Fifty years ago, President Kennedy hosted a Columbus Day ceremony in the Rose Garden, and I was there. Fourteen-year-old me, with my family. This was a fluke. The President had cracked a politically uncool Mafia joke a few days before. Not wanting to offend Italian-American voters, the White House quickly mounted a charm offensive — inviting government workers like my dad, with Italian surnames like Mondello, to celebrate a great Italian explorer, with the president himself.
For 29 years, Alcatraz — the notorious prison off the coast of San Francisco — housed some of the nation's worst criminals: Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, Birdman Robert Stroud.
Today, 50 years after it closed, it's a museum. And earlier this year, the National Park Service gave Bill Baker, a former inmate, special permission to stay the night in his old cell. He was 24 when he was transferred to The Rock. Today, he's 80.
A very old squished mosquito found in fossilized rock from Montana. Analysis of the insect's gut revealed telltale chemicals found in blood.
Credit Courtesy of James Di Loreto
Fossil mosquitoes collected by Dale Greenwalt, a volunteer research collaborator at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.The fossils were collected as part of a 5-year project to produce a research collection of fossil insects from the Kishenehn Formation.
Scientists who study why species vanish are increasingly looking for ancient DNA. They find it easily enough in the movies; remember the mosquito blood in Jurassic Park that contained dinosaur DNA from the bug's last bite? But in real life, scientists haven't turned up multi-million-year-old DNA in any useable form.
Fortunately, a team at the Smithsonian Institution has now found something unique in a 46-million-year-old, fossilized mosquito — not DNA, but the chemical remains of the insect's last bloody meal.
Former SS Captain Erich Priebke, seen here in Rome during his war crimes trial in 1996, died Friday at age 100. Authorities in Rome, Germany, and Argentina have rejected becoming his final resting place.
Afghan men stand at a livestock market set up for the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, or "feast of sacrifice," in the center of Kabul Monday. In an email, the Taliban is calling on Afghans to reject a new security agreement with the U.S.
As a bilateral security agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan begins an approval process, the Taliban's leader urged Afghans to reject the deal, calling it a colonial arrangement with elements of slavery.
The message came in an email on the eve of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday. In it, Mullah Mohammad Omar told Afghans to keep fighting, as NPR's Sean Carberry reports for our Newscast unit:
This is FRESH AIR. Our rock critic Ken Tucker has a review of the new album, "The Blow" by the music and performance are duo called The Blow which was conceived by its singer, Khaela Maricich. Melissa Dyne plays a more behind the scenes role, arranging, mixing and co-producing much of this new collection. The music made by The Blow can be broadly labeled as electro pop, but Ken says it goes further than that.
In his new book The Everything Store, Brad Stone chronicles how Amazon became an "innovative, disruptive, and often polarizing technology powerhouse." He writes that Amazon was among the first to realize the potential of the Internet and that the company "ended up forever changing the way we shop and read."
Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 9:36 am
Two weeks into October, and the pressure really starts getting to your head. What am I going to be for Halloween?
Did you set the bar too high last year with your Binders Full Of Women costume? Or maybe you're determined to NOT have the same getup as five other people... again. Whatever the hangup may be, take some cues from your news-minded friends at NPR for creating a unique and timely costume out of the headlines:
An image from a video posted by Banksy shows a man representing the artist staffing a sidewalk stall featuring signed works for $60. Banksy says he only made $420 Saturday, with one customer negotiating a 2-for-1 discount.
Credit Frank Augstein / AP
A limited edition of Banksy's "Love Is in the Air" sold for $249,000 at Bonhams auction house in London this summer. The artist offeed a version of the work for $60 on the sidewalk in New York Saturday.