Remembrances
3:43 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Cultural Historian Jacques Barzun Dies At 104

Pioneering cultural historian Jacques Barzun was the author of dozens of books and essays on everything from philosophy to music to baseball. He died Thursday in San Antonio at the age of 104.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 4:57 pm

Jacques Barzun, one of the most influential historians, educators and thinkers of the 20th century, died Thursday, just one month shy of his 105th birthday. Barzun seemed to have a limitless capacity to understand and translate complex ideas — about the evolution of Western culture, what it means to be free, and even the value of American baseball. He shared his observations in numerous books and magazine articles and at Columbia University, where he held forth for half a century.

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National Security
3:43 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

As Jihadists Spread, Connecting The Dots Proves Hard

The Ansar Dine group in northeastern Mali is among the Islamist factions proliferating in North Africa and the Middle East. Officials have focused on possible links between these groups and al-Qaida, but counterterrorism experts say understanding the differences is just as important.
Adama Diarra Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 4:57 pm

More than a year after popular protests rocked the Arab world, U.S. intelligence officials are struggling to understand the myriad of Islamist groups that have filled the vacuum.

Those groups run the gamut from moderate believers who are willing to give the political process a try to violent extremists. The difficulty is figuring out which is which.

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Around the Nation
3:37 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Computers, Pinch Of Art Aid Hurricane Forecasters

These are some of the "spaghetti map" models used to generate a forecast for Hurricane Sandy's track. The models have grown increasingly sophisticated over the years.
PCWeather Products Inc.

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:07 pm

If you've ever found yourself anxiously wondering where a hurricane might make landfall, then you're probably familiar with "spaghetti charts" — the intertwined web of possible storm tracks put out by many forecasters.

Those lines represent hundreds of millions of observations from satellites, aircraft, balloons and buoys, all crunched from complex forecasting equations on some of the world's most powerful computers.

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It's All Politics
3:23 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Why The Economy Won't Help Obama — Or Romney

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 3:37 pm

The U.S. economy remains in a gray area, so it's no wonder that the presidential race is essentially tied.

Gross domestic product grew at a 2 percent annual rate between June and September, according to figures out Friday. The White House says this means the economy has been growing for 13 straight quarters.

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It's All Politics
3:20 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Economists: Romney's 12 Million Jobs Target Realistic, Even If He Loses

Alan Shull attends a job fair in Portland, Ore., on April 24.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 4:57 pm

As the election draws closer, the economy and jobs remain top issues in the presidential race.

President Obama points to the improvement in the labor market since he took office in the midst of a downward spiral.

Both he and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have five-point plans for improving the economy, although their strategies differ.

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The Two-Way
2:54 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Family Of China's Premier Is Really, Really Rich - China Doesn't Want People To Know

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 4:57 pm

An explosive report from the New York Times today spelled out just how wealthy the relatives of Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao are. Try $2.7 billion dollars in assets. This startling news so angered Chinese officials that the Times' website was quickly shut down in China.

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'It's All Politics': NPR's Weekly News Roundup
2:54 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

It's All Politics, Oct. 25, 2012

Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Now comes the debate over the debates. No matter who "won" or "lost," it's clear that there has been momentum building toward Mitt Romney since he first debated President Obama early this month in Denver. Plus, a look at the competitive Senate races. And the comment by Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock about rape, pregnancy and God has put a GOP Senate seat in jeopardy.

Join NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin for this week's political roundup.

The Two-Way
1:34 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Zapping Nuclear Waste With Laser Beams Could Actually Be A Great Idea

This laser's just pretty, not powerful: Artist Yvette Mattern's laser rainbow in Whitley Bay, England, earlier this year.
Bethany Clarke Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 3:01 pm

"World's Most Powerful Laser Beams To Zap Nuclear Waste."

That Bloomberg Businessweek headline got our attention. We were imagining the explosion that might result.

But as it turns out, the zapping "could destroy nuclear waste and provide new cancer treatments," according to the story.

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The Salt
1:06 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Lasagna Cupcakes, Anyone? Science Says We Can't Get Enough Mini Stuff

Five savory cupcakes: Chicken potpie, lasagna, grilled cheese, mac n' cheese and the Thanksgiving leftovers.
Courtesy of @LisaSKim

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 2:04 pm

A few weeks ago, my friend came back from Brooklyn raving about the food served at a baby shower.

"Savory cupcakes!" she exclaimed. Lasagna, grilled cheese, chicken potpies and even a mac n' cheese cupcake — all shaped like the trendy dessert and served on a cupcake tree.

Despite all the enthusiasm, my first response was quite cynical. Isn't that just baked macaroni and cheese in a muffin tin?

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Digital Life
12:05 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

In Twitter We Trust: Can Social Media Sway Voters?

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. There it was in big, bold type on the Fox News website, how Twitter may have tipped the election for Romney. A column written by Juan Williams, who points out that Twitter reported there were, quote, a whopping 10.3 million tweets during the first debate, unquote.

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