Saturday is World Braille Day, commemorating the birth of Frenchman Louis Braille, who was blinded in an accident when he was a toddler. Undeterred, he became a brilliant student but was frustrated that he couldn't read or write.
In school, he learned about a system of dots used by soldiers to communicate at night. Braille adapted that system into something that would transform the lives of the blind and visually impaired.
At the start of this new year, a number of cities in the United States, including its five largest, have a common story to tell about crime. In 2013, they all saw violent crime rates drop significantly. Some also saw murder rates drop to historic lows. From Chicago, NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.
So the world's most clandestine spy agency is working on something called a quantum computer, The Washington Post tells us. It's based on rules Einstein himself described as "spooky," and it can crack almost any code. That's got to be top-secret stuff, right?
Recently we've heard of some big changes at several news organizations involving some of their most prominent journalists. At the Washington Post, the founder of the popular policy site Wonkblog, Ezra Klein, is weighing a departure. And the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are both scrambling to set up dedicated news teams to replace journalists who have left in pursuit of more money and independence. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik joins us from our studios in New York.
Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 7:38 am
NASA caught our eye earlier today when the space agency tweeted a composite image of the huge winter storm that has covered parts of the Midwest and Eastern U.S. with a deep blanket of snow.
The photos that make up the image were taken Thursday, NASA says, during several passes of its Aqua satellite. The craft used its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer â€” MODIS â€” "to capture this true-color image of a massive winter storm moving up the eastern seaboard," the agency says.
Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:32 pm
Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET
When Congress returns next week, House Republicans will welcome their Democratic colleagues with a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't vote.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has let it be known that the House will vote on legislation ostensibly meant to protect Americans from HealthCare.gov data breaches. Several Republicans have introduced HealthCare.gov-related security bills, so Cantor has plenty of material to work with.
The leftover prescription drugs you have around your house are at the center of a battle between small government and big pharmaceutical companies.
The immediate aim is to have the pharmaceutical companies take care of disposing of extra drugs. But Alameda County in northern California wants to make manufacturers think about the life cycles of their products â€” from their creation to what happens when they're no longer needed.