Today marks an important anniversary. On October 7, 1952, 60 years ago, the patent for the bar code was filed. For younger listeners, it's perhaps hard to imagine that there was actually a time when everything you bought wasn't scanable. Today, of course, those vertical zebra stripes are ubiquitous, on everything - from air fresheners to zombie survival kits.
According to the BBC, the very first item ever scanned by its barcode was a pack of chewing gum in an Ohio supermarket in 1974.
When a California company developed a product to be used in spinal fusion surgeries, the firm's president said he knew it faced a new "ethical dilemma," even noting a recent NPR news investigation questioning the high profits some firms were making from donated human tissue.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Prosecutors are calling it a milestone for the U.S. justice system. A radical Islamic cleric and four other of America's most wanted terrorism suspects have finally appeared in courts in New York and Connecticut. Authorities had fought for years to extradite the men from the United Kingdom. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.
MARTIN: Pinball machines are as popular as ever in a small mountain town in Colorado, giving a new generation a taste of the past. NPR's Ahmad Shafi has the story.
(SOUNDBITE OF PINBALL MACHINE)
AHMAD SHAFI, BYLINE: Lyons, Colorado sits in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, about 20 miles north of Boulder. It's known for its annual music festivals and art scene. But in downtown Lyons, there's a business that doesn't fit that mold.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Simpson, Bowles - the names flew by eight times, without explanation, during Wednesday's presidential debate. Google reported that Simpson-Bowles was among the most searched-for terms online that night. The reference was to Republican elder statesman Alan Simpson and his Democratic counterpart, Erskine Bowles. The two headed a 2010 commission on the national debt.
Before Twitter, radio, even electricity - in fact, going all the way back to pre-historic times, people gathered around fires to listen to stories. Even though the glow of computers has replaced the warmth of the campfire for most of us, some folks still hold fast to the tradition of oral storytelling.
As Missy Shelton reports, nearly 10,000 people have gathered this weekend for the National Storytelling Festival in northeast Tennessee to hear professional tellers weave some good yarns.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
The latest national polls show the presidential race tightening in some of the all-important battleground states, with Republican Mitt Romney gaining on President Barack Obama's lead. We've been talking with political reporters in these swing states and this morning, we focus on New Hampshire. President Obama won the state back in 2008 with 54 percent of the vote to John McCain's 45 percent. The state's four electoral votes could be crucial this year.