Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with low-key congratulations to Chuck Yeager. In 1947, he broke the sound barrier. On Sunday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports he did it again. At age 89, he climbed in the backseat of an Air Force jet. The plane ripped past the speed of sound 65 years to the minute after Yeager first did it. Afterward, the famously laid back pilot seemed unimpressed. Flying is flying, he said. You can't add a lot to it. You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The numbers coming out of Syria these days are staggering: hundreds of thousands of refugees, tens of thousands dead. The struggle, and the death, is being captured regularly on social media. The documentation not only serves as a bulletin for foreigners, but also as an alert for those with family members who become victims.
When Syrians first started protesting in March of last year, Fadi Zeidan was there. He and his friends thought the Syrian uprising would be fast, like the ones in Tunisia and Egypt.
On a Monday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
Never mind Election Day, we're in the middle of election season. That's definitely true in Iowa, one of the states that allows early voting and a state that is being fiercely contested. Supporters of both President Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, are urging people to beat the last-minute rush.
Here's NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
Two Americans have been awarded this year's Nobel Prize for Economics for work that has to do with matching in business, medicine and marriage. The two, whose work turned out to be a good match, are Alvin Roth of Harvard and Lloyd Shapely of the University of California, Los Angeles. They will share the $1.2 million prize.
You'd think that someone who is a science correspondent and is as allergic to poison ivy as I am would have heard of urushiol, but no. I didn't recognize the word when I saw it a week or so ago. Now, thanks to my new beat (Joe's Big Idea), I'm allowed to dig a little deeper into stories, and what I learned about urushiol is pretty amazing.
Acne, the scourge of many an adolescent life, is getting harder to treat, but 80 percent of teenagers have some form of it.
Conventional treatment includes topical and oral antibiotics. Studies are now finding the bacteria that cause acne are increasingly resistant to antibiotic treatment. Alternatively, there are effective laser treatments. But these are costly and typically not covered by insurance.
It's Monday after another football weekend in America. From the Friday night drama on high school fields to the multibillion-dollar juggernaut NFL, the game seems as popular as ever.
But in fact, amid the cheering, there's concern — a growing anxiety about head injuries in the sport, from the NFL all the way down to the pee-wee leagues. Some say kids shouldn't be playing until their teenage years. High-profile NFL players have gone on record saying they don't want their children playing at all because of the concussion risk.
"I know the whole world is watching now, and I wish the world could see what I see."
Those were the words of Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner as he plummeted toward Earth faster than the speed of sound. He jumped 24 miles from the stratosphere and landed gracefully just more than nine minutes later in a desert in Roswell, N.M., Sunday.
His plunge was record-breaking on three fronts: the highest jump, the longest distance of a free fall and the fastest vertical velocity. Baumgartner's free fall was seconds shorter than the record set by Joe Kittinger in 1960.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 8:09 am
The soaring drone of a full bagpipe and drum corps greeted thousands of people who marched into a Denver arena for the Great American Beer Festival this past weekend. The martial music seemed a fitting way to prepare the crowd to test their palates, and their fortitude, against 2,700 different beers made by some of the best breweries in the United States.
More Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are running for Congress than ever before. A total of 36, including incumbents, launched campaigns this year — more than double the number from a record set just two years ago, according to the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.
Of those, a record 21 contenders — 18 Democrats and three Republicans — claimed victories in their primaries and are now vying to represent districts across the nation.
The universe of great theatrical sports is rather small. There's roller derby and wrestling, but that's about as far as it goes.
But there's a new addition to this little corner of the sports world: women's arm wrestling. Jayme Dyer didn't know what to expect when she signed up for her first event in Durham, N.C., two years ago.
The sport seems to combine all the right ingredients — promising empowering, women-centered bawdiness that raises money for good causes. Not to mention some suggestive outfits.
Fifty years ago, the United States stood on the brink of nuclear war.
On Oct. 16, 1962, the national security adviser handed President John F. Kennedy black-and-white photos of Cuba taken by an American spy plane. Kennedy asked what he was looking at. He was told it was Soviet missile construction.
The sites were close enough — just 90 miles from the U.S. — and the missiles launched from there could reach major American cities in mere minutes.
The Cold War was heating up to a near-boiling point.
