A few hundred years ago Venus passing in transit across the face of the sun was a big scientific deal. In 1769, for example, astronomers around the planet coordinated their observations of a transit and used it to accurately measure the distance from Earth to the sun. Back in the day, that was the equivalent of a mission to Mars . But now we can nail Earth-sun distance with a precision of meters.
Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 1:27 pm
This edition of NPR In the News features some recent appearances of NPR journalists in the pages of popular magazines. Be sure and click through to the sites to find out more about the daring road trip Steve Inskeep is taking this summer and what tips Nina Totenberg and Audie Cornish have for young professionals:
Early synthesizers were supposed to imitate or re-create other existing sounds, but as anyone can tell you, they mostly sounded like synthesizers. That distinctive whine and wheeze captivated all manner of pop artists, from prog-rockers to classical composers to soul musicians. However, back then, synthesizers were so expensive and bulky, you needed a major-label budget and an entire studio wall to install them.
Abel Maldonado, a former California state senator and current congressional candidate, pushed for the change to the top-two primary system. He says he thinks the system will lead to "more open-minded and more reasonable" officials.
When voters go to the polls in California's primary on Tuesday, instead of only being able to vote for candidates in their own party, they will be able to vote for anyone they please.
Tuesday will be the first statewide test of California's new open primary system, where the top two candidates move on to the general election, regardless of party. Backers hope this system will favor moderates.
In California, there aren't very many purple areas. The state has strongly Democratic regions and strongly Republican regions — and the Democrats dominate.
Mitt and Ann Romney sit behind Michael Leavitt and his wife Jacqueline at the February 2008 funeral of Gordon B. Hinckley, leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Romney reportedly has chosen Leavitt to lead his transition team.
With many conservatives already suspecting that he is a conservative of convenience, Mitt Romney apparently hasn't done himself any favors in their eyes with the man he chose to lead his presidential transition.
Politico broke the story Sunday that Romney has chosen Michael Leavitt to oversee the creation of an executive branch in waiting.
A weird coincidence has led the Chinese government to block certain Internet searches for "Shanghai Composite Index," the country's big stock exchange.
Twenty-three years ago today — June 4, 1989 — the Chinese government began its violent crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square. The Shanghai Stock Exchange fell by 64.89 points on Monday — a number that evokes 6/4/89, the date of the crackdown.
How do you get people interested in the difference something as simple as a toilet can make for health?
If you're the head of the World Toilet Organization (yes, there is one), or the author of a page-turner about sanitation, or you're part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, you talk toilets up. A lot.
And, it turns out, if you're in Seattle, which considers itself the home for new ideas on global health, talking about poop and toilets will pack an 842-seat theater on a Friday night.
In a case involving then-Vice President Dick Cheney's Secret Service detail, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that agents accused of a politically motivated arrest are immune from suit. But the court's unanimous ruling did little more than resolve this particular case.
The decision stems from an incident in 2006 in the Colorado resort town of Beaver Creek, where Cheney was shaking hands at a shopping mall. Steven Howards got in line and when his turn came, he told the vice president that the Bush administration's Iraq policies were "disgusting."