With President Obama nominating Ernest Moniz to be the nation's next energy secretary, he continued a relatively recent trend of putting scientists atop a part of the federal bureaucracy once overseen by political types.
If confirmed by the Senate, Moniz, an MIT physicist, will follow Nobel laureate Steven Chu, a University of California physicist who served as Obama's first-term energy secretary.
A mashup of innovation and old-school hacking (though none of the participants was bent on doing harm, we're assured), the goal of the competition was to improve the nation's health system and help people navigate the complexities of the Affordable Care Act.
The nation's last coal-burning ferry, the SS Badger, sits on Lake Michigan in the port town of Ludington, Mich. The EPA permit that has long allowed the ship to dump coal ash into the lake is now under review.
Credit Courtesy photo for NPR
Sally Cole, co-owner of Cole's Antiques Villa in Ludington, Mich., displays some of the shop's memorabilia from the SS Badger.
Credit John Flesher / AP
The Badger pulls out of the Ludington harbor for its four-hour journey to Manitowoc, Wis.
Credit Denise Stocker / Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images
On the shores of Lake Michigan, the tiny town of Ludington, Mich., is home port to the last coal-fired ferry in the U.S. The SS Badger has been making trips across the lake to Manitowoc, Wis., during the good-weather months since 1953. And as it runs, the 411-foot ferry discharges coal ash slurry directly into the lake.
An Environmental Protection Agency permit allows the Badger to dump four tons of ash into the lake daily. But now, the agency has put the permit under review — and that means the Badger could stop sailing.
Though the thought of horse meat in British lasagna or Ikea meatballs may be stomach-churning to some people, in some cultures the practice of eating horse meat is not just acceptable, it's a treat. NPR's Peter Kenyon just returned from the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan and checked out the meat market at the Green Bazaar in Almaty.
Islamists from Jabhat al Nusra stage their own protest in the town. Until recently, the group has been reluctant to appear in public.
Protesters in Kafr Nabl have become famous in Syria for their posters criticizing the government. Here they pose for a photo that will instantly be posted on Facebook, in front of a building that was shelled by government forces.
Young boys rush to Kafr Nabl's main square for the weekly Friday protest.
Kafr Nabl is surrounded by rocky hills covered with olive and fig trees. Located in northwest Syria near the Turkish border, it used to be a sleepy town of about 30,000 people. Then it rose up against the government in early 2011. More than a year later, the town was "liberated" by anti-government rebels who forced out soldiers and police who worked for the government.
Audie Cornish has more on three Motown artists who died recently — Bobby Rogers, a founding member of the hit-making Motown group the Miracles; Richard Street, a member of the Temptations; and Damon Harris, who sang with the Temptations on many of their hits.
Two recent tallies of the world's richest people agree on the broad points — but not on which continent has the most billionaires. Here, U.S. dollars are counted, with Chinese yuan notes in the background.
There are more than 1,400 billionaires in the world right now, according to two sources — one in the U.S., and one in China. But the tallies by Forbes and Hurun Report differ on key points, including whether there are now more billionaires in Asia than anywhere else.
For years, Canada has welcomed waves of newcomers from Latin America and the Caribbean. A thriving music scene has grown out of this migration — like the one at Lula Lounge, a nightclub in a working-class neighborhood of Toronto. The club's co-founder, Jose Ortega, cut his teeth in New York's legendary Latin scene. When he came to Toronto, he found the vibe fresher, more open to experimentation. And he found talent. It was just a matter of time before the country produced great Latin bands.