In the seven months since he was elected, Pope Francis has shaken up the Catholic world and beyond with off-the-cuff homilies, phone calls to ordinary folk and unscripted interviews. His Twitter followers now exceed 10 million. Described by the Vatican as "conversational," the new papal style is drawing praise from large numbers of Catholics and nonbelievers alike.
But it's also making some conservative Catholics deeply uncomfortable.
Runners train in Ngong, Kenya, in 2012. The country has produced the world's best distance runners for decades, and most belong to the Kalenjin people.
Credit Michael Steele / Getty Images
Kenya's Wilson Kipsang set a world marathon record when he won the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 29 in 2 hours, 3 minutes and 23 seconds. He is Kalenjin, a group that has produced many of the world's best distance runners.
Kenyan Wilson Kipsang won this year's Berlin Marathon in 2 hours, 3 minutes and 23 seconds — an average of 4:42 per mile. It was easily the fastest marathon time ever recorded, an incredible feat for another powerful Kenyan runner.
But perhaps equally remarkable was that his fellow Kenyans also came in second, third, fourth and fifth place in this major international race. On the women's side, Kenyans placed first, second and fourth.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 2:14 pm
A German law takes effect today that establishes a third gender option for parents filling out birth certificates for newborn babies. They can choose "indeterminate" if the child shows both male and female characteristics.
The parents will make that choice by leaving the boxes for male and female genders blank. The new law is meant to avoid the need to label an intersex baby as male or female before the child is old enough to decide.
Police officers stand near an unidentified weapon in Terminal 3 of the Los Angeles International Airport on Friday. Officials said a gunman who opened fire in the terminal was wounded in a shootout with police and taken into custody.
A lone gunman walked into one of the nation's busiest airports Friday in Los Angeles and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing at least one transportation security officer and wounding another, police and TSA officials say.
Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 3:02 pm
When Mike Napoli got up to bat in Game 6 of the World Series, my first thought was, "Oh my goodness, that beard is awful." But after the Red Sox's first baseman laid off a few bad pitches, I started liking the hair on his chin.
All that got me thinking about beards.
Sometime during evolution women lost their facial hair. This strong difference between the sexes implies that facial furriness, or the lack thereof, has played a role in how we picked our partners, at least at one point in human history.
Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 9:40 am
This week's news that the Food and Drug Administration found that 12 percent of spices imported to the U.S. are contaminated was a little disheartening.
As the FDA reported, all kinds of nasty stuff hitch a ride with spices into the country — from insects to animal excrement to pathogens. The agency looked closely at pepper and sesame seeds, but says this is an issue with lots of other spices, too.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 12:48 pm
News outlets are all over this story today:
Documents released by a congressional committee reveal just how few people successfully enrolled in health insurance plans on the troubled HealthCare.gov website in early days after its Oct. 1 launch. (That summary is courtesy of our colleagues on the NPR Newscast Desk.)