It may have been "the gayest year ever," as some gay and lesbian activists put it — 2013 saw the Defense of Marriage Act struck down by the Supreme Court and the number of states offering marriage rights to same-sex couples doubled, to a total of 18.
But as 2014 begins, another issue is gaining traction: transgender rights.
In the world of music, there is no more remarkable gift than having perfect pitch. As the story goes, Ella Fitzgerald's band would use her perfect pitch to tune their instruments.
Although it has a genetic component, most believe that perfect pitch — or absolute pitch — is a primarily a function of early life exposure and training in music, says Takao Hensch, professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard.
There were "cheers and jeers" from rank-and-file union members late Friday when it was announced that a key new contract with aircraft maker Boeing had been approved by a bare majority vote, our colleagues at Seattle's KPLU report.
Many people know Rube Goldberg as an adjective — a shorthand description for a convoluted device or contraption. But Rube Goldberg was a real person — one who earned a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning and who captivated imaginations with drawings of complex chain reactions that completed the simplest of tasks.
Goldberg died in 1970, but Jennifer George, his granddaughter, has collected the zany world he created in a coffee table book, The Art of Rube Goldberg: (A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius.
Saturday is World Braille Day, commemorating the birth of Frenchman Louis Braille, who was blinded in an accident when he was a toddler. Undeterred, he became a brilliant student but was frustrated that he couldn't read or write.
In school, he learned about a system of dots used by soldiers to communicate at night. Braille adapted that system into something that would transform the lives of the blind and visually impaired.
Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 5:38 am
NASA caught our eye earlier today when the space agency tweeted a composite image of the huge winter storm that has covered parts of the Midwest and Eastern U.S. with a deep blanket of snow.
The photos that make up the image were taken Thursday, NASA says, during several passes of its Aqua satellite. The craft used its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer — MODIS — "to capture this true-color image of a massive winter storm moving up the eastern seaboard," the agency says.
At the start of this new year, a number of cities in the United States, including its five largest, have a common story to tell about crime. In 2013, they all saw violent crime rates drop significantly. Some also saw murder rates drop to historic lows. From Chicago, NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.
Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 5:32 pm
Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET
When Congress returns next week, House Republicans will welcome their Democratic colleagues with a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't vote.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has let it be known that the House will vote on legislation ostensibly meant to protect Americans from HealthCare.gov data breaches. Several Republicans have introduced HealthCare.gov-related security bills, so Cantor has plenty of material to work with.
Recently we've heard of some big changes at several news organizations involving some of their most prominent journalists. At the Washington Post, the founder of the popular policy site Wonkblog, Ezra Klein, is weighing a departure. And the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are both scrambling to set up dedicated news teams to replace journalists who have left in pursuit of more money and independence. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik joins us from our studios in New York.