On furlough from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center this summer, 21-year-old Nick Staback lounges on his parents' back porch in Scranton, Pa., taking potshots at sparrows with a replica sniper rifle. The long plastic gun fires pellets that mostly just scare the birds away.
It's been a tough year for Staback since his last foot patrol in Afghanistan.
"We [were] just channeling down a beaten trail, of course, you just don't know what's on it," he says. "We had the mine sweepers out front and everything like that."
While sitting on a couch and gazing at a 50-inch TV remains a popular pastime in America, smaller screens have also edged their way into our lives. Phones, tablets and video game devices crowd pockets and coffee tables, offering access to what used to be called "TV," at any time of the day.
Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 11:34 am
Despite its status as a device that defines the modern age, the television has its roots in the 19th century, when scientists found ways to transmit images and sound. Even the word "television," combining Greek and Latin roots to mean "far-sight," stems from the 1900 world's fair.
The news out of Syria these days is a barrage of images: destroyed buildings, gruesome casualties, weeping mothers. It's both disturbing and inspiring to a thriving movement of Syrian songwriters, rappers, poets, writers, graffiti artists and actors trying to cope with what's happening around them.
NPR's Kelly McEvers recently attended a performance by Syrian artists in Beirut and sent this report.
It's largely forgotten now — but there was a time when the mere mention of Brooklyn would produce a cascade of laughs. It was like saying "woman driver" — surefire guffaws. Everybody from Brooklyn was supposed to be a character.
Every platoon in every war movie had one wise guy from Brooklyn in it. Brooklyn natives spoke funny. They said, most famously, "youse guys." At a time when African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics barely existed — visibly — in movies or on radio or television, Brooklyn was the all-purpose stand-in for our great American ethnic diversity.
Apple has unveiled a smaller, cheaper version of its popular iPad tablet. NPR's Laura Sydell attended the event Tuesday in San Jose, Calif., and got a hands-on look at the new iPad mini. Below are her first impressions.