Tracy Barnes just secured a spot on the U.S. Olympic team heading to Sochi — but almost immediately, she decided to give it up.
She surrendered her spot to her twin, Lanny. The 31-year-old sisters compete in biathlon, the sport that combines cross-country skiing and shooting. Both competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics, and Lanny competed in 2010 as well.
Lanny fell ill during selection races in Italy this past weekend, and she finished sixth, dashing her hopes of qualifying. Only the top five make the Olympic team; Tracy qualified at fifth place.
A years-in-the-making, top-secret engineering and design project for a superaerodynamic suit to be worn by U.S. speedskaters at next month's Winter Olympics was finally unveiled Thursday.
Defense contractor Lockheed Martin and sporting goods company Under Armour released photos of the suit they're calling "Mach 39." It has been kept so tightly under wraps that the sport's governing body wouldn't even allow it to be worn at the Olympic trials in Salt Lake City.
As recently as 2011, the National Security Agency was collecting almost 200 million text messages each day, according to a new story by The Guardian that cites documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The texts were used to develop financial and location data, the newspaper says.
For President Obama and Senate Democrats, who gathered in a White House meeting Wednesday, it's all about mutual aid at this point.
If Obama is to maintain any leverage in Congress, he needs Democrats to keep control of the Senate since the House appears likely to remain in Republican hands. And if his second term agenda has any hope of being achieved — such as tackling income inequality, overhauling immigration or reaching a durable nuclear deal with Iran — he'll need a Democratic Senate majority working side-by-side with him.
In desperation to save the rare northern spotted owl, biologists are doing something that goes against their core — shooting another owl that's rapidly taking over spotted owl territory across the northwest.
"If we don't do it, what we're essentially doing, in my view, is dooming the spotted owl to extinction," says Lowell Diller, senior biologist for Green Diamond, a timber company.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 6:10 am
This post was last updated at 9 p.m. ET.
Authorities have arrested three men on charges of recklessly starting a fire that has swept through more than 1,700 acres in Southern California's San Gabriel Mountains, about 25 miles northeast of Los Angeles. It is currently 30 percent contained. Authorities say they have ordered people evacuated from 1,000 homes.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 11:47 am
In his new memoir, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates heaped scorn on many members of Congress for pushing their parochial interests with him.
But he saved a special dig for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"With two ongoing wars and all our budget and other issues, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," Gates writes, describing how the Nevada Democrat urged him to have the Defense Department invest in research into irritable bowel syndrome.
It's an anecdote that drew snickers — and media attention, including here at NPR.