Standard & Poor's downgraded the sovereign debt of France, Italy, Spain and six other European countries on Friday. The move was highly expected, but it's still a blow to France and sending shock waves across Europe. France is the eurozone's second-largest economy, and its downgrade could even threaten Europe's master plan to stop its debt crisis.
We're used to thinking of "obesity" in physical terms — unhealthful weight that clogs our arteries and strains our hearts. But there's also an obesity of information that clogs our eyes and our minds and our inboxes: unhealthful information deep-fried in our own preconceptions.
Originally published on Sat January 14, 2012 3:33 pm
There are two stories about space junk today: First, the AP reports that the International Space Station had to fire its engines to move out of the way of some space junk.
"NASA officials said debris from an old U.S. private communication satellite would have come within three miles of the orbiting outpost on Friday had the station not changed its orbit," the AP reports.
Ten years after the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, there's still some debate about Mitt Romney's claim that he helped "save" the games — and about whether he used the Olympics to relaunch a fledgling political career.
In 1999, Romney accepted the job as CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC), five years after he failed to oust Sen. Ted Kennedy from his Massachusetts Senate seat.
Four years ago, Texas Rep. Ron Paul finished fifth in the New Hampshire presidential primary with just under 8 percent of the vote.
On Tuesday, he got nearly 23 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary, finishing second to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the Republican contest. That came a week after Paul's third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.
One year without another case is an impressive milestone in the decades-long effort to wipe the poliovirus from the face of the planet. Only a few years ago, India reported more polio cases than anywhere else — as many as 100,000 cases a year.
When you open a tub of yogurt, do you pour off that cloudy layer of liquid that collects on the top? If so, you're not just wasting nutritious protein and lactose – you're tossing out what some scientists see as a valuable raw material.
Strange though it might seem, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering in Germany announced this week that they're turning whey into plastic-like films.
I can't imagine a more stimulating conversation opener than "God is dead." Indeed, this quote by Friedrich Nietzsche sparked heated debate in his time, as it still does today. But how many of us know the writings of this 19th-century philosopher?
Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 2:48 pm
Bob Jones University used to be a "station of the cross for aspiring presidential candidates," NPR's Ari Shapiro reports on Friday's All Things Considered. Candidates like Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and Pat Buchanan all spoke at the school, a "bastion of the most conservative brand of evangelical Christianity," Shapiro says.
Family heirlooms take all shapes: a pocket watch, a painting. For Robin MacArthur and her husband Tyler Gibbons, who form the folk duo Red Heart the Ticker, the family inheritance consists of an old house and lots of songs — both gifts from MacArthur's late grandmother, Margaret.
Making a point about government spending, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky presented taxpayers from his state with a symbolic $500,000 "oversized check." Paul, who is the son of presidential candidate Ron Paul, said his office had saved more than 16 percent of its allotted operating budget last year, so he was giving it back to the Treasury.
In many ways, the Detroit Auto Show has become a kind of consumer electronics show for cars, where you're just as likely to see the rollout of a new app or entertainment system as the introduction of next year's models.
"The growth in mechanical changes [has] now become incremental, whereas the growth in the consumer electronics industry seems to be taking place at a rate that is almost unprecedented," says Thomas Tetzlaff, a spokesman for Volkswagen Canada.
The power of the pardon can redress an overly harsh sentence or a wrongful conviction. It can also prove to be a political landmine.
Exhibit A: Outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's sweeping 11th-hour orders granting clemency to more than 200 people, ranging from convicted murderers to the brother of NFL great Brett Favre, who had his record cleared in connection with a 1997 conviction on manslaughter charges.
Russia's largest anti-government demonstrations since the Soviet breakup of 1991 are being organized and driven by a force that didn't exist two decades ago — social media.
In recent years, protests have been relatively rare, and Russians who got their news from state-run television essentially saw one narrative — one that relentlessly extolled the virtues of the country's leaders, particularly Vladimir Putin.
Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 1:35 pm
Barely a day has gone by without Newt Gingrich complaining about the inaccuracy of ads run against him by a superPAC supporting Mitt Romney.
So now that an anti-Mitt Romney film purchased by a superPAC supporting Gingrich has been criticized for numerous inaccuracies, Gingrich has asked that the film's creators and the funders paying for ads using film snippets edit out the falsehoods or take the ads and film down entirely.
Apple has halted store sales of its iPhone 4S in China after fights erupted outside its flagship outlet in Beijing.
As NPR's Frank Langfitt reports, scalpers and angry would-be customers marked the phone's Chinese launch.
FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: At the Apple store in Beijing's Sanlitun shopping district, scalpers scuffled overnight causing the store to keep its door shut. Some in the crowd responded by hurling eggs at the windows.
A cardiologist says former Democratic presidential candidate and senator John Edwards has a life-threatening condition that will require surgery next month, a judge in Greensboro, N.C., announced today.
Standard & Poor's downgraded France's sovereign debt rating to AA+.
The AP says France's finance minister announced the downgrade, which could affect the European Union's bailout fund. France and Germany have been the Eurozone's pillars and their good credit has supported the rescues of countries like Ireland and Greece.
Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 12:16 pm
The Washington Postjust put out the word that it had an "exclusive interview with Joe Paterno, his first extensive comments on the Penn State scandal and its fallout," and expects to post a report about what he had to say on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.
Bombay Bicycle Club isn't from India, nor will any of its members roll through the U.S. on bicycles during their upcoming tour. But the four British indie rockers are bringing a new sound to the States — albeit one with echoes of The Stone Roses, Radiohead and other British rock acts of the past 20 years.
Jim Brown, Dennis Rodman and O.J. Simpson are all former professional athletes who've tried their hand at acting. Showbiz might seem like a natural path for guys with big egos and million-watt personalities, but Eddie George is a former NFL player who's taken a different path to the limelight.
He's joining a fraternity of actors that includes Charlton Heston in playing William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.
The scene where Marcus Brutus kills Caesar is probably the most famous death scene in all of theater. It's where those famous words, "Et tu, Brute?" are uttered.
In Texas today, conservative Christian and evangelical leaders begin two days of meetings to discuss political strategy, and perhaps to coalesce around a Republican presidential candidate other than front-runner Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.