dying from drought, leaving some to worry whether another Dust Bowl might swirl up again.
Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 7:38 pm
The poet Langston Hughes liked to wryly describe the Harlem Renaissance — the years from just after World War I until the Depression when black literature and art flourished, fed by an awakening racial pride — as "the period when the Negro was in vogue." Note the past tense. Two new books published Tuesday explore the blossoming of black cultural life in two different decades.
Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 7:39 am
Should you want to super-size your meal (and boost your social status in the process), plenty of American restaurant chains would be more than happy to have you dine with them. Olive Garden, for one, is currently in the middle of a "Never Ending Pasta Bowl" promotion. According to the chain's Twitter feed, it has served more than 5.3 million bowls of "unlimited" pasta with soup and salad for $9.99 since Aug. 5.