The cost to build a Toyota Prius hasn't changed much in the past five years — if you measure the cost in Japanese yen. But if you measure the cost in dollars, it's a different story. In 2007, it cost Toyota about $16,000 to build a Prius. Now, it's more like $24,000.
That's because the value of the yen has risen relative to the dollar. In 2007, $1 bought 124 yen; today, $1 buys just 79 yen.
Now that Roger Clemens has been found not guilty of lying to Congress and obstructing its investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs by Major League Baseball players, the debate resumes about whether one of baseball's greatest pitchers should or shouldn't get into the sport's hall of fame.
At the zoo in North Carolina C'sar the elephant seemed sad. He was lethargic and losing weight. Vets thought it was his poor eyesight. Cataract surgery helped but now he's far sighted. So his caretakers ordered contact lenses — they'll be a bit smaller than tennis balls.
Today's developments in Europe's financial crisis focus mainly on Spain:
-- The Wall Street Journal writes that "Spain, on the edge of losing debt market access, paid around 2 percentage points more in interest rates Tuesday than a month ago to lure investors to its Treasury bill sale, an ominous sign ahead of a critical government bond auction Thursday."
Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 10:16 am
If Isabella Robinson had a Facebook account in 1858, her relationship status would be "It's complicated." Unhappily married to civil engineer Henry Robinson — a most "uncongenial partner" — Isabella set her lonely sights on the dashing and very much attached hydropath Dr. Edward Lane. In a perfect world, Isabella and Edward's respective spouses would die quick and painless deaths, freeing the paramours to be joined in holy, socially sanctioned matrimony. But Victorian England was not a perfect world.
Science fiction is a genre of contradictions. It's an entertaining escape from the dreary everyday, but it also invites you to rethink your everyday life. It can be cheesy but profound, fantastic but sharply political. And like all literature, it's rarely about what it seems to be on the surface. That's why the best sci-fi writers manage to turn space battles into philosophical debates, and zombie hordes into political satire.
Later this week in Egypt, the official results of the presidential election will be announced. Steve Inskeep talks to Egyptian journalist and commentator Issandr El Amrani about why there haven't been mass protests over the military council's power grab during the election.