In previous elections, candidates from both parties have campaigned on pledges to be environmental presidents. This time, neither candidate is talking much about cleaning up the air or protecting scenic lands.
Instead, the debate has focused on whether and how much environmental regulations hurt businesses, especially the energy industry.
Mostly it's been GOP candidate Mitt Romney criticizing President Obama for what he sees as overzealous environmental regulations that strangle the economic recovery.
He's an 80s teen heartthrob who turned to travel writing — and now soul searching. A few years ago, Andrew McCarthy decided to confront the fears that had followed him his whole life. As he prepared to marry the women he loved, he headed out around the world to find the part inside of himself that just kept saying "no" to everything good in his life.
McCarthy spoke with weekends on All Things Considered guest host Celeste Headlee about his new memoir, The Longest Way Home.
What happens to a young marriage when the one thing that once brought two people together suddenly vanishes? In Smashed, the answer isn't pretty. But neither is the alternative, because in Smashed, the thing that brings the couple together is alcohol.
The couple is played by Aaron Paul of the series Breaking Bad, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The film also stars Nick Offerman of the TV show Parks and Recreation, Megan Mullally, best known from the TV show Will and Grace, and Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer.
Former Sen. Arlen Specter, one of the most influential senators of the last half-century, died Sunday from complications of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was 82.
The five-term senator, a moderate Republican-turned-Democrat, was a key member of the Judiciary Committee and a major player in the confirmation proceedings of 14 Supreme Court nominees. But he was consistently a thorn for leaders of both political parties and their presidents.
Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 12:47 pm
Arlen Specter, the outspoken senator who started off Republican, switched to Democrat and stayed moderate throughout, has died, the AP reports.
The former five-term senator from Pennsylvania announced that he was once again battling cancer in August. He died at his home in Philadelphia on Sunday, according to his son, Shanin, from complications of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
From now until November, President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will emphasize their differences. But the two men's lives actually coincide in a striking number of ways. In this installment of NPR's "Parallel Lives" series, a look at Romney's time at Cranbrook, an all-boys prep school in Michigan.
Cranbrook has been coed since the mid-1980s, its overall diversity is quite evident and the dress code is casual. None of that was true when Mitt Romney, class of 1965, was a student there.
"I grew up wanting to fly," says Graham Bowen-Davies. "I guess I just settled for being an engineer."
He's standing on an indoor track in southern Maryland, watching a giant helicopter take flight. At the end of each of its four spindly arms — arms he helped design and build — a giant rotor churns the air. In the cockpit sits the engine: a 0.7-horsepower, 135-pound graduate student named Kyle Gluesenkamp.
Gluesenkamp is pedaling like crazy to keep the rotors spinning and the craft aloft.
These days, we're more likely to see professional athletes on products than protest lines. But it wasn't always this way. In the 1960s, sports stars were often as famous for what they believed as for their home runs.
Back then, many athletes spoke out about civil rights. Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title and threatened with imprisonment for refusing to fight in Vietnam, on the grounds of racial discrimination.
Gen. John D. Lavelle commanded the Seventh Air Force during the Vietnam War. He served five steps down the chain of command from President Nixon. In his oral history — recorded by an Air Force history officer in 1978 — he explained how, six years earlier, his life changed forever.
It started with a meeting with a Thai general, Dawee Chullasapya, who had charged Lavelle with overseeing an operation to destroy anti-aircraft guns in North Vietnam. It was a mission necessary to keep Thailand in the war.
This is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee, in for Guy Raz.
(SOUNDBITE OF CLOCK TICKING)
HEADLEE: You know what that means. It's time for Three-Minute Fiction, our contest where listeners come up with original stories in under 600 words. The challenge this round was to write a story that revolves around a U.S. president - fictional or real. Our judge, the writer Brad Meltzer, will be deciding the winner in just a few weeks. Until then, here's an excerpt from one standout story.
The race for the Republican nomination of 1860 was one of the great political contests of American history. It was Abraham Lincoln versus Salmon Chase, versus William Seward.
Author Walter Stahr spoke with Weekends All Things Considered host Guy Raz about his new biography, Seward: Lincoln's Indispensable Man. He describes how a man who was Lincoln's fiercest and most critical opponent eventually became his most loyal and trusted adviser